Title:
Ball glove with finger stalls having multiple weltings
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A ball glove including front and back glove portions, at least first and second weltings, and a webbing. The back glove portion is coupled to the front glove portion to define a hand cavity and to form first, second, third and fourth finger stalls and a thumb stall. Each finger stall includes a front stall portion and a back stall portion. Each back stall portion includes at least three stall segments. The first and second weltings extending along the back stall portion and each welting connects two of the stall segments. The webbing is coupled to, and positioned between, the first finger stall and the thumb stall.



Inventors:
Lin, Hsin Feng (Taichung City, TW)
Aso, Shigeaki (Hoffman Estates, IL, US)
Application Number:
10/413643
Publication Date:
09/11/2008
Filing Date:
04/15/2003
Assignee:
Wilson Sporting Goods Co.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/163, 2/169
International Classes:
A63B71/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TOMPKINS, ALISSA JILL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Wilson Sporting Goods Co. (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A ball glove comprising: a front glove portion; a back glove portion coupled to the front glove portion to define a hand cavity and to form first, second, third and fourth finger stalls and a thumb stall, each finger stall including a front stall portion and a back stall portion, each back stall portion including at least three stall segments; at least first and second weltings extending along the back stall portion, each welting connecting two of the stall segments; and a webbing coupled to, and positioned between, the first finger stall and the thumb stall.

2. The ball glove of claim 1, wherein the back stall portion of at least one finger stall includes four stall segments, and wherein the at least first and second weltings includes first, second and third weltings for connecting the four stall segments.

3. The ball glove of claim 2, wherein the back stall portion of the first, second and third finger stalls each include four stall segments and the first, second and third weltings.

4. The ball glove of claim 1 wherein each of the at least first and second third weltings are spaced apart from each other.

5. The ball glove of claim 2 wherein each back stall portion includes a distal region, a proximal region, and a central region positioned between the distal and proximal regions.

6. The ball glove of claim 5, wherein, and wherein each of the weltings extends from the proximal region along the central region and to the distal region.

7. The ball glove of claim 5, wherein, and wherein each of the weltings extends from the proximal region and along the central region.

8. The ball glove of claim 1, wherein each of the at least three stall segments are formed of substantially the same material.

9. The ball glove of claim 1, wherein at least one of the three stall segments is formed of a first material, and wherein at least another one of the three stall segments is formed of a second material.

10. The ball glove of claim 1, wherein at least one of the finger stalls further includes fourth and fifth weltings, and wherein the fourth and fifth weltings connect the front and back stall portions of the finger stall together.

11. The ball glove of claim 1, further comprising a finger protector connected to the proximal region of the back stall portion of the first finger stall.

12. A ball glove comprising: a front glove portion; a back glove portion coupled to the front glove portion to define a hand cavity and to form a plurality of finger stalls and a thumb stall, each finger stall including a front stall portion and a back stall portion; a set of three elongate and spaced-apart reinforcing strips connected to the back stall portion of at least one finger stall, each reinforcing strip generally longitudinally extending along the back stall portion; and a webbing coupled to, and positioned between one of the finger stalls and the thumb stall.

13. The ball glove of claim 12, wherein the first, second and third finger stalls each include a separate set of the three reinforcing strips.

14. The ball glove of claim 12 wherein each back stall portion includes a distal region, a proximal region, and a central region positioned between the distal and proximal regions.

15. The ball glove of claim 14, wherein each of the reinforcing strips extends from the proximal region along the central region and to the distal region.

16. The ball glove of claim 14, wherein, and wherein each of the reinforcing strips extends from the proximal region and along the central region.

17. The ball glove of claim 12, further comprising a finger protector connected to the proximal region of the back stall portion of the first finger stall.

18. A ball glove comprising: a front glove portion; a back glove portion coupled to the front glove portion to define a hand cavity and to form a plurality of finger stalls, each finger stall including opposing front and back sides and opposing first and second sides, the back side of each finger stall including a proximal region, a distal region, and a central region positioned between the proximal and distal regions; and a set of three weltings connected to the back side of at least one of the finger stalls, each of the three weltings extending along the proximal and central regions of the back side.

