Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Review of Smitty Official Apparel Umpire Jacket

In umpire parlance “smitty” is a derogatory term which means, among other things, “unprofessional.” For instance, “Look at that umpire with his hat on backwards. He looks smitty!”

A few years ago Smitty Officials Apparel sold umpire clothing that was widely regarded as, well, “smitty.” Times have changed. A couple years ago Smitty decided to revamp its umpire line and switched manufacturers. The result is a clothing line that has received praise from many umpires, including the Midwest Ump reviews.

In response to my request, Smitty sent me a BBS-322 umpire jacket to test. This jacket is black with white trim and open at the bottom (a “tuck-in” jacket). Tuck-in jackets are great for plate work because they do not ride up when you drop into your stance.

After testing Smitty shirts, pants, and now jacket, I find that the cut of Smitty clothing is slimmer than most. The XL jacket measures 28.5” across the chest and 7.25” from collar to shoulder along the seam. By comparison, Honig’s K-17 measures 30” across the chest and 8” down the shoulder seam. Perhaps as a result, the Smitty jacket weighs 14.5 ounces, two ounces lighter than the Honigs. I had no trouble fitting the Smitty jacket over my Wilson Platinum chest protector, and the slimmer cut means less material flapping in the breeze.

Both the Smitty and the Honig’s K-17 are made from 100% polyester with a 100% nylon lining. Smitty advertised that the polyester shell is treated with a weather resistant coating. The white stripes are identical to the Honig’s K-17. In fact, it is nearly impossible to distinguish the Honig’s from the Smitty from a distance. The collar of the Smitty is more substantial than the Honig’s K-17 and the polyester outer layer has a more “finished” appearance. Click on the image to the right for a close up and see what I mean.

Unlike the Honig’s jacket (sold exclusively by Honig’s for $59.95), the Smitty S-322 is available from several online retailers, including:

Ump-Attire for $59.99

S.O.S. Sports for $48.95

Purchase Officials for $45.00

THE BOTTOM LINE: If you haven’t checked out Smitty Official Apparel lately, you are missing out on some of the best umpire apparel on the market. The S-322 umpire jacket is a first-rate jacket and one that I am proud to wear on the field.

As a personal note, I have found dealing with Smitty to be very easy. My emails are replied to quickly which indicates a commitment to customer service and a confidence in their products. I recommend the Smitty company and its umpire apparel. Smitty is not "smitty" at all!


Anonymous said...

dear sirs-
good afternoon. I am an NCAA softball official and wish to tell you my concerns with your product. I recently purchase 2 navy blue ball bags and after one use - the belt loop ripped on each side the pocket/pouch also teared.

when i got my slacks mended - the fabric torn.

I am just very upset with your merchanise and this makes me uneasy purchasing any other equipment through your company.

respectfully submitted-
bob gustafson

Pete Reiser said...


I'm sorry to hear about your experience. Midwest Ump provides impressions and advice concerning umpire products, but doesn't sell anything.

Who is the manufacturer of the torn fabrics?

Jimmy Carl Black said...

I agree that Smitty has done a very good job of improving their products in the last year or two, and they are much less "Smitty" than they used to be (they really need to change that name!). But, while the quality of the construction of the Smitty jacket is fine, the cut is horrible in my opinion. I ordered one and sent it right back. I didn't even need to field test it. First, it's short. The sleeves did not fit me at all even though I had the right size for my torso. I have average length arms for my body size (36" sleeves with an XL torso) and have never had this problem before with any kind of jacket – sports, casual, whatever. Also, the collar is WAY too big. It looks really dorky and huge folded down, a la Ralph Furley. When zipped all the way up, my 17" neck is swimming in it. I think even those steroids freaks on World's Strongest Man would find the collar loose. What's up with that? I really wanted an alternative to Honig's (don't like their attitude and don't like giving them my money), but now it looks like I will be saving up for a Majestic.

Anonymous said...

the smitty jacket is great..nice big fit ...also the smitty shirts are the best i have worn..they fit big and the price is great...i find them better than the 30dollar plus umpire attire shirts..overpriced and i dont care if they arent made in half the stuff made in north america is junk and no better than abroad.,..and way over to the review by mr black..i couldnt disagree jacket is an XL and i have a long torso and short legs and find the smitty jacket more than long opinion he might have got one that somehow is not sized to honigs..they are one of the best suppliers if not the best in umpire gear