Over the years, I've had several baseball gloves, including
gloves by Rawlings, Wilson, and even one by Louisville Slugger, several years
ago. I have found that Wilson gloves are of consistently high quality, and
I would recommend them to anyone looking for a glove for themselves or for
one of their sons or daughters.
When I retired from baseball and moved on to that great pasture of City League
softball, I continued to use baseball gloves instead of the larger, floppier
softball gloves. I play mostly shortstop and left field, and I like being
able to get the ball out of my glove quickly.
My current glove is actually a Wilson A2911, which is slightly (but not very
much) different from the A2000. I have had it for over ten years, and it
has survived three nights a week of competitive softball, snagging everything
hit its way. I broke it in with glove oil, a baseball, and a rubberband,
and lots of games of evening catch, as has been passed down from generation
to generation. It is, of course floppier than when I got it, but it still
has a great pocket, and the leather in the palm still protects my hand from
hot smashes (I do wear a batting glove underneath it when I play competitive
My Wilson is like an old friend to me and I would be traumatized if I lost
it. I have NO intention of replacing it in the near future. In fact, I think
I've only had it re-strung once--a real testament to its quality of construction.
There are quality gloves out there by several different manufacturers, and
you have to go with what feels comfortable to YOU. But I recommend Wilson
gloves, and especially the A2000 and similar models, without reservation.
To all moms and dads: If you are buying a baseball glove for your son or
daughter (especially as they approach their teens), please do spend the extra
money for a quality glove. To a ball player, your glove is like a part of
your body. It's worth it to buy one that will last for years. And teach 'em
how to break it in properly as well.
My dad bought me a Wilson A2000XL for my 14-year-old campaign
in American Legion ball. The glove was heavyweight full-grain steerhide and
had the same "dual-hinge web" that you see today on several A2000 models.
It came stiff and unoiled, and it took a good half-season to break in properly.
At 12.5" it was perfect for outfield, which is mostly what I played then.
That glove went on to survive 20+ seasons of play. At a whopping $130 in
1974 (yes! I am that old!), at the time it was the most expensive and finest
fielders' glove on the market.
It's safe to say that Wilson would not be able to make the same claim of
today's A2000's. The A2000 is still probably the world's most recognized
glove line, but it is no longer even Wilson's top brand. (The "A3000" series
now has that honor.) And today's A2000's certainly don't last 20 years. A
year ago I purchased my son an A2000 infielder's glove for his 12-year old
season: already it is showing significant wear.
Wilson really has two model lines called "A2000"–the A2000 Pro-Stock line,
and the A-2000 Quick-Stop line. The Pro-Stock line has 17 different fielder's
gloves; the Quick-Stop line has 4 different fielder's gloves. Gloves in both
lines range in size from 10.75 to 12.5". Some have open webs, some closed,
either in a basket-weave or the classic "dual hinge." The A2000 brand also
includes five catcher's mitts and four 1st baseman's mitts, all Pro-Stock.
The difference between the two lines is the leather. "Pro-Stock" leather
is a full-grain* steerhide, medium to heavy-weight. "Quick-Stop" is a top-grain
steerhide (Wilson claims it is full-grain, but it clearly is not), medium
weight. "Quick-Stop" has an artificial grain stamped on it to make it more
pebbly, and, it is claimed, better able to stop spin on a ball.
*"Full grain" means that the entire natural leather grain remains from the
"fur" (or top) side of the skin. Full grain leathers are the most durable
kind, and usually come from the highest quality skins. Top grain leather
comes from top quality skins, but perhaps not the highest quality. The surface
of "top grain" leather has been sanded and the grain at least partially removed,
then, an artificial grain is imposed. For a more detailed discussion of baseball
glove leather, see my epinion, "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About
Choosing A Little League Glove (But Didn't Know Who To Ask)."
Wilson's ads claim that the A2000 was designed in 1957 by the game's "top
professional ball players," calling to mind the likes of Willie Mays, Mickey
Mantle and Hank Aaron, none of whom had anything to do with the design of
the glove. Most of the A2000 models now offered are, in fact, new designs.
