Describing the Perfect Infield Glove
There are few things in a ballplayer’s life that is more exciting than picking out a new infield glove. Choosing a glove of the right size, specifically for the infield, can be a tricky process. It depends largely on the position, body type, and playing style of an individual player. More and more companies have dedicated their efforts to creating the ideal glove for every age and position. So, the market has become saturated with hundreds of different makes and models. This can make it difficult to know if you are choosing the right one. Luckily, the right sized glove can be easy to find if parents and players know what to look for when shopping around.
The most important characteristic to look for when choosing infield gloves is the size. The size of the glove, above all else, will determine how effective it is at a given position. The right size will result in success in the hands of individual players. Each position demands something different from those who play it. So, having the proper glove size is the first step in meeting those demands on the field.
When it comes to playing the infield, it is more appropriate to go with a smaller glove. You have to make sure it is one that can successfully cradle the ball without popping out. The smaller size is better for the infield due to the need for quick transfers on close plays. This is also true on slowly hit baseballs and the need to corral short-hops that are harder to handle with lengthier models.
Traditionally, third basemen use a slightly larger infield glove size than their middle infield counterparts. Usually, they choose a glove somewhere in the 11.5-inch to 12.5-inch range due to the increased speed and power of batted balls in that direction. The larger size increases the margin for error on hard hit balls and gives extra room to snag a ball. Third basemen also do not have to worry about make the turn on a double play. Also, they have slightly more time to throw than a shortstop or second baseman.
Middle Infielder’s tend to use a similar glove style as third basemen but the size is almost always and inch or two smaller. Shortstops tend to choose a slightly larger glove than second basemen. This is due to the additional responsibilities bestowed upon the infield’s most important position. It is not uncommon to see shortstops sporting a a glove as large as 12.25-inches or as small as 11.5-inches, the choice of course is the result of personal preference as there is no hard and fast rule that determines the right size.
Second basemen have the unique freedom to use a much smaller glove than any other position on the field. For example, Hall of Fame two-bagger, Joe Morgan used a glove that was only slightly larger than 10-inches during his time with Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” in the mid 1970’s. While few would recommend a glove that small for the second base position, it is not uncommon to see gloves as small as 11-11.25-inches in the hands of some of the Major League’s best defenders. The smaller size is especially helpful on double plays. This is a time when second basemen must make quick transfers while making the ever-important pivot. The shortened throw form the left side of the infield also allows for slightly more room for error if hard-hit balls temporarily overwhelm the smaller glove surface.
Players that play all three positions will receive the most versatility out of a glove that is between 11.5 and 12-inches. A glove that is 11.75-inches being the ideal size for those valuable utility players.