In the early years of baseball, catchers would stand far away from the hitter and field pitches on the first bounce. In the 1880s, protective equipment started to become a requirement once catchers began creeping closer to the batter. During the 1920s, the modern shape of the catcher’s mask began to emerge. Throughout the rest of the century the traditional catcher’s mask would develop more and more protection, with a skull cap eventually being worn to protect the head.
Although a new style of catcher’s mask was introduced in the late 1990s, modeled after the headgear that NHL goaltenders wore, the traditional cage and skull cap combination is still very popular. Nowadays, catchers can be seen wearing either style of mask according to their personal preference.