Why are MLB Players Wearing Mittens?

Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the world and has a rich history of traditions and superstitions. One of the most recognizable elements of the game is the players wearing mittens on the field. While the mittens are often seen as a sign of good luck, the history of players wearing them is actually much more complicated. In this article, we’ll explore why Major League Baseball players wear mittens and the history of this unique tradition.

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Origins of the MLB Mittens

The first documented instance of a baseball player wearing mittens dates back to 1875 when the Philadelphia Athletics’ Frank Bancroft wore a pair to keep his hands warm. Since then, the practice has become a common sight in the sport. While the exact reasons for the mittens’ popularity may never be known, one theory is that the mittens help the players to maintain a consistent grip on the bat. This theory has been backed up by research from McKendree University which found that the extra padding of the mittens helps to reduce the grip pressure, allowing for more consistent contact with the ball.

The Practical Benefits of Wearing Mittens on the Field

One of the most obvious reasons for why MLB players wear mittens is that they provide extra protection and warmth for the hands. The heavy material of the mittens helps to keep the players’ hands warm and dry, especially during cold weather games. This is important as cold hands can cause a loss in dexterity, making it more difficult to control the bat. The extra protection of the mittens also helps to prevent calluses and blisters, allowing the player to keep playing without taking a break.

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The Psychological Benefits of Wearing Mittens

As well as the practical benefits of wearing mittens, there are also psychological benefits. Many players view the mittens as a sign of good luck, and wearing them can help to instill a sense of confidence and motivation. It’s also been suggested that the mittens can help to remove some of the pressure from the game, allowing the players to focus on the task at hand.

The Cultural Significance of Wearing Mittens

The mittens have also become a symbol of the game itself, and are often seen as a representation of the camaraderie and brotherhood that is shared between MLB players. The mittens are also seen as a way to honor the game’s past, and many players choose to wear them in order to pay homage to the legends of the sport.

Mittens as a Fashion Statement

In recent years, the mittens have also become a fashion statement. Many players choose to wear brightly colored and patterned mittens, with some even creating their own custom designs. This has made the mittens a popular choice among fans, who often choose to purchase their favorite players’ mitten designs.

The Future of the MLB Mittens

Despite their long history, the mittens have come to be seen as something of a relic in modern baseball. With the introduction of newer, lighter materials, players are beginning to opt for gloves instead of mittens on the field. However, the mittens still remain a popular choice among many players who view them as a sign of good luck and tradition.


The mittens are an integral part of the MLB, and their history and significance should not be overlooked. While the practical benefits of wearing mittens are clear, the psychological and cultural benefits should not be underestimated. The mittens may no longer be the most popular choice on the field, but they remain a symbol of the game and its traditions.