This day in baseball: First Fenway game

The first game ever played at Fenway Park took place on April 9, 1912. In an exhibition contest played in the cold and the snow, Crimson third baseman and captain Dana Wingate became the first batter in the Boston ballpark, being struck out on a fastball by Casey Hageman. 3,000 fans braved the wintery weather to watch the shortened contest.

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This day in baseball: First catcher’s mask

On February 12, 1878, Harvard captain Fredrick Thayer received a patent for the first catcher’s mask.  Thayer invented the mask for Harvard’s catcher, James Tyng, who apparently was a bit skittish, in spite of his talent.  The mask was adapted from a fencing mask, with eyes holes that supported a series of pads made from animal skins.  The catcher’s mask caught on quickly among pros and amateurs alike and was in wide use by the 1880s.

 

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Vic Willis wearing a catcher’s mask, circa 1900 (Wikimedia Commons)