clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Did Hawk invent the batting glove?

According to a recent piece on, Ken "The Hawk" Harrelson is credited with having been the first player to use a batting glove. Wikipedia, citing The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, confirms the the story. However, there's an obvious inconsistency in his account of the incedent.

The Major League player given credit for first using batting gloves might never have had such a distinction if not for his love of golf and the modest baseball salaries at the time he suited up.

"Well, necessity is the mother of invention," said Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, when asked about the batting glove's inception back in 1963.


According to Harrelson, the Yankees had switched from the scheduled right-handed starter to Whitey Ford, the left-handed Hall of Fame-bound hurler. Harrelson began to take batting practice when he noticed a blister forming on his left hand from the 27 holes of golf.


On the day that Harrelson first used the golf glove to protect his blister, he slugged two home runs. By Harrelson's account, the Yankees' bench jockeys got on him something fierce for using the glove.

Harrelson hit 6 home runs in 1963. All in separate games.

He did, however, hit 2 homers in a game started by Whitey Ford in 1964. So perhaps he just remembered the incorrect year, which isn't too bad considering it was over 40 years ago.