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wolfe_man

What is this mask?

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Can anyone confirm what this is? 

I think it’s a Nike college steel. It’s pretty light.

 Thanks 

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I think Nike steel too, but I see Stk004's point as well which is why I asked. The lightweight and angled ear guards suggest the Nike steel, but the wide bottom U-bar looked like Wilson catcher's models a little.

But then I have a Wilson WTA3007 and A3008 and the ear guards are different on them than this.  I'm pretty confident it is a Nike. 

It looks like it's been coated, perhaps by Tony as it has a very sparkly metallic silver. It really catches the light when it moves. It has a couple nics and needs a need job done on it now.

 

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@wolfe_man I can confirm that the one with TW is a Wilson. The two masks from JoHart are noticeably different on the angle of the U bar, no? 

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29 minutes ago, Stk004 said:

@wolfe_man I can confirm that the one with TW is a Wilson. The two masks from JoHart are noticeably different on the angle of the U bar, no? 

The one in the OP looks like a Wilson due to the angle in the U bar but I’m not sure that those ear guards are Wilson. Seem to be more angled and bigger than the ones on the Wilson catcher masks

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32 minutes ago, Stk004 said:

@wolfe_man I can confirm that the one with TW is a Wilson. The two masks from JoHart are noticeably different on the angle of the U bar, no? 

I don't think so, it's the angle of the pic.  JoHart's mask red and blue pads is the same mask just different pads.  If you look at the bottom strap on the U bar, it's all the same... at least IMO.

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It is definitely NOT a Wilson WTA3007 which can be confused with a Nike at first glance, much like a +POS.  Closer inspection can discount both Wilson and +POS rather quickly due to ear guard placement and sizing. 

Below is a pic of a Wilson WTA3007 for example. If you look at its ear guards, you'll know that this is NOT a Nike.  Nike uses that extra wide ear guard - and the arrow strut on the top of both guards is more defined on a Nike mask.  Wilson (as shown below) rounds the top ear guard down - whereas Nike is straight out from the mask in a 90-degree perpendicular (imaginary) line from the dead center of the mask.  Finally, Wilson's bottom ear guard is rounded more versus Nike has a more angular shape, especially at the bend on the bottom of the ear guards.

wta3007 back.jpg

wta3007.jpg

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57 minutes ago, Stk004 said:

@wolfe_man I can confirm that the one with TW is a Wilson. The two masks from JoHart are noticeably different on the angle of the U bar, no? 

Here is the link the silver mask with TW pads.  This was MadMax mask and he called it a Nike Steel.  This is where I looked before I purchased it to make sure, but then second-guessed myself. :)

http://umpire-empire.com/topic/65819-fs-nike-steel-mask-bright-silver-mipc-nike-harness/

 

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Alright guys, here is where I have to eat a few of my own words. That image of a silver mask with black TW pads against a beige wall with sand-tan carpeting is mine. I claimed it was a Nike Steel because that’s what I had bought it from another guy here on U-E as (I don’t remember who, and frankly, don’t feel that it’s relevant anymore).

I know the Nike “Icon” planform so very well, as it was designed by someone at Nike at the behest of Jorge Posada in the early days of his HoF (likely to be) career. It was styled to have simple lines, and give an excellent field of view. The chin guard was made taller (longer) than every other mask on the market at that time because Posada made it a trendsetter to prop the mask on his head, like a knight’s flip-up visor, and he eschewed wearing a dangling throat guard. To be strong enough to withstand the battering and abuse a catcher’s mask takes, and to be thin and lightweight enough to forgo thick vinyl cladding, it was fabricated in titanium. To Posada’s wishes, the chin guard was tall and featured very little forward rake (the angle at which that shape projects off the vertical plumb line) so it would behave like a dangling throat guard, easpecially when a catcher is trained to drop his chin when blocking a ball down off the deck. Now, here’s the important part – I have been unable to determine which was first; Wilson’s Catcher’s DynaLite (with arrowhead ear struts) and Nike based their design planform on it, or Wilson produced theirs in response to Nike’s iconic Titanium getting so much attention in the catching community.

