Are going to buy your first baseball glove? It's good to know everything about it so you get the right glove for your needs. After reading this guide you'll know more about the features of a baseball glove like the webbing, materials or the different positions.
A Baseball glove is necessary in the sport and it represents your style of play. They are a key piece in the sports and are use by every kind of player.
When buying a baseball glove, you’ll notice that there are a lot of options regarding the material, web types and playing positions. All of these options need to be checked to select the right baseball glove for you. When you’ve got some knowledge about these different subjects, it is easier to understand how to choose your perfect glove for the season. Please note that, in the Dutch League, playing with a white or grey coloured glove is prohibited.
Parts of the Baseball Glove
Before we head over to selecting the right glove, it’s important that you know a couple of things about a baseball glove’s anatomy.
In the picture above you can see the most important and well known parts of the glove.
- Let’s start of with the Web of the Glove, this piece connects the thumb and the fingers to gain more control off the ball while it hits your glove. It often features a tightly woven piece of leather that allows players to close their hand on the ball. This prevents the ball from popping out of the glove after impact.
- The Palm is the padding beneath the fingers and leather, where your actual hand palm is also located. The padding in this part of the glove protects your hand from impact.
- The Heel of the glove is the part just below the palm. This piece also provides protection and it determines the break in of the glove.
- The Lacing of the glove provides the shape. The preferred material for the lacing is leather. The reason behind this is that it breaks in as the glove does.
- The Hinge is the part of the glove which allows it to open and close easily.
- The Wrist Adjustment is an optional feature on a baseball glove. It allows you to adjust the glove to your own hand. This is often used on a fastpitch or slow pitch softball gloves and on youth baseball gloves.
Now that we’ve discussed the anatomy of the glove, lets continue to the different materials of which a glove can exist. Each material offers their own feel, you just have to pick the right one for you.
- We’ll start of with synthetic leather. A synthetic leather glove is easy to close and it also has a very light feel. An advantage of this glove is that it has a no “break-in” period. This comes in very handy for the youth player.
- Next up, we have a softened, oil-treated leather. This material offers a game-ready feel to the player. We often recommend this kind of glove when players start growing in age and leagues. It is also easy to break-in.
- Last but not least, we have the Premium or Pro Series leather. This is the option with the highest quality. It is made by the best craftsmen, offering comfort and durability. This material has a longer break-in period required, but once it is broken in it gives you the perfect fit.
Glove Web Types
Right, after you’ve chosen the right material it’s time for you to choose your preferred web type. This part contributes to the style and design, it also adds more advantages to your glove. In the picture below you can see the different web types which are used often including their advantage in the game.
- The Basket Web is the all-time favorite for pitchers. The basket web is a closed web which is perfect for a pitcher to hide the ball. These webs are also easier to close because of the flexible basket weave.
- The Trapeze Web is common on the outfield position. Because of the interlaced lacing on each side it creates a deeper pocket for catching fly balls.
- The Modified Trap is often used by pitchers, infielders and outfielders. This web adds a leather strip to the top of the web. This piece adds more stability to the glove which is similar to the Trapeze Web.
- The H-Web, it already says it in the name. The leather posts in the web create the letter ‘H’ when sewn together. Infielders and outfielders, and particularly third-basemen use this kind of web. Because of the open parts in the web you get less debris and dirt in the glove and it still remains sturdy enough to field those hard-hit balls.
- The I-Web, also has it’s name from the shape. This sort of web has leather post that form the capital “I”. This kind of pattern is often used on the infield positions, as dirt and debris fall right through.
- The Single Post web is also known as the Cross Web. The single post pattern provides plenty of flexibility and visibility. The Single post Web features a vertical strip and two horizontal bars. Together these bars form a cross.
- A Two-piece Web is equivalent to the Basket Web. These gloves are often used in the pitching position as it is easy to hide the ball in the closed web.
First Basemen webs
- The Single Post Web, is just like the Cross web for fielder’s gloves. This web styles provides visibility and flexibility for the players. This web features two leather strips across one vertical post, creating the form of a cross.
- The Modified H-Web is an upgrade from the classic H-Web pattern. The modified web has an added leather strip to the top. This has the advantage of expanding the first baseman’s catch radius.
- Last but not least, there is the Dual Bar. This web has two horizontal leather bars which are stitched together. These bars form the pocket of the glove. This kind of pocket helps the first basemen in trapping and securing those balls.
Catchers can choose from the options below when it comes to the web.
- The Half Moon is similar to the Two-Piece web which can be seen in the fielder’s glove. This half-moon pattern also has two leather pieces which are stitched together. The Half-Moon created a tight pocket for the catcher and offers more flexibility than other one-piece webs.
- A One-Piece Web is made out of one piece. It is a popular style for catchers, this is because the lacing on the outside edge of the glove creates a tight and deep pocket.
Feel, Fit and Style
When you’re buying a glove, you need to keep two important factors in mind. These things are your age and field position. Next to these two factors it’s, of course, your personal preferences. These simple tips will help you with selecting the right glove for you.
- The feel of a glove, Try to find a glove which is stiff enough to give the strength you need, but also has enough flexibility to give you the desired control.
- The fit of the glove, Pick a glove which fits perfectly around your hand, as that it feels like it embraces your hand. Don’t purchase a glove which is to big for your hand, as it won’t improve your performance.
- The style of the glove, Try to go for a look and a color which you like.
The glove for your position
To improve your performance to the maximum level, go for a glove that suits your position on the field. You can find a few tips below:
- When you’re a catcher, go for a fingerless mitt with heavy padding. This will reduce the impact to your hand when the pitcher throws the ball. To catch the ball properly, a claw-like shape can help. The design of a catcher glove functions as a target for the pitcher.
- When playing as a pitcher, pick a glove which has a closed web. This will help you to hide the ball better from the batter as he can’t see your finger positions on the ball. These gloves often have less padding than usual, because fielding isn’t that important as a pitcher.
- First basemen gloves are often longer and wider to scoop up a ground ball. The deeper pocket of the glove helps the first basemen to make safer catches.
- Infielders use five-fingered gloves with a less deep pocket. The reason behind this is that they can transfer the ball easily from glove to hand and make fast plays.
- An outfield glove has a deeper pocket. Also the length of the outfield glove can help extend a player’s range and reach.
The best baseball glove for you personally is the one that’s most comfortable. Use these tips above to choose the perfect glove for you to use during your season.
Here is a size chart which indicates the right size combined with the level of play and the position.
To enjoy your glove to the fullest it's important to carry out maintenance on you glove. Your glove needs a little love from now and then too! There are lots of different items that you can use to extend the life of your glove. At first there are tools to help you break in your glove. When broken in there are supplements like glove gel or conditioner to treat the leather of the glove. When a lace is broken you can self fix the glove with a relacer kit. Never underestimate the importance of glove maintenance! It will surely extend the life of your glove.