Do Baseball Players Wear Cups?

Do Baseball Players Wear Cups?

We've heard multiple people ask, "do baseball players wear cups?"

Here's the short answer: some do and some don't.

(Check out our detailed post showcasing the best cups for catchers.)

Rules about protective cups can vary by league. We'll tell you about the biggest, highest visibility league out there, Major League Baseball (MLB).

The MLB does not require its players to wear cups. 

New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez after he was hit in the nuts

New York Yankees catchers Gary Sanchez after getting hit in the groin on a foul tip.

Accordingly, there is a lot of evidence out there that some pro ballplayers do not wear them.

For example, an article from back in 2009 found that, generally speaking, MLB catchers wore cups, most (but not all) infielders wore them, and most outfielders did not wear cups.

Examples of MLB Players Not Wearing a Cup

There have also been a number of high profile incidents of professional ballplayers getting hit between the legs, and it was painfully obvious they weren't wearing a cup.

A good example of this was Jordany Valdespin in 2013. The former New York Met was facing flamethrower Justin Verlander when he squared to bunt and instead took a fastball in the mid 90s to his groin. He wasn't wearing a cup.

His manager, Terry Collins, said after the game about Valdespin "you would think… you would be smart enough to wear a cup."

Another notable incident came in a 2009 game when future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre took a hard ground ball between the legs. He had massive testicular swelling and bleeding after the game, and many feared it would end his season (ultimately, it did not).

Getting hit in the groin without wearing an athletic cup can mean taking an impact equivalent to up to 2,400 pounds of force, which can cause severe testicular injuries such as testicular contusions.

So, it's pretty clear that wearing a cup is the smart thing to do from a safety standpoint.

Jordany Valdespin of the New York Mets hit in the groin

Jordany Valdespin got hit between the legs by a Justin Verlander fastball. Ouch.

What Influences the Decision to Wear or Not Wear a Cup?

Still, for those MLB players that choose not to wear a cup, why have they made that decision? 

Well, there are two main reasons: comfort and performance.

Some ballplayers that don't wear a cup choose to do so because they feel that cups are uncomfortable. That was the reason Adrian Beltre gave.

A few years after the incident in 2009, Beltre said about cups “I never liked [them]. Even when I first signed with the Dodgers... they tried to force me [to wear one], I couldn't do it. I can't. Its uncomfortable.”

And some pro players don't wear them because they feel they can't move as quickly, flexibly, or as nimbly as they otherwise could without a cup. Noted speedster Carl Crawford falls into this camp.  

After getting nailed in the groin during a game against the Baltimore Orioles in 2010, Crawford said afterwards “I do too many moves to wear a cup. … I’m still not going to wear a cup.”

In the end, perhaps the wise thing for most ballplayers to do is to find a comfortable, flexible cup that won't negatively impact your play. That way you can strike a balance and get the best of both worlds - safety and high performance.

Let us be clear though. If you are playing behind the plate, you should be wearing a cup. The risk of injury is simply too high to play without one. Catchers need cups!

For a more detailed overview of specific cups we recommend, click here.


Thank You for Reading

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