Despite what some may think, there is a difference in softball & baseball gloves. A lot of things are comparable, but there are subtle differences. Here’s a good guide to find the perfect baseball glove. Enjoy!
How to Measure a Glove
It is possible to measure baseball glove by beginning at the uppermost point on the index finger of the glove. Measure down the finger, along the interior of the pocket and then out to the heel of the glove. Use a flexible tape and let it “lay” in the pocket when you are measuring. To measure first base mitts (which have no fingers) simply take measurements starting from the highest point on the mitt in the same fashion as a fielders glove. All gloves are referenced for dimensions in inches. Typically baseball gloves have a size ranging from 9 inches (youth size of starter) and up 12.75 inches for adult outfield play. Sizes of catchers’ mitts when measured in inches, are measured by circumference. A typical baseball mitt is measured in circumference of 30 inches (youth dimension) all the way to 34.5 inches with.5 inch incremental sizes in the size range.
The best quality gloves are made from high-quality leather, which will require some time to break-in, they offer the “snug” fit on your hand right “off the shelf” and typically do not have hand pads, or VELCRO(r) brand adjustable wrist straps, which are fantastic features to look for when buying the type of youth or recreational glove.
* Top-grain gloves are typically going to be imprinted by the manufacturer onto your glove. These are typically heavier gloves requiring a longer break in period and are usually used in “top of the line” gloves.
* Kip leather (Kipskin) is currently being used by certain manufacturers of gloves in some of their premium gloves. Kip hide (Kipskin) hide comes made by younger cattle, which produces an easier leather to break-in. Whether durability is the same as traditional hides remains to be judged. The next level comes in the form of Premium Steer Hide which tends to make a more stiff glove with a longer break-in time . It is also pre-oiled to decrease this time. Next is
* Cow Hide which is generally moderate weight, and produces many different types of quality products, is more durable and wears off faster that steer hide. This grade usually comes pre-oiled or treated to decrease break-in time.This is a fantastic grade for a glove for children for ages 10 and above.
* Kangaroo Skin is a relatively new product to the market for baseball gloves is being utilized by a number of manufacturers. While stronger and lighter than steer hide, it’s still too early to judge how good an investment gloves made of Kangaroo are.
* Pigskin is more brittle than cowhide. It can however break down much faster and easier than cowhide. Gloves made of Pigskin are affordable and ideal for young players who will grow out of their glove over the course of a season.
Baseball gloves can also be found in a range of synthetic fabrics that make lighter gloves that require less break-ins, if any, and are more affordable than leather, and can be a good choice for a youngster’s “starter” glove. The downside of these gloves is that they are much less durable than leather, and are unable to withstand all the wear and tear that that leather can.
Gloves vs Mitts
The main distinction between mitts and gloves is that gloves have fingers, while mitts do not. Mitts usually perform better at controlling balls that do not hit in the pocket . Mitts can also help scoop ground balls and short hops. First base, catcher and catchers are the two only positions that require mitts.
The most important thing in this article is not to purchase a glove which is too “large” for the person who is using it, with the idea of “they will grow into it”. What happens is the player will feel frustrated and may want to give up when the glove slips off his hands a couple of times or you’ll get disillusioned and go out and purchase a new glove that is the correct size or question why “little Johnny” can’t keep his glove on like others. Either way its a lose-lose proposition. Make sure you buy the correct size the first time to avoid unnecessary discomfort.
First Base Mitts
Most first base mitts were designed for use with baseballs and measure between 12 and 13 inches. First base mitts usually have a soft, but firm pad that runs around the entire circumference of the mitt. There is little or no padding in the fingers or the palm. First base mitts designed specifically for youth players generally will have a length of 11 to 11.5 inches.
Baseball catcher’s mitts usually come with a thick pad that runs around the circumference with plenty of padding around the finger area , but less padding on the palm. The pocket of a modern catcher’s mitt is bigger, but it is also less deep than it was in the past with today’s catchers gloves more flexible and evolving to a first base mitt design alike as the quickness of the ball to hand transfer for a catcher is vital. Mitts for catchers vary in size from 31 inches to 34 inches with.5 inch increments throughout the size range. Catcher mitts designed for young players typically are found in the 31 to 32 inches range. Mitts made specifically for youth players will feature a smaller hand opening and finger stalls with some type of wrist adjustment.
Open vs Closed Web
*Open Web Ideal in allowing the ball quickly out of the glove. Therefore, it’s often the preferred choice for players in the middle of the field, such as first basemen, and even outfielders.
* Web that is closed: Offers more support and ball coverage. Typically used by pitchers, third basemen, and the majority of outfielders.
Conventional or Open Back vs Closed Back
* Conventional back gloves leave a space open across the back of the glove and usually are a bit lighter.
* Some closed-back gloves have a wrist adjuster that lets you decide how tight or loose your glove is.
* Conventional or Open back Infielders and catchers are attracted by the flexibility of the traditional glove.
Closed backs typically used by outfielders and first basemen. Some players enjoy the additional support offered by closed backs. They often contain an in-back “finger hole” to further assist.
Break-In & Care
There are some specific rules to break in the leather on a new baseball glove. Therefore, make sure to keep a record of these suggestions to ensure that you’re following the correct steps!
According to the type of leather the glove is made of , the time will vary between several days to a couple of weeks. The more you wear your new glove, the faster it will wear. It’s also fine to make use of a Glove Oil or Conditioner made specifically for baseball gloves, make sure you follow the directions exactly in order to not too heavily coat your brand new glove.
Do’s & Don’ts
Use a hair dryer, or any alternative source of heat on your glove
Avoid submerging or putting your glove in water.
Don’t try to beat the leather with any of your accessories
Don’t put your glove in the trunk of your car or any other under ventilated area when you’re not using it
Use only the best products on your glove that isn’t an oil or conditioner made specifically for baseball gloves
Do not use any conditioner or oil that contains silicone, even if it claims that it is made for baseball gloves
Don’t saturate your glove with any conditioner for glove use; use very sparingly
Make sure you use your glove regularly during the your break-in process.
Make sure the laces are tightened on a regularly
Put a bat glove on your glove hand (provides support and shields the glove’s inside from water)
Protect the glove from excessive heat
Dry the glove as normal should it be wet.
I personally believe that this guide is simple yet comprehensive. I’m sure you will find it helpful.