Knuckleball Catchers Mitts
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This article is intended for catchers and parents of catchers who catch pitchers that throw knuckleballs.
In this article, we give our top options for catcher's mitts that are well suited to catching knuckleballs.
What is a Knuckleball Catcher's Mitt?
A catcher's mitt designed for knuckleballs is simply one that is larger, lighter, and more flexible than a traditional catcher's mitt.
The first and most obvious thing someone would notice is that it has a bigger surface than a typical mitt. This is important due to the erratic movement of a knuckleball - meaning, the larger the mitt, the better the chance of catching it.
Similarly, it is often lighter weight than traditional catcher's gloves in order to help catchers move their glove hand more rapidly to the ball's location.
These are the two primary reasons why they are different from other mitts.
Knuckleball Mitt Sizes
Catcher's mitts are sized based on their circumference and knuckleball catcher's mitts have a larger circumference than their traditional counterparts.
Back in the day, catchers who regularly caught big league knuckleball pitchers used mitts as big as 45 inches. Sizes this large were outlawed by the MLB in 1965, and from that point on mitts were prohibited from being no larger than 38 inches.
There are practically no 38 inch models on the market today - now, the primary size of catchers mitts for knuckleballs that you can buy are a maximum of 35 inches.
Famous Catchers of Knuckleball Pitchers
There have been many notable knuckleball pitchers across baseball history.
A knuckleball is so difficult to catch that many of these pitchers used a dedicated catcher who could handle their pitches.
A few of these catchers are featured here.
First, one of the earliest catchers to deal with a knuckleball was Hall of Famer Ray Schalk, who dealt with the knuckler from Eddie Cicotte.
Fast forward to the 50s and 60s, Hall of Fame pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm slung his knuckleball for teams like the New York Giants, Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox.
Two of his catchers with the Orioles - Clint Courtney and Gus Triandos - have famous pictures displaying their oversized mitts used for catching Wilhelm.
Other notable catchers for knucklers include Bob Uecker for Atlanta Braves pitcher Phil Niekro and more recently, Doug Mirabelli for Tim Wakefield, and Josh Thole for R.A. Dickey.
Speaking of Josh Thole, he took the unique approach of using a fastpitch mitt to catch Dickey's knuckleball (see picture above).
Again, these are just a few examples. There have been far too many knuckleball pitchers than we have time to name in this brief article.
Our Top Choice of Mitt
There are a small number of catcher's mitt models available that are good options for catchers handling knuckleballs.
We'll now look at our recommendation for the best knuckleball catchers mitt out there and show details, pictures, and more.
All-Star Pro Elite Series
Our top choice for people looking for a knuckleball catchers mitt is the 35 inch version of the All-Star Pro Elite Series (CM3000BT).
It’s an incredibly high quality catcher’s mitt and is the same version used by a number of catchers in the major and minor leagues.
The main feature of this mitt making it a great option for catchers of knuckleball pitchers is its large size. The All Star Pro Elite’s 35 inch circumference is the largest, non-custom, commercially available catcher’s mitt available today.
The type of leather this mitt uses is a premium Japanese steer hide, and it’s soft to the touch. It’s also very durable, meaning that the leather can take a beating and still last in good shape for a long time.
The Pro Elite mitt has an open back, a finger hood and an adjustable, velcro-based wrist strap. Each of these are features we like, especially the adjustable wrist strap which allows catchers to tighten the bottom of the mitt around the wrist to their liking.
As a high-end catcher’s mitt model, it’s important to note that each Pro Elite Series is literally hand made. These aren’t gloves being made by a robot in a factory somewhere, they are getting a personalized touch when constructed. Very cool.
There are two designs that you can choose from for this mitt.
One design features a tan leather web and pocket with black lacing. The other design is all black (CM3000BK). Each looks great, and it's important to note that they're the same mitt, they just look different.
Made by All Star, one of the best brands in the biz
Covers a lot of area at 35 inches
Built using top of the line Japanese steer leather
Relatively quick break-in time
Durable and long lasting
Has a finger hood and adjustable wrist closure
Two available color designs to choose from
As a premium mitt, it’s pricey. A mitt of this quality is an investment.
Other Images of the 35-in Pro Elite
There are not many 35 inch catcher's mitt options available, much less anything larger than that size.
If you're looking for a knuckleball mitt but the price tag on the Pro Elite is too steep, we'd recommend that you look at 34 inch options.
Though not as big, it still provides good coverage.
Our top 34 inch recommendation would be the Wilson A2000, which is another incredibly high quality catcher's mitt.
Another 34 inch suggestion (which is slightly lower priced) would be the Shoeless Joe Pro Select.
Please keep in mind that a general rule of thumb in the baseball catcher's mitt market is that the larger the size, the higher the cost.
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