This day in baseball: Leave no equipment behind

On November 3, 1953, the rules committee chose to end the practice of allowing players to leave their gloves on the playing field. Outfielders and infielders were now required to carry their gloves with them into the dugout after each half-inning. Before the controversial change, left fielders, right fielders, first basemen, and third basemen would leave their gloves in foul territory, while center fielders, shortstops, and second basemen would drop their gloves at their position. Plays on the field would take place around the scattered leather.

The rule is outlined in MLB’s Official Rules:

3.10 Equipment on the Field
(a)  Members of the offensive team shall carry all gloves and other
equipment off the field and to the dugout while their team is at
bat. No equipment shall be left lying on the field, either in fair
or foul territory.

baseball glove on field

6 Comments on “This day in baseball: Leave no equipment behind”

  1. mrbill7474 says:

    Wow, I don’t ever remember seeing gloves lying in the field in pre-1953 footage. Hard to believe they’d want to play with leather lying around, what a great way to twist or break an ankle. Very perplexing.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever noticed any, either! I might have to keep a closer eye out, going forward. If it was me, I’d be worried about the other team stealing my mitt. And yeah, good point about the potential for injury.

  2. wkkortas says:

    This robbed us of all the great old-timey stories about players pranking each other’s equipment. C’mon, MLB, bring the fun back!

  3. verdun2 says:

    As I recall, the center fielder dropped his against the outfield wall and the 2nd baseman and shortstop had their just behind the mound. Been a while so I may be wrong.

    • That’s helpful! Doing it that way would certainly cut down on potential injury or play interruptions. I wondered if the middle infielders dropped them behind second base, but behind the mound makes a lot more sense.

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