2021 Wilson Glove Day Stories from Spring Training
See how Wilson is delivering new ball gloves to Spring Training camps in Arizona and Florida.
03/05/21 – Virtual Glove Day for Atlanta
Wilson Glove Day took on a new look on Friday in North Port, turning to Zoom for a virtual Glove Day with Atlanta. Wilson Senior Glove Designer Ryan Smith made the 6:30 a.m. trip to Atlanta camp with the team’s custom gloves and two glove bags filled with more than 30 sample A2K® and A2000® glove and mitt patterns. After dropping off gloves in North Port, Smith promptly turned around so he could meet with players over Zoom and help them pick out new gamers for 2021.
Atlanta players went through the bags with Smith on the call, seeking out their preferred glove patterns for the new season. After selecting a glove and telling Smith what they like, players returned the sample glove to the bags. Following the virtual Glove Day Zoom call, Smith fulfilled the orders, bringing gloves to the team facility based on what the players selected.
Left-handed pitcher Kyle Muller was the first player to step up to the computer and glove bags on Friday morning. After reviewing his options, the 6-foot-7 pitching prospect picked out an A2000® A12. Featuring the Pro-Laced T-Web and a wide, round pocket, the A2000 A12 is perfect for changing pitch grips and concealing the ball on the mound.
Utility player Johan Camargo, who has experience at all four infield positions and the outfield corners over the last two years, ordered a pair of custom gloves, and he also stopped by to visit Smith and find a fresh gamer for the outfield. Camargo picked out a Black A2000® 1799, the 12.75” pattern with a popular Dual Post Web.
Starting pitcher Ian Anderson, who burst onto the scene in 2020 with a 1.95 ERA in his rookie season, received his two custom A2K® D33 ball gloves and spotlighted them on his Instagram account (@ian_anderson15). One glove features Navy and Sky Blue leather, and he personalized the glove with his initials and uniform number, “IA 48.” His second custom features Black SnakeSkin™ with Red Bold Logos for a sharp look.
Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson, Atlanta’s star middle infielders, also received their custom gloves on Friday. Albies received a fresh A2K OA1, his eye-catching Game Model glove with Red Pro Stock® Select leather and Bold Wilson Yellow Logos. Swanson kept his classic look at shortstop with a Dark Brown A2000 1787. The 11.75” model has the extra reach Swanson prefers on the left side of the infield, and he highlights his team colors with Navy Blues laces and Red logos.
After his virtual Glove Day, Smith packed and organized his bags one final time for the spring. He set aside gloves for Detroit players for a drop-off in Lakeland, then stored away remaining gloves destined for Wilson HQ. Smith saw plenty of early mornings during his Florida tour, and 2021 Glove Days are now in the books. #TeamWilson is ready to go, and we can’t wait for Opening Day on April 1.
3/4/21 – Philadelphia Glove Day in Clearwater
Another morning, another stop on Wilson’s Glove Day tour across Florida’s Gulf Coast. Wilson Senior Glove Designer Ryan Smith continued delivering A2K® and A2000® ball gloves to big league Spring Training camps on Thursday, driving up to Pinellas County for a stop in Clearwater to visit Philadelphia camp. After arriving around 7 a.m., Smith took a rapid COVID-19 test and set up his glove bags outside the team facility.
Smith organized his ball gloves to meet with Wilson Advisory Staff members from the City of Brotherly Love, but he was greeted first by the team’s skipper. Joe Girardi, a former big-league catcher, and current Philadelphia Manager, often sported a Wilson mitt during his playing days.
“First out of the gate was longtime Wilson Advisory Staff member and very good friend of the program, Joe Girardi,” Smith said. “He stopped by. He likes a little catcher’s mitt because he’s kind of old school, so he grabbed the A2000 1791 SuperSkin™.”
The A2000 1791 checks in at 32.5,” one of Wilson’s smallest catcher’s mitts. The popular pattern features an extended palm, wide web and stiff thumb, giving Girardi everything he needs to work with his team.
Nick Maton, a 24-year-old infield prospect, was the first player to greet Smith. He picked up one custom glove as well as a an A2000 1787, an 11.75” pattern with extra length preferred by many shortstops and third basemen.
