Baseball has been played by many for hundreds of years. The equipment has evolved over the years. For example did you know that baseball gloves didn’t really exist about 150 years ago? Imagine trying to catch that line drive without a glove or trying to catch the 90 mph fastball by Roy Halladay with your bare hands.
With advancing technology, baseball gloves have come a long way from their early days. The first glove used in a game didn’t have the webbing or the padding like we see today. It was a small and thin, similar to that of a winter glove. Players used the gloves not to catch the ball, but to knock them down to ground. At first it took a while to gain popularity, but it wasn’t until after Albert Spalding started up his first sporting goods store that baseball gloves started to become popular. To this date Spalding is still manufacturing baseball gloves.
In 1920 with the suggestion of some players webbing was introduced to the baseball glove. The webbing created a pocket that made it easier to catch the ball. This was the beginning of the modern day baseball glove. As the years have passed gloves have changed. They have become bigger, contain much more padding and come in different shapes. The common element is that gloves are made from leather, which when first manufactured are usually very stiff. However, over the years there have been many types of products and techniques you could use to break in a glove.
There are different gloves for the different positions played. For a catcher, the glove doesn’t have any fingers. It is large and has a lot of padding. Sometimes catcher’s will use a larger mitt to catch knuckle ball pitchers. With the excessive movement of a knuckle ball pitcher the larger size is needed.
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.
For infielder’s their gloves tend to be smaller and have shallow pockets. When broken in, the gloves look like a bowl. This makes it easier for the infielder to get the baseball out of their glove a lot faster. Most infielder’s gloves will have larger gaps in their webbing to allow dirt from the infield to pass through easier. A pitcher’s glove is similar to an infielder’s glove, but it 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 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.