Choosing a Baseball Glove
Choosing the right baseball glove is a matter of getting the best glove you can comfortably afford, while making sure it is the right glove for the field position you intend to play. In addition, being sure the glove fits properly is crucial when selecting a baseball glove.
Prices for baseball gloves start as low as $15, especially for children's models, whereas a top-of-the-line professional quality glove is sold for up to $400. For non-professional play, quality mid-range models are available which will not wear out too quickly under regular conditions, but which are also priced at a reasonable level.
When selecting a glove, general factors to consider include:
Quality of Materials
Selecting a quality, resilient, yet supple material such as walnut leather, which is the standard for higher-quality gloves, will ensure comfort over a long period of use.
Avoid pre-conditioned gloves. Instead, purchase a well-constructed and stiff glove and be prepared to break it in. Pre-conditioned gloves wear out far too quickly whereas the effort put into breaking in a quality glove pays off as far as comfort and useful life are concerned. In addition, floppy gloves are best avoided as they do not provide a snug, comfortable and safe fit.
Size and Feel
Make sure to purchase the right size glove, whether for yourself or for your child. Most adult gloves measure from 12" - 13", with children's gloves starting at 8'. Do not buy an overly large glove for a child; he may grow into it at a later date, but he will not be able to open and close it. Even when a youth glove features an adjustable wrist strap, careful attention must be paid to the size of the hand portion of the glove itself.
Basic styles include:
Usually preferred by outfielders and first basemen, an open web glove features crisscrossed strips of leather between the thumb and index finger. It allows for easier catching of the ball.
The choice of shortstops and second basemen, as well as pitchers, this type of glove is made with a solid piece of leather, which enables easier transfer of the ball from the glove to the throwing hand.
An open back design means that the hand opening is wide, with no extra strap to hold the fingers. This design is available in both web styles and can be used by all players.
A closed back design provides a smaller opening for the hand as well as finger straps. This design often is made with an adjustable wrist strap in adult models as well as for children.
A catcher's mitt is a completely different style of glove that is traditionally used only by catchers. It is a heavily padded mitt with a small pocket; the padding shields the hand against the impact of a quickly thrown ball.
Specialized styles include:
First Baseman's Mitt
While many first basemen use a standard open web glove with either back design, professional and serious amateur players who consistently play as first basemen use a heavily padded mitt that resembles a catcher's mitt. Such mitts are longer than catcher's mitts or regular gloves, and they are also meant to protect the first baseman's hand when he catches the ball.
These gloves are sometimes even available in specific styles for specific infield positions, but basically these gloves are shorter, closed web gloves.
Outfield gloves are usually open web gloves, that are longer than infielder's gloves.
It should be noted that even some professional players choose gloves that are not usually worn for the positions that they play. Indeed, there are no hard-and-fast rules to selecting gloves for any position other than catcher, and each player experiments and tries on gloves to find the one that is best for him.
In addition to these basic styles, many manufacturers offer their own web designs and other improvements to each of the usual types of baseball gloves. Therefore, when selecting a mitt for serious amateur play, or for a specific position, it is best to consider all of the features available from each manufacturer and to investigate the benefits of original design improvements. A fully stocked online or offline retailer of baseball gloves offers a complete line of gloves from a wide selection of major and reliable manufacturers, and it is best to find out as much as possible about each glove under consideration before making a final decision.
A well-made and properly suited baseball glove will provide years of enjoyment and pleasure, and many styles are available that suit players who play any infield or outfield position. Quality, fit and comfort are the primary considerations to take into account when selecting a baseball glove.