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Catcher’s Corner: Steel vs Titanium, Which Should You Wear?

Yesterday I talked about what John Buck would wear when he made his debut with the Pirates. It’s obvious that Buck wouldn’t wear the Statue of Liberty mask he wore in New York, so he wore this beauty.


A simple yellow and black MVP4000 fresh out of the box from All Star. Just look at how crisp and fresh that paint job looks. Very nice stuff, this actually might be my favorite. We don’t see very many yellow and black MVP4000’s and it’s cool to see one on a veteran Major League player instead of… well, let’s see there has been Eric Fryer and Matt Pagnozzi, who between them have a total of 49 games in the Major Leagues. It’s nice to have a more permanent Major League player that wears one of these because I simply love the color scheme. Buck also stuck with the chest protector color scheme as well, using the primary and white outline again on his Nike Elite Chest Protector.

I also discussed what would happen with Buck’s orange laced Wilson M1, which Buck hasn’t had time to change out yet. Orange laces, especially in Pittsburgh, bother me. You can swap those out for some yellow, maybe some black laces.

As for the mask, I doubt we see another masterpiece from Voodoo Air, John Buck’s air-brush of choice, until next Opening Day.  It’s a shame our Statue of Liberty time is cut short. Because that mask was a kick-ass hockey mask, I don’t think you’re topping that.  I’m excited to see what they come up with for next year, it’s number 1 on the list of Gear I’m Looking Forward To Next Spring, followed by what Jose Molina will wear, and by whether or not David Ross and Brian McCann will switch back to a hockey mask. Wouldn’t it be cool to have the same sort of scheme that the Statue of Liberty mask had? That’s what I liked so much about the mask, the blue and orange blended in the middle. Imagine a black and yellow sort of blend, that would be a bold mask. Anybody who knows anything about Pittsburgh landmarks please feel free to chime in.

Source, Avila post concussion with the steel mask

We’ve been talking about concussions and how concussions can affect gear choice after the fact and how a different gear choice can prevent a concussion before the fact. Alex Avila recently came off the 7-day concussion DL and he’s back with a steel Nike mask instead of his the titanium Nike mask he’s worn his whole career. This is just another way of trying to prevent concussions behind the plate.

Steel catchers masks have basically been around since the catchers mask existed.  The titanium mask began in 2006 when Jorge Posada and Nike put their heads together to design a lighter, technologically advanced mask. Steel is a softer metal than titanium, allowing for more bend and give when hit with a foul tip. Not to mention the steel mask is also heavier than the titanium. Despite these facts, most catchers choose the titanium mask because its a lot lighter and a more comfortable mask. The drawback is that titanium bars don’t give when hit with a foul tip, so all the energy is directed right back at you. So is a lighter mask good or bad? Should I sacrifice comfort over safety? What one should you get?

There really is no right answer, you’re sacrificing something and your gaining something else when you chose between steel and titanium. Do you want a heavier, no frills mask that is slightly safer or do you want a lighter, much more expensive (sometimes as much as a $150 difference between the steel version and the titanium version of a mask) mask that may not be as safe. It’s a tricky debate, but one worth having (hence the poll below).  We’d love to hear your comments, too.


  1. They could definitely do something with the bridges in Pittsburgh, the Highmark building maybe. I love the idea, I think we will see a lot more catchers start doing this.

  2. […] on the rampant concussions and the titanium vs. steel argument (that Noah broke down for us the other day) from […]

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