Baseball First Baseman Mitts
First baseman mitts are a specialized baseball mitt tailored specifically for playing position first base. With so many aspects that make this glove type unique, such as its shape and design, this piece will discuss everything that must first be considered before purchasing this unique baseball mitt.
Benefits of First Baseman Mitts
Not only do first basemen need to successfully field ground balls that are hit to their position, but they are also responsible for the tail end of the majority of all ground ball plays. This constant need for first baseman to receive throws from other infielders to secure ground ball outs requires a need for a specific kind of mitt. Many times, throws to first base are rushed and can result in balls being thrown off target or in the dirt.
The first baseman's mitt’s size and shape allow them to catch wayward throws or “scoop” these balls out of the dirt much more easily than other gloves. Designed specifically to funnel balls into the pocket of the glove and keep them from popping out, with a curved edge and deep webbing, obtaining a first baseman’s glove is essential to successfully play this position at a high level.
Things to Consider
When looking for a first baseman mitt, you'll want to consider the following:
- What level of baseball are you playing?
- How much do you want to spend on a first baseman mitt?
- What size mitt do you need?
- What style of webbing do you prefer?
What Are You Looking For in a First Baseman Mitt?
- Maximum Padding
- Deep Pocket
First baseman mitts typically vary in type based on the shape and design of the web, or the portion of the glove that is considered the pocket for catching and holding the ball.
The dual bar web design for a first baseman mitt is a unique webbing designed exclusively for first baseman gloves, which uses two horizontal leather bars stitched together to create the pocket. This webbing system specifically aids first baseman in creating added pocket security when catching or trapping the ball.
The modified H-web designs take the classic H-web design of typical baseball gloves and modifies the “H” shape created by its two vertical leather bars intersected by one horizontal bar. This modification comes in the form of an added second horizontal leather bar, aiding first baseman by expanding the mitt’s catch radius and can also assist when fielding.
Also known as a cross web, the single post webbing is an effective web design for many baseball mitts. It consists of two horizontal leather bars intersected by one vertical bar down the middle. This web type is effective for adding visibility and flexibility but is not specialized for first baseman and is a common design used for other positional players as well.
After accounting for each type of mitt, it is also important to consider the role of brands in differentiating first baseman mitts from one another. Some of the most reliable brands include Mizuno, Rawlings, and Wilson.
Mizuno works with their customers to figure out which mitt is best for them. Not only does Mizuno offer each type of first baseman mitt, but their website provides a hands-on interactive glove selection process. By asking personalized questions such as their customers' age and number of games played each year, Mizuno helps them select a mitt that is the perfect fit.
Rawlings offers the full range of glove types, including dual bar, modified H-web, and single post. However, they only carry a small selection on their website. Nonetheless, Rawlings offers some of the most high-quality first baseman mitts on the market and are worn by many professional first basemen, including Anthony Rizzo.
Wilson, like its competing brands, offers the full range of first baseman glove types. Unfortunately their total selection is somewhat sparse, with just seven glove models listed on their website. Wilson also offers customization such as name engraving and embroidering on some of their more expensive first baseman mitts.
How much does a first baseman mitt cost?
First baseman mitts vary greatly in price depending on the quality of the glove. Youth and lower-end gloves that lack durability, but are a good fit for beginner ballplayers, can be purchased between $30 and $50. However, higher-end gloves that feature excellent durability can reach prices up to $200 or more. This includes most gloves found on the sites for each brand mentioned above.
Why does a first baseman mitt look different than an infielder mitt?
The main difference in the appearance of a first baseman mitt compared to a standard infield mitt is its shape. First baseman gloves have a mitten-like, continuous rounded edge that aids first baseman in scooping balls in the dirt. This shape allows these wayward throws to be funneled into the glove’s webbing, which typically has a deeper pocket to secure the ball and limit bobbles. First baseman mitts are also significantly larger than infielder mitts to allow for a larger catch radius.
How do you break in a first baseman mitt?
Breaking in a first baseman’s mitt is no different than any other mitt, however it can be slightly more difficult due to the size of the glove and the toughness of the leather. Start by using glove oil, applying it to the entire surface of the mitt. Then put a ball in the webbing (this helps to develop a strong pocket), before tying it closed with a string and letting it sit for several days. After using the oil, simply play catch to complete the process, as the best way to break in a first baseman's mitt is to use it. If you don’t have equipment used to help break in mitts, you can also utilize the mattress method. While somewhat old-fashioned, some players break in their gloves by leaving them under their mattress with a ball resting in the pocket overnight.