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BUYING A GLOVE

The following sizing guide gives an idea for the average size glove players may use. 

Age Position Glove Size
Under 8 Infield 10 inches
Under 8 Outfield 11 inches
9-13 Infield 10-11 inches
9-13 Outfield 11-12 inches
13-Adult Infield 11-11,75 inches
13-Adult Outfield 12-13 inches

Usually, infielders are going to use smaller gloves so they can control them better because their reaction time is much less than that of an outfielder.  Infielder’s gloves are also smaller so the fielder can get the ball out of the pocket faster so they are able throw out runners.  The outfielder’s gloves are usually larger with a deeper pocket because they are running down and chasing fly balls and having a larger mitt helps them cut down a little distance off the ball.

 

SELECTING A GLOVE

When selecting a glove there are a few considerations you must take into account. One of the most important things to consider is choosing a glove for the right position you will be playing. The gloves for each specific position have certain attributes to help the player at his or her position.

Infield Gloves

In order to be sure to select the proper glove for your position follow a few guidelines that may help. Pitchers for instance want a glove that has a solid web, this is because the solid web will hide their fingers as they adjust their grip on the ball for the next pitch. As for the size of the glove for pitchers it is up to personal preference.

Middle infielders usually prefer to have a smaller mitt so they can transfer the ball out of the glove to their hand as quickly as possible. Open web gloves are also preferred by middle infielders such as an I-web or H-Web styles. These web styles basically look as their names state, for example the I-web is shaped as an “I” with openings around it so the ball can be picked out of the glove easier. Another style of web is the Six Finger web, which in theory adds a sixth finger in the pocket between the thumb and the the fingers. Ususally second basemen wear the smallest gloves because they are lighter weight. Most second basemen use an 11 to an 11.5 inch mitt, while shortstops will usually use an 11.5 to an 11.75 inch mitt.

Third basemen on the other hand will ofter wear a bit larger glove around 12 to 12.5 inches long because they are the closest fielder to home plate. Balls times hit at third base are hit very hard and come in fast. Plus, a longer glove allows them to pick up balls hit down the foul line easier, because of the the longer reach of the glove.

Outfield Gloves

Outfielders generally prefer a closed web style. Outfield gloves tend to be larger in design than infielder models in terms of the length of the finger stalls. Larger gloves allow outfielders to be able to cover more ground. Also, outfielders are looking to make a catch while infielders, who like smaller gloves, need to retrieve and release the ball as quickly as possible. Today many different models and sizes are available for outfielders. The most common sizes are from twelve inches and above depending on personal preference.

When selecting an outfielder’s model you first need to select the size that best fits your personal needs. The next thing you need to think about is web style that you would like, whether you would like an open web or a closed web. The third step would be to choose if you have a preference for an open back or a closed back.

Webbings of a Glove

Players also choose gloves based on the webbing. There are two types of webbing, closed and open. A pitcher usually is going to prefer the closed webbing to help them hide the ball from the hitter. Outfielders and third basemen also like closed webbing for the extra support. Middle infielders are going to want an open web so they can get the ball out of their glove faster.

Pockets of a Glove

The pocket is also a factor in choosing a glove. The size of the pocket will depend on the position you play. Shallow pockets are for middle infielders so they can quickly grab the ball and throw. Deeper pockets help outfielders bring in fly balls. Softball players also need a bigger pocket for the larger size ball that is used.

Backs of a Glove

A player can choose an open or closed back glove. This is the part of the glove behind your wrist. The open back leaves a space open across the back by your wrist. It is really your personal preference, but some backs fit certain positions better. Middle infielders like an open back for the flexibility. Outfielders like a closed back and a finger hole for the extra support.

Wrist Adjustments of a Glove

Some gloves come with a wrist adjustment. The wrist adjustment keeps the glove snug to your hand. An example is a Velcro strap that offers the convenience of pulling and adjusting to your comfort level. Another wrist adjustment would be a D-ring fastener that allows you to pull on the lacing and make the glove tighter.

Catchers Mitts

When selecting a baseball catchers mitt there are several things you need to keep in mind in order for you to select the right mitt. First, mitts come in different sizes, of course there are youth and adult sizes, but also decide what circumference you be looking for. Usually youth sizes will have circumferences 31 inches or less and adult mitts will have circumferences 32 inches or greater. All of today’s baseball catcher’s mitts have a closed web. There is also the choice of an open back mitt which has an opening on the back of it right above the wrist, or there is a closed back which will have a finger hole for the index finger to be placed on the back side of the glove for more support.

 

GLOVE CARE

A properly cared for quality glove will perform for many seasons. Improper handling, cleaning, adjusting and, in particular, over oiling can greatly shorten the life expectancy and enjoyment you will receive from your baseball glove. The most important part of caring for your glove is to recognize that leather will deteriorate if subjected to repeated exposure to moisture and heat (i.e., the sweat from your hand and the warmth of the interior of the trunk of your car). Saliva will also result in damaged leather.

Leaving your glove out in the weather will ruin it, as will putting it away wet from perspiration. If it is comfortable, wear a batting glove under your baseball glove (unless you are a baseball pitcher); this absorbs the sweat from your hand. This could add years to the lining of your glove.

When your glove gets wet, dry it with a towel or soft cloth, and leave it exposed to room air for a few hours until the lining is dry. After it dries, use a little glove oil to moisten the leather. When you put your glove away, it's best to put a ball or two in the pocket to help keep its shape.

Routine maintenance should probably be done at least once a season just so you can check the condition of the glove. A tune-up involves tightening the laces in the fingers and web; retying any loose knots and cleaning, conditioning and shaping the glove. If you find torn seams, split leather, or broken laces, be sure to have them repaired as quickly as possible. Playing with a damaged glove can damage the glove further and even cause errors.  At the end of the season, you can take a moderate amount of glove oil, and cover the outside and inside of the glove. Don’t ignore the laces or hard-to-get-to areas, both inside and outside the glove. Then take a clean rag and wipe off excess to remove grit and grime. This will also remove and help neutralize much of the salt and acid buildup inside the glove caused by perspiration, a chief problem to the leather lining, usually made of softer leather.

Glove Care Notes

·       Excessive glove conditioner/oil will damage and shorten the life of a new glove.

·       Allow the glove oil to absorb into the leather for 24 hours in a warm area, temperature between 20-30 degrees celcius.

·       Use the glove oil sparingly, use can always add more.

·       At the end of the season, apply glove oil very lightly to keep your glove from becoming brittle.

·       Store your glove in a dry place with a ball in the pocket to maintain shape.

·       Never put your glove in an oven or microwave, the heat can damage the fibers of the leather.

·       Do not use neat’s-foot oil, linseed oil or silicon-type spray, these tend to close the pores of the leather, causing it to dry, harden and become heavy.

·       Do not apply the glove oil directly to the glove, as it will be too concentrated at the point of application, apply to a cloth first.

·       Water will cause the leather to eventually dry out, crack and the laces to become brittle.

·       Pummeling a new glove speeds up break in, but the glove will be better served if this extra abuse is avoided.

·       Wearing a batting glove under your glove absorbs moisture and prolongs the life of the liner of the glove.