There are many topics that have divided this country for centuries with seemingly no end in sight: Politics, religion, or whether the hot dog is a sandwich. Since 2001, an even more forceful debate has been raging in dugouts everywhere when it comes to their favorite Rawlings glove: Heart of the Hide or Pro Preferred?
It’s not as easy a question to answer as one might think. Do I want the thickness and durability of select steerhide (Heart of the Hide), or the buttery smooth feel and lighter weight of kip leather (Pro Preferred)? Deer-tanned cowhide palm liner or Pittards sheepskin? Colors are a consideration too, like the chocolate brown and timberglaze on the HOH, or those exclusive to the Pro Preferred series like bruciato or rich tan. Although it may seem like these glove forces are constantly pulling us apart, Rawlings has decided to bring us the best of both worlds with the upcoming release of the 2017 Pro Label PRO204-2BCC Pro Preferred and Heart of the Hide Hybrid infielder’s glove.
The concept is simple: Get members of the Rawlings Advisory Staff to create a glove whose features were previously only available to the pros, through a special order, or maybe by knowing Rawlings CEO Michael Zlaket. The “Heart of the Hybrid” combines a black steerhide palm with a camel kip shell, with black kip leather fingertips providing the color and leather transition. “Kip tips” is a feature not seen on many gloves, and is one of many aesthetically-pleasing upgrades you can expect from the PRO204-2BCC.
The Pro Label is artfully executed in the details, with black palm lace and rolled camel welting so as to not overpower the glove with contrasting colors, while being playful enough to provide a splash of flash with the camel web/finger lace and stitching. The hand-sewn welting eliminates any friction on the thumb and pinky, and provides a more comfortable close, and don’t forget how it looks! Throw in the 100% wool wrist strap and that deer-tanned cowhide palm liner, and we’re talking luxury, style, and comfort all rolled into 11 1/2 inches of innovation.
These gloves will be individually numbered like most Pro Preferreds but those numbers will not go very high, as they will be available in very limited release at select Rawlings dealers and retailers. They are set to hit shelves on June 15th (YOU CAN ORDER ONE NOW ON RAWLINGS.COM), a date that most of us gloveheads have already marked on our calendars. So no matter if you’re a Heart of the Hide fan, or if you rep the Pro Preferred line, the 11 1/2″ Pro Label PRO204-2BCC is the glove that we deserve AND the one that we need.
I’m pretty impartial when it comes to glove brands. I love them all equally and for different reasons across the board. That said, I’m pretty excited about this release. More to follow as they hit the market.