Following Maton, outfielder Roman Quinn stepped up to grab his custom A2000 Y, a 12.75” glove with a Y-Web designed to channel the ball into a consistent pocket. Quinn, one of only a small handful of big leaguers to use the A2000 Y pattern, customized his glove with Grey SuperSkin, a Black Y-Web and a Black lightning bolt embroidered on the thumb.
“That was a pretty slick touch,” Smith said of Quinn’s thumb personalization.
Quinn, who spends most of his defensive innings in center field, also picked up a Black and Blonde A2000 1786, Wilson’s iconic 11.5” infield pattern, for use as a training glove in the outfield.
Outfielder Mickey Moniak, the No.1 overall pick in the 2016 MLB amateur draft, picked up a custom Black and Red A2000 1799 with SuperSkin on Glove Day. His custom glove featured Black Pro Stock® Leather with a Black SuperSkin back, and he gave it some color with Red Bold Logos and Red stitching. On the thumb, Moniak personalized his glove with the image of a heart and the word “PAPA.” The A2000 1799, which checks in at 12.75,” has the extra reach Moniak prefers to roam the outfield grass. The glove’s lightweight SuperSkin will help Moniak get to even more fly balls, and the durable material will hold up in all weather conditions.
Aaron Nola, who pitches with an A2000 CK22 — the right-handed version of Clayton Kershaw’s Game Model glove, will once again sport a new custom this season. Even with his gloves set for the season, the Philadelphia ace took some time on Thursday to talk about glove technologies with Smith.
“He came out and talked about gloves. He wanted to check out SnakeSkin,” Smith said. “So I told him the difference between SnakeSkin and SuperSnakeSkin.”
After visiting with players and checking all the names off his list, Smith packed up and prepared for one last stop — a visit with Atlanta camp in North Port for a virtual Glove Day on Friday.
03/03/21 – Glove Day for Tampa Bay in Port Charlotte
Time to bring some new gamers to the reigning league champions. On Wednesday morning, Wilson Senior Glove Designer Ryan Smith made the trek to Port Charlotte to host a Glove Day for Tampa Bay at their Spring Training facility. After taking another rapid COVID-19 test early in the morning, Smith was able to set his station up outside, organizing his A2K® and A2000® ball gloves and putting up a tent for shade.
Infielder Joey Wendle was the first Tampa Bay player to meet Smith on Wednesday, and the slick fielder picked up a pair of custom A2K ball gloves to handle his duties at third base, second base and shortstop. His custom A2K G5 featured Walnut leather and checks in at 11.75” for his work in the middle infield, and his custom A2K 1721 in Saddle Tan is 12” for his work at the hot corner. Both of Wendle’s gloves, which he customized in the offseason, feature the American flag palm stamp and Navy Blue Wilson Bold Logos. According to Smith, Wendle is always willing to provide feedback and ideas when it comes to new gloves.
“He’s always one of my favorite conversations of the year because something always comes out of it,” Smith said.
Cuban outfielder Randy Arozarena, a 2020 postseason breakout star, customized a pair of A2K MB50 outfield gloves. Both feature White Wilson Bold Logos and a Red, White and Royal Blue colorway — matching the Cuban flag. One of his custom gloves used Red and White leather with Royal Blue laces, while the other featured Red and White leather, Blue SuperSkin and Red laces. To personalize his gloves, Arozarena had his name embroidered on each thumb.
Postseason hero Brett Phillips, who famously flew around the outfield grass after his walk-off hit last October, customized two A2000 1799 outfield gloves. One features White SuperSkin and Blonde leather with Navy laces and Navy Bold Logos, while his second custom glove used Black SuperSnakeSkin with Vintage Tan leather and White Bold Logos. At 12.75” the A2000 1799 provides the extra length that outfielders prefer, and its reinforced Dual Post Web is popular for its durability.
Starting Pitcher Rich Hill, who joined Tampa Bay as a free agent signing in the offseason, designed a custom A2000 B125 for in-game use, and he also received a custom A2000 OTIF for his son. Featuring SuperSnakeSkin and a Mariner Green colorway, the 11.5” six-finger glove caught Smith’s attention on Glove Day.
Players were not the only guys to get in on Wednesday’s Glove Day action. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash stopped by to pick up a glove for his son. The skipper grabbed an A2000 1788, an 11.25” infield model with Wilson’s iconic H-Web.
