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Birth of The Mitt

from Smithsonian

The Invention of the Baseball Mitt

To round out our series on the the design of baseball equipment, let’s take a brief look at the baseball glove. Unlike the baseball bat or the baseball itself, the glove was not initially a part of the game. Players just used the mitts they were born with.  Lest you think that all men were walking around with swollen and broken fingers, it’s important to remember that this was a very different game than the today. There were a lot of differences in the game, not least of which is the fact that much of the throwing was underhand. In the beginning, there wasn’t much need for hand protection, but even as the game evolved and balls were thrown harder and faster, there was some reluctance to use any protection or padding. These were the days when the measure of a man was the number of calluses on his fingers and of broken bones in his hand. Wearing a glove just wasn’t manly.

The earliest gloves were simple leather work gloves, often with its finger removed to ensure that ball handling isn’t inhabited in any way. It’s hard to say exactly who wore the first glove, but some reports claim that catchers were wearing work gloves as early as 1860. A pitcher for the by the name of A.G. Spalding claims that it was New Haven first baseman Charles C. Waite who, in an 1875 game against Boston, first had the audacity (i.e. common sense) to take the field with a glove.

[ click to continue reading at Smithsonian.com ]

Posted on July 16, 2013 by Editor

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