The biggest change of all baseball equipment that helped to improve the players game was the Baseball Glove. The first players to use baseball gloves were often taunted and teased as being "too soft" or "sissies" because they did not want to catch the ball with their bare hands.
The first baseball gloves were used in the 1870s. The basic idea was to create a glove that would pad and protect the players' hands and provide a cushion for catching the ball. Surprisingly, the first gloves were designed so the player could knock the ball to the ground and not necessarily catch it. History's first baseball gloves were made from pieces of leather sewn together to fit over a player's hand. Many early baseball gloves were simple leather gloves with the fingertips cut off, supposedly to allow for the same control of a bare hand, but with extra padding. The adoption of the baseball glove by baseball star Albert Spalding when he began playing first base influenced more infielders to begin using gloves. By the mid 1890s, it was the norm for players to wear gloves in the field. The largest improvement ever in glove design happened in 1920, when Bill Doak, a journeyman pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, approached Rawlings with an idea for a web laced between the first finger and thumb. Before Doak's invention, gloves were primarily protective equipment that kept fielders' hands and fingers from being hurt by hard hit balls. Bill Doak developed the idea of putting a substantial webbing between the glove's thumb and first finger to form a substantial pre-formed pocket in which to catch the ball. The Rawlings "Bill Doak" model that was first introduced in 1922 was so revolutionary that it remained available until 1953 with only minor modifications. Doak's invention was the ancestor of all modern gloves. For more information on vintage baseball gloves, and the Bill Doak baseball glove. I will leave a link below. Batting Helmets/ Shin Guards Hall of Fame Catcher Roger Bresnahan Played between 1897 - 1915 Bresnahan most notable contributions to the game were in protective equipment. In 1905 after getting "beaned" in the head with a baseball began experimenting with head gear similar to the leather football helmet of the period that were made by A.J. Reach. Sliced vertically: one half for covering the left side of a right handed batter's head, the other for the lefty hitter. Two years later in 1907 he devised catcher's shin guards. The first, evidently modeled after a cricketer's leg pads but were large, and bulky. NL president Pulliam dismisses the Opening Day protests of Pittsburgh manager Fred Clarke over Roger Bresnahan's shin guards. As yet, Bresnahan was the only catcher using them. Ignoring the ridicule, it was not thought to be gentlemanly to use them. By 1909 the design was refined, and became accepted, and more wildly used. I will leave a link for the very first style "reeded" shin Guards designed by Roger Bresnahan below.
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