As the weather warms up, baseball season is in full swing, and it’s time to gear up for the game. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, having the right equipment is crucial to your success on the field. But with so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right gear.
That’s where this ultimate buying guide to baseball equipment comes in handy. We’ll take you through all the necessary equipment for playing baseball, from gloves to cleats, and everything in between. You’ll learn how to select the right size and style for each piece of equipment, as well as the materials and features to look for to enhance your performance.
We’ll cover the basics of selecting a bat, gloves for different positions, the importance of helmets and protective gear, and the best shoes to wear on the field. You’ll also learn about the latest technology and innovations in baseball equipment and how they can help you elevate your game.
So whether you’re a parent buying equipment for your child’s Little League team or a seasoned player looking to upgrade your gear, this guide has everything you need to know to make an informed decision and get the most out of your baseball equipment. Let’s get started.
Bat Buying Guide For Baseball
Selecting the appropriate baseball bat is a crucial element in enhancing one’s hitting ability, in addition to proper training in the art and science of the sport. Typically, we recommend opting for the lightest bat available for a given length, within your budget. High-tech alloys used in lighter bats tend to be more expensive, whereas cheaper aluminum bats are heavier, necessitating thicker walls to maintain strength. Thinning out the walls of aluminum bats improves bat performance, with high-strength alloys permitting the walls to be thinned without compromising durability.
“Length-to-weight ratio” is perhaps the most important factor in buying a bat. This is a negative number denoting the number of ounces the bat weighs less than the number of inches of its length. For example, a 30-inch bat that weighs 20 ounces is a -10.
T-ball, Coach pitch, Machine Pitch, Minors & Majors shall not be more than thirty-three (33) inches in length nor more than two and one-quarter (2¼) inches in diameter. Non-wood bats shall be labeled with a BPF (bat performance factor) of 1.15 or less
Intermediate shall not be more than 34 inches in length; nor more than 2 5/8 inches in diameter, and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenths (15/16) inches in diameter (7/8 inch for bats less than 30”) at its smallest part.
JR’s & SR’s shall not be more than 36 inches in length, nor more than 2 5/8 inches in diameter, and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenths (15/16) inches in diameter (7/8 inch for bats less than 30″) at its smallest part.
We have attached a chart showing the proper length of the bat for your player’s height & weight.
As always, if you have any further questions, please contact a CLL board member.
Please remember all bats must be USA Certified
GLOVE BUYING GUIDE
In baseball and softball, a fielding glove is one of the most important tools you’ll need to become a successful player. In a lot of ways, it’s the final piece to that spectacular diving catch in the outfield or what you need to stop that line drive down the third base line. Not all gloves are created equal in terms of size and material. What size baseball glove or softball glove you should use largely depends on the position you play, but there are also other factors that help determine exactly which glove you should equip yourself with.
GUIDELINES FOR SELECTING A GLOVE
We’ve already mentioned that the best glove for you depends on which position you play. But there are other factors as well:
- Pocket size – The pocket size of an outfielder’s glove is bigger than that of a middle infielder, allowing outfielders to catch fly balls with more ease. Shortstops and second basemen usually have a shallower pocket, which allows them to get the ball out of the glove quicker, especially on double plays.
- Webbing – There are different types of webbing found in gloves for baseball and softball players including, but not limited to I-web, Basket web, Closed web, Single Post web, Dual Post web, Modified Trapeze web, and Trapeze web. The type of webbing most common for infielders contains a looser stitch which gives more control in hopes of getting the ball out quicker – it also doesn’t pick up large clumps of dirt with it. Traditionally, there are eight different kinds of webbings to choose from:
- Padding – Padding preference is another thing to consider. The amount of padding you have on your glove depends on the position you play. Catcher’s mitts feature more padding to protect their hands from pitchers’ throws. Other positions, such as first and third base, may also need more padding. Recently, the popularity of extra wrist padding has grown, especially at the corner infield positions.
- Wrist Adjustments – Some gloves are made with wrist adjustments that allow players to make the glove fit snugly to their hand, allowing them to put on and take off the glove with ease. These can either be Velcro, a buckle system, laced, or a D-ring fastener.
- Material – Gloves can be made of many different types of materials including leather, synthetic materials, mesh, and treated leather. Leather is the preferred material among players due to its durability and comfort. Players may opt for treated leather gloves which are pre-conditioned with oils for a quicker break-in period. Some prefer a mesh-backed glove for a lighter glove. For younger players, a synthetic glove is good it’s the lightest and most inexpensive glove available.
