Friday, November 12, 2010

Review of Wilson West Vest Platinum Umpire Chest Protector (WTA3215)

This is the fourth in the series of hard shell chest protector reviews. This series will conclude with the Midwest Ump selection for the Midwest Ump 2010 Umpire Merchandise Product of the Year award winner (UMPY Award) in the Chest Protector category.

The Wilson West Vest Platinum Umpire Chest Protector was the 2009 Umpire Merchandise Products of the Year winner in the chest protector category. The Platinum is one of two umpire chest protectors endorsed by Major League Baseball (along with its brother the Wilson Gold). The Platinum along with the Gold are the standards for umpire chest protectors at higher levels.

A thinner padding gives the Platinum a more stream-lined appearance. The shoulders are not exceptionally raised and the overall appearance is very average. The Platinum is a charcoal gray and the rivets are a subdued silver (it is recommended that you paint the rivets every year with nail polish to prevent rusting).

The Platinum comes in 13.5" and 10.75" sizes. The plastic plates are held in place by velcro straps and remove for easy cleaning. The padding is is a svelt .75" and is machine washable. I have never machine washed my padding. I clean it with soap and water from time to time and spray it with Lysol.

The plates of the Platinum are flat and it takes a while for the Platinum to conform to your frame. In fact, my first thought about this CP when I took it out of the box was that it reminded me of Clint Eastwood's iron plate used as a bullet proof vest at the end of Fistful of Dollars. It is very flat.

While the Platinum is conforming to your frame, there will be slippage. The longer you wear the Platinum, the less slippage you will experience. My Platinum still slips a little even after three years of wearing it.

The Wilson Platinum uses 3mm plastic plates as its first line of defense. Three separate large plates are joined by rivets to protect the chest and collar bone. Unlike its competitors, the Platinum uses a large molded plate that is tightly fastened to the chest plate, essentially creating a single plate to protect the chest and collar areas. The larger the plate, the greater the deflection of impact.

Wilson places extra padding at the sternum. There is very little gaping around the Platinum and minimal exposure.

MLB umpire Joe West developed the Platinum to protect umpires during extreme conditions. In the video below West is hit with a 95 mph fastball in the chest while wearing the Platinum.

That's a pretty powerful endorsement!

The Wilson West Vest Platinum Chest Protector is sold by the following online retailers:

HQ4Sports for $139.95 with free shipping

CAT Sports, $139.95

Ump Attire, $124.99 limited time

Honig's, $149.95

Lesters Upstate Sports, $145.00

Between the Lines, $159.90

Joe West, $139.00

Jim Evans, $149.95 (plus 10% discount for ABUA members)

Fair or Foul?
The Wilson Platinum is fair, fair, fair. It is one of a very few chest protectors that can be used while calling major league pitching and resides at the top of the food chain. I have personally worn the Platinum for three years and can attest to its protection. It is fantastic! As I've said previously, baseballs bounce off me like bullets off Superman. The Platinum is light, cool and comfortable.

The Wilson Platinum weighs 3.03 lbs. Heavier than any CP tested as of January 2011

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is a very good chest protector if u are 5-10 and under and like almost 4 pouhds of protector under ur shirt in heat.also it is very uncomfortable..for less money the honigs k-1 is the best,.,.light excellent protection and with the lenth extensions it goes up to 18"