“Catching is such an onerous and distasteful job today that one pitcher referred to mask, shin guards and chest protector as ‘the tools of ignorance.‘” Abe Kemp, San Francisco Examiner, June 15, 1929, p16
Previous earliest use (Dickson Baseball Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2009):
1ST USE. 1936. “Leroy Zimmerman…will perform on the mound for the Corpe squad with Max Purcell donning the tools of ignorance to handle his slants” (Arcadia [Calif.] Tribune, May 2; Grant Barrett).