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What Is the Purpose of Batting Gloves? – A Detailed Explanation

what is the purpose of batting gloves

Batting gloves are not relevant in a basketball game, nor does it exist in soccer. Thus, they serve a particular purpose: for batting. And the only two games we know so far that involve batting are baseball and softball.

Wearing batting gloves without knowing its primary purpose is pointless. Now that we know its purpose in batting, there is much more to unpack. Read on to find out the answer to the question, “what is the purpose of batting gloves”?

Are Batting Gloves Necessary?

The primary purpose of this glove is to support grip when batting. Regardless of the embedded grip in an aluminum bat, a supporting grip is still deemed to be highly necessary.

Moreover, batting gloves strengthen your grip by exploiting the bat’s size, length, and weight vis a vis its swing. Not all prefer wearing batting gloves, though. The idea of wearing batting gloves boils down to personal preference.

In general practicality, for those who find wearing batting gloves necessary, batting gloves tend to be incredibly useful.

Another factor that urges wearing baseball gloves is the shock from contact with the ball. Ultimately, batting gloves provide protection and stability on the hand when batting. A simple disruption of stability in the hand while swinging can already cost the team significant points.

What Are Batting Gloves Made of?

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Diverse materials are used to manufacture batting gloves. Synthetic fiber tends to be the cheapest and most commonly available material for batting gloves. Special gloves feature pure leather, nylon, and even plastic.

As mentioned earlier, these materials fulfill highly personal choices. So no material stands out from the rest, at least from a single aesthetic basis. Some players choose synthetic fabric over authentic leathers or vice versa.

When Were the Batting Gloves First Used?

The history of the batting gloves in MLB traces its origin to Bobby Thomson of the Giants sometime in the 1940s.

Historians credit the player for being the first-ever player to wear batting gloves (sometimes in just one hand, or even both hands on certain occasions). Thomson expresses that the gloves’ primary purpose is to add nuance to the grip for optimum swing.

Later during the 1953 season, Ted Williams suffered severe hand blisters from handling bats for extended periods. Concerned, his manager urged him to wear batting gloves.

And there were several questions around that time centered on “what do batting gloves do.” Thereupon, Williams started wearing the gloves for the season practices.

Future players in the later years of the 1960s eventually substantiated Thomson’s when they began to wear gloves in the actual games, not just in practice. Yet, many still considered the gloves as accessorial at this point. This idea remained until the 1980s when hard-core batters made it necessary to wear them.

The act of wearing batting gloves remains optional to this day. But the number of batters benefitted by them remains relatively high.

Who Should Wear Batting Gloves?

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The following is a list of the type of players who should wear batting gloves:

  • Kids: The impact caused by the contact between the ball and the bat can hurt the arm. In addition, the friction in the palm when holding the bat for long hours leaves blisters on sensitive skin.
  • Kids are especially vulnerable to this. Thus, experts highly recommend that kids wear batting gloves when practicing and playing in the actual field.
  • Batters with weak grip: With a batting glove on, chances of sweat in hand dramatically decrease. Also, stability when swinging the bat is sure to gain maximum fulfillment through batting gloves.
  • As a result, even a batter with the weakest grip can ensure accurate swing after that.
  • Rookies: Even the more mature rookies can find it challenging to sustain a firm grip if they have not been introduced to batting. Introduction to the position usually takes weeks to months. Thus, rookies aiming for a season within a short time can surely benefit from batting gloves.
  • Due to the control, strength, and support they provide, Batting gloves seed up the rookie’s learning process. With consistency, batting gloves, and proficient coaches’ guidance, beginning batters can introduce themselves to batting in just one week.
  • Anyone with hand/arm injury: An injury to the hand can surely benefit from batting gloves because of the added layer of protection they provide. Injuries cause the hand or arm to exert an optimal swing. Thus, batting gloves protect you against injury and enhance performance.

Players Who Do Not Wear Batting Gloves

While batting gloves are helpful, not all players think they are. Various factors cause these players to refuse to wear batting gloves. And most of the reasons are highly personal.

Here is a list of MLB players who do not/did not wear batting gloves:

  • Matt Carpenter: Carpenter prefers to apply lotion to his hands instead of gloves.
  • Hunter Pence: Pence has grown comfortable wearing only his left glove. And he prefers it to stay that way, probably because of habit.
  • Jorge Posada: The catcher admits that he “is not comfortable with anything affecting his grip.”
  • Vladimir Guerrero: Guerrero prefers not wearing gloves because he has got sweaty palms.

Other players who do not wear batting gloves:

  • Evan Gattis
  • Wil Myers
  • And many more…

Conclusion

Batting gloves exist in particular areas in sports: baseball and softball. The answer to the question: “what is the purpose of batting gloves” is to support grip when batting. Later studies support that batting gloves lower the risks of injuries as they absorb the impact caused by the contact between the ball and the bat.

While some players may not have to wear batting gloves (as it is not mandatory to wear one), certain players are encouraged to wear batting gloves – kids, batters with a weak grip, rookies, and anyone with hand/arm injury.

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