A baseball glove or mitt is a large leather glove worn by baseball players of the defending team, which assists players in catching and fielding balls hit by a batter or thrown by a teammate.
By convention, the glove is described by the handedness of the intended wearer, rather than the hand on which the glove is worn: a glove that fits on the left hand—used by a right-handed thrower—is called a right-handed (RH) or "right-hand throw" (RHT) glove. Conversely, a left-handed glove (LH or LHT) is worn on the right hand, allowing the player to throw the ball with the left hand.
Early baseball was a game played without gloves. During the slow transition to gloves, a player who continued to play without one was called a barehanded catcher; this did not refer to the position of catcher, but rather to the practice of catching with bare hands. The earliest glove was not webbed and not particularly well suited for catching but was used more to swat a ball to the ground so that it could be picked up.
One of the first players believed to use a baseball glove was Doug Allison, a catcher for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, in 1870, due to an injured left hand.The first confirmed glove use was by Charlie Waitt, a St. Louis outfielder and first baseman who, in 1875, donned a pair of flesh-colored gloves. Glove use slowly caught on as more and more players began using different forms of gloves.
Many early baseball gloves were simple leather gloves with the fingertips cut off, supposedly to allow for the same control of a bare hand but with extra padding. First baseman Albert Spalding, originally skeptical of glove use, influenced more infielders to begin using gloves. Spalding later founded the sporting goods company Spalding, which still manufactures baseball gloves along with other sports equipment.By the mid-1890s, it was normal for players to wear gloves in the field.
In 1920, Bill Doak, a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, suggested that a web be placed between the first finger and the thumb in order to create a pocket. This design soon became the standard for baseball gloves. Doak patented his design and sold it to Rawlings. His design became the precursor to modern gloves and enabled Rawlings to become the preferred glove of professional players.
For many years it was customary for fielders to leave their gloves on the field when their team went in to bat. This practice was prohibited by the major leagues in 1954.
Baseball gloves have grown progressively larger since their inception. While catching in baseball had always been two-handed, eventually, gloves grew to a size that made it easier to catch the ball in the webbing of the glove, and use the off-hand to keep it from falling out. A glove is typically worn on the non-dominant hand, leaving the dominant hand for throwing the ball; for example, a right-handed player would wear a glove on the left hand.
The shape and size of the baseball glove are governed by official baseball rules. Section 3.00 - EQUIPMENT AND UNIFORMS specifies glove dimensions and materials in parts 3.04 through 3.07.[ citation needed ]
The structure and quality of the baseball glove have developed greatly over the past century. Today, the production of baseball gloves is much more precise and efficient. This has greatly increased the usefulness and accessibility of baseball gloves to the general population. Currently, Easton is "experimenting with combining leather and Kevlar (used in bullet-proof vests) in a new ultra-lightweight glove line".Manufacturers have also designed new, non-traditional types of gloves to suit non-traditional players. Also, manufacturers are personalizing gloves for high caliber players to help increase their exposure on national television. Even though there have been many advancements in the design and creation of the baseball glove, the greatest came in the invention of the catcher's mitt. However, as a Wake Forest University study demonstrated through 39 minor-league players, even though today's catcher's mitts are state-of-the-art, they still do not offer enough protection from injury to the hand and wrist.
The highest-quality baseball gloves are typically made of heavy leather. These heavy leather gloves usually take more time for the player to break in. These gloves also provide a tighter, more personalized fit for the player. This is an improvement from youth and recreational gloves, which tend to feature palm pads and/or adjustable velcro wrist straps. These gloves take less time to break in or they are pre-broken in, and are less personal and more "one size fits all".
Baseball gloves are measured by starting 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. Gloves typically range in size from 9 inches (youth starter size) to 12.75 inches for adult outfield play.Catcher's mitts, unlike those of other gloves, are measured around the circumference, and they typically have 32- to 34-inch patterns.
