When you are looking for baseball gloves for kids, you always want the best kind. This is the mindset whether the child has visions of Major League Baseball or playing in the backyard in their heads.
There are many components to a baseball glove, and the youth gloves are no exceptions. There are also different gloves for every function on the field, and different materials for the gloves that are used in baseball. Learn more about the different types of baseball gloves for kids here.
Related: Kids Baseball Bat Sizes
The History of the Baseball Glove
Baseball gloves have been around since before 1875 when they were first used professionally. They started off as a few pieces of leather in the hand to shield the hand from a fast pitch or hit coming in the direction of the outfielder, catcher, or infielder. The leather was roughly sewn together to make a hand mitten and was used as protection.
Charles Waite would be the first professional ball player to use a baseball glove, and his looked like a mitten without fingers on it. By 1920, Rawlings would become the first company to own the rights to the webbed glove for baseball gloves. This would look like a glove welders used and contained webbing in between the fingers of the glove. The pattern for this glove was studied extensively.
Here, the glove was said to increase the rate of catches and also decrease the sting of the ball hitting the hand. It would lead to more innovation, and interest in America’s favorite sport. By 1922, the now traditional baseball glove would evolve into a type of a baseball glove, and the catcher would get their own mitt.
The brand name Wilson would be the first to design a glove just for catchers. This glove came with additional padding, due to the speed and intensity of the balls the catchers were taking. It became the new industry standard. By 1957, Wilson would do the same for infielders and outfielders that needed more room and comfort to catch the flies and to scoop the ground balls. This glove had less weight but was more durable, and also had more breathability than most gloves before it. This glove was called the Wilson A2000 and is still being used today.
Today’s baseball gloves are not very different, but take advantage of innovations in technology to create stronger and more durable gloves. The gloves of today have different components with strength and durability in mind. They are also more flexible than gloves of eras gone by. If you can get your child a Wilson A2000, it is a mark in their baseball history indeed.
Parts of a Baseball Glove
Every stitch on the baseball glove is important, and each glove has its own section and component. The main parts of a baseball glove are the fingers, the web, the pocket or palm, the heel, and the lace.
The web of the baseball glove is what connects the thumb and the fingers in order for the player to have control of the ball when it makes an impact. The fabric is woven together so that the players can put their hands over the ball.
The palm of the baseball glove is the section of the palm, and on this glove, it contains additional padding to offer greater protection against heavy and intense impacts.
The heel of the baseball glove is the portion of the glove that is on the palm section of the glove. It offers protection and also offers the greatest impact when the baseballs are flying in the catcher’s direction.
Lacing on the baseball glove was invented in order to give the gloves more shape, and this would permit the players to have a better grip when it came time to catch a ball. This was seen as a better way of knitting the fingers together because it still provides flexibility when catching, which wouldn’t occur if the glove fingers were tightly combined or merged together. Leather is the ideal material for gloves due to weathering, which is why it was the first material used for gloves. Other materials do not wear as well when it comes to flexibility.
There is some wrist adjustment in the baseball gloves that allows the gloves to be broken by individual players. A number of different fasteners are used today for this. Hinges on the gloves are also used to ensure the gloves can open and close as easily as possible.
Materials of Baseball Glove
Baseball gloves are made of a wide range of materials, and the materials are not chosen for luxury or design, but rather for comfort, protection, and wearability of the material.
Leather is always going to be the material of choice for baseball gloves but is not always the most affordable for the average family. Today’s gloves can be made with synthetic leather, and this allows for a similar product to be made with very little time required to break in the glove for the athlete. Leather is also typically the lightest material used.
The kind of leather used in baseball is also very important, with many players having their own preferences. The most common kinds of leather used are full-grain, cowhide, steerhide, and kipskin. When a baseball glove has been softened and treated with oil and loved by an athlete, to them it is the greatest thing in the world.
Many fabrics of synthetic blends would be the next level of material for the lower league style of baseball gloves. These are durable and affordable and used for the average player, and can still be very effective.
Types of Baseball Gloves
For baseball gloves, there are a few different types. There are catcher’s mitts, first-base mitts, and infielder and outfielder gloves, which are the same kind of glove.