19. The ball glove of claim 18 wherein each of the three weltings extends along the proximal, central and distal regions of the back side.

20. The ball glove of claim 18 wherein a separate set of the three weltings is formed on each of at least three separate finger stalls.

21. The ball glove of claim 18 wherein the three weltings are spaced-apart from each other.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a ball glove for baseball, softball and other sports. In particular, the present invention relates to a ball glove having a plurality of finger stalls with at least two weltings reinforcing the back portion of at least one of the finger stalls.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Ball gloves for use in baseball, softball and other sports are well known. Ball gloves typically include a front panel connected to a corresponding back panel to form a hand cavity. The front and back panels typically generally resemble the shape of a human hand and when assembled form five stalls for receiving the thumb and fingers of a user's hand. The front and back panels form a hand opening at the lower edge of the glove. A webbing is typically connected between the thumb stall and the index finger stall of the ball glove. Ball gloves also typically include a hand opening for enabling a user to insert his or her hand into the hand cavity of the ball glove, and, often, an index finger hole for enabling the user's index finger to rest on the back portion of the index finger stall during use.

Many existing ball gloves have drawbacks. First, the finger stalls of many ball gloves can become too flexible after repeated use, and, as a result, will have a tendency to bend backwards when impacted by a ball, particularly, when the ball impacts the forward (or distal) ends of the finger stalls. This backward bending or flexing of the finger stalls can cause the ball, that otherwise would be retained by the glove, to drop. Further, such backward bending can cause the player's fingers to overextend, or otherwise injure the player's fingers. Others have attempted to address this issue by connecting multiple layers of different types of material to further strength the finger stalls and the back panel of the ball glove. Such attempts have resulting in finger stalls of great complexity and multiple materials, increased weight, numerous outwardly extending projections, and/or inefficient positioning of support material.

Another drawback associated with many existing ball gloves is the difficulty in forming and contouring the shape of the glove, and in particular, the finger stalls, to the desired shape, contour or pattern. Many existing glove configurations cannot be contoured to the optimum position or shape.

Thus, there is a continuing need for a ball glove having a finger stalls with reinforcing members optimally positioned on the back portion of the finger stalls to inhibit rearward bending of the finger stalls upon impact with a ball, without negatively affecting the weight, comfort, appearance or performance of the glove. It would also be advantageous to provide a ball glove that provides these advantages in a manner that increases the durability of the glove without substantially increasing the cost or complexity of the glove. There is also a continuing need for a ball glove having finger stalls that can be readily contoured to a desired shape or pattern.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a ball glove including a front glove portion, a back glove portion, at least first and second weltings, and a webbing. The back glove portion is coupled to the front glove portion to define a hand cavity and to form first, second, third and fourth finger stalls and a thumb stall. Each finger stall includes a front stall portion and a back stall portion. Each back stall portion includes at least three stall segments. The first and second weltings extending along the back stall portion and each welting connects two of the stall segments. The webbing is coupled to, and positioned between, the first finger stall and the thumb stall.

According to a principal aspect of a preferred form of the invention, a ball glove includes a front glove portion, a back glove portion, a set of three elongate spaced-apart reinforcing strips, and a webbing. The back glove portion is coupled to the front glove portion to define a hand cavity and to form a plurality of finger stalls and a thumb stall. Each finger stall includes a front stall portion and a back stall portion. The set of reinforcing strips are connected to the back stall portion of at least one finger stall. Each reinforcing strip generally longitudinally extends along the back stall portion. The webbing is coupled to, and positioned between, one of the finger stalls and the thumb stall.

According to another principal aspect of a preferred form of the invention, a ball glove includes front and back glove portions, and at least one set of three weltings. The back glove portion is coupled to the front glove portion to define a hand cavity and to form a plurality of finger stalls. Each finger stall includes opposing front and back sides and opposing first and second sides. The back side of each finger stall includes a proximal region, a distal region, and a central region positioned between the proximal and distal regions. The set of triple welting is connected to the back side of at least one of the finger stalls. Each of the three weltings extends along the proximal and central regions of the back side.