The glove I had was more or less the same design as the current A2000 PSTXL,
which Wilson now says is a "pitcher's model," but which in my day was the
outfield model. (Wilson's current outfield models, the A2000 PSB1798 and
A2000 YBG, feature elongated designs that have become popular with today's
major leaguers. Clearly, these models were not designed in 1957.) Based on
in-store examination, the biggest difference in the two models is that the
current model is somewhat lighter and uses somewhat lighter-weight leather.
My A2000 XL took forever to break in, but once it was broken in, it was fantastic.
The great thing about the stiff, unoiled gloves of my day was that you could
break them in so that they fit your particular hand, resulting in a custom-made
feel. Your glove really did seem like an extension of your hand, and when
you tried on someone else's glove, it never felt right. It took longer to
break in those old A2000's than today's gloves, which are made of thinner,
more flexible leather, but the ultimate result was superior.
Fast forward to today. My son has the A2000 1788QS. Made of Quick-Stop leather,
it has proven to be highly reliable–the ball pretty much sticks when it hits
the glove. (Perhaps there is something to Wilson's claims for Quick-Stop
leather, after all.) The leather is lighter and more flexible than Pro-Stock,
needing only a minimal break-in period. And since it was already 90% broken
in, it fits my hand just as well as it fits his hand. My son swears by it,
but it appears that it has perhaps only one more good season in it.
And that's really the rub when it comes to the A2000 line of gloves. The
old gloves were only for those who had the time and inclination to break
them in right. Now, Wilson appears to have decided that today's players want
gloves that feel good in the store and break in right away–Wilson's own website
even has an interactive poll asking what players look for in a glove, and
60% choose comfort. Heck--just check out any other "review" of baseball gloves
on epinions: chances are it was written by a, well, a young person who thinks
his glove is "the best" because he "didn't even have to break it in." But
something has been lost by catering to the perceived desire for instant gratification
that so permeates American society. Ultimately, today's A2000's are not more
comfortable than my ancient one--once it was broken in–-but today's models
are far more comfortable in the store than mine was. A2000's are still excellent
gloves, but the custom-made feel and iron durability of the old gloves is
probably gone forever.
WHY AN A2000?
I purchased my Wilson A2000 Gold Series glove my freshman year of high school.
I had to choose between a Rawlings, Mizuno Pro Series, and Wilson A2000 line.
The feel of a Rawlings glove was very flexible, yet the leather was much
'thinner' than the Mizuno or the Wilson. The Mizuno glove had a more 'broken-in'
feel, but didn't have quite the appeal that I wanted in a glove. The A2000
was the glove I wanted. It was quite stiff and I knew I had to spend the
next couple of weeks to oil it and break it in. The glove feels very solid
and when broken in, it's very loyal to your hands. I purchased the 11" infielders'
glove at a local sporting goods store for $190 in 1988. I played 3rd base
most of the time and occasionally played shortstop. It is, by far, the most
responsive glove I've owned.
Most of the Wilson A2000 gloves are made in Korea. Korea is known for producing
quality leather goods and baseball/softball gloves are one of the country's
specialties. A2000s used to be made in the U.S. at one point, but Wilson
found it to be much cheaper and better quality to produce it overseas. I
recently browsed the glove section at a local sports store and found an A2000
glove for $200. It was still made in Korea. My twelve-year old glove looks
and feels like it will last another decade and more!
I don't think you can really count on a baseball glove to give you super-powers,
but with the Wilson A2000, it will definitely help you achieve that state
of thought. Catching and fielding balls will become more and more natural
and the glove actually grows on you like it's a part of you. Seriously.