The shape and size of a glove are described by its pattern. Modern gloves have become quite specialized, with position-specific patterns:
Softball is a game similar to baseball played with a larger ball on a field that has base lengths of 60 feet, a pitcher's mound that ranges from 35 to 43 feet away from home plate, and a home run fence that is 220–300 feet away from home plate, depending on the type of softball being played. It was invented in 1887 in Chicago, Illinois, United States as an indoor game. The game moves at a faster pace than traditional baseball due to the field being smaller and the bases and the fielders being closer to home plate. There is less time for the base runner to get to first while the opponent fields the ball; yet, the fielder has less time to field the ball while the opponent is running down to first base.
A knuckleball or knuckler is a baseball pitch thrown to minimize the spin of the ball in flight, causing an erratic, unpredictable motion. The air flow over a seam of the ball causes the ball to change from laminar to turbulent flow. This change adds a deflecting force to the baseball, making it difficult for batters to hit but also difficult for pitchers to control and catchers to catch; umpires are challenged as well, as the ball's irregular motion through the air makes it harder to call balls and strikes. A pitcher who throws knuckleballs is known as a knuckleballer.
Shortstop, abbreviated SS, is the baseball or softball fielding position between second and third base, which is considered to be among the most demanding defensive positions. Historically the position was assigned to defensive specialists who were typically poor at batting and were often placed at the bottom of the batting order. Today shortstops are often able to hit well and many are placed at the top of the lineup. In the numbering system used by scorers to record defensive plays, the shortstop is assigned the number 6.
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who pitches the baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the pitcher is assigned the number 1. The pitcher is often considered the most important player on the defensive side of the game, and as such is situated at the right end of the defensive spectrum. There are many different types of pitchers, such as the starting pitcher, relief pitcher, middle reliever, lefty specialist, setup man, and the closer.
Catcher is a position for a baseball or softball player. When a batter takes their turn to hit, the catcher crouches behind home plate, in front of the (home) umpire, and receives the ball from the pitcher. In addition to this primary duty, the catcher is also called upon to master many other skills in order to field the position well. The role of the catcher is similar to that of the wicket-keeper in cricket, but in cricket, wicketkeepers are increasingly known for their batting abilities.
A first baseman, abbreviated 1B, is the player on a baseball or softball team who fields the area nearest first base, the first of four bases a baserunner must touch in succession to score a run. The first baseman is responsible for the majority of plays made at that base. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the first baseman is assigned the number 3.
In baseball, a left fielder, abbreviated LF, is an outfielder who plays defense in left field. Left field is the area of the outfield to the left of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the left fielder is assigned the number 7.
The rules of baseball differ slightly from league to league, but in general share the same basic game play.
A hidden ball trick is a play in which a player deceives the opposing team about the location of the ball. Hidden ball tricks are most commonly observed in Baseball, where the defence deceives the runner about the location of the ball, to tag out the runner. In goal-based sports, the offence deceives the defence about the location of the ball, in an attempt to get the defence running the wrong way, such as in a fumblerooski.
A baseball field, also called a ball field or baseball diamond, is the field upon which the game of baseball is played. The term can also be used as a metonym for a baseball park. The term sandlot is also sometimes used, although this usually refers to less organized venues for activities like sandlot ball.
A right fielder, abbreviated RF, is the outfielder in baseball or softball who plays defense in right field. Right field is the area of the outfield to the right of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the right fielder is assigned the number 9.
Fastpitch softball, also known as fastpitch or fastball, is a form of softball played by both women and men. While the teams are most often segregated by sex, coed fast-pitch leagues also exist. The International Softball Federation (ISF) is the international governing body of softball. The ISF recognizes three pitching styles: medium pitch, "modified" fast pitch, and slow pitch. Fast pitch is considered the most competitive form of softball. It is the form of softball that was played at the Olympic Games in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008. The fast pitch style is also used in college softball and international competition.
This is an alphabetical list of selected unofficial and specialized terms, phrases, and other jargon used in baseball, along with their definitions, including illustrative examples for many entries.