Catcher’s Glove 101: Basics About Unusual Piece of Equipment

In the world of baseball, all defensive players use a glove. Eight of the nine players on the field have relatively the same glove. The catcher, however, has a glove that is highly specific. This piece of equipment is different from the other types of gloves because of the repeated use it gets, especially considering the fact that the hand wearing it is usually catching balls that are coming in at a high rate of speed. Here are a few things to know about the easily recognizable catcher’s glove.

Before you get too comfortable referring to the catcher’s equipment as a glove, it is important to know that the technical term for it is “mitt.” The difference between the glove a pitcher, infielder, outfielder and catcher wear is the cut fingers. The only glove that is fingerless is the catcher’s glove, therefore making it a mitt. Even though they look quite different, the catcher’s mitt is built in the same way as a cold weather mitten, with a spot for the thumb and then the rest of the hand. On a regular glove for the eight other positions, the individual finger holes are present, which allows for more flexibility when catching a ball that has been hit. Catcher’s gloves are designed to catch a ball that has been throwing, so it does not need the same amount of flexibility.

Choosing Catcher’s Glove

Catcher gloves

When you need to order a , you should know it has a different sizing system. In the world of infield and outfield gloves, they are usually sized between the range of 10” to 14”. Those sizes vary by position, age, and sport (fastpitch or baseball). Age grouping and sport also come into play with catcher’s mitts, but they are all sized differently than the regular gloves. The catcher’s mitt is sized between 30” to 35”. Children’s mitts are usually 30” to 31” while adults use mitts that are 32” or more.

The difference in sizing is based on the way they are measured. Each fielder’s glove is measured by the length of the glove while the catcher’s mitt is measured by its circumference. Since the two types of gloves are used for different purposes, the way they are measured should be different. Fielders choose their gloves based on the size of the pocket. For example, a first-baseman’s glove should have a deep pocket with long fingers because this position requires so many catches and scoops. The shortstop’s glove needs to have shorter fingers because this position requires a quick catch and release. Outfielders usually have pockets sized between the shortstop and the first base glove, because of the nature of the position to make difficult catches and assists. The catcher’s mitt needs to perform differently, by cushioning the pitches it catches and scooping balls out of the dirt.

The catcher’s mitt varies for baseball players and fastpitch players. The difference is due to the size of the ball. Baseballs measure 9-inches in diameter and fastpitch softballs are 12-inches in diameter. Depending on the age of the pitcher, baseballs are usually thrown at a higher rate of speed. Varsity, college, and professional baseball players throw baseballs between 80 and 100 miles per hour. This means that a baseball catcher’s mitt will need intense padding to protect the catcher’s hand. The baseball catcher usually needs a mitt between 32” and 34”.

On the other hand, softball pitchers can throw up to 70 miles per hour. Fastpitch catchers usually purchase mitts that are at least 33 inches in diameter because they need to keep a tight grip on the ball. Fastpitch gloves do not usually have the same thickness of padding as baseball catcher’s mitt has.

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