This invention will become more fully understood from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings described herein below, and wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a ball glove in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an end view of the ball glove of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a finger stall of the ball glove taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a ball glove is indicated generally at 10. The ball glove 10 is configured for use in baseball, softball, hockey and other sports involving ball gloves. The ball glove 10 can also be referred to as a mitt. The present invention is directly applicable to any ball glove or ball mitt including, for example, a first baseman mitt and a catcher's mitt. The ball glove 10 includes a front glove portion 12, a back glove portion 14 and a webbing 16. The front and back portions 12 and 14 are contoured sheet-like structures, each resembling a hand. The front and back portions 12 and 14 are connected together to define a hand cavity 18, and to form first, second, third and fourth finger stalls 20, 22, 24, 26, and a thumb stall 28. The front and back portions 12 and 14 are preferably stitched together. In one preferred embodiment, the front and back portions 12 and 14 are coupled together through the use of weltings. Alternatively, the front and back portions 12 and 14 can be connected through other means, such as, for example, bonding, molding or adhesives. The front portion 12 covers and protects the palm-side of the user's hand from impact with the ball. The back portion 14 supports the front portion 12 and protects the backside of the user's hand. The front and back portions 12 and 14 are made of a pliable, durable, and relatively soft material, preferably leather. In alternative preferred embodiments, the front and back portions 12 and 14 can be made of other materials, such as, for example, artificial leather, composite leather, rubber and plastic. The webbing 16 is a generally flat structure that is connected, and preferably stitched, to the front and back portions 12 and 14 between the first finger stall 20 and the thumb stall 28.

The finger stalls 20-26 and the thumb stall 28 are elongate cavities adapted for receiving the fingers and thumb of the user. Each finger stall 20-26 includes a front stall portion 30 and a back stall portion 32, and each back stall portion 32 includes a distal region 34, a proximal region 36 and a central region 37 positioned between the distal and proximal regions 34 and 36. The front and back stall portions 30 and 32 are coupled to each other, preferably through fourth and fifth weltings 38 and 40 and a stitching. Alternatively, the front and back stall portions 30 and 32 can be connected through other means, such as, for example, stitching only, bonding, or molding.

The back stall portion 32 preferably includes at least three stall segments coupled together by at least two separate weltings, wherein each welting connects two of the at least three stall segments. In a particularly preferred embodiment, the back stall portion 32 includes first, second, third and fourth stall segments 44, 46, 48 and 50 connected together by first, second and third weltings 52, 54 and 56. The stall segments 44-50 are elongate strips of material, preferably positioned generally side by side, and longitudinally extending along the back stall portion 32. Each stall segment includes first and second opposing side edges, and is formed of a flexible, durable material, preferably a leather. Alternatively, first, second, third and fourth stall segments 44, 46, 48 and 50 can be formed of other materials, such as, for example, a synthetic leather, a composite leather, a plastic, a rubber or a combination thereof. The stall segments can be formed of one or more colors and/or textures, or differing colors and/or textures.

Each of the first, second and third weltings 52, 54 and 56 is an elongate bar of durable, stitchable material, preferably leather. Alternatively, the welting can be formed of any material that is capable of being stitched, such as, for example, synthetic leather, polymeric materials, rubbers, and combinations thereof. The weltings can be formed of one or more colors or textures, and the ball glove 10 can include weltings of various colors or textures. In another alternative preferred embodiment, the welting can be formed of a non-stitchable material and connected to the stall segments through alternative means, such as, bonding, adhesives, buckles, snap-fit connections or other conventional fasteners. Preferably, the material of each welting has a higher stiffness, and preferably a higher hardness, than the material of the finger and thumb stalls 20-28. In a particularly preferred embodiment, the welting is configured with a generally rectangular cross-sectional area, which facilitates the alignment, and connection, of the welting to the back stall segments. In alternative preferred embodiments, the welting can be configured with one or more other, cross-sectional shapes, such as, for example, square, oval, circular, polygonal, t-shaped or irregular.

