In baseball, there are dozens of different accessories that you can wear to improve your skills in the sport or to protect various parts of your body. Out of all of those available baseball accessories, there are only a few that are considered “essential” by many players around the world, and one of those accessories is the batting glove? What is the batting glove? And why is it regarded as an important accessory to have for baseball players? We will know the answers to these questions as we take a closer look at the origins and benefits of batting gloves.
Where Did the Batting Glove Come From?
There are currently two popular theories that can explain who invented the batting glove. The first theory is that professional baseball player Robert Brown Thomson, also known by his nickname “Staten Island Scot,” was the first one to wear a batting glove for baseball, although he first used golf gloves while at the New York Giants (now called San Francisco Giants) spring training in 1949.
The second theory, and arguably the most accepted theory in regards to the origins of the batting glove, involved Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, who is credited to be the first baseball player to wear a batting glove in a real baseball game while playing for the Kansas City Athletics from 1963 to 1966. It is not yet known when Harrelson actually wore batting gloves in a football game, but he believes that he started wearing them during his first two years in the MLB (Major League Baseball).
According to Harrelson, before a scheduled game against the New York Yankees, he, along with fellow baseball players Sammy Esposito, Ted Bowsfield, and Gino Cimoli, played 27 holes of golf, which left his left hand with painful blisters. Then, while at the Yankees game, Harrelson remembered that he had a bright red golf glove in the pocket of his pants. Harrelson took the glove out, wore it, and the rest is history. After his good performance at the said game, many of his teammates began wearing bright red golf gloves, and soon after, players from other teams also wore golf gloves for batting.
What is a Batting Glove?
From a simple golf glove, it evolved into the modern version of the batting glove that we know today. The modern version of the batting glove features a longer sleeve so that it can also provide protection to the part of the arms that is near the arms. In addition, batting gloves also have nylon and synthetic fabric that enhances their grip. Along with the said materials, the batting gloves also have leather parts that offer durability for several sections of the accessory.
While most players are wearing batting gloves when they play as hitters (the one who is assigned to hit the ball) in a game, the accessory is not actually mandatory in baseball. However, because of its numerous benefits, almost all players accept it as an important accessory to have in every game. Although hitters are the ones that wear batting gloves the most, the accessory is also worn by some fielders alongside the catcher’s mitt so that they have protection on their other hand as well. Besides baseball, the batting glove is also utilized in cricket.
Benefits of Wearing Batting Gloves
There are several reasons why batting gloves are popular among players, and their popularity mainly stemmed from their benefits in providing comfort, grip, and protection in the game. To know more, here are some details about the benefits of wearing batting gloves.
The biggest benefit of wearing batting gloves is that it gives players an increased grip on the bath, which can sometimes be slippery, especially on games where it is lightly or moderately raining. The increased grip provided by the batting gloves can help you have better control of the bat and increase your accuracy and chance of hitting the ball.
Besides increasing your grip, the batting gloves are also quite comfortable, as they can feel soft to your hands. Furthermore, the best batting gloves are made to feel invincible on your hands, so they won’t add any extra weight that can affect your swings.
During the colder seasons or when it is raining, the batting gloves can offer warmth to keep your hands instead of getting them exposed to the cold temperature, which can lead to shaking and reduce accuracy in batting.
Keeps Sweat at Bay
On the other hand, during warmer seasons, where sweat can be a negative factor for many players since their hands can get slippers, the batting gloves will keep sweat at bay so that you will still have a better grip on your bat when you are assigned as the hitter.
Another essential benefit of wearing batting gloves is that they can provide players protection against blisters, which can often occur through friction between the skin and the bat. This particular benefit is one of the reasons why baseball players are still wearing batting gloves even during practice or training, as it is in those days that repeated movements between the skin and the bat often occur, so it would be best to always have protection for the hands.
Decreases Risk of Injury
Besides blisters, your hands are also prone to getting injuries in the muscles and bones since aluminum bats can produce vibration, which can affect the durability of different sections of the hands. The vibration produced by aluminum bats is especially dangerous for kids who have weaker bones and muscles on their hands. So, if your children, nieces, or nephews are playing baseball extensively, you should give them a pair of batting gloves so that their hands can get protection.
So, those are the origins and advantages of batting gloves for baseball players. If you are planning to join a school baseball team or just want to play baseball as a hobby, you should get batting gloves since it gives you plenty of advantages on the field.