What is a Baseball Sliding Mitt / Sliding Glove?
A baseball sliding mitt is a protective device worn by professional (and non-professional) baseball players to prevent injury to their hand while sliding into a base.
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Oftentimes sliding gloves are worn by players who have sustained various injuries to their hands over the course of their career. However, sliding mitts are being used with greater frequency by the average player as a way to protect the bones and ligaments in their hand from the wear and tear of game play.
Sliding mitts weren’t necessary in the old days when players slid leg-first into the next base. Play evolved and players such as Hall of Famer, Rickey Henderson, started diving into second when stealing a base. Others then determined that this was a faster and more efficient way to advance, so they too started diving. In some ways, a sliding mitt should really be called a diving mitt.
Wearing armor is where we are at in baseball today.
Protective Gear in Action
According to EvoShield, “In 2017, while playing in the minor leagues, Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson slid head-first into a base, catching his thumb against the bag as his momentum carried him forward. Now playing in Major League Baseball with the Reds, Stephenson can often be seen on the bases with his EvoShield Sliding Mitt.
“I thought I tore a ligament,” Stephenson said of his 2017 slide. “I ended up not tearing it, but it’s just kind of a safety thing now.””
Parents love baseball protective gear like this because it helps protect children at an age where they could be playing with kids one, two or even three grades older than them.
What does a Sliding Mitt protect against?
- Jamming your fingers
- Getting cleated
- Collisions with defensive players
What material is a Sliding Glove made from?
Sliding gloves are made from a combo of leather, synthetic leather, neoprene, and other materials such as elastic. For instance, an EvoShield Sliding Mitt
When does a Sliding Mitt get used?
A sliding mitt gets used once a batter reaches base safely. They typically swap out their batting gloves with a pair of sliding gloves via the first or third base coach. Sometimes they keep their batting gloves, putting them in the back pocket of their uniformed pants.
The most common use you will see is a MLB player, especially a speedy all-star who can ill afford to lose to injury, put one on at first base. That player will then attempt to tear up the basepaths by stealing second base with a headfirst slide. Hopefully the base running maneuver is pulled off successfully and the second baseman or shortstop doesn’t jump and land on the sliding baserunner or attempt to block them in any way.
A more subtle way to use a sliding glove is when you see players raise their right hand toward their helmet when they slide into a base to protect against balls that are being thrown in from deep in the outfield. We don’t agree that this is the best use of your hands during a slide, but players do it.
Anyway, the extra padding afforded by the mitt will help cushion against a thrown ball connecting with a player’s jaw.
Which hand does it go on?
That depends. Does a player want to protect their throwing hand or their fielding/glove hand? While players have the option of using two sliding mitts, it’s typically uncommon. They usually just grab either a right hand or left hand glove and run with it (literally!).
Is it common to wear a piece of equipment on offense?
Ex Mariner, Brewer, White Sox, Rockie, Royal, Dodger and Red Sox player, Scott Podsednik is largely credited with being the first person to wear the hand protective equipment back in the late 00s according to The Stadium Reviews. While Scott didn’t possess superhuman abilities with a baseball bat, he did have himself a set of wheels.
Those wheels treated him to 700+ stolen bases over the course of his career. So one could make the assumption that he would do anything to protect his body while trying to swipe a bag, including putting on an overgrown batting glove that looked like an oven mitt with a velcro strap and thumb hole.
But Scott wasn’t the first to make protective gear a “thing”. One only need to look toward Barry Bonds in the early 2000s to see his monstrous elbow guard, or David Justice and his leg guard in the 90s.
It’s just that those protective shields would come off when the batter reached base, instead of being put on as a wrist guard or sliding mitt is.
Who knows, someday they may be as important as cleats.
What do you look for in a Sliding Mitt?
First and foremost is the overall protection that the apparatus offers. The second is fit. The third is durability. Do baseball players care about color? Sure, but they care about not getting injured far more.
What brands make a Sliding Glove?
The EvoShield Sliding Mitt is one of the top brands on the market today. With elastic compression straps, a thumb hole and a soft and supple interior, the Mitt is designed to secure the hand properly when in use.
Nike Diamond Series also makes a sliding mitt. Lightweight and with that ever so stylish swoosh, Nike’s sliding mitt comes in left hand and right hand models and ensures that you will always look good on the basepaths, whether you’re safe stealing third or walking back to the dugout in shame.
Here are some other brands on the market.
- 44 Pro Guards Pro Sliding Mitt
- BUI Baseball Sliding Mitt
- Nocour Sliding Mitt
- Orbis Sliding Mitt
- PRO 772 Sliding Mitt
- Tru-Pro Sliding Mitt
- Tucci Sliding Mitt
How much does a Sliding Mitt cost?
According to e-commerce sites that sell sliding mitts such as Amazon, a good, quality sliding mitt should cost between $40-60 dollars USD.
Which pro players use one?
We're fairly certain that college and olympic women's softball players use them as well, but here are a few MLB players that do. Although, one of these guys won't be standing in the batter's box next to a catcher and umpire any time soon, thanks to his long suspension. You can guess which one.
- Fernando Tatis, Jr.
- Mookie Betts (Jordan model)
- Ronald Acuña, Jr.