All baseball gloves may look similar at first glance. Upon deeper scrutiny, however, you’ll notice that they are constructed differently depending on the player’s position. For example, some gloves will have finger holes while others do not.
Why do baseball gloves have a finger hole? Gloves with holes in the fingers give defensive players more flexibility, speed, and adroitness when fielding balls. Moreover, the holes prevent clumps of dirt or sand from accumulating in the glove pocket.
What Are Finger Holes in Baseball Gloves?
Finger holes are individual finger slots in certain types of baseball gloves. If you notice, only the tip of each finger slot is stitched to the next from the index finger down to the pinky finger.
If the individual fingers of a glove were stitched together all the way up from the base to the tip, this would restrict hand movement. As a result, players won’t be able to grasp the ball securely when catching and fielding.
On the contrary, there is a tendency for the fingers to spread wide due to the impact of a powerful throw if the finger holes weren’t stitched at all at the tips.
That will result in a less-than-ideal grip, which can cause the ball to slip.
What is the Purpose of Finger Holes in Baseball Gloves?
While the individual finger holes and fingertip stitching add to the overall integrity of baseball gloves, the open spaces between them serve a practical purpose.
First, keeping the gloves wide open will be a lot easier. Consequently, players have more leeway to spread their fingers as the ball approaches, then tighten their grip with a bit of pressure when it hits the glove pocket.
Next, finger holes also add to the flexibility of a glove. For example, they make it easier for fielders to push down and secure the ball with the hand when tagging an approaching runner attempting to move up or steal a base.
The finger holes also enable sand and soil to pass through. Sometimes, clumps of dirt can get into the glove when players scoop the ball from the ground. That can cause the ball to slip, costing precious seconds when fielding the ball.
Do All Baseball Gloves Have Finger Holes?
Baseball gloves are designed differently to enable players to match the various demands of specific playing positions. Catchers’ mitts, for instance, are significantly larger than other baseball gloves. They also don’t have individual fingers like infield and outfield gloves.
Catchers must snag fiery pitches traveling at breakneck speeds, so they need thicker gloves with tighter and deeper pockets. That explains why catchers’ mitts are shaped like a half-moon or a clam. In addition, the absence of individual fingers offers a more secure hold for fastballs.
The same goes for first baseman gloves. They’re larger than traditional gloves, making it easier for users to receive throws from infielders. In addition, they don’t have finger holes but are built with a curvy shape and open webbings that come in handy when catching balls.
With the exception of the first baseman, a baseball glove with finger hole is typically worn by both infielders and outfielders. They vary slightly in size, length, and depth, with outfield gloves having longer fingers and deeper pockets for catching fly balls.
Similarly, pitching gloves have finger holes but are smaller and have closed webs that enable pitchers to conceal their grip. That leaves batters second-guessing what type of pitch is coming their way.
How to Wear Baseball Gloves? Why Do Some Players Wear a Baseball Glove Finger Out?
It’s not uncommon to see baseball players stick one finger outside the glove. Usually, the index finger stays outside while all the other fingers go into their respective slots.
Most players claim the practice gives them a better grip on the ball once it’s in the pocket. Others do it to get an added layer of protection from the onslaught of fastballs. Still, others say the baseball glove index finger hole technique is simply for comfort.
Placing the index finger in or out of baseball glove is really a matter of personal preference. However, it is more common among infielders.
Outfielders prefer to keep all five fingers inside the glove as the risk of ending up with a stubbed finger is higher with all the running and diving they must do.
More popular among outfielders is the two fingers in pinky baseball glove technique. The ring and pinky fingers go to the space allotted for the pinky, while the middle and index fingers move sideward to the adjacent slots.
This technique creates a broader and deeper pocket in the glove because the index finger slot is left empty. Players also find it gives the wrist more flexibility.
Other ways to wear the gloves include:
- The traditional method, in which all fingers go into their rightful slots
- Two in pinky, one out (for catching balls on the palm and keeping the gloves wide)
Why do baseball gloves have a finger hole? Now, you know that there are different baseball gloves, and not all of them have finger holes. Those that do – such as gloves used by outfielders and infielders (except for the first baseman) – have been designed to maximize player performance in the field.
Catcher’s mitts, which lack separate fingers, do not have such a feature, and for good reasons.
A powerful swing and the ball is flying across the field, just one hit, and we might never forget the thrill it brings. I do not know about you, but I never do. Every baseball game is the chance to compete with others and cooperate with your teammate. It is among my biggest passions.