The Wilson West Vest Gold Umpire Chest Protector (A3210) is one of two top-of-the-line hard shell chest protectors designed by MLB Umpire Joe West and made by Wilson. The Gold is available in three sizes: Small (for sizes under 38”); Medium to Large (for sizes 38-44); and Large to Extra Large (for sizes 46-54). While it is available in different widths corresponding to your jacket size, it is only available in one length, 12” measured from the neck opening to the bottom of the protector.
The Wilson Gold is black with black painted rivets. Unlike other silver chest protectors, there is little chance of your black Wilson Gold bleeding through your shirt (unless perhaps you wear an open hole cream shirt).
The padding for the Wilson Gold is more substantial (thicker) than the Wilson Platinum. My caliper measures 1.125" for the padding and plate. Oddly, the Gold fits tighter to your body than the Platinum, but not nearly as well as the Schutt AiR Flex Umpire Chest Protector (review here). The Gold fits closer to the body than the Platinum, but sits higher and tighter to the neck than other hard shell chest protectors. I wasn’t entirely happy with the fit of the Wilson Gold. I felt that it was necessary to adjust this CP to sit high near the clavicle to obtain adequate protection. That pushed the CP near my mask which made it more challenging to look straight down while wearing the mask.
Mobility was very good with this CP. I did not feel constrained (other than around the neck) and there was only minimal slippage.
The Wilson Gold is protected by 3mm hard plastic plates. The chest plate is large and measures 12" x 6". The clavicle protection is adequate, although there is no extra padding in that area. The Wilson Gold Umpire Chest Protector features removable plates for cleaning. The Gold and the Schutt AiR Flex share a similar design and use separate plates. There is no significant gapping around the plates.
After my experience with the Schutt AiR Flex, I was bewildered to see that the Wilson Gold uses the same basic design around the shoulders. However, on closer inspection, I see one significant difference. The plates in the Schutt are molded to achieve a closer, custom fit. As a result a ball impact can force the plate’s edge into your body (since it is already curved in that direction). The Wilson Gold shoulder plates are flatter and are less likely to be forced by a ball impact into your shoulder. The same can be said about the Wilson Gold plates protecting the clavicle area.
The Wilson Gold Umpire Chest Protector is available from the following on-line retailers:
Epic Sports $133.99
Lester’s Upstate Sports $155.00
Fair or Foul?
The Wilson West Vest Gold Chest Protector provides superior protection. It has been tested under fire by professional umpires. I like its more conforming design, but do not care for the higher fit around the neck to protect the clavicle. This CP is absolutely “Fair” and recommended for all levels of baseball.
The Wilson Gold weighs 3.02 lbs.