Baseball gloves are personal and important to players at all levels. They have evolved to be specialized by position and web type. Quality leather is important, and gloves can be broken in with special oil. Adjustable wrist straps are good for growing hands, and gloves should be stored properly.
There are few pieces of sports gear as personal and loved as baseball gloves, and there’s more than just nostalgia at work. Baseball gloves need to be carefully selected and broken in by players from the small leagues all the way up to the professional level. Baseball bats break, balls get lost, but the glove, for most players, is irreplaceable.
Over the years, baseball gloves have evolved and become more specialized. Gloves are no longer interchangeable by position. Infielders typically prefer a smaller glove to make the transfer to the throwing hand much shorter, while outfielders like lots of sling for those spectacular over-the-wall jumps. So, knowing your location is the first step in buying the right baseball glove.
Another choice to consider is the open web versus the closed web. The mesh of a baseball glove is the patch of leather that connects the thumb and forefinger where the ball is caught. An open mesh uses criss-cross pieces of leather while a closed mesh is one solid piece. The general consensus is that open webs catch and control the ball better, while closed webs allow for quicker transfer to the throwing hand. For this reason, short stops and second basemen usually benefit from a closed web design, while corner interiors
they are better off with an open web. However, the choice is up to each player. There are many pros who choose against that belief and still play great baseball.
Once you’ve decided which style of baseball gloves will suit you best, it’s time to shop for one. The most obvious consideration is the quality of the leather. Good quality leather will be easier to break, age better over time, and fit better in both your hand and ball. So, it’s up to the player to break his glove using a variety of techniques. Experts recommend using oil made exclusively to soften baseball gloves so you don’t inadvertently damage the leather.
Another thing to consider when looking at baseball gloves is whether it’s a growing hand or not. For youngsters, an adjustable wrist strap is a feature that can make sense to accommodate a growing hand. They are also great if the glove will be used by more than one person. High-quality baseball gloves, however, usually omit this feature and instead provide a snug fit to the user’s hand right out of the box. Make sure the glove fits comfortably and doesn’t fall off during play. Female gloves are available that provide narrower finger holes to accommodate smaller hand sizes.
Well-chosen baseball gloves can last a long time if taken care of, so it’s best not to leave them in the garage. Store it in a cool, dry place and oil it from time to time to prevent the leather from drying out.