Another successful Glove Day is in the books. Ryan Smith’s Florida tour continues with a trip to Clearwater, where he will deliver gloves to Philadelphia Spring Training.
03/02/21 – Glove Day for Pittsburgh in Bradenton
After an off-day on Monday to regroup and reorganize his supply of A2K® and A2000® ball gloves, Wilson Senior Glove Designer Ryan Smith got back on the road on Tuesday to host a Glove Day at Pittsburgh camp in Bradenton. Smith arrived at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, set up his glove bags outside the team facility, and greeted Pittsburgh players with fresh leather.
Third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, who built a custom A2000 KBH13 Game Model glove for 2021, met with Smith to grab his two custom gloves for the new season. Based on the A2000 1787 pattern, the 11.75” A2000 KBH13 features Black Pro Stock® Leather with the iconic Wilson H-Web and a Black SuperSnakeSkin™ back to cut glove weight and improve durability. One of Hayes’s custom gloves features a Blonde H-Web, while the other uses Gunmetal leather for the web.
According to Smith, Hayes was amazed by each of his custom gloves.
“He hadn’t seen the touches that I had put on it,” Smith said, noting special characteristics like the yellow outlines he added around the black Wilson Bold Logos. “He loves them. He thinks they look good.”
Hayes, who got his first taste of the big leagues in 2020, posted three defensive runs saved in only 24 games last season. He is now poised to handle the hot corner full-time in Pittsburgh.
Outfielder Bryan Reynolds, entering his third year in the bigs, has experience at all three outfield spots and needed gloves to help him range across the grass and steal hits from opposing batters. He first picked out an A2000 1799 in Saddle Tan, an outfield glove featuring the reliable and popular Dual Post Web. He then grabbed a Black A2000 1800SS out of the bag, an outfield glove with a Single Post Web designed to channel the ball into a deep pocket. With SuperSkin™, the A2000 1800SS is durable and lightweight to help Reynolds cover more ground. Both glove patterns check in at 12.75” for the extra reach that many outfielders prefer.
Outfielder Dustin Fowler, acquired by Pittsburgh from Oakland in a February trade, picked up his custom A2000 1799 with Grey Pro Stock® leather and Black SnakeSkin. Will Craig, who made his big league debut at first base in 2020 and expects to handle the infield corners in 2021, picked up an A2000 1617 for his first base duties and an A2000 DW5SS for his potential work at third.
After another successful Glove Day, Smith packed up his remaining gloves around 9:15 a.m. and got back to work preparing for the rest of a busy week. The next stop? Port Charlotte for Tampa Bay spring training on Wednesday.
02/27-28/21 – Glove Days across the Bay for Toronto and New York
Over the weekend, Wilson Senior Glove Designer Ryan Smith made the northward trek over Tampa Bay across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to meet with a pair of division rivals, delivering gloves to Toronto camp in Dunedin and New York spring training in Tampa.
On Saturday, Smith arrived at Toronto’s new Dunedin training facility around 7 a.m. After taking a rapid COVID-19 test, he organized his glove bags and met with Toronto ball players searching for new gamers.
Austin Martin, Toronto’s first-round pick out of Vanderbilt University in the 2020 MLB draft, picked out a pair of infield patterns for his first professional season. Martin, who spent most of his college career between third base and the outfield, grabbed an A2K 1786 and an A2000 1716 out of the bag. Both patterns come in at 11.5” to handle infield work.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. stepped outside to meet Smith, and the Cuban utility player picked up an A2000 1787 for potential infield duty. Gurriel Jr. split time between shortstop, second base and left field during his rookie season in 2018, but he played more defensive innings in left field during 2019 and 2020. In 2021, armed with his 11.75” A2000 1787, Gurriel Jr. will be prepared to handle infield work. For his duties in the outfield, Gurriel Jr. will continue to be one of the few big leaguers to use a custom A2000 Y in the outfield, featuring the unique Y web designed to help channel balls into the pocket of the glove.