The glove is pretty spendy to just go out and buy to use for a couple of
seasons. The Wilson A2000 is for serious players that want a high quality
glove that will last them a majority of their lifetime. Just like any other
equipment, your A2000 glove will need to be taken care of. Some things you
might want to consider during the off-season is to oil your glove so that
it doesn't dry out and crack. It's important to form your glove with a few
pairs of socks and tie it with a shoe string or rope. If you do these things,
there's no doubt that the Wilson A2000 is the only glove you'll ever own.
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First Baseman Gloves:
The newest A-2000 model for a first baseman’s glove is a real nice glove.
It comes in tan or black. It is made from pro stock leather, and features
a finger sleeve. Now you might be wondering what a finger sleeve is and what
it’s doing on a baseball glove. I will tell you. It is a sleeve for the index
finger that is outside of the glove. Just about every glove has a hole for
the index finger to poke out of. This glove has a sleeve for that finger
to hide behind incase a ball hits the finger, it won’t bend back or break.
The same goes incase the finger is struck or kicked by a cleat while applying
a tag, it is safe in the sleeve. This is the same model glove that Chicago
Cub’s Star Mark Grace used. Price $159.95
Wilson makes some really nice catchers mitts. Their most popular one is the
black A-2000 model. It is made from pro stock leather. It is standard size
as far as catcher’s mitts go. It has the finger sleeve for the index finger
to prevent injury or harm. The standard size is 34 inches in circumference.
It is only made for righties.Price $149.95
Their new A-2000 mitt is made from the new SuperSkin which makes the glove
twice as strong and half the weight. It has extra padding for the palm of
the hand for those hard throwing pitchers. It has a two piece web with a
conventional open back. It is slightly smaller than the previous mitt I have
mentioned. Some catchers like this for control and quickness, personally
I like it bigger. It is tan in color and only is made for right handed throwers.
This is the area where Wilson is well ahead of the competition. Their infielders
gloves are among the best and can frequently be seen on the hands of many
Major Leaguer’s. The newest model of the A-2000 is the 11 1/4 inch glove.
It is black with a gray webbing. It is made from American Steer hide. It
comes with a pre curved finger design which helps in breaking it in and keeping
a good form. The web is the H style. This one only comes in a right handed
thrower model. Price $159.95
The 11 ½ inch model is also an excellent glove that is worn by Cinncinati
Red’s Shortstop, Barry Larkin. It has the Wilson Conform feature built in
which helps adjust the glove to your hand by simply turning the dial. It
also is made of hand selected American Steer hide but this one also has “SuperSkin”.
This feature doubles the strength of the glove and apparently makes it half
the weight. The webbing is in the T style. This one also only is available
in the right handed throw model. Price $199.95
Their best outfielders model is the one worn by San Francisco Giant’s great,
Barry Bonds. It is a very long 12 ½ inch glove that helps reach those
fingertip balls that you so often see just hitting the tip of an outfielders
glove. This glove has the conform system with a twist of the dial it automatically
fits to your hand. It is black and tan in color. It comes in the left handed
or right handed throw model. Price $199.95
Their other 12 ½ inch model features a duel welting pattern and pro
stock leather. It has a fastback single post web. It comes in lefty or righty
models. Price $159.95
Wilson actually makes a glove that is specifically designed just for pitchers.
I know of no other glove manufacturer who does the likes. T is 11 3/4 inches
long and has the new Two Piece webbing that is catching on like a wildfire.
This helps the pitcher hide his grip on the ball with no open holes or visibility
for the hitter to see the pitchers grip on the ball. This glove has the same
Super Skin feature as Barry Larkin’s model I listed for the infielders. This
has the pro sleeve built in for the index finger. Wilson made this feature
available for pitchers because they have been known to tip the pitch to the
hitter by sometimes wiggling that finger or pointing it one way for one pitch
without even knowing. Now they don’t have to worry about that anymore. This
one is made for Lefties and Righties. Price $159.95
Another model for the pitchers is the 12 inch ASO model. It is professional
stock leather made for the pro’s. It has the pre-curved design, it breaks
in very fast, and it’s major feature is the ASO webbing. This also hides
the ball from the hitter very nicely. It comes in left or right hands. Price
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