Why Do Players Wear Batting Gloves in Baseball

Maximize Your Game: The Benefits of Wearing Batting Gloves in Baseball
Written by Mark Bailey
Last updated on

Most baseball players at all levels wear batting gloves when hitting to improve their grip, which leads to more confidence when swinging the bat. Batting gloves can also prevent blisters and hand injuries, reduce shock absorption when hitting the ball, and keep hands warm and dry during poor weather conditions.

The first major league player to use gloves on his hands while batting in a game was Ken Harrelson of the Kansas City A’s in 1964. Harrelson also played golf to supplement his baseball salary and played 27 holes of golf one day, severely blistered his hands. He found himself in the starting lineup the following day and used his golf gloves when batting to combat the painful effects of the blisters on his hands.

KEY
POINTS
  • Most baseball players wear batting gloves to improve grip and confidence when swinging, as well as to prevent blisters, hand injuries, and absorb shock.
  • The first player to use batting gloves in a game was Ken Harrelson of the Kansas City A’s in 1964.
  • Batting gloves come in various materials, and some have padding or perforations for ventilation. They may also be treated with moisture-wicking material or have anti-slip silicone emails.
  • Some MLB players don’t wear batting gloves because they prefer the feel of the bat or are used to not wearing them from their high school/college days. In 2021, only 11 out of 695 MLB players regularly batted without batting gloves.
  • Power pads can be worn by batters with or without batting gloves as they help reduce vibration and improve bat control/speed by putting the bat in proper hitting position.

Improved grip

Batting gloves help players improve their grip on the bat and enhance their bat control. A firm grip is essential to hitting the ball squarely, and some batting glove brands are designed to be sticky, which prevents a player’s hands from slipping when swinging the bat. 

Batting gloves also enable players to grip the bat better in hot or rainy weather. Maintaining a tight grip on the bat with sweaty or wet hands is challenging, and batting gloves allow players to have a controlled grip even in poor weather conditions.

A firm grip is essential to hitting due to the speed of the ball. The failure to have a firm grip when swinging will cause the bat to reduce the speed of the ball when making contact, leading to lower exit velocities.

A tight grip also contributes to generating bat speed while maintaining good bat control. A heavier bat swung at the same rate as a lighter bat will lead to higher exit speeds, but a bat that is too heavy to maintain a controlled grip when swinging will result in lower bat speeds and less control of the bat.

Batting gloves come in various materials to help ballplayers improve their grip on the bat. There are lightweight batting gloves made from a lighter material that offers a more natural feel, while heavier gloves made from premium leather provide durability. Some batting gloves also have thick padding in the palm, providing players with increased protection from hand injuries.

Protection from blisters and calluses

Gripping a bat for long periods can cause blisters and calluses on the hands. Blisters are caused by the friction resulting from the repetitive movement of the bat in your palms as you hold and swing the bat, and this constant friction leads to blisters when liquid forms between separate layers of your skin.

Swinging a bat for several minutes can take a toll on the hands, as the friction from the hands rubbing against the surface of the bat can lead to blisters and calluses forming on the hands. Batting gloves offer added protection by reducing moisture on the hands and providing reduced friction when the hands rub against the wooden or aluminum surfaces of the bat.

Some batting gloves have padding in the palm, adding an extra layer of protection against blisters and calluses. This padding helps to reduce the friction caused when the hands are constantly rubbing against the hard surface of the bat. 

Improved comfort and performance

Comfortable hands can improve a player’s performance at the plate by boosting their confidence. Gripping the bat properly is crucial in baseball, and batting gloves allow players to maintain a firm grip when swinging, which increases their confidence and reduces the fear of the bat slipping out of their hands. 

Batting gloves provide extra comfort and allow players to focus on their swing and hitting by protecting the hands from blisters and poor weather conditions. Some batting gloves have a sticky palm area to offer a firmer grip, while others focus on flexibility, especially the movement of the wrists and fingers. 

Today’s batting gloves are designed with special features to improve performance. Perforated overlays on the fingers and hands provide good ventilation, while moisture-wicking material helps prevent sweaty hands. There are also anti-slip silicone fingertips to improve the grip, gel padding on the palm for shock absorption, and HeatGear fabric that keeps hands cool in the summer and warm in cold or rainy weather. 

FAQ

Why do some MLB players don’t wear batting gloves?

Some MLB players don’t wear batting gloves because they prefer the feel of the bat, and most haven’t worn batting gloves since high school or college. In 2021, only 11 of 695 MLB players regularly batted without batting gloves.

Can players wearing batting gloves use power pads?

Yes. Power pads can be used by players wearing batting gloves because they’re worn over a batting glove. This lightweight pad is worn on a batter’s top hand and reduces vibration when making contact with the ball. Power pads can also improve bat control and bat speed by helping put the bat in the proper hitting position.

What hand do baseball players put their batting gloves on?

Most baseball players put batting gloves on both hands to improve their grip on the bat. While there are no set rules on which hand to wear a batting glove, the hand closest to the end of the bat is the most effective for wearing a batting glove.

Do little league players use batting gloves?

Yes, little league players use batting gloves for several reasons. Batting gloves help kids improve their grip on the bat, protect against blisters and hand injuries, and reduce the sting of the ball hitting off the aluminum bat. 

When should baseball players not use batting gloves?

Baseball players should only use batting gloves in rainy weather if they are dry and effective in helping to maintain a firm grip on the bat. Although wearing batting gloves is a personal decision involving comfort and confidence factors, the benefits of wearing batting gloves cannot be overlooked.

Conclusion

Batting gloves have become an essential piece of equipment for baseball players of all ages. Besides helping players maintain a firm grip and better bat control, batting gloves prevent blisters and other hand injuries. The comfort level that batting gloves provide players’ hands also increases their confidence at the plate.

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