Choosing a baseball glove can be a daunting task. The glove must not only fit well, but also be functional for the position it is going to be used for. Before purchasing a glove, the player must know what position they will be playing, as different gloves are suited to different positions.
In deciding between a right-handed or left-handed glove, players keep their dominant hand free so they can throw the baseball, therefore the non-dominant hand will be the one wearing the glove.
Sizing the glove
Measuring your hand size is a good start to figuring out what glove is right for you. Use a measuring tape and measure from the tip of your middle finger to the base of your palm. Youth gloves typically measure between 8 and 11 inches, and adult sizes range from 12 to 14 inches.
Measuring for the fitting of a glove begins beginning at the top of the index finger of the glove and measuring down the finger along the inside of the pocket and then out to the heel of the glove. Most gloves have stamped their pre-measured size on the inside of the pocket. Standard sizes range from 9-inches to 13-inches.
Beginners and kids should take advantage of using a smaller glove that offers more safety and additional control. Youth gloves are constructed with shorter, more narrow finger stalls and a tighter wrist closure. Youth gloves by position are offered in the following sizes:
• T-Ball: 9-10 "
• Infield: 10-11.75 "
• Pitcher: 11.5-12.25 "
• Outfield: 11.5-12.25 "
Adult gloves are regulated so that pitchers, infield and outfield players are not allowed to use a glove larger than 12.75 ".
• Infield: 11.25-12 "
• Pitcher: 11.75-12.25 "
• Outfield: 12.5-12.75 "
Women's leagues include fast pitch and slow pitch games. Women's gloves are specifically designed for smaller fingers and offer larger pockets to better catch a larger ball, or softball. These gloves are still sized by position.
• T-ball: 9-10 "
• Youth Infield: 10-11.5 "
• Youth Pitcher: 11.5-12 "
• Youth Outfield: 11.5-12 "
• Women's Infield: 11.5-12.5 "
• Women's Pitcher: 12-12.5 "
• Women's Outfield: 13-14 "
And finally, men's slow pitch gloves are designed with a larger pocket for the bigger ball, and are also longer than a regular baseball glove. The standard sizes are listed below.
• Infield: 12-12.5 "
• Pitcher 12-12.5 "
• Outfield: 13-14 "
Once you've found the proper size glove for your hand, there are still more features to think about. Quality, feel and durability are all factors that are affected by the material the glove is made from. A cheaper material such as synthetic leather is fine for a youth player who will likely grow out of their glove in a year or two. However, an adult player may choose to invest in a more expensive, higher quality glove made from real leather, and will probably last a very long time.
Gloves have different appearance and features by position as well. Catchers use a fingerless mitt that has heavy padding and a claw-like shape to help catch the pitches without getting hurt. Pitchers use gloves that often have closed webbing to help hide their grip on the ball. First basemen have long and wide gloves specifically geared towards scooping balls up from the ground. There is also a small pocket to allow the ball to be retrieved more quickly. Infielders use a five-fingered glove with open webbing that allows the ball to scooped up while letting the dirt fall through when fielding balls. Outfielders have deeper pockets to catch fly balls.
Although the type of glove is largely dictated by hand size and field position, there is still a component left up to personal preference. It's a good idea to try on several gloves that will fit your hand and are good for your position, but are made of different materials. If at all possible, try catching a few balls with the gloves at the sporting goods store so you can see how it handles. See which one feels the best and fits within your budget, and enjoy your glove for the length of your relationship together.