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New Baseball Glove


epper

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Looking for some educated opinions here! I'm looking to buy my first new ball glove since the 4th grade! Yes, my faithful old Rawlings has seen better days, and its finally disintegrated to the point where I think a hard liner would finally put it out of it's misery.

I'm fairly partial to Rawlings, as that glove did me well for over 10 years, but I'm open to suggestions. In case you're wondering, I play 2B/SS/P. This year I'm just playing rec-league softball, but I need a glove that could be versatile enough to where I could use it if I get back into playing competitive hardball in the future (played for 8 years).

Oh, and I'm not looking to break the bank. Probably about $125-150 max.

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I'm going to suggest making a more substantive investment if you're looking for a long-lasting glove that will last you a lifetime.

Go to RawlingsGear.com and have one custom-made to your specs. I was in a similar situation a few years ago (replacing a glove I'd literally used since Little League), and decided I'd bite the bullet and invest in a glove that'd last me the rest of my playing days. I paid significantly more than the $125-150 range you mentioned, but I know that unless I lose it (which would be hard considering the color combinations I chose), I'll have it the rest of my life.

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I would suggest buying a Kelley or Akadema glove. Kelley's Pro-Line series (highly recommended) and Akadema's Professional series should be in your price range. Both are around $150 US. The leather on the Kelley mitt is most similar to the pro-stock Rawlings HOH (not the thinner versions sold in stores, but the really good stuff made for the pros).

I have a Kelley Pro-Line catcher's mitt that I bought in high school that is really good. I like the brand so much that I even bought one of the gloves from their recreational line, the Galaxy Series.

However, if you are willing paying a few bucks more, Kelley's Elevation Series is also very good. The leather on that mitt is most similar to the old-school Rawlings HOH leather. They run $179 US.

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Just make sure you buy another Rawlings. You can get a really great Rawlings glove for 125-150. Rawlings is simply the best there is. When I was still buying gloves I always just went with the one that felt right. Do not use any of the crazy break in methods you hear people talk about all the time. You can break in a good Rawlings in a week by simply playing catch. If you do it that way the glove will break in perfectly to your hand and style.

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I've had my 12.5 inch Wilson since 4th grade, it was $30 at Building 19 and it is still beautifully high-quality and holding up great and I still love it. It's been so long since I needed a new glove that I forget the details of buying one, but if there is a Wilson you are looking at, just don't immediately dismiss it.

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If you're planning on spending up to $150 for a glove, you might as well get the best.

Y'know, I never figured you as a Nokona guy. You've always seemed like a Mizuno or Wilson guy to me.

I got a Nokona from my dad for my 8th grade graduation and used it all through high school and summer leagues. It's by far the greatest sports related gift I've ever received.

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I've had a Wilson mitt since third grade, and it's served me well. (I'm in 11th now)

If it wasn't a tad too small (12") then I'd still be able to get a lot out of it.

(^^someone's gonna quote me on that secnd part; guarantee the convo won't be about baseball either.)

:P

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I just got a replacement for my missing little league glove. I'm coaching on my kids' teams so I didn't need anything fancy. For $30 I was able to get a Wilson that fits my big meaty paws and it broke in rather nicely.

It's a lot smoother on the inside but it feels a lot like how my old glove felt. You know, part of you.

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Both are good brands. If you want a glove that feels most like a Rawlings (pattern wise, that is), I would suggest Kelley. Nokona's not a bad glove, but their patterns just feel weird to me.

The only problem would be finding a glove that you could use for middle infield in baseball and rec-league softball. Most middle infield baseball glove are usually 11 1/4"-11 3/4", whereas the smaller softball gloves are usually 12" if I'm not mistaken. You call Kelley or Nokona (which ever one you decide on) and ask. I wouldn't be shocked if they recommend either a 11 3/4" or 12". Those are sizes usually recommended for third-basemen. I noticed that you are also a pitcher, so I would also recommend either 11 3/4" or 12" since those are typical pitcher sizes.

Nokona's advantage is that they have a very good variety of leathers, plus they are American-made. Kelley's plus side is that, as I'm sure I've mentioned, that they are essentially a poor-man's Rawlings.

The Pro-Line leather is essentially a heavy-duty version of the oil-tanned Rawlings current HOH leather. Plus, the lacing they use is MUCH thicker than what other companies use in their store gloves (maybe with the exception of the Wilson Pro-Stock A2000 gloves).

However, Shoeless Joe is also another glove brand that I have grown to like. I enjoy trying on their gloves in the sporting goods store. The old-school "pancake" mitt is a great novelty.

The Elevation leather is most like the heavy duty untanned steerhide used in the vintage HOH gloves. You know, the type of old gloves that you may have seen at the small town sporting goods store that are so stiff that you could barely move it.

Plus, Kelley sells direct to the consumer, which eliminates the dealer markup. That way, you know that you are getting a great value. If there was a retail markup, the Pro-Line would probably cost $200+, and the Elevation would be $300+.

One last thing, (caps alert). DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, USE HOT GLOVE. THAT STUFF WILL FRY YOUR GLOVE.

(Now, back to the inside voice). If you order from Kelley, be sure to order a bottle of Glovolution. It is a lanolin-based product, so you know it is good for your glove.

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thanks for all the info sacker, it's been really helpful.

I read up a little more on Kelley, and it seems like a great company that I'd be proud to support. Just a family-owned startup that cares more about quality than promoting itself on major leaguers. All along I've been thinking 11-3/4", and I really prefer an H-Pattern or Post web style, rather than a closed web.

This is the glove I had in mind, but I've inquired as to if I can customize it with an H pattern: Kelley Century CS 175

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thanks for all the info sacker, it's been really helpful.

I read up a little more on Kelley, and it seems like a great company that I'd be proud to support. Just a family-owned startup that cares more about quality than promoting itself on major leaguers. All along I've been thinking 11-3/4", and I really prefer an H-Pattern or Post web style, rather than a closed web.

This is the glove I had in mind, but I've inquired as to if I can customize it with an H pattern: Kelley Century CS 175

You can try, but I don't know if they would be willing to do it for the Century Series. If they would agree to do it (which, to be honest, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if they did), then they may do it for the Pro-Line Series and the other series that they allow customization in.

The Century Series isn't a bad glove. It is pretty comparable with the current retail HOH gloves. When they first came out about 7-8 years ago (sometime when I was in high school), they used the same leather as the Pro-Line Series, which is the heavyweight steerhide from the back and shoulders (the toughest part) of the hide. But, I'm not sure if that is still the case today. I was suggesting the Pro-Line and Elevation Series because of the initial price-range that you gave us.

Back to my previous point, you can try to ask the H-web on the 11 3/4" glove. Kelley does have good customer service.

However, if you for some reason decide against Kelley and decide to go the custom route, there are companies like Barraza or Trevino who can make a good custom glove.

But, again, I wouldn't be shocked if Kelley agreed to do it since they have very good customer service.

EDIT: I just looked at Kelley's website to see if they had the same type glove you were looking for in another series, and they did. The BLK-1175 is an 11 3/4" glove with the I-web (the Chipper Jones style web). The reason I looked that up was to see if you may have a shot of requesting one made in the Century Series. But, if you are successful, you better be willing to pay about $130 for it ($30 is the usual upcharge for any kind of customization) and wait about 8-10 weeks for it to arrive since it will be imported.

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