Do MLB Players Wear Cups? (4 Great Benefits Of Wearing One)

Do MLB Players Wear Cups

A question that might have popped into your mind if you closely follow baseball is, “Do MLB players wear cups?” People have different opinions regarding the topic, and so their answers vary.

A simple answer to the above question is that some players wear cups while others don’t. The player decides to choose to wear a cup or not. There is no such compulsion regarding wearing baseball cups.

Here we will look at all things you need to know about baseball cups, why players do not wear them, and all the other details you should know regarding this topic.

What Is A Baseball Cup?

A baseball cup generally called an athletic cup, is a protective gear made of a hard plastic shell used to protect a male player’s crotch area. It helps protect the groin from a hard impact of the ball and prevents injuries.


Like all other safety gear that the players wear to protect themselves from getting injuries, a baseball cup is equally important. You never know where the ball might land; if it hits the player anywhere near their crotch, it can cause serious injuries. So, it is advised to wear a baseball cup during a match.

Do MLB Players Wear Cups?

It is not mandatory to wear a baseball cup while playing, so the players often choose not to wear one. There is no such rule by the MLB stating that the players need to wear baseball cups, but it is highly recommended.

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In most adult leagues, it is the player’s choice to wear a cup or not. But in Little League, it is mandatory for the catcher to wear a baseball cup. In most of the youth baseball leagues, it is mandatory for the players to wear an athletic cup.

Players Who Wear Cups

The players who are in a position where they are at a higher risk of getting hit by the ball are usually the ones required to wear the cups.

The Catchers

All the catchers wear cups. The catcher is at the maximum risk of getting hit by the ball. The catchers are in the middle of the field and in direct contact with the ball, so they should wear cups on the field.

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The catchers are at a higher risk of getting hit by the ball between their legs due to the deflection from a foul ball.

The Pitchers

After the catcher, the pitcher is the closest to where the ball is hit. They are at a distance of approximately 60ft from the ball. Some pitchers play without cups, but it is suggested to wear the cups for protection.

The pitchers are supposed to react very quickly and avoid the ball, so it is better for them to wear cups while playing. The ball comes towards them at a speed of 120mph; hence they should wear cups.

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Most outfielders do not wear cups, as they have the least risk of getting hit by the ball. They are at a distance of approximately 300ft from the pitch, so their chances of getting hit by the ball between their legs are very low.

Why Do MLB Players Not Wear Cups?

There are a lot of MLB players that do not wear cups while playing. The players choose not to wear one as there is no rule for it. The main reason why the players do not wear cups are:

  • Wearing cups is not very comfortable.
  • Some players believe that wearing cups affects their performance- they cannot move quickly, freely, and flexibly.
  • It affects their ability to hit

Do College Baseball Players Wear Cups?

Players can choose whether they want or do not want to wear cups. It is suggested that players above 7 years old should start wearing baseball cups. From 7-12, the players should wear a soft and comfy cup. Players above 12 can wear normal hard protective cups.

Most Youth baseball leagues have a rule of wearing a baseball cup for every age group. College baseball players also have a choice of wearing cups if they wish to. However, it is highly recommended and beneficial for the players to wear cups for protection. A catcher must wear a cup while playing.

Benefits Of Wearing Cups

As we have already seen how important it is for the players to wear baseball/athletic cups, let us look at some of the benefits:

  • It protects your crotch.
  • It ensures the safety of the players.
  • A flexible and comfortable cup ensures better performance and high safety.
  • Prevents serious injuries – groin stains, testicular torsion, etc.

Incidents When Players Did Not Wear Cups

By now, we have already established the importance of wearing cups on a field. Let us now discuss some of the incidents where the players chose to skip wearing the cups, which proved to be a big mistake for them:

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1. 2018 – Yadier Molin got hit by a 100+mph ball between his legs. He had to undergo emergency surgery after being diagnosed with traumatic hematoma.

2. 2013 – Jordan Valdespin was batting his fifth inning against Justin Verlander. Verlander’s pitch hit him between his legs, and he endured a lot of pain.

3. 2010 – Carl Crawford was running on the basepaths when he got hit by the ball thrown by Jake Arrieta. After this, Carl was immediately rushed to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with a testicular contusion. Even after this incident, Carl refused to wear a cup as it hindered his movement.

4. 2009 – Adrian Beltre got hit by a high-speed ball thrown by Alexei Ramirez. After getting hit, Adrian continued with the game, which lasted for 14 innings. Due to this delay, his injury got severe, and he had to undergo surgery due to internal bleeding. Even after this whole incident, when Adrian was asked in 2014 about wearing a cup, he refused and said that he does not wear it as he doesn’t find it comfortable.


What percentage of MLB players wear a cup?

Almost all the catchers wear a cup, and about 25% of infielders wear cups. And there are very few outfielders who wear cups as they are at a very large distance from the pitch.

Should you wear a cup to baseball practice?

Irrespective of whether you are practicing or competing in a league or match, the player should wear a cup to protect their groin area.
If the players wear the cups while practicing, they get more used to wearing them and become comfortable playing while wearing them.

In which sports do players wear cups?

Apart from baseball, there are various sports in which the players were cups-
Cricket, football, hockey, boxing, paintball

Is there any alternative to cups?

If you find wearing baseball cups really uncomfortable, you can use a cut out of foam instead of the cup.

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