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The Differences in Baseball Gloves

Updated on July 18, 2010

Can you believe that nearly 150 years ago baseball players never wore baseball gloves?!  They played the game with their bare hands.  Imagine fielding a hot line drive off the bat of Alex Rodriguez or catching a Roy Halladay fastball without a glove.  Well the game was a lot different in the late 1800s than it is today.

Today we have pitches that can throw consistently over 95 mph.  The technology of baseball gloves has come a long way.  When baseball gloves were first introduced to the game they didn’t have webbing like baseball gloves of today.  It was small and thin like a winter glove and was mainly used to knock the ball down to the ground.  They were not meant for catching the ball.  It wasn’t until Albert Spalding, who initially was sceptical of using baseball gloves, started to influence infielders to start wearing gloves.  He later opened up his own sporting goods store and to this day the company still manufactures baseball gloves.  By around the 1890s it was becoming the norm to wear baseball gloves.

It wasn’t until 1920 when it was suggested to put webbing in the gloves to create a pocket.  This suggestion has now become the norm for baseball gloves.  Over the years with technological advances baseball gloves have gotten bigger and included more padding.  Baseball gloves are made out of leather and are usually very stiff.  However, there are many different types of products and techniques you can use to break in a baseball glove.  There are now different kinds of baseball gloves.  There are gloves for outfielders, pitchers, catchers and infielders.  For infielders there are specific gloves for first basemen. 

The difference between the baseball gloves is catcher’s gloves have a lot more padding.  They don’t have any fingers.  If the catcher is catching a knuckle ball pitcher they usually get a slightly larger glove to handle the movement from the knuckle ball.

A first basemen’s glove is similar to a catcher’s glove where it doesn’t have fingers, but it does not have as much padding.  The glove is typically long and wide to help catch good and bad throws from other players. 

An infielder’s baseball glove tends to be small and have a shallow pocket.  The shape of the pocket is like a bowl.  This is to allow for the infielder to get the baseball out of their glove a lot faster.  Most infielder’s baseball gloves will have larger gaps in their webbing to allow dirt from the infield to pass through easier. 

A pitcher’s glove usually doesn’t have large gaps in the webbing.  This allows the pitcher to conceal their grip on the baseball.  In a heavily competitive game teams look for any advantage to get ahead. 

Outfielder’s baseball gloves are usually the longest glove and do not have a pocket.  The player will break in the baseball glove so that the glove is flat.  The reason is that the outfielder wants the glove to be as long as possible to help catch balls that are going over their head or to scoop up balls rolling in the outfield.  The less they have to bend the faster they can get up and throw the ball back into the infield. 

Baseball gloves have come a long way from being oversized winter gloves to bat down baseballs to leather oversized gloves to catch 90 plus mile an hour baseballs.  They now come in different shapes and sizes.  The next time you go to buy a baseball glove hopefully the above information helps you decide what glove would be best for you.  Also check out Breaking in a Baseball Glove as it will give you great tips on how break in your glove fast so you can start using right away.


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