There are two positions on a fastpitch softball field that must catch every ball that comes to them. One, of course is the Catcher and the other is First Base. A first baseman understands how important it is to catch every ball that comes her way.
Most positions don’t get the ball thrown to them much during a game. They are usually throwing the ball over to first base to get the batter out. That throw can come from any position on the field, even the outfield players. Shortstop sees a lot of hits to them. Second base sees several, left field and center see a few that get through the infield. Depending how good your pitcher is, the outfield may not see any balls the entire game.
But the first baseman will get a throw over to her on almost every play. That relates to a lot of – let’s just say some less than accurate throws. Softball first base players have to catch the good throws at chest high, the way high throws over their head and even the bouncers in the dirt from the short stop or 3rd base when she got in a hurry and made a bad throw.
So, there is a special kind of glove made just for the first baseman. It is appropriately called a First base Mitt. First base mitts are similar in shape to the famous catchers mitt. It is more rounded in shape and has many features of a catchers mitt.
A softball first base mitt is shaped to help the first base player scoop up those bad throws in the dirt or at her shins – ouch!. The longer, deeper pocket helps to make the ball be caught in that deep pocket to alleviate some of the sting from a strong armed shortstop that is trying to throw out a lightning fast slapper.
That same mitt shape helps to snag balls that would normally be too high above her head. Even if she has to pull her foot off the bag to make that overthrown catch.
There are some features that are unique to fastpitch softball firstbase mitts. Some of the top manufacturers are now making the mitts especially for girls. They use finger stalls that are closer together and a little tighter so the mitt fits better on the female hand.
Another feature is that they are made of lighter materials. They still use top grade leather but some are using a mesh on the back to make them lighter. Others are using lighter weight leathers such as the now famous Kip leather.
Kip leather is very strong but lighter in weight than standard US steerhide. It also has a tighter grain which makes it smoother and more even. Many of your pro baseball players are using Kip leather in their custom gloves these days. Kip leather comes from younger steers and is usually harvested in Europe. Kip leather makes some very good fastpitch softball gloves and mitts.
Mesh on the back side of fastpitch gloves makes really good sense. It is usually really hot during softball season for one. So the mesh helps keep your hand cool. The mesh backed fastpitch softball gloves help air circulate better which helps the interior dry out faster. Keeping the interior of your softball glove dry will make it last longer, and it won’t smell so bad.