Baseball Mitt vs Glove – What’s The Difference?

In its early days, baseball was played without gloves or any other hand protection.

However, a lot has changed since then and today, gloves are an essential part of players’ equipment.

As the game itself progressed and with the development of modern technology, hand gear became available in various types and sizes.

Modern baseball gloves are tailored to enhance an individual player’s strengths and improve their performance.

Still, when faced with the task of purchasing a glove, especially if it’s the first one for young players, many people feel overwhelmed and a bit confused.

One of the things that creates the most confusion is the distinction between a mitt and a glove.

A lot of fans, particularly those more casual, even think that they’re one and the same.

To clear things up, I’ll compare baseball mitt vs glove, explain what they are, and how they differ from each other.

What Is A Baseball Mitt?

The main distinctive feature of baseball mitts (short for mittens) is that they don’t have separated fingers.

In addition, mitts generally have heavier padding and deeper pockets.

In baseball, only catchers and first basemen wear mitts, although of slightly different types.

The purpose of a baseball mitt is to help a player gain better control over the caught ball, as well as aid them in scooping short hops and ground balls.

As catchers and first basemen are not so concerned with throwing the ball, the deeper webbing is not an issue.

On the other hand, it helps them pocket the balls more easily, which is very important as these two positions catch more balls than any other player on the field.

Additionally, the extra padding on the mitts keeps their hands safe from frequent ball impacts.

Different Types Of Baseball Mitts

As I already noted, mitts worn by first basemen and catchers, while similar, are not exactly the same.

This means that there are two major types of baseball mitts, depending on the position they’re designed for.

First Base Mitts

No products found.

First basemen use mitts mostly because they help them scoop poorly thrown balls and grounders from the dirt.

Additionally, the longer design of mitts aids them in fielding incoming throws from infielders, while the deeper pockets serve to secure and hold on to the ball better.

As their mitts commonly feature open-style webbing, they can grab the balls from the ground without picking up the dirt at the same time.

Although not as big as catcher’s mitts, those used by first basemen are longer and wider than gloves used at any other position,

For adults, they’re usually between 12 and 13 inches long, while for young players, they range from 9 to 10 inches.

Catcher Mitts

No products found.

Mitts used by catchers are also fingerless, but are bigger and feature heavier padding than those worn by first basemen.

This protects their hands and helps reduce the sting from incoming high-velocity pitches.

Also, the claw-shaped design, deep pockets, and closed-style webbing help catchers catch the ball and hold it in place.

This particular design also serves another purpose, which is to provide a better target for the pitchers.

The catchers mitts are rather large and bulky. Unlike gloves for other positions or first baseman’s mitts, they are not measured by length, but by circumference.

Adult mitts feature a circumference of 32 inches or more, while those designed for young catchers have a circumference of 31 inches or less, depending on the age.

What Is A Baseball Glove?

Traditionally made of leather, baseball gloves are worn by the members of a defending baseball team.

They’re used by the pitchers, outfielders, and infielders, except the first basemen who wore mitts, as previously explained.

Their main purpose is to help players catch and field the balls, either hit by a batter or thrown by a fellow fielder.

Unlike mitts, they have separated fingers, while the type of webbing and the depth of the pocket depends on the player’s position.

The design of the glove includes several different parts, each playing the role to make catching and retrieving the ball easier.

The main components of a baseball glove are web, palm, heel, lacing, hinge, and wrist adjustment.

Different Types Of Baseball Gloves

Even though they have a similar basic design, gloves for players at different positions have their distinctions which make each type the best fit for the particular positional need.

Below is a list of basic glove types.

Pitcher Gloves

No products found.

A pitcher’s glove typically features a closed web. The reason for this is to help the pitcher better conceal the ball and the grip from the batter.

Commonly, pitchers’ gloves don’t have extensive padding, as fielding is not among their primary responsibilities, and they rarely face speeding balls.

The size of the pitcher’s glove and the depth of the pocket vary a lot and are mostly dependent on the personal preference of the pitcher.

Infield Gloves

No products found.

The gloves used by infielders are relatively small compared to other positions, have five separated fingers, and have a shallow pocket.

All this serves to allow the infielder a quick more speed and flexibility when it comes to catching and retrieving the ball.

Third basemen gloves usually have a closed web, while short stop, second, and first basemen use gloves with open webbing.

The size of infield gloves for adults varies between 10.5 and 11.5 inches, while youth players wear gloves sized from 9 to 10 inches.

Outfield Gloves

No products found.

As they often face far-field, high-speed balls, outfielders commonly use gloves with deeper pockets to help them catch those flyballs.

Furthermore, their gloves are fairly long as it extends their range and reach.

In most cases, they will have open webbing to allow them to see the incoming ball through the glove while, at the same time, blocking stadium lights or sunlight.

Outfielders’ gloves for adults range from 12 to 13 inches, while the youth sizes are between 11 and 12 inches.

Baseball Mitt vs Glove – What’s The Difference?

As I already explained, the key difference between a baseball mitt and glove is the design of the finger part.

Gloves feature separated fingers, while the mitts don’t.

Mitts are also generally larger and wider which helps better control the balls that don’t hit the pocket and makes scooping the ball off the ground easier.

As first basemen and catchers, positions that use mitts, face the most incoming balls out of all players on the field, this makes their job a lot easier.

Another difference is an extra layer of padding, especially in the case of the catcher’s mitt.

This protects their hands against speeding pitches and, in the case of first basemen, against wild balls and especially hard throws.


Even though they have some differences, baseball mitts and gloves have the same main purpose – to help players perform better.

Each slight difference in shape, size, or webbing is designed to make the job of the player wearing that mitt or glove a bit easier.

As baseball is a game often decided by the smallest of margins, every advantage is more than welcome.

Using a mitt or a glove is not just a matter of a player’s personal preference but determined by baseball rules.

An umpire may even order the first baseman to change the mitt to a glove if he determines that a defensive shift has put the player too far away from the original position.

Paul Hall
Paul Hall

Hello, I’m Paul, a 45 year old passionate baseball fan and the owner of this website. I hope my article could help to answer your questions.

Little Ballparks