Catcher’s mitts are noted by their webbing that notes there are no fingers in the gloves. This is where the term “mitt” truly came from. This is the only glove used in baseball that has a mitt structure, all others have laced fingers and large webbing patterns on the thumb side.
The catcher’s mitt needs to be a sturdy and durable glove, as this glove is catching all game long. The padding needs to be stiff and it needs to be a glove made to protect.
The first base is the base of the game where the most throws are sent to, and from, and this position needs to have a good glove. This glove is most similar to a catcher’s mitt, although the webbing is not as strong. Still, there are no individual fingers on this glove.
The design on this glove is very flexible, because this player is catching quickly and often, and throwing far all the time. The palm on this glove is about protecting the first baseman and providing a strong grip for them for their catches.
Special gloves are also made for infielders and outfielders, and also the most common type of baseball glove. In this glove, the fingers are set apart and the design is much more lightweight. That is because, as much as this position is a catching and throwing position, the infielders and outfielders do not catch and throw as much.
They also aren’t catching with intense velocity as much as other players are. Some gloves here will have different webbing so that the ball can be hidden during gameplay. Others will have longer fingers, typically for outfielders, and will have more flexibility than other gloves.
Whereas other players, such as the catcher and the first baseman, have the same kinds of throws at them, infielders and outfielders don’t. They get a different ball every time. Field gloves are their own kind, and you won’t find many serious catchers wanting to use them, but they are excellent gloves in baseball.
How to Choose a Baseball Glove for Kids
When you are choosing a baseball glove for a child, you want them to have the safest product that will deliver the best experience. You don’t need to get a Wilson A2000 to do that. There are things to consider for every sport you are getting your child athlete into.
You will choose the type of baseball glove according to the position the child will be playing in, but if they are new, you may not want to overthink this one. If the child is new to the sport, take into consideration that they will likely be playing every position for a little while.
It does not make any sense to get them a catcher’s mitt if you have dreams of them being a catcher all season long. It might not happen. An infielder’s glove is an excellent starting point for gloves for children new to the sport if you don’t know what position they will be playing.
After knowing the type you want, the right size of baseball glove is the next most important step. You can’t have a glove that is too big or feels clunky. Baseball gloves are measured from the top of the index finger to the heel in inches. Follow this chart:
- Ages 6 and below: 9 to 10.5 inches
- Ages 7 to 10: 11 to 12 inches
- Ages 11 and up: 13.5 inches and more
For ages over 14, you want to test the glove fit yourself in person if you can, starting with 13.5 inches from the top of the index finger of the glove to the heel’s bottom.
Infield and outfield gloves are typically smaller by half an inch for each age group. Outfielders, on the other hand, often look for larger gloves, because they often have wide-open spaces that they want to fill up with gloves when they are catching the ball. Outfielders also need a glove that extends farther and is flexible. Many hitters will hit the ball towards the outfield on purpose, so while this job may seem run of the mill, the outfielder’s job can be among the most important in every game.
The design of the webbing is a very important component of the glove and something to keep in mind during your purchase. This webbing will connect the index finger and the thumb. Not only do infielders and outfielders catch wide fly balls, but they are also scoopers on the field and need a large and flexible glove to do that job. These gloves are typically loosely stitched and flexible for all of these roles.
The kind of leather you choose will be the last decision you make here.
Types of Leather for Beginners
It may seem like a lot to spend when you are getting baseball gloves for children, but leather gloves will always be the best kind to get. There is a difference in the different types of leather used for baseball gloves.
Cowhide is the most popular because this is leather that does not need to be broken in too much. It is lightweight and flexible and enjoyed by every player. Kip leather is also very light and flexible and used frequently by more advanced players. It is one of the softer leathers to use in baseball.
Steerhide leather is considered a premium leather for baseball gloves and is heavier and stiffer to use. It also requires a longer break-in time but is more durable in the long run. This is leather you want to purchase for the baseball player that is taking this game seriously for many seasons to come. It is not worth the expense for someone just learning the game and will not be back next season.
Full grain leather is considered the best kind of leather for baseball gloves. This is performance-driven leather, with steerhide or cowhide used. A full grain cowhide or steerhide however, is stiffer, and this is how you will know it is a different kind of leather. The break-in time for this glove is a while but the performance on this glove is unmatched, making it a favorite for professional players and lifelong baseball catchers.