Baseball glove

This article is about the glove used by defensive players. For gloves worn by batters, see Batting glove.
"Right-handed" baseball glove worn on the left hand of center fielder Willie Mays during the 1954 World Series.

A baseball glove or mitt is a large leather glove worn by baseball players of the defending team, which assists players in catching and fielding balls hit by a batter or thrown by a teammate.

By convention, the glove is described by the handedness of the intended wearer, rather than the hand on which the glove is worn: a glove that fits on the left hand—used by a right-handed thrower—is called a right-handed (RH) or "right-hand throw" (RHT) glove. Conversely, a left-handed glove (LH or LHT) is worn on the right hand, allowing the player to throw the ball with the left hand.


Bid McPhee playing second base without a glove

Early baseball was a game played without gloves. During the slow transition to gloves, a player who continued to play without one was called a barehanded catcher; this did not refer to the position of catcher, but rather to the practice of catching with bare hands. The earliest glove was not webbed and not particularly well suited for catching but was used more to bat a ball to the ground so that it could be picked up.

An 1885 glove patent

One of the first players believed to use a baseball glove was Doug Allison, a catcher for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, in 1870, due to an injured left hand.[1] The first confirmed glove use was by Charlie Waitt, a St. Louis outfielder and first baseman who, in 1875, donned a pair of flesh-colored gloves. Glove use slowly caught on as more and more players began using different forms of gloves.

Many early baseball gloves were simple leather gloves with the fingertips cut off, supposedly to allow for the same control of a bare hand but with extra padding. First baseman Albert Spalding, originally skeptical of glove use, influenced more infielders to begin using gloves. Spalding later founded the sporting goods company Spalding, which still manufactures baseball gloves along with other sports equipment.[2] By the mid-1890s, it was the norm for players to wear gloves in the field.

A.G. Spalding & Bros. advertisement for infielder gloves, 1905

In 1920, Bill Doak, a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, suggested that a web be placed between the first finger and the thumb in order to create a pocket. This design soon became the standard for baseball gloves. Doak patented his design and sold it to Rawlings. His design became the precursor to modern gloves, and enabled Rawlings to become the preferred glove of professional players.[3]

For many years it was customary for fielders to leave their gloves on the field when their team went in to bat. This practice was prohibited by the major leagues in 1954.[4]

Baseball gloves have grown progressively larger since their inception. While catching in baseball had always been two handed, eventually, gloves grew to a size that made it easier to catch the ball in the webbing of the glove, and use the off-hand to keep it from falling out. A glove is typically worn on the non-dominant hand, leaving the dominant hand for throwing the ball; for example, a right-handed player would wear a glove on the left hand.

The shape and size of the baseball glove is governed by official baseball rules. Section 3.00 - EQUIPMENT AND UNIFORMS specifies glove dimensions and materials in parts 3.04 through 3.07.

The baseball glove has come a long way in over the past century. Today, gloves are made more precisely and more efficiently. There are still many advancements coming in the age of the baseball glove. Even today, Easton is "experimenting with combining leather and Kevlar (used in bullet-proof vests) in a new ultra-light weight glove line".[2] Manufacturers have created different types of gloves to suit different types of people. Also, they have started personalizing gloves for certain players to increase exposure on national television. Rawlings sponsors more than 49.99% of the current MLB Players.[5] It is because of this dedication to gloves that the MLB has rewarded Rawlings with the "annual Rawlings Gold Glove Award, which has been presented to players for fielding excellence since 1957."

The highest-quality gloves are usually made of heavy leather that will need some time to break in, provide a "snug" fit on one's hand off the shelf, and typically do not have palm pads or Velcro adjustable wrist straps, which are excellent features to have if one is buying a youth or recreational type glove.

Most players choose which glove manufacturer they will sign with when they are in the minor leagues, and stay with them for their entire career.[5] Most glove companies will pay in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for high-caliber players to endorse their gloves.[5] Pitchers usually get the highest contracts for gloves because their glove is shown on television more frequently than other gloves.[5] One of the biggest endorsers of gloves was Roger Clemens, who won seven Cy Young Awards with gloves from three different glove companies.[5]

Even though there have been many advancements in the design and creation of the baseball glove, the greatest came in the invention of the catcher's mitt. However, a Wake Forest University study demonstrated, through 39 minor-league players, that even though today's catcher's mitts are state-of-the-art, they still do not offer enough protection from long-term injury to the hand and wrist.[2]

A custom made Rolin baseball glove


Baseball gloves are measured by starting at the top of the index finger of the glove and measuring down the finger, along the inside of the pocket and then out to the heel of the glove. Gloves typically range in size from 9 inches (youth starter size) to 12.75 inches for adult outfield play.[6] Catcher's mitts, unlike those of other gloves, are measured around the circumference, and they typically have 32- to 34-inch patterns.

The shape and size of a glove is described by its pattern. Modern gloves have become quite specialized, with position-specific patterns:

Major glove manufacturers

See also


  1. "Baseball 'Glove Affairs'". NPR. 4 September 2008. 27 June 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 Bennett, R. (2006, March 31). Glovology TCS Daily.
  3. Stamp, Jimmy. "The Invention of the Baseball Mitt". Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  4. Feldman, Jay (February 20, 1984). "Of Mice And Mitts, And Of A Rule That Helped To Clean Up Baseball". Sports Illustrated.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Soyer, F. (May 1, 2001). "The Evolution of Baseball Gloves". Popular Mechanics.
  6. Baseball Glove Sizing Charts Archived February 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. "Hank Greenberg" by Ralph Berger, The Baseball Biography Project Archived March 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/22/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.