Whether you’re trying to go pro or getting your kid ready for their first game, the most essential piece of equipment for a center fielder is their glove. As someone whose main position is center field, I know first-hand that a center fielder’s glove can make all the difference in how well a player performs. So if you play center field, you might be wondering what size glove you need to use.
Adult center fielders should wear gloves between 12.50 inches to 12.75 inches in length. Youth center fielders should wear gloves around 11 inches in length. However, personal preference plays a part so center fielders can wear a glove that is larger or smaller in size if they prefer.
Below, we dive into everything you should know about center fielder gloves. That way, you know which size is best next time you or your kid is on the field.
The Best Glove Size for Center Fielders
What is a good size glove for an outfielder?
Adult center fielders typically wear gloves around 12.50 inches to 12.75 inches in size. And for kids, an 11-inch glove is usually a good fit. However, comfort is crucial when deciding on the right size for gloves for playing center field.
You should know that kids’ gloves can be challenging to find the right fit. That’s why we have a section devoted to finding gloves for them later on in this article.
The 12 ½” – 12 ¾” (31.8 – 32.4 cm) glove size is standard for pretty much all outfielders. The larger size and deeper pocket is crucial for catching fly balls and snagging hits that are just out of reach.
However, glove sizes for outfielders in baseball aren’t entirely set in stone. In fact, the glove I’ve used for years while playing center field is 13 inches in length.
Ultimately, you should use whichever gloves feel the most comfortable, while still allowing you to play at your best and within the rules.
Major League Baseball outfielders typically use gloves that are 13 inches (33 cm), which is also the MLB’s size limit for fielders’ gloves (Rule 3.06 of the official MLB rules).
They wear larger gloves because they want to maximize their reach for catching. However, 12 ½” – 12 ¾” (31.8 – 32.4 cm) is standard for non-professional and recreational play.
Center Fielders Use Larger Gloves to Catch More Fly Balls
You might be wondering why outfielders wear larger gloves than most positions. And why do pro outfielders prefer to use the longest gloves the MLB will allow?
For one, a bigger glove size increases the range at which players can catch a ball. Whether you’re snagging them out of the air before they turn into home runs or diving for them to make a game-saving catch, the players can catch the ball more easily with a bigger glove.
Plus, the increase in size generally means deeper glove pockets too. This characteristic is vital for catching fly balls that would normally bounce out of smaller gloves.
However, bigger isn’t always better. Center fielders don’t want to wear gloves that are too long.
Bigger size means less mobility with your glove, not to mention it takes more time to remove the ball and throw it if your glove is larger. As a result, 12 ½” – 12 ¾” (31.8 – 32.4 cm) outfield gloves strike a perfect balance.
They’re small enough that center fielders can quickly cover ground, but large enough to give that extra range.
Infield Glove Sizes vs Outfield Glove Sizes
Now that you know what size outfielders generally wear, let’s compare that to the size of an infielder’s glove. Doing so will give you a better idea of what size glove each player prioritizes.
As a general rule, infielders will wear a glove that is between 11 inches and 12 inches in length, with first basemen sometimes wearing gloves longer in length. The first baseman needs the additional glove length to help with scooping short-hops and for catching throws that may normally be out-of-range.
Outfielders generally have the longest gloves on the field, which makes sense, considering the extra reach can come in handy.
Still, these numbers aren’t mandatory for players to follow; they are a general guideline on what players normally wear.
Some players, both professional and recreational, deliberately use off-size gloves. Whether because they help them play better or they feel more comfortable. Still, glove sizes must remain smaller than the specific limits set by the MLB.
Glove Sizes for Kids
When it comes to kids’ gloves, sizing gets a little more tricky. While most adults can get away using a set size based on position, kids usually can’t. We all grow at different rates. So it makes sense that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.
This table will help you save time finding the right size for your future pro:
|Age||Outfield Glove Size|
|7 years old and below||9 – 10.5 inches|
|8 to 10 years old||10 – 12 inches|
|11 to 13 years old||11.75 – 12.75 inches|
|14 years old and older||12 – 13 inches|
It may take a little trial and error to find the best-fitting glove, but when in doubt, 11 inches is a good starting point that many kids find comfortable.
Also, consider buying a glove that’s a little on the roomy side for your child. As every parent knows, kids grow up too quickly. So you don’t want to get something that’s too snug and won’t fit within a year.
Other Factors To Consider When Buying Gloves
Apart from size, there are several glove characteristics worth considering:
- Pocket – Center fielders need a glove with a deep pocket. It helps you catch fly balls more securely than the shallow pocket of infield gloves.
- Webbing – You typically want a glove with H-webbing or trapeze webbing for center field. They both provide excellent catching range and visibility for tracking fly balls.
- Padding – Outfielders should look for as much padding as possible in their gloves. If you get a smaller glove for centerfield, ensure it still has adequate padding. That way, you don’t get stung.
- Adjustments – Many modern gloves come with some form of wrist adjustment, usually as a buckle or velcro. They help prevent gloves from slipping off of your hand. It’s vital if outfielder gloves feel too loose.
- Material – Glove material is mostly a matter of preference. Quality leather is more comfortable and durable but heavier and more expensive. Synthetic leather is lightweight and less costly but also not as durable.
While there are some standard sizes, finding the right glove for you isn’t always straightforward. Sometimes, it just comes down to what feels the best on your hand.
Learn More About How to Play Center Field
This article is one part of a complete guide on how to play center field.
To learn more about how to play center field, read these additional articles:
- What Is a Center Fielder in Baseball?
- Center Fielder Roles and Responsibilities
- 9 Characteristics of Good Center Fielders
- The Dimensions of Center Field in Baseball
- Where to Stand in Center Field?
- Who Is the Cutoff Man for Center Fielders?
- 4 Scenarios Where Center Fielders Should Back Up Teammates
- What Size Glove Should a Center Fielder Wear?
- 9 Reasons Center Field Is a Good Position in Baseball
- The Best 14 Drills for Any Baseball Outfielder