How to Select a Baseball Glove

Introduction

There are many different kinds of baseball gloves. When it comes to selecting a baseball glove, you may want to have a different glove for each position, or you may want one glove that covers all the bases. Here are a few suggestions to ponder before shopping for the perfect baseball glove for you. Don't buy into the media messages that one brand or one kind of glove is better than another, or will make you a better player. It really comes down to you, your position, and your personal preferences.

If you're an amateur baseball player, most likely you won't just be in one position on the field all season long. You'll be assuming multiple infield and outfield posts. In this case, may be best to get a glove that can accommodate it all. If you tend to assume a particular position more than others, than selecting a baseball glove that covers it all, might be your best bet.

Some general guidelines to consider when selecting a baseball glove:

Select a glove that fits: Choosing the right-sized glove

General sizing chart:

Glove Size by Age
AgeGlove Size
4 - 610"
7 - 911"
10 - Adult12" to 13"

Position-specific glove sizing charts:

Baseball Glove Sizes
AgePositionGlove Size
8 - 13Infield10 1/2" to 11 1/2"
8 - 13Outfield11 1/2" to 12 1/2"
14+Infield11" to 12"
14+Outfield12" to 12 3/4"
Fast pitch Softball Glove Sizes
AgePositionGlove Size
up to 8Infield9" to 10 3/4"
up to 8Outfield10" to 11 1/5"
9 - 13Infield10 1/2" to 11 1/2"
9 - 13Outfield11 1/2" to 12 1/5"
14+Infield11 3/4" to 12 1/2"
14+Outfield12 3/4" to 14"
Slow pitch Softball Glove Sizes
AgePositionGlove Size
14+Infield12" to 12 3/4"
14+Outfield12 1/2" to 14"

Tip: Make sure there is ample hand space for a batting glove to be worn inside.

Selecting a baseball glove with plenty of room is better than one that's too tight. The inside of your glove should have enough room for wearing a batting glove too. When you're shopping, try your glove on with your batting glove. You should always wear one inside your baseball glove to protect the insides from dirt and salts from your hands, which can deteriorate the leather. Your glove should also have enough padding to protect the palm area for catching balls off-center. Make sure your glove is easily adjustable to ensure a snug fit.

Tip: A properly adjusted glove should feel snug.

What's the difference between a right and left-handed glove?

Another thing to know, is that if you're a right-handed baseball player, you'll be a wearing a glove marked "regular" on your left hand, to free your right hand to retrieve and toss the ball. If you're a left-handed player, your right hand will wear a "full right" glove, so your left hand is free to control the ball.

Choosing the Right Glove for your Position

Different field positions demand different gloves. If you tend to a certain position more than others, choose the glove for that position. Here's a guide to the different positions and their gloves.

First Baseman Gloves

To prevent injury to the catching hand, first basemen have a long-standing tradition of wearing their own unique glove. The iconic first baseman mitt looks a little different today than it did in the early days of its five-fingered, flesh-colored predecessor, invented in 1941. This rather large mitt is designed to more easily receive throws.

Today, you can choose from any number of leathers and colors, webbings and backs.

Catchers Mitts

Tip: Leagues usually provide the catchers' mitts, but players can get their own.

Possibly the most demanding position, and susceptible to injury, is the catcher. A well-protected and comfortable catcher's glove is a must, and will provide a little more protection than any other glove on the field. Like the first basemen's glove, the ever-evolving roundish catcher's mitt has its own unique design. The catcher's mitt includes more padding, a deep oval-shaped "basket" pocket, closed web, and is very strong and durable. A catcher's mitt comes with open or closed back.

Catcher's Mitt Sizes
AgeGlove Size
YouthUp to 31 inches around
Adult32 inches around or more

Infielders Gloves

Infield positions, except for first base, do well with a smaller to medium-size lightweight glove with shallow pockets for quick release of the ball to the pitching hand. It's good if the glove features a large deep pocket, and strong open I-web, H-web, or trapeze web (adding a "sixth finger" in the pocket between the thumb and fingers) for middle infielders. Size of the mitt is up to the player, but most second baseman use about an 11 to 11-1/2-inch glove; shortstops a little larger; up to 11-3/4 inch. Third basemen might like a larger glove, up to about 12-1/5 inches to accommodate hard fast balls, and foul balls.

Outfield Gloves

An outfielder is more interested in retrieving the ball than on a quick catch and release, so they typically wear a larger glove, and they tend to prefer a closed web design between the thumb and fingers. Also, deeper pockets for catching strong balls. The average size of an adult outfield glove is about 12 inches and over. But size and webbing design is entirely up to the player.

Multiple Positions - choosing a versatile glove

Unless you're a catcher or a first baseman, in which case you'll want a mitt to accommodate those positions, some players do well with a versatile glove. In this case, a basic durable multi-purpose glove that serves both infield and out, may be your best bet.

Check for Durability

Your baseball glove should be made of very durable 100-percent genuine leather, and it should be branded as such. Watch for any labels that indicate that only parts of the glove are made from non-leather or veneer materials, or that the leather is "specially treated." Watch out for leather-looking gloves that are actually plastic. These are not preferred for children, because they won't be able to break them in like a leather glove, and glove oil won't work on them.

Selecting a Baseball Glove that Fits your Price Range

Shop for a glove that both meets your position and sizing needs, and your budget too. Research and compare prices. But don't settle for a glove made with artificial materials, or an "all around" glove when you have a position that requires a glove with definite qualities, just to get a good deal.

Other parts to consider:

Webbing

Often players choose gloves depending on the webbing. Some like them open, others closed. Make sure your glove has solid webbing that is securely attached to the rest of the glove, because it will be more durable. Basically, pitchers like closed webbing to hide the ball from the hitter, outfielders and third basemen also like closed webbing for the extra support. Middle infielders like open web for faster retrieval.

Pockets

An important consideration when selecting a baseball glove is the pocket style; this will depend on the position you play. The general rule is smaller pockets for infielders, and deeper ones for outfielders.

Backs

Closed or open "backs" or the area behind the wrist is a matter of personal preference, and position. Infielders tend to prefer open backs for better flexibility, and outfielders closed, with a finger chamber for added support.

Wrists

Your glove should allow you to adjust the wrist to keep the glove snug. Either Velcro or a D-ring fastener should do the trick.

Conclusion

Selecting a baseball glove can be a little tricky for parents or those new to the game. With the right information and a little practical knowledge, your purchase will not only be a great value, but you'll treat yourself to a comfortable, great-performing baseball glove that will be a part of you for many seasons to come.



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