The baseball glove history

While practicing bare hands since the emergence in the United States in the mid-eighteenth century modern rules of what will later become the baseball as we know it today, the first wearing gloves is commonly awarded to Charles "Charlie" Waitt, first base of the St. Louis Brown Stockings, during the 1975 season of the National Association, one of the two leagues ancestors of the MLB.

Despite a large number of sprains and fractured fingers, using gloves is synonymous with weakness. At first the player is mocked by his teammates and spectators who call him "Sissy" and he tries to hide the protection by using a pair of flesh-colored gloves, which are not yet those used by professionals of our days, but which look more like cycling rider's gloves, made from fine pieces of horse leather or suede, slightly padded and cut at the level of the fingers. They only protect the palms and their main function is to avoid injuries rather than to provide help to the fielders - as will be the case later. Other personal initiatives from this era of professional beginnings are reported: two gloves separated by a sheet of plomp by Henry Fabian, receiver of the New Orleans Pelicans and Silver Flint who uses slices of beef steak with the Chicago Colts!

Histoire du gant de baseballIllustration in the book America's National Game by Albert Spalding.

Albert Spalding will be the first to give legitimacy to the wearing of the glove. And to promote it with a certain interest: the large-scale production of new equipment as the founder of Spalding, the sporting goods manufacturer that will become the internationally recognized brand especially for its basketballs. Over the course of use, players find that the wearing of the glove improves performance and acceptance is debated within the professional microcosm, some leaders do not tolerate it for certain positions only - receiver and first base - and journalists pleading for example in Cincinatti so that those who use it are not paid. But despite the resistance and some players who make it a manly point of honor to continue to practice with bare hands, the glove became normal for receivers and launchers in the mid-1890s before almost all players have adopted at the start of the twentieth century.

A few years later, after the First World War, the modern glove with a "pocket" added between the index finger and the thumb appeared to become the new standard, a creation attributed to Bill Doak, thrower of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1920.