a catch made in heaven
Believe it or not, baseball was once played with bare hands. Without protection, players' hands were constantly bruised and injured, motivating the first appearance of baseball mitts in the 1870s. Since then, the basic design has evolved into the padded, webbed standard you see on the field today. And as the pitches get faster and the hits get harder, the comfort, quality and durability of a player's glove is more essential now than ever before.
Find the Best Baseball Glove for You
Before you hit the field to make your own memories, take the time to find the perfect glove for you. That way, you won't have to give up on your first glove because of a bad fit. This guide includes the following sections to make it easy to pick the best baseball glove for your needs.
- anatomy of a baseball glove
- HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR BASEBALL GLOVE
- HOW TO BREAK IN YOUR GLOVE
- HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR GLOVE
- WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED?
anatomy of a baseball glove
The 4 Main Parts of a Glove
Webbing: webbing fills the area between your thumb and fingers. It can be woven tightly or left open based on preference and position
Fingers: the fingers secure and support your four fingers and thumb
Palm: this "pocket" in the center of your glove is used to catch and secure the ball
Heel: Located below the palm directly above the point where your hand meets your wrist
Understand Your Type of Throw
Type of throw or "handedness" refers to which hand you prefer to throw with - not the hand that wears the glove. Figure out which hand you feel more comfortable throwing the ball with, and buy a glove designed for that handedness.
Right-hand-throw (RHT) gloves are made for righties and worn on the left hand. RHT gloves may be unlabeled for handedness or labeled "normal."
Left-hand-throw (LHT) gloves let you catch with your right hand and throw with your left. Wear LHT gloves on your right hand.
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR BASEBALL GLOVE
1- Know Your Position
For serious players, the kind of glove you buy may depend on your position. If you play multiple positions or are just starting out, you might prefer a more versatile, all-around glove. Here's a breakdown on gloves by position:
Catcher: Catchers wear baseball mitts instead of gloves for more protection. Mitts don't have separately cut fingers like gloves do, and they feature extra padding to absorb the energy from fastballs. Deep, oval-shaped baskets with closed webbing offer strength and durability.
Pitcher: When you think about it, pitchers catch a lot. For that reason, pitcher's gloves are large and lightweight for comfort and agility. Wide, deep pockets with closed webbing let a pitcher adjust hand position without giving away the pitch.
First Base: First basemen are called on to respond in crucial baseline moments. The large pocket area of their gloves makes it easy to catch and offers more flexibility to scoop balls up off the ground.
Infielders & Third Base: Infielders use smaller, shorter gloves with shallow pockets that make it easier to release the ball for fast throws. Look for open webbing - unless you're playing third base. Third basemen often prefer closed webbing for extra support catching hard hits.
Outfielders:Pop-ups, fly balls, grounders. It's heartbreaking to see an opposing team's ball sneak right past your fingers. Outfielders need long gloves with deep pockets and open webs to quickly and freely dive, run, catch and release.
Kids & Amateurs
Amateur players and kids will likely play multiple positions over a season. To find a multipurpose glove, carefully consider your personal preferences for each of the following features:
Pocket Size: Go small for faster releases and large for more reliable catching.
Webbing: Go open unless you need closed webbing to conceal pitches or enjoy increased support.
Padding: Less cushion makes it easier to respond after the catch. More padding is better for long wear and frequent catching.
Wrist Adjustments: There are Velcro and D-ring designs to help you adjust the fit of your glove.
Durability: Leather is a classic, durable material for baseball gloves, but kids and parents alike may choose synthetic gloves since they tend to be lighter and less expensive.
2- Know Your Size
If you haven't been fitted for a glove before, you should measure your hand to estimate your size. Here's how to measure your hand for a baseball glove:
Flex your glove hand. Measure from the tip of your index finger to the start of your wrist in inches. This is your hand size. Choose a glove size slightly larger than your hand size, but not too big. Your glove should feel snug, not tight. Glove sizes can vary by position. For example, catcher's mitts are measured by circumference to offer a better idea of the catching area. Check out our sizing charts for more info on sizing by age or position.
Sizing Chart by Age & Position
|Ages 7 and under||29.5-30"||8-10.5"||11.5"||8-10.5"||9-10.5"|
|High school and adult||32-34.5"||11.5-12"||12-13"||11.25-12"||12-13"|
Wrist adjustments make it easy to create a custom fit for your glove. Try on and wear leather gloves with a batting glove underneath to help preserve the interior. Remember that leather gloves will naturally stretch as you break them in. Try on gloves in your local Academy to figure out your preferences based on feel.
HOW TO BREAK IN YOUR GLOVE
New gloves are stiff. Here are a few ways to break in a new baseball glove:
● Wear it and use it. The best way to mold a glove to your hand is to play catch with a friend or mentor.
● Use a mallet to break in the pocket of a catcher's mitt if you're in a hurry.
● Moisturize leather gloves with a glove conditioner or lanolin-based oil. Apply the substance to the pocket and gently blend it out toward the fingers.
● Use a glove wrap and ball to help the palm take shape when you can't wear the glove yourself.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR GLOVE
Cleaning Your Glove
- ● Bristle brush
- ● Clean rag or cloth
- ● Mild detergent or leather-safe cleaner
- ● Glove conditioner (for leather gloves only)
- 1. Use the brush to remove built-up dirt.
- 2. For leather gloves, apply a leather-safe cleaner as instructed by the manufacturer.
- 3. For synthetic gloves, use a mild solution like dish soap and warm water to remove dried-on stains.
- 4. Re-condition leather gloves to moisturize all the nooks and crannies.
Storing Your Glove
If your glove's stitching starts to loosen or needs repair, you can try fixing it yourself with the aid of a knife or U-wire and a straight-lace grooved needle. Remove the damaged laces with the knife or wire, and then use the needle to weave in the replacement laces. You'll need 3-6 leather laces per glove, depending on the glove's type and size.
Repairing Your Glove
During the off-season, store your glove properly so it stays ready for next year. Find a cool, dry place protected from outdoor elements. Do not leave your glove inside your gear bag - it needs air to stay fresh.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED?
Now that you've got your new glove, you'll need a few other pieces of baseball equipment, including baseballs and protective gear. Check out these accessories and supplies so you can hit next season out of the park!
● Bats, including wooden, aluminum and performance bats. Check out our Bat Buying Guide for help finding the best bat for you.
● Baseball cleats from top athletic shoe brands in a variety of styles, colors and designs.
● Batting helmets that offer advanced head protection for batters.
● Protective Gear, including catching equipment, masks, chest protectors, cups and leg protectors.
● Bags designed to store and transport baseball equipment to games and practices.
● Apparel, including baseball jerseys, pants, caps and everything else you need to look your best out on the field.