1950 rule forced Joe DiMaggio to ditch his favorite glove

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No piece of equipment has changed as much as the baseball glove. The first gloves were little more than protective covers for the palm of the hand. Even as late as the early 1950s, baseball gloves were very different than we see in the game today.

Prior to the 1950 season, Major League Baseball announced a series of rule changes. One of them was a re-definition of fielder’s gloves. The new rule mandated that all gloves, except for those used by catchers and first basemen, could be no wider than eight inches. Most importantly, the rule eliminated the use of the “web trap,” which was a common construction used for the pocket of gloves.

Joe DiMaggio was quoted as saying, “When did the web trap hurt? Did the fans complain?”

DiMaggio sent his old glove to an admiring young fan, and switched to a model much like the one shown on the right below, from this article in The Sporting News (March 15, 1950).

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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is the author of three books about baseball, including Ty Cobb: A Biography. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and Major League Baseball Advanced Media. He lives in Michigan where he writes, runs, and enjoys a good orange soda now and again.
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