Baseball Equipment Buyer’s Guide: Baseball Gloves
- Updated: April 22, 2015
When it comes to buying baseball equipment, everyone from a newbie to a professional player wants quality gloves. However, people often find it difficult to choose gloves that suit their needs, so we’ll help you understand the different types of baseball gloves, and how to choose between them.
Before anything else, you should understand the basic terms used when talking about baseball gloves:
- Type of Throw – Gloves can be categorized according to RHT (Right Hand Thrower) or LHT (Left Hand Thrower). RHT players throw with the right hand and catch with the left, wearing the glove on the left hand while it’s opposite with LHTs.
- Parts of a Glove – There are four main parts: Fingers, Palm (the inner part below the fingers), pocket (the area between the thumb and the index finger), and heel (the lower part that just covers your wrist).
- Glove Size – This is the length of the glove (in inches), measured from the top of the index finger to the bottom of the heel.
Different Kinds of Baseball Gloves
Baseball gloves can be categorized as:
- Glove Size (Youth vs. Adult Gloves)
Glove size is very important because if they don’t fit well, your game can suffer. Sizing varies according to age as well as field positioning, so take a look at this handy size chart for reference:
|Glove Sizes Chart||By Position|
|Catcher||First Base||Second Base / Short Stop||Third Base||Pitcher||Outfield|
|By Age||<7 yrs||29.5″-30″||11.5″||8″-10.5″||8″-10.5″||8″-10.5″||9″-10.5″|
Youth gloves that measure 11.25″ to 11.75” are designed to fit smaller hands, and feature small, narrow fingers. They are not made of very high-quality leather but instead use materials that are easier for children to close and use. While these gloves are cheap and can be used for children up to 12 years of age, it’s better to pick out adult gloves after the child is over 10.
Adult baseball gloves can be fitted to smaller hands with a simple adjustment, by re-lacing the wrist at the back of the gloves, which can be loosened as they grow.
- Glove Types Based on Field Position
Depending on the player’s position and specific requirements, you can choose between:
- Catcher’s Gloves – Also known as the catcher’s mitt, this glove type has joined fingers all the way through the pocket. These gloves are stiffer than most and offer high protection so that the player can catch high-speed balls without getting injured or needing to replace the glove very often.
They take some time to break in, but the closed pocket allows maximum lacing and makes catcher’s gloves extremely durable. These are also measured differently, as the glove size is the circumference of the whole glove, typically between 30.5” to 34.5”.
- First Baseman’s Gloves – These gloves are very similar to catcher’s mitts, with a large catching area that can handle fast-moving balls. The difference is that they are lightweight and slightly more flexible, with less padding on the fingers to accommodate for scooping the ball out of dirt.
These gloves are designed for quick movement and catching, and can be worn from age ten onward. Since these large gloves normally measure 11” to 13”, children might not be able to close them easily.
- Pitcher’s Gloves – These are not designed for performance as much as they are for comfort since pitchers are constantly catching with them. They are large enough, so hand movements and band remain hidden, and the pitch isn’t given away to the batter.
Pitcher’s gloves are designed to be lighter than standard gloves, always feature a single color and measure between 11.5″ – 12″.
- Infield Gloves – These gloves are shorter and feature shallower pockets, designed for quick responses in the field. The open pocket (normally an I-web, post web, H-web, or modified trapeze pocket) allows players to get the ball out quickly for faster plays.
Sometimes, infield gloves may feature a closed pocket for a third baseman to receive harder hit ground balls and line drives. Infield gloves measure between 11.25” to 12”.
- Outfield Gloves – These gloves are designed with a focus on catching high fly balls, as well as diving catches. They have extra support in the fingers and open pocket designs (mostly trapeze or H-web) that make them perfect for diving plays, snow cones and other long extension plays where the ball needs to stay in the glove.
Outfielder’s Baseball gloves normally measure between 12”-13”, and the design is longer and deeper than most others.
Glove Maintenance and Care
A glove’s life and performance can be significantly improved with a few regular care and maintenance tips, such as:
- Oil them with glove oil, but only lightly, as over oiling can make them heavy and more prone to breaking down. Do not substitute with other oils.
- Keep them clean and dry, especially when they are not in use. Store them in well-ventilated areas, away from direct heat, dust, and moisture.
- Break in your gloves by folding them without a ball and forming a crease in the position you would like them to fold. Play catch with them too!
- Store them with one ball each in the pocket and palm (use a glove wrap or belt to tie the folded gloves), so they don’t get flattened in your bag.
About the Author: J Mike loves straddling his two jobs. He works as an Online Marketing Manager for Red Raider Outfitter during day and loves to blog about fashion & sports when he is home. He loves to turn his thoughts on fashion & sports into words. Being a Texan who breathes sports, Mike loves to cheer for his team Texas Tech Red Raider during game days.