If you have ever watched a game of baseball, you will notice that first basemen wear a very different type of baseball glove than other teammates, who all seem to (more or less) wear the same type of glove. The first baseman’s glove is usually a bit wider, a little bigger and it looks like it has a larger pocket. Your eyes don’t deceive you - a first baseman does have a very unique glove that is different from others.
It should be noted that at lower levels of baseball and softball, first baseman will use the same type of glove as any other position. The reason for this is that while kids are still young the coach may have them try multiple positions to find what they like, and so it is rare for a child to already have a specialized glove that is only suitable for first base. As they play more and more and become more tailored to one unique position, it will be more common for them to get a glove specially for first base.
What Makes A First Base Glove Unique?
The biggest difference between first base gloves and gloves worn by other position players is the extra padding in a first base glove. The reason for this is that a first baseman, much like a catcher, will require extra protection from balls that are thrown at high speed or velocity. Although the amount of padding is not as much as a catcher’s mitt, it is more than any other player’s glove.
A first base glove will also need to be a bit larger than other gloves, to help with scooping balls that are thrown in the dirt. A good first baseman needs to be able to pick balls that are thrown low or short-hopped, and a larger oversized glove will help with this task. As a result, one side of the mitt will be quite flat, while the back will be slightly rounded - it somewhat resembles a burrito. The sizing of a first base glove is usually 13 inches or larger.
First base gloves also do not feature separate finger compartments, instead opting for a single large compartment so you can move all your fingers in unison to close and open the mitt. This will help in holding onto balls, and eliminate the risk of balls bouncing off the edge of the mitt. The lack of separate finger compartments is the main reason why many call the first baseman’s glove a mitt, as it resembles a mitten.
The most common web type for first base mitts are H-webs, although some also have a single post design. You may be able to find gloves with differing web types, but these are the two that you will most frequently encounter.
What Are Factors To Consider When Buying A First Base Mitt?
Before you jump into your purchase of a first base glove, here are some considerations to keep in mind that will help you with your selection:
- Comfort: find a glove that is comfortable to wear and that you can open and close easily.
- Durability: obviously if you are spending more money, you will find something that lasts a bit longer with better leather construction.
- Fit and Sizing: remember that a typical first base glove will be 13” or larger - although if you are purchasing for a child, you can go smaller.
- Lacing: because your glove will take lots of abuse, try to find something that has tight lacing and one piece construction
Product Reviews - Which Is Right For You?
Let’s move on to 5 great options for first base gloves:
Rawlings: Renegade Series
Rawlings is up first on the list with their Renegade line, a terrific first base glove that is ready to go right away. It comes at a low price and is excellent value as it is constructed from fully-grained leather for enhanced durability. It has a fairly deep pocket which makes it a good choice for first baseman, and has a single post web design with dual bars. The conventional back is capped off with velcro adjusted straps that gives a customized fit for every hand.
- 11.5” size mitt.
- Comes at a very reasonable price.
- Full-grain leather.
- Game-ready and broken-in from day 1.
- Laces should be tightened regularly as they can loosen with normal wear.
- Game-ready quite quickly.
- Black-colored dye can wear off with time.
A nice choice that ranges from beginners to competitive players. Normally a glove this cheap would not find a way into serious players’ bags, but the Renegade has nice enough leather that it is suitable for a wide range of players.
Easton: Mako Series
Easton’s Mako series is a great mid-range choice for anyone looking for a first base glove. It is priced higher than entry level gloves but still under $100 which is very reasonable for a first base glove. It is slightly larger than most, coming in at 12.75 inches, but will fit most adult hands. The larger size enables the wearer to catch more balls that may not be caught with smaller gloves. The tanned cowhide leather construction will be durable and the glove should last multiple seasons if taken care of properly.
- 12.75” glove with hog hide lining in the palm.
- Single-post web design.
- Adjustable with different lacing patterns.
- Tricot lining for fingers.
- Premium cowhide leather that has been tanned to enhance comfort.
- Minimal break-in time.
- Dual finger welting added to help maintain pocket.
- Price is reasonable.
- Better for adults or hands that are larger.
Good choice in the mid-range from Easton as the full leather construction is hard to find in a glove that is priced this low.
Wilson: Showtime Series
The Wilson Showtime model is a great choice for those looking for a 12” glove with a nice pocket size that does a great job of keeping the ball in the glove. The glove comes fairly broken-in already with two spots close to the thumb and heel for a pre-formed shape that is easy to use. The leather is a beautiful reddish-brown with detailed blonde stitchwork, a great look to match a great glove.
- 12” model with single post web design.
- Palm pocket is reinforced twice for added protection and padding.
- Low profile heel, full leather design.
- Two break spots near both heel and thumb, speeding up break-in time.
- Game-ready and broken-in for use right out of the packaging.
- Low profile heel is not suited for everyone.
You’ll be ready for the bright lights with the Showtime series, a terrific low-priced option for anyone looking for a first base mitt.
Mizuno: MVP Prime Series
It seems like no list would be complete without Mizuno, and the beautiful MVP Prime series is definitely a worthy competitor as a wonderful choice for a first base mitt, especially for those with smaller hands. The bio soft leather is soft enough to feel comfortable while maintaining the properties needed to withstand the rigors of the diamond. It also features an inlet toe design which aids in fielding balls thrown in the dirt.
- Dual tone lacing, using the same lace that comes in Mizuno’s professional series gloves.
- Inlet design on the toe makes fielding short hops much easier.
- Bio soft leather has a good balance of durability with reasonable break-in time.
- 12.5” size.
- Great fit for those with small hands.
- Comes in a variety of color combinations.
- Break-in time is slightly longer than others on this list.
All in all a wonderful selection from Mizuno featuring the typical excellent craftsmanship and attention to detail that you would expect from any Mizuno product. Especially suited for those with smaller hands, especially if you have some time to break the glove in.
Easton: Salvo Series
Easton’s Salvo first base glove features 365 cowhide leather that includes mesh that adds flexibility while maintaining a lightweight feel. It comes in a lovely black leather with white lacing for a sharp contrast that’s guaranteed to please the eyes. But don’t be fooled, this isn’t just a nice looking glove - it can handle the workload of a first baseman as the VRS palm padding works to take the sting away while maintaining a nice palm and pocket that should be able to hold onto most throws.
- 13.5” size is great for those with larger hands.
- Good quality leather, does not take too long to break-in, even though it does start off a bit stiff.
- Reinforced VRS padding in the palm (double deep design) better absorbs shock and takes the sting out of the hand.
- 365 steerhide premium leather construction.
- Mesh back for increased breathability.
- May not fit those with smaller hands.
A great choice for anyone with larger hands, the Salvo from Easton is very reasonably priced and will not blow your budget out of the water. It’s a lot of glove for the price you pay, especially the quality leather construction that is hard to find at this price point.
Overall I like the Easton: Salvo Series as it seems like their commitment to quality gloves shines through again. A great choice that is not overpriced while still offering good durability. You can’t go wrong with any of the first base mitts on this list, here’s hoping you get what you’re looking for!