My Neck is Too Big (or Too Small) for My Chest ProtectorJun 6th, 2013
One of the complaints you hear from guys is “My chest protector fits too snug around my neck”. I don’t hear the opposite of that which is “My chest protector is too loose”. However, I do see it.
Much talk is given to the length of the umpire chest protector (neck to bottom) but not much to the overall size of the neck area. So I’m going to fill that void.
The skinny is that guys with big necks or big frames are going to have more umpire chest protectors that feel tighter than loose. And smaller guys are going to have the opposite. With a CP that’s too snug, it can be uncomfortable. But for one that’s too loose, there is a bigger problem. It could result in a gap in collar bone protection.
So if you’re an average to smaller umpire, listen up or bulk up.
Let’s take the Wilson Gold and Platinum chest protectors, designed by MLB umpire Joe West. The Gold was designed to have less room in the neck area whereas the Platinum was designed to have more. There is certainly no standard neck size for umpire chest protectors.
Take a look at the couple of images where small frame and neck guys are wearing the Platinum. Too loose right? These need to be either tightened to the max, a higher end-harness is needed that will allow these guys to wear them even tighter or a different chest protector is needed. (In these cases, they were tightened all the way. If you love your Platinum but the neck coverage isn't right, try a different harness.)
The moral of this story is that just as you try on your shoes to make sure they’re not too big or too small, do the same thing with your umpire chest protector. And don’t forget the neck area is just as important as its length.
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About the Author
President Jim Kirk
Jim is a leading expert, educator and author on umpire gear, safety & appearance. After playing baseball at Centre College, he worked as a high school umpire. He became involved in E-Commerce while working on an MBA in the early 2000s and bought Ump-Attire.com in 2006, He eventually led it to the leading umpire gear & attire retailer worldwide, a “Best Places to Work in Louisville” honor in 2020 & 2021 and a National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) Preferred Vendor. He maintained a long-standing relationship with Minor League Baseball Umpire Development & Training Academy for 10 years. He serves as an adviser to UMPS CARE Charities, the charity of MLB umpires, served as a 2-term board of director from 2012-2018, and was named their 2015 Ambassador Award recipient. A supporter since the inception of the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy, he was named to their Board of Directors in 2020.