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Why Does the Catcher’s Throat Protector Have to Dangle?

By Andy Konyar
Little League International Umpire-in-Chief

It appears that over the course of this past season that there has been a lot of confusion over Rule 1.17.

The section I am referring to is the safety requirement that all catchers MUST have a "dangling" type throat protector attached to the mask of the catcher's helmet. We have observed catcher's helmets without any type of "dangling" throat protector, as well as throat protectors secured so tightly to the lower frame bar that they cannot move or "dangle" to protect the catcher's throat. We have observed them secured so that the throat protector is sticking straight out at a 90-degree angle, providing no protection for the catcher's throat area.

All of these are totally unacceptable.

The "dangling" throat protector should be properly and securely attached so that when the catcher looks up or his/her head is tilted upward that the throat protector will be able to remain down so that the catcher's throat area has some protection. A ball (from a foul or from a pitch in the dirt) or even a bat could possibly come up under the catcher's helmet and cause a severe injury.

To be properly attached, the “dangling” type throat protector should be securely attached from one-fourth of an inch to no more than three-fourths of an inch below the lowest bar or frame of the catchers mask. The throat protector should swing freely and smoothly under the mask when tapped with a finger while holding the catcher's mask/helmet in the hand.

The "dangling" style throat protector is required on any and all types of catchers’ helmets/masks in all divisions of Little League Baseball and Softball. So whether you have the standard frame, the extended frame, the hockey style, etc., the "dangling" throat protector is required.

Yes, even on the extended frame masks – because when a catcher tilts his/her head upward, the frame goes with it – exposing the throat. That is, unless there is a properly positioned “dangling” throat protector in place.

This is a mandatory safety requirement and MUST be strictly enforced at all times by managers, coaches, league officials and umpires. There is NO reason or excuse, (and we have heard them all) for not having a properly attached "dangling" throat protector on all catcher's helmets/mask. The children's safety and well being MUST always be foremost in all that we do in Little League.

It is not worth the risk.

So, PLEASE, help us to make sure that every catcher's helmet/mask in your league’s equipment (whether league-purchased or parent-purchased) has a properly attached "dangling" style throat protector to protect the children from any injury or harm.

A note for the umpires out there: It is not a requirement for the plate umpire to wear a "dangling" throat protector, but it is very strongly recommended that they do.


Why you don't hold your mask in your right hand.



1.  The runner is always safe when hit by a batted ball while touching a base.

2.  A runner may not steal on a foul-tip.

3.  It is a force out when a runner is called out for not tagging on a fly ball.

4.  An appeal on a runner who misses a base cannot be a force out.

5.  A runner is out if he/she runs outside the baseline to avoid a fielder who is fielding a batted ball.

6.  Runners may not advance when a infield fly is called.

7.  No run can score when a runner is called out for the third out for not tagging up.

8.  A pitch that bounces to the plate cannot be hit.

9.  The batter does not get first base if hit by a pitch that bounces.

10. If a fielder holds a fly ball for 5 seconds it's a catch.

11. You must tag the base with your foot on a force out or appeal.

12. The ball is immediately dead on a balk.  (Pro Rules)

13. If a player's feet are in fair territory when the ball is touched, it is a fair ball.

14. The ball must be returned to the pitcher before an appeal is made.

15. With no runners on base, it is a ball if the pitcher starts his/her windup then stops.

16. The pitcher must come to a set position before a pick-off throw.

17. The pitcher must step off the rubber before a pick-off throw.

18. If a fielder cartches a fly ball and then falls over the fence it is a home run.

19. The ball is dead when an umpire gets hit by a batted ball.

20. The home plate umpire can over-rule any umpire at any time.

21.  The hands are part of the bat.

22.  The batter-runner must turn to the right after over-running first base.

23.  If the batter breaks his wrists when swinging, it's a strike.

24.  If a batted ball hits the plate first, its a foul ball.

25.  The batter cannot be called out for interference if he/she is in the batter's box.

26.  The ball is dead on a foul tip.

27.  The batter may not switch batter's boxes after two strikes.

28.  The batter who batted out of order is the person declared out.

29.  The batter may not over-run first base on a walk.

30.  The batter is out if he starts for the dugout before going to first on a dropped third strike.

31.  If the batter does not pull the bat out of the strike zone while in the bunting postion, it's an automatic strike.

32.  The batter is out if he/she slaps hands or high-fives other players, after a home run is hit over the fence.

33.  The batter is out if his/her foot touches the plate.

34.  The batter-runner is always out if he/she runs outside the batting lane after a bunted ball.

35.  The batter is out if a bunted ball hits the ground and bounces back up and hits the bat while the batter is holding the bat.

36.  Tie goes to the runner.

37.  The runner gets the base he/she is going to, plus one on a ball thrown out of play.

38.  Anytime a coach touches a runner, the runner is out.

39.  Runners may never run the bases in reverse order.

40.  The runner must always slide when the play is close.