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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Fingerless leather gloves, ca. 1800s. Courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (001.00.00)

Fingerless Gloves

In early organized baseball, fielders were barehanded and allowed to make outs by catching balls on the first bounce. After a rule change in 1864 that required the ball be caught on the fly for an out, players who wore lightly padded fingerless gloves like these often endured challenges to their masculinity. By the 1880s, though, practicality and comfort outweighed fear of ridicule and the use of mitts and gloves was widespread.