Infielder Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who primarily handled third base in 2019 before manning first base in 2020, will once again be focused on the corners. He designed a custom A2000 VG27 GM glove in the offseason, which offers a 12.25” length to give him the extra reach he likes as a third baseman. He will continue using an A2000 1613 for any work that comes his way at first base. Starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu, whose custom ball glove boasts a silhouette of his pitching motion embroidered on the wrist, also stopped by on Saturday, and he will sport a new custom glove with a Dual Hinge Web to conceal his pitch grips this season.
Tampa, round 2 - Wilson delivers gloves to position players
Sunday marked the start of Spring Training games, and Smith returned to Tampa before New York’s opener to host a Glove Day for position players. Before taking on Toronto, New York players came outside one by one on Sunday morning to pick up their new gloves.
Miguel Andujar, back in action at third base after working his way back from 2019 shoulder surgery, picked up a pair of custom A2000 DW5 ball gloves that he designed in the offseason. At 12,” the A2000 DW5 offers the extra length third basemen prefer.
Outfielder Mike Tauchman received a pair of custom ball gloves that he designed in the offseason. His custom A2000 KP92 features Navy laces and logos, and he personalized the 12.5” ball glove with his name embroidered on the thumb. His second custom glove, an A2000 1799 with a watermelon theme, boasts Flamingo Pink leather with Mariner Green laces.
Finally, outfielder Clint Frazier - who received his gamer on Friday - came out to pick up his two remaining custom A2000 KP92 outfield gloves. Frazier created some buzz during the offseason when he unveiled his new gloves on social media and showed off how he based the custom designs on some of his favorite shoes. One of his new customs features Blonde and Pink Leather with white laces, while the other uses Silver leather with Saddle Tan Wilson Bold Logos.
After an off-day on Monday, Smith will continue his Florida travels on Tuesday with a Glove Day at the Pittsburgh Spring Training site in Bradenton. He will follow that up on Wednesday with a visit to Tampa Bay camp in Port Charlotte.
2/26/21 - Glove Day for Baltimore in Sarasota
Wilson’s Ryan Smith hosted his second Glove Day of the spring, visiting Baltimore camp in Sarasota to deliver new A2K and A2000 ball gloves. Smith arrived at the Baltimore Spring Training complex at 6:30 a.m., beating sunrise on Florida’s Gulf Coast by more than 20 minutes. He then took a rapid test for COVID-19 before his masked interactions with any members of the team.
Smith, Wilson’s Senior Glove Designer, set up shop outside the team facility with his glove bags filled with Pro Stock ball gloves. Shortly after getting his glove bags organized, Smith was met by Baltimore ballplayers seeking to pick up their custom gloves or browse for new 2021 leather. Smith said the Baltimore players – Rio Ruiz, Jahmai Jones, Anthony Santander and Chris Shaw – knew exactly which glove patterns they were looking for when they stepped out of the training complex on Friday morning.
Rio Ruiz, who spent most of 2020 at third base, but also played second base and left field, picked up a pair of custom A2000 ball gloves he designed in the off-season to help him handle multiple positions in 2021.
“He had two customs. One was a 1786, and the other one was a 1781, and that’s a 12.25” for third base,” Smith said. “They were both Black and Gray, nice looking customs.”
The 12.25” A2000 1781 boasts added length that third basemen prefer. The A2000 1786, Wilson’s iconic Pro Stock infield glove pattern, checks in at 11.5” length to handle Ruiz’s potential work at second base.
Each of Ruiz’s gloves featured Black Pro Stock leather, and he gave his new gamers some character with Gray accents and Gray Wilson classic logos. While his A2000 1781 features Black laces, his A2000 1786 uses Gray laces.
Infielder Jahmai Jones, who Baltimore acquired in a February trade for Alex Cobb, picked out an A2K 1786 from the glove bag. Jones, who began his minor league career in the outfield before later making the switch to second base, made his big league debut at the keystone with Los Angeles (AL) in 2020. Jones played strictly at second base in 2020, and the 11.5” A2K 1786 will help the 23-year-old pro handle the middle infield in 2021.
Both Baltimore outfielders who picked up fresh leather on Glove Day opted for the same pattern this year, the A2000 1799.
Anthony Santander, coming off a 2020 season in which he racked up 8 Defensive Runs Saved and 1.7 Wins Above Replacement, picked out a pair of A2000 1799 ball gloves, Wilson’s 12.75” outfield glove with a dual post web. Santander opted for two different colorways for his outfield gloves – one in Black and the other in Saddle Tan. Chris Shaw, who Baltimore acquired from San Francisco in November, picked up the same outfield glove pattern in Blonde.
