Anyone who has caught a well thrown ball or a hard hit ball has felt the sting in the palm of their glove. Ouch!
The great hall of famer Honus Wagner cut a hole in the palm of his glove in order to better control the feel of the ball when it hit his hand. Wagner was obviously not concerned with the sting.
Before the Second World War, when players wore little gloves, catching a baseball was a skilled art. Like many boomers who grew up in the 1950s and played Little League, I was taught to catch with two hands. There was a good reason. My coach, a member of the greatest generation, grew up playing ball with small gloves. Although catching with the glove hand alone was not impossible, it was significantly harder with these smaller gloves. Moreover, you needed great finesse when catching. Fielders used the glove as a pad to cushion the ball and then simultaneously flipped the ball to their throwing hand. Two hands!! Feeling the sting in the palm was not considered an issue.
However, after the war, gloves were designed larger with folded heels and bigger snaring webs. The glove became more of an extension of the hand and it was easer to make a one-handed catch. Two-hand catching of the ball became more of a lost art. With new contemporary gloves, if the ball doesn't hit up in the web or the finger area, it will often smack hard in the palm. Ouch!
Shortly after the larger gloves became the standard in the late 1950s, my father, Dan Golomb, President of the Everlast Sporting Goods Manufacturing Co. saw an opportunity to advance Everlast’s line of baseball gloves by designing into the glove the very first baseball glove shock pad.
The Everlast “Controlmaster” had a foam pad shock absorber (the red leather wedge in the picture). The simple logic was that the pad would take the sting out. The Everlast glove was short lived mainly because it was way too radical. Although it would prove to be ahead of its time.
Ball players have been adding and adjusting gloves since the time they first began using them. The laced heel, for instance, was a design element in which the player could undo the lace and either pull out the padding from inside or put more in. Tissues, additional leather and sponges were placed inside the lining to beef up the padding and help take the sting out.
By the mid 1970s there were advances in foam technology and thinner, higher, more absorbent materials were becoming available for manufacturers and the red leather shock pad began to appear inside the glove’s lining.
Today nearly 75% of all gloves manufactured include some kind of palm shock pad. Additionally, there are numerous pad devices that you can add or insert into the glove. The pads are made from various shock-absorbing materials and result in varying effectiveness.
Check out JOHN GOLOMB, The Glove Doctor’s Pain-Relief Cementable Shock Pad, which is sure to take the ouch out!