The weltings 52, 54 and 56 are configured to support the finger and thumb stalls 20-28 and to inhibit rearward bending of the finger and thumb stalls 20-28 when the stalls are impacted by a ball, particularly when impacted at the tip or distal end of the finger stalls 20-26. The weltings 52, 54 and 56 enable the glove to retain its form and facilitate catching of a ball by resisting undesirable deformation of the finger and thumb stall 20-28 which can lead to a dropped ball. The weltings 52, 54 and 56 also help prevent overextending, overstressing or other injury to the player's fingers by inhibiting rearward bending of the player's fingers.

Further, the weltings 52, 54, 56 enable the ball glove, and in particular, the finger and thumb stalls to be contoured into a desired or preferred shape. The weltings facilitate the ability to curve or otherwise form the finger and thumb stalls, such as, for example, about a longitudinal axis of the stall or into various desired cross-sectional shapes. The weltings further enable the ball glove to retain its desired shape over time and after extended use. The weltings also improve the appearance of the ball glove, without radically departing from conventional ball glove designs.

The weltings 52, 54 and 56 are preferably stitched to one or more finger stall segments or finger stall portions. In alternative preferred embodiments, the weltings can be connected to the finger stall segments and/or portions through other means such as, for example, bonding, adhesives, snap-fit connectors or other conventional fasteners.

Each welting preferably longitudinally extends along one of the finger stalls or the thumb stall. The weltings are preferably spaced apart with respect to each other. The weltings can extend over one or more of the proximal, central and distal regions 36, 37 and 34 of the back stall portion 32. In a preferred embodiment each of the at least two weltings extend over at least 30 percent of the length of the back stall portion 32 of the finger stall. In a particularly preferred embodiment, each of the weltings extend over at least 50 percent of the back stall portion 32 of the stall. In one particularly preferred embodiment, the back stall portion 32 of at least three finger stalls 20, 22 and 24 each include first, second and third weltings 52, 54 and 56, wherein the weltings extend along the proximal and central regions 36 and 37 of the back stall portion 32. In another particularly preferred embodiment, the back stall portion 32 of at least three finger stalls 20, 22 and 24 each include first, second and third weltings 52, 54 and 56, wherein the weltings extend along the proximal, central and distal regions 36, 37 and 34 of the back stall portion 32. In alternative preferred embodiments, the back stall portion 32 of each finger stall can include two or more weltings wherein each welting extends over at least one of the proximal, central and distal regions 36, 37 and 34. One or more of the first, second and third weltings 52, 54, and 54 can also extend further up the back glove portion 14 beyond the finger and thumb stalls.

Referring to FIG. 3, in one particularly preferred embodiment, the four finger stall segments 44-50 and the first, second and third weltings 52, 54 and 56 are coupled together in the following manner. The first edge of the first finger stall segment 44 is coupled to the front stall portion 30 through the fourth welting 38, and the second edge is coupled to the first edge of the second finger stall segment 46 through the first welting 52. The second edge of the second finger stall segment 46 is coupled to the first edge of the third finger stall segment 48 through the second welting 54. The second edge of the third finger stall segment 48 is then coupled to the first end of the fourth finger stall segment 50 through the third welting 56. Finally, the second edge of the fourth finger stall 50 is coupled to the front stall portion 30 through the fifth welting 40. Each of the weltings 52, 54, 56, 38 and 40 are preferably attached to the finger stall segments and/or portions through stitchings 60, 62, 64, 66, and 68, respectively.

In an alternative preferred embodiment, the back stall portion 32 can be formed of one or more stall segments, and two or more weltings can be applied to the surface of the back stall portion 32 without coupling two or more back stall portions together. In another alternative preferred embodiment, one or more of the weltings 52, 54 and 56 can be formed of two or more welting segments, which can be positioned end to end or can be spaced apart from one another.

Referring to FIG. 1, the back glove portion 14 also preferably includes an index finger protector 70 formed into, or connected to, the first finger stall 20. The index finger protector 70 provides the user with the flexibility of leaving his or her index finger within the first finger stall 20 or on the back side of the first finger stall 20.

While the preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described and illustrated, numerous departures therefrom can be contemplated by persons skilled in the art. For example, one or more of the weltings can be releasably connected to the glove. Therefore, the present invention is not limited to the foregoing description but only by the scope and spirit of the appended claims.





 
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