Of course, producing a mask in titanium incurs a rather premium cost. So, the next best alternative (at that time) for mass production was steel. In order to give the mask better survivability to corrosion and the constant physical abuse, the hollow steel masks were dipped in vinyl. Even in this construct, the two masks looked vaguely similar, but they still retained their unique characteristics; namely, the shape of the “bullring and wicket”, and the size and rake of the chin guard. Why were the two chinguards so different? That’s best answered with another question – between Nike and Wilson, who sells (thousands upon thousands) more dangling throat guards as accessory purchases? Why, Wilson of course.

At some point, Wilson changed their ear struts from arrowheads to single, simple horizontal bars (I have been unable to determine when, or for what specific reason). At around this same time, Wilson introduced their new West Vest CP model variant – the Platinum – in conjunction with a titanium version of their DynaLite, perhaps at the behest of MLB umpires who had taken a liking to Posada’s (and other Nike-supplied catchers’) mask. It had similar lines to Wilson’s DynaLite, with the more-pinched, angular bullring and wicket U-Bars and single bar ear struts. The big, glaring difference was the dramatic forward rake of the chin guard. This was certainly intended to allow a dangling throat guard to be mounted behind it. Accordingly, the Platinum CP received a padded cushion so a dangling throat guard would bounce against it instead of clacking.

Keep in mind, though, that the companies are still producing and supplying masks to wholesale and retail outlets in any and all planforms they have. This would be severely hamstrung by the NFHS board outlawing the traditional mask from use within its ruleset. Nike scaled back their production of their iconic mask in steel, relegating it to supply for college catchers and foreign markets. Alternatively, Wilson ceased production of the catcher’s version of the DynaLite, instead forging ahead with the updated DynaLite planform for its captive market – umpires.

So, through researching all that, I have since arrived at the conclusion that that mask I had was a Wilson DynaLite-for-Catcher, having been stripped of its vinyl and powdercoated. To make matters more complicated, it looks like the exclusive contract between Nike and the shop in Asia (Taiwan?) where the Icon was produced has ended, and recently the shop has been producing Icons, in Titanium and Steel, with a variety of pad branding on them (Reebok, Adidas, etc.). A few MLB catchers, too, sponsored by Mizuno, have taken to putting Mizuno pads on a titanium Icon.

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Just for the sake of conversation, not argument. I took some more pics of this "Nike" next to my DynaLite's A3007 and A3008.  This mask that I have is wider and shorter than the DynaLite's. 

I am still convinced my OP is a Nike - but I think the original steel models used a slightly wider U-bar/bullring/wicket at the bottom than the current models. Perhaps it was a different supplier than current? I know the current models of steel and Ti are the same, but the older models were not always that way.

Lastly, the new-to-me mask is noticeably lighter than my DynaLite catcher's models, even with TW pads on it.

The "Nike" is wider (11" DL vs 12" N), shorter (14" DL vs 13" N), has bigger/wider "ears" and has a longer & straighter "chin" than the DynaLite (see pics). 

I'll have to split up the pics due to sizing unfortunately.

IMG_2386.JPG

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Side by side (sorry pics are sideways) - mask at top is Wilson A3008 DynaLite (vinyl stripped, unpainted) - middle is "Nike" - bottom is A3007 DynaLite (vinyl stripped, painted silver)

IMG_2373.JPG

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Ultimately, I'm fine with it being either Wilson or Nike as I like it, but in my quest to understand I am exploring all the possibilities.  I not only want to understand what it is now, but if I see another one come up for sale then I want to know if I should be paying Wilson or Nike prices! :)

In my humble opinion, my mask is clearly different from the Wilson DynaLite catcher models A3007, A3008 and A3010.  I have stripped vinyl off about 6-7 of the Wilson's because I think they are very close to the Nike's and I can normally pick them up on eBay for under $40 shipped.  Once you remove the vinyl these masks really lighten up - you would be amazed at how much of a difference it makes!  These old Wilson DynaLite catcher models A3007 and A3008 are very solid masks that offer a good view for a great price.  I'd encourage you to pick one up to play with over the winter months if you see one. 

However, with all of this discussion and experience, I still believe the mask in my OP is a Nike Steel.  It has different dimensions and looks and feels different than the Wilson's that I own and have held, so I'm going to call it my Nike.

Thanks to all of you whom have weighed in and offered feedback/ideas.

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