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   Vintage Baseball Glove Dating Guide

1880 - 1899 Gloves & Mitts

Gloves have no web and are referred to as "workman" style gloves. Early fingerless gloves were used for better grip. Many early baseball gloves were simple leather gloves with the fingertips cut off.

fingerless style baseball glove

fingerless style baseball glove

 workman’s style baseball glove

Extremely rare fingerless style baseball glove c.1880-90. Wooden button with metal attachment on back strap. There have been only a few examples of this rare glove style to be offered publicly as the original fragility, surviving supply, and enormous demand have made this the most desired style in the glove collecting arena
Rare tipped finger workman’s style baseball glove c.1880’s. Along with fingerless baseball gloves this style is considered the pinnacle of early gloves with less then 5 known. no visible manufacturer markings. Well used glove retains ‘tipped’ leather finger pads and portions of its’ original crescent pad heel. Asbestos lining

 workman’s style baseball glove

Fingerless style baseball glove

 Full-fingered Tipped "Workman's" glove model
circa 1890

Fingerless baseball glove circa 1890 

The two baseball gloves above are exceedingly rare and historically significant baseball artifacts relating to the evolution of the baseball glove circa 1890 fingerless baseball glove with its matching full-fingered glove model. It is fascinating to note that these gloves originate directly from the grandson of an amateur ballplayer who was born in 1869 and was, by all known family accounts, a star player with his local town team in South Orrington, Maine, in the late 1880s and early 1890s

wpeE6.jpg (7949 bytes) workman’s style crescent padded baseball glove 1897 workman’s style crescent padded baseball glove
 "Pillow" style catcher's Baseball mitt with crescent pad
1897-1900 workman’s style crescent padded  baseball glove.
1897 workman’s style crescent padded baseball glove

1897 - 1899 Baseball Glove & Mitt Catalog Samples
Sample photos below are  taken from wholesale catalogs issued between 1880 and 1899
1900 Spalding Infielder's Gloves 1900 Spalding Baseman's Mitts
1897-1900 Spalding Infielders Gloves 1897-1900 Spalding Baseman's Mitts
1900 Spalding Catchers Mitt 1897 Spalding Baseball Gloves 1900 Spalding Catcher's Mitt
1897-1900 Spalding
 Cather's Mitt
1897-1900 Spalding
 Glove Ad
1897-1900 Spalding
 Cather's Mitt
Baseball Glove Dating index 1900 -1909 Gloves & Mitts

Early Baseball Glove History
The first recorded instance of any player using a baseball glove dates to the season of 1869, when Cincinnati Red Stockings catcher Doug Allison first experimented with the idea by having a glove made for him by a local saddle maker. At that time, however, it was considered “unmanly” for players to seek protection for one’s hands and the use of a glove was considered a sign of weakness. In 1875 Charles Waite of the St. Louis Brown Stockings became the first fielder to wear a fingerless glove. Unfortunately for him, he was the subject of intense ridicule by not only the opposing players and fans, but by his own teammates as well. Obviously, the timing was not right for the widespread acceptance of baseball gloves. It would take a few more years, along with a significant rule change, before the use of gloves became accepted. In the 1880s a rule was passed that made even the most "manly" of players consider using gloves: pitchers were now allowed to throw overhand. With the speed of pitches now greatly increased, balls were being thrown with alarming force to catchers, and struck with much greater force by batters. Valor quickly gave way to discretion. That decade witnessed players adopting the use of a tight fingerless glove for use in the field. Catchers normally wore a pair of gloves on their hands during that era, as they were clearly in the most vulnerable position with regard to hand injuries. The fingerless glove would be worn on the throwing hand.

The adoption of the baseball glove by baseball star Albert Spalding when he began playing first base influenced more infielders to begin using gloves.

In 1871, Spalding joined the Boston Red Stockings (precursor club to the modern Atlanta Braves) and was highly successful; winning 205 games (and losing only 53) as a pitcher and batting .323 as a hitter. After the NA folded, he joined the Chicago White Stockings of the newly formed National League in 1876, winning 47 games as the club captured the league's inaugural pennant. Spalding retired from baseball two years later. 

Retired from the game, he and his brother opened a sporting goods store in Chicago, obtaining the rights to produce the official National League ball. Alfred James Reach one of the early stars of baseball in the National Association. Similar to Al Spalding, Reach formed a sporting goods company and earned millions. In fact, he sold his company to Spalding in 1889. Reach sporting goods one of the first Manufacturers of Baseball gloves. Above are replica Baseball Gloves made by the Reach Sporting goods company.

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