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Best First Base Gloves | Top 4 Glove Patterns for First Basemen

Typically a position known for the bat, a great defensive first baseman can elevate the play of every infielder on the team. They may not get all the credit, but a good first baseman who can pick a low throw, stretch for a wide one, and snare a would-be double down the line can win you ballgames. Obviously, a first baseman has very unique needs when it comes to a glove (mitt). Above all, catch the ball! First basemen don’t necessarily need quick transfers like other infielders (don’t tell that to Dom Smith) or the combination of length and range that is needed in the outfield. First basemen need to vacuum up anything thrown or hit their way, simple as that. This post, like our post for outfielders, second basemen, shortstops, and third basemen, will take a look at the best patterns used by some of the game’s top first basemen.

Rawlings PROSAR44 | $250, Rawlings.com

Anthony Rizzo has been one of the best defensive first basemen over the last couple of years. So impressive, in fact, Rizzo is the only first baseman ever to win the Platinum Glove, the award for the best fielder in the league at any position!

Rizzo’s Rawlings PROSAR44 is 12.75″, on the larger side for first base. The glove features a two-bar web that will stretch to create a massive pocket. The AR44 pattern is also extremely wide, giving you every chance possible to snag that nasty short hop.

Rawlings’ website is blowing out Anthony Rizzo’s Pro Preferred PROSAR44 game model seen above for $250. You can also pick up his new, flashier 2021 gameday model for $360.

For fans of steerhide (Heart of the Hide) over kip (Pro Preferred) leather, Dick’s Sporting Goods has this eye-catching Heart of the Hide PROAR44 for $280. Its Rizzo’s exact pattern, while the grey and tan color combo is definitely going to stand out, if you’re into that kind of thing. If you’re wondering what the difference is between steerhide and kip, here’s a video that helped us understand (skip to 0:48):

Wilson 2800

The Wilson 2800 pattern takes a slightly different approach to playing first base. Coming in at a very small 12″, this pattern is for first basemen who like feel and control.

Dominic Smith was kind enough to show our founding editor Mike his arsenal of leather during Spring Training. While some first basemen want a massive glove that will swallow the ball, Smith talks about how using the smaller glove forces him to use his hands more and not “cheat” by simply relying on the bigger glove.

Smith’s 2020 game glove at first base was a simple compliment to the Mets uniforms, an entirely blue A2K 2800. We were able to replicate Smith’s gamer for $550 on the Wilson Customizer.

A very similar option that doesn’t require a second mortgage is the black and red Superskin A2000 2820 from Baseball Express for $207. It adds an extra quarter inch (12.25″) to Dom Smith’s 2800, giving you a little more leather in case a low throw catches the lip of the grass and skips more than expected.

Wilson JAB79 | $380, Wilson.com

Wilson created the JAB79 in conjunction with recently crowned AL MVP Jose Abreu. A single post web and 12.5″ length create a deep pocket with extra reach to pick everything. His game model also features SuperSnakeSkin, Wilson’s lightweight synthetic material with the new and very popular snakeskin pattern.

Abreu likes to literally draw on his glove (maybe his kids?) but the classic black and blonde go well with anything. For 2020, Abreu also incorporated Wilson’s new SpinControl palm which aims to reduce the spin of the ball as it hits the palm. Classic colors and innovative materials make the MVP’s first base mitt a winner.

Wilson made Abreu’s gamer part of their 2021 glove line.

His super clean A2K JAB79 is available with the SuperSnakeSkin and the Spin Control tech for $380 on the Wilson website.

Rawlings PROFM18

The Rawlings PROFM18 is a less common pattern at first base, but has its benefits. The most common configuration of a PROFM18 features a modified Pro-H web which will create a deep, and defined pocket like many outfield gloves featuring a similar web. This pattern is one of the most popular sizes for first base at 12.5″ inches.

via @marinersteamstore on IG

Evan White, the former Kentucky Wildcat, is part of a young, but scary talented Seattle Mariners squad. He was one of a few Mariners to take home individual hardware in 2020: AL Gold Glove honors at first base.

Plays like this led to seven defensive runs saved at first base in 2020 in just 54 games.

White’s gamer is a clean all camel with black embroidery. His model, the Rawlings Pro Preferred PROSFM18KCPRO, features the H-Web. We replicated White’s gamer on the Rawlings customizer for $480.

A more affordable option is the above pictured Heart of the Hide PRORFM18-17B. This model is from Rawlings new R2G series, meaning it receives 25% more break in from the factory and has a reengineered heel pad to make break-in easier. This model has many of the same benefits as other Heart of the Hide gloves but does not require the break-in time. It is available for $280 from Dick’s Sporting Goods.

At first base, the ultimate priority is to catch the ball, no matter how bad the throw, or how hard the groundball is hit. While not as glamorous as the other positions on the infield, a quality first baseman can make a good infield great. One of the aforementioned first base mitts are a good bet if you want to be that guy. Any we missed? Let us know your go-to glove pattern at first down below!

5 comments

  1. Great article. It’s always interesting to get details on some of the models that are hard to recognize when only seeing them on TV. I’m just surprised you didn’t include the age-old standard Rawlings DCT. It’s my understanding that, dating back to the ’60’s, it’s the oldest glove/mitt pattern still in production today, and seems to perhaps be the most popular model used in the pros. I’ve always liked the extra reach made possible by the separated, “extended palm” piece, while still retaining a snug fit in the “main palm” area. The design gives you the control of a smaller glove but the reach of a big one. I’ve worn mostly DCT’s and a few A2800’s throughout my career, but I don’t like the single post version of the DCT as much as the older, double bar version (Keith Hernandez’s favorite). In fact, I’ve now gone to the AR44 – the flashier, Dick’s version to which you refer in your piece.
    I would love to see an article on recommended Pitcher/Infield models, for those of use who play both positions and would prefer not to haul around two gloves.
    Again, great work, and thanks for reading my comments.
    – Jeff (IG: JB_on_Baseball)

    1. Thanks for the comment and the kind words! Great insight about the DCT which is, like you mentioned, a classic for the position and a great choice. A utility glove post is a great idea as well!

    2. Thanks for the very insightful comment. Adds a lot to this post. And yeah a utility glove post is a fantastic idea.

  2. Ben & Mike –
    My pleasure. One other thing I’d love to see is a review of Rawlings’ top-of-the-line Gold Glove series, which doesn’t seem to get much coverage. A lot of people still think Pro Preferred is their best. I just got the RGG205-9MO, and it’s a “beaut.” Maybe put it head-to-head with Mizuno’s Pro Limited line? One interesting thing to note is that the Gold Glove series uses Pro Preferred (mocha) leather. The palm lining on the GG is calfskin vs sheepskin on the PP, but most of the other differences are primarily cosmetic, like the hand sewn welting and unique patches. Keep up the great work!

    1. that’s a great idea Jeff. and a good comp. I’ll see if we can put something like that together.

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