The infield is the part of the defense that will make or break a team’s game. Without a solid wall behind the pitcher, be he good or bad, a team cannot hope to win a game. First base, while it is often seen to be one of the easiest positions to play, is a critical part of nearly every play in the infield. It is where the majority of the outs are made and oftentimes they are the cutoff for throws coming in from the outfield.
A first base mitt is very unique. It is called a mitt because it is designed with no individual fingers. First base mitts have very large designs, being the longest design in baseball. Most often their designs are around 13 inches in length. Sometimes they can be larger. They are second in overall size only to some catcher’s mitts.
First base mitts are designed to be so large because the extra size helps in snagging errant throws from the infield. They are also designed with picking in mind. Picking is a skill that all first basemen must have. Picking is when an infielder throws the baseball and it hits the dirt just out of reach of the first baseman. The first baseman must extend their mitt as far as possible towards the ball in field it as soon after the bounce as possible. The larger the glove and the deeper the pocket, the higher chance of success when picking. First base mitts are also designed to easily close shut, to further reduce the ball from falling out when caught or picked. The only drawback to this design is in the unlikely event the first base man has to make a hustle play as the deep pocket does not allow for easy ball transfer from mitt to hand.
Here are some of the best gloves on the market today:
Where to Buy
Rawlings is a very old and well-respected name in baseball. Their gloves are some of the best on the market in terms of quality and longevity. The Heart of the Hide series is solid top to bottom, and not only for first base mitts. This mitt measures at 13 inches in length. It is made from deer tanned cowhide and has very high-quality palm lining to increase comfort and dryness of the hand while in the mitt. The Heart of the Hide series is always cut from the top 5% of leather available to Rawlings. The single post, double bar web allows for relative lightness of the glove while also giving the pocket the flexibility and strength to catch and pick baseballs with ease.
Marucci is another well-respected company in baseball. Their gloves are known for often being easy to break in while retaining high quality. The BR450 is also designed to conform to the hand of its user, making each glove very individualized. The glove measures at 12.50 inches in length. It is made from steer leather, this type of leather also helps with the quick break in period. The inside of the glove is lined with high quality fabric to make the glove more comfortable for the user’s hand. The back is also designed in the traditional open manner. This allows any fingers desired to be placed outside the glove to brace it. It also helps air condition and keep the hand cooler inside the glove.
3. Wilson A2K
Wilson produces the best glove series ever made, the A2000. The Wilson A2K is sleek, beautifully crafted, and highly functional. The glove is made from Wilson’s Pro Stock leather. This leather is the top 5% available to the company. The glove measures at 12.50 inches in length. This is actually the largest first base mitt made by Wilson. The master craftsmanship allows the glove to be broken in fairly quickly despite the very high-quality materials. The mitt has double palm construction that gives the pocket much more stability. The inside is lined with Dri-Lex that makes the glove breathable and keeps the hand dry during play.
Nokona is not as well-known in the glove market when compared to Wilson and Rawlings. However, their glove quality is just as good despite their younger age. The mitt is designed for softball players, hence the wider and overall bigger design when compared to baseball first base mitts. The mitt is made from Nokona’s Walnut Crunch leather, making it very, very durable. The mitt measures at 14 inches in length. It is specifically designed for softballs, which is sometimes hard to find on the market. The mitt has an adjustable Velcro strap at the wrist to help personalize the fit for each person that uses one.
Mizuno has created, with this mitt, one of the most affordable, high-quality first base mitt options ever. The mitt is designed with professional grade Bio-Soft leather. It will keep its shape for a very long time and requires little to no break in time. The glove measures at 12.5 inches in length. It has very unique colors, the combination of black and smoky gray not being a combination often seen in gloves. The laces are of the same caliber that are used in Mizuno’s Pro Gloves.
Marucci’s Founder’s Series gloves are of a very high caliber. The first base mitt in this series is no exception. The mitt is made from Japanese Kip leather, making it extremely flexible and durable. This mitt has been used by professional players who can attest to its quality and how it improves their game. The mitt measures at 13 inches in length. The mitt is designed with thin heel padding to help get a better break in. This method is often used for professional grade gloves. The web is designed with double laces to help reinforce its structure and increase its longevity. The interior is lined with soft cowhide to provide comfort for the hand when in use.