Glove Love Part III: Finding the Right Web
Glove Love: A Multi-Part Series on Baseball Glove Appreciation, Purchase, and Care
Part III: Finding the Right Web
By: Marty Winkler
Originally Posted: Updated 2/19/2020
While Charlie Waitt was influential in making the baseball glove a standard piece of equipment for all players, another St. Louis player was responsible for creating the modern design glove manufacturers still use today.
Bill Doak pitched in the Majors for the better part of 17 years. From 1912 to 1929 he won 169 games, struck out over 1,000 batters, and won the National ERA Title twice. Doak is probably most notable for being just one of 17 players allowed to still throw a spitball after the pitch was outlawed in 1920.
While pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals, Doak noticed both himself and his teammates were still using their palms to properly catch fly balls and field grounders. While the gloves they used were certainly better than playing barehanded, using the palm of the glove caused the padding to break down quickly, causing the glove to lose its effectiveness.
Doak figured there had to be a better way and began designing a glove with a laced webbing between the first finger and the thumb, believing this would create a natural pocket for fielding and catching baseballs. Doak patented his design, and in 1920, he sold it to Rawlings, also based out of St. Louis.
Doak’s design caused major changes for baseball, both on and off the field. His new design was widely (and quickly) accepted by players. This popularity allowed Rawlings to overtake Spalding as the largest equipment provider for Major League Baseball. Rawlings still holds this title, and currently provides gloves for more than 50% of MLB players.
The Doak Glove is still alive and well, as it is the foundation upon which today’s gloves are built. However, as positions and players become more specialized, so have gloves and webs. It can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out what type of web will help elevate your game the most. Here is a quick breakdown of the most popular web designs, along with the type of fielding advantage each one creates.
Small, intertwining straps of leather are woven together in a basket formation, giving this web its trademark design as well as its name. Basket webs are also very flexible, so the glove is easier to close, making it a popular choice for players looking for a faster breaking-in process. Basket webs are also very popular among pitchers as the web completely closes the glove off, allowing for the ball to be hidden from a batter’s view.
This web consists of a thin leather strap connected to either side with interwoven laces. This glove is popular amongst outfielders as the glove provides shade from the sun while searching for a fly ball, but still allows the fielder to see through it to track balls all the way into the glove.
Modified Trapeze Web
The modified trapeze web is very similar to the traditional trapeze described above, but with one change: It has a section of leather added to the top of the web to help bring more stability to the glove. This is a popular model among infielders and some pitchers as well.
This web gets its name from the letter “H” that is formed by the two strips of leather that are used to form the web and the pocket. While some outfielders are known to use this model, it is most popular amongst infielders as the H-web is both sturdy and flexible. A modified version of this web has one of the leather strips removed to form an “I” shape. This modification helps snag and release balls more quickly and is meant to be used for infielders only.
Single Post Web
This web is formed by horizontal and vertical strips of leather worn together. The single post offers both visibility and flexibility and is primarily used by first baseman.
Double Post Web
This is the same web design as a single post, except instead of one strip of leather, there are two. This is similar to an H-web but the leather strips that are used are much thicker making it easier to conceal the baseball. This is another popular model for pitchers but it’s not uncommon to see this in other parts of the infield.
Another glove popular with pitchers, a two-piece web completely closes off the glove, allowing a player to conceal both the ball and his or her hand. Two-piece webs also tend to be heavier gloves because of the weight of the additional material used to form the web.
Whatever your position on the field, there a plenty of web options for you to choose from that will fit your needs. Much like the leather you choose, it will all come down to your personal preference. There is a glove out there for you, no matter the web you weave.