After his stop in Sarasota, Smith moved on to spend the weekend in the Tampa Bay area, hosting Glove Days at Toronto camp in Dunedin and New York Spring Training in Tampa.
2/25/21 - Wilson Delivers New York Pitcher Gloves in Tampa
Let’s get to work. Wilson Senior Glove Designer Ryan Smith kicked off Spring Training on Thursday with Glove Day for New York pitchers at their facility in Tampa. During his first stop of spring, Smith delivered fresh leather to pinstriped pitchers like dominant lefty reliever Zack Britton and newcomer Jameson Taillon, a starter acquired from Pittsburgh in a January trade.
As seasoned veterans, Britton and Taillon know what they like in their customs, and the New York pitchers were excited to get their hands on some fresh ball gloves this week. When describing Glove Day, Taillon summarized it perfectly.
“Better than Christmas morning,” he said as he picked up a pair of A2K ASO custom gloves. His two new gloves came in Vintage Tan and Walnut, both featuring pro sleeves on the back to help him from tipping pitches. Taillon personalized his Vintage Tan model with “J Taillon 50” embroidered on the thumb, and his Walnut glove with “Jamo 50” in the same spot.
Britton shared his plans to use a new glove in 2021, potentially replacing a gamer that he has used for most of his professional career, dating all the way back to his minor league days in 2007. Britton’s custom A2000 B2 ball glove features Black Pro Stock Leather and the Texas A2000 palm stamp, paying homage to his Texas high school roots. His fresh leather boasts iconic Yellow Wilson logos, and Britton personalized his glove with his name embroidered on the thumb.
Fans in the Bronx will see lots of Wilson Pro Stock gloves coming out of the pen. Reliever Darren O’Day stopped by to place an order for his new Wilson glove, Aroldis Chapman will once again sport an A2K CJW and camp invitee and minor league pitcher Glenn Otto picked an A2K B2 out of Smith’s glove bag.
New York split camp between pitchers and position players on Thursday, so more players will receive their gloves over the weekend. Smith did make sure to leave one of outfielder Clint Frazier’s custom gloves with the team equipment manager. Team staff then delivered the custom A2000 KP92 across Dale Mabry Highway to the position players’ workout, and Frazier was spotted wearing it on Thursday.
After handing over gloves and checking the final names off his list, Smith packed his bags and began preparing for a weekend with more teams in New York’s division – when he’ll visit Baltimore camp in Sarasota and Toronto camp in Dunedin.
After an offseason spent meeting virtually with some of baseball’s best players and designing new custom gamers and additions to the Game Model lineup, our Wilson Ball Glove team is set to deliver fresh leather to Spring Training camps across Arizona and Florida this spring. The offseason took on a new look for Wilson Master Craftsman Shigeaki Aso and Senior Glove Designer Ryan Smith. Instead of meeting with players in person at the Wilson headquarters, Ryan and Aso took to Zoom with Advisory Staff members to build their gloves for 2021.
Players like Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson, Detroit pitcher Matthew Boyd, Cincinnati pitcher Sean Doolittle, and New York outfielder Clint Frazier called in from across the country to revamp their glove designs and get ready for the new season in 2021, and we have found flexible solutions to continue creating the best gloves available. While Wilson Glove Day will have a different look this year, we are excited to distribute new A2000® and A2K® gloves to the world’s best baseball players.
Throughout the spring, we will continue to update you on the latest insider news from big league camps. Follow along for everything from pro custom glove design sessions with Wilson Advisory Staff members to close-up photos of custom leather for stars like Oakland third baseman Matt Chapman, reigning world champion Mookie Betts, rising star Ke’Bryan Hayes and MVP José Abreu.
You can check back here throughout the spring for new blog posts detailing the sights and sounds from Spring Training, including updates from Ryan and Aso. Be sure to follow @wilsonballglove on Instagram and Twitter as players highlight their own experiences at camp, showing off what it is like to receive new gloves and prepare for the upcoming season. For all the 2021 Wilson Glove Day action, stay locked in on #TeamWilson.