Certain positions require a baseball glove with a particular webbing. Check out the list below for common webbings you’ll find for each position:
- Outfielders – H-web, modified trapeze or trapeze – bigger, deeper pockets
- Middle infielders – I-web, single post, 2-piece closed – stay shallow
- 3rd basemen – dual post, modified trapeze, closed webs – stronger, deeper pockets
- Pitcher – basket, 2-piece closed, one-piece closed, modified trapeze – conceal stitches when selecting a pitch
Like baseball gloves, positions in fastpitch softball require a specific webbing:
- Middle infielders, first base, and some outfielders – an open web that allows for quick transfer to throwing hand
- Pitchers, third base, and some outfielders – a closed web that provides more support for outfielders and shields the ball in pitchers’ glove
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GLOVES BY POSITION
One of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to buying a glove is the different styles and types you can choose from. With each glove, you will have different types of webs and pockets, and the choice of the best glove for you depends on the position you play.
The charts below show an estimate of the size range of the glove for a specific player for both baseball and softball:
BASEBALL GLOVE SIZING CHART BY POSITION
|AGE||CATCHER||FIRST BASE||SECOND BASE / SHORTSTOP||THIRD BASE||PITCHER||OUTFIELD|
|UNDER 7||29.5 – 30″||11.5″||8-10.5″||8-10.5″||8-10.5″||9-11″|
|8 – 10||30-32″||11.5-12″||10.5-11.25″||10.5-11.5″||10.5-11.5″||10-12″|
|11 – 13||31-.32.5″||12-13″||11.25-12″||11.75-12.5″||11.5-12.5″||11.75-12.5″|
SLOWPITCH SOFTBALL GLOVE SIZING CHART BY POSITION
|FIRST BASE||SECOND BASE / SHORTSTOP||THIRD BASE||PITCHER||OUTFIELD|
YOUTH VS. ADULT GLOVES
A youth glove is designed for younger players with smaller hands. They are typically cheaper than adult gloves and are much easier to close. The youth gloves are not made of the same high-quality leather, but the materials they are made of make them easier to close. Youth gloves have smaller, narrower fingers and should be used for a player under 10 years old. They sometimes can be used for a player up to 12 years old, but after then, kids should be using adult gloves. To fit an adult glove onto a younger player’s hand, the back of the wrist can be tightened. This is done on softball gloves with a Velcro strap, but on baseball gloves, the glove needs a minor re-lacing. The picture below shows the difference in how a tightened glove looks compared to a non-adjusted one.
HELMET BUYING GUIDE
When it comes to buying protective gear for baseball or softball, no piece is more important than a helmet. Each manufacturer makes high and low-end helmets and each will protect you, but it is important to choose the right helmet for your level of play. The majority of the helmets are approved by NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) which is the safety regulator for helmets.
The materials that a helmet is made out of will be determined by the price of the helmet. High-end helmets are made with high-impact padding for energy absorption as well as soft padding for comfort. Basic helmets typically only have bulky soft padding that absorbs impacts. These helmets may be the best choice for younger players since they will be more comfortable and more likely to fit since the padding expands and contracts significantly. For players at high levels of play, such as high school and beyond, it is important to get a helmet with a form of high-density foam to prevent injuries.
The majority of helmets come with two ear flaps, but it is possible to get the one ear flap helmets that professionals wear. These helmets are only recommended for high levels of play where age and experience can help prevent injury from the missing ear. By having one less ear flap, the player can hear everything better as well as having a lighter helmet. If you do choose a one-eared helmet, it is important to make sure that if you are a right-handed batter, the left ear is covered and if you are a left-handed batter, the right ear is covered.
Finding the right size helmet can be as easy as trying on every helmet in the store and then choosing the most comfortable one. For most people, this isn’t practical or possible. To properly measure your head for the correct size, use a fabric measuring tape to measure around the circumference of your head slightly above your ears. The following chart will help convert your measurement to a hat size.
When you have a batting helmet, it is important to make sure the helmet is snug but not uncomfortably tight. It is also crucial to make sure the helmet is not too big. To test this, put the helmet on and shake your head from side to side quickly; if the helmet moves separately from your head, it is too big. You may need a smaller size helmet or a padding fit kit. A fit kit will make the helmet smaller by adding extra pads to the inside of the helmet. These fit kits are usually brand specific but can be easily cut to fit in any shape helmet. One thing to remember is to never purchase a bigger helmet to grow into. Your head does not grow much past age 10. The danger of a helmet that is too big is that the helmet will move around on the head and lead to an injury.
The proper way to wear a helmet is to have the brim pulled down to the forehead so that it is parallel to the ground. If it is too high up, it exposes your forehead and eyes. If it is too low, it will cover your eyes and expose the base of the back of your head. For ponytails, some helmets have a slot along the padding to allow extra room in the helmet for better comfort with a ponytail.
Face Masks and Cages
The common way to buy a helmet with a cage is to buy the two separately. The majority of helmets have a matching face mask that easily attaches to the helmet without modification. The different shapes and styles of helmets from different manufacturers make it difficult for a face mask to fit on more than one helmet. Face masks are easy to attach with only a few screws. It is recommended that players that wear face masks on their helmets also wear chin straps. This prevents the helmet from moving around when the player is running.