First Basemen might be the most involved position players on the field. They have to catch the receiving throws from other infield players, catching attempts of a pickoff from pitchers and they have to field their position. This asks a lot from a player and even more from their glove. First base gloves look different compared to regular gloves you spot on the field. But remember that they didn’t create the glove for the looks, but with a function. First Base gloves are also called mitts.
The difference between a mitt and a glove, is that a mitt lacks individual finger slots and is one solid piece. Next to the catcher position, the first base position is also allowed to wear a mitt. Any other position isn’t allowed to wear a mitt. The function of the mitt is to give first basemen extra protection and a larger surface area to catch, scoop and field.
The design of first base mitts are very similar, but keep these few things in mind to find your perfect first base mitt.
Pocket depth and webbing
The pocket of a first base mitt is much deeper to withstand the high amount of catches. They receive more throws than other positions and make less ball transfers during the game. An open-style webbing like a single or dual post, gives the first basemen the ability to dig out wild throws or ground balls without picking up all the dirt around them.
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The mitt of a first basemen is longer and it has a solid, curved edge to the design. This makes it easier for the player to scoop wild throws and to stop ground balls down the line. The larger surface of the mitt creates an easier and larger target to hit for infielders.
The usual first base mitt is sized between 12” and 13”. Do not oversize the mitt, because you want to keep control over the mitt during the game. This is very important when buying a first basemen mitt for younger players.
Materials & Stiffness
Just like you need a catcher’s mitt to be sturdy enough to keep catching pitches on a daily basis, you need a first baseman’s mitt to be stiff enough to catch a high number of throws as well. Your mitt should also be flexible enough to scoop ground balls and wild throws and meet basic fielding requirements. A leather material is best suited for these player’s needs. The material is strong and stiff enough the withstand catch after catch. Some synthetic gloves can be used but often won’t last too long. Also the leather is much sturdier than the synthetic material.
Something you have to check before buying is the varying degrees of wrist adjustments. Some gloves offer an adjustable opening for the wrist. Most of them are in the form of a Velcro Strap, additional lacing or a D-ring. These adjustment options function so that a player can create a more narrower or tighter fit to their hand. All of these different ways of adjustment function the same, but the choice of adjustment is up to the player.
Last but not least, also the most important thing, is personal comfort. Make sure to choose a mitt that makes you feel comfortable and fits comfortable on your hand.