If you were to take a poll of the JustGloves’ Glove Experts asking them how often the Heart of the Hides (HOH) or A2000s get brought up in conversations with customers, I would be willing to bet that their answer would tell that in over 50% of interactions, those two series of gloves get mentioned. The HOHs and A2000s are the universal benchmark when discussing softball or baseball gloves.
For example, a mother calls in trying to buy a new glove for her ten year old son. She knows from her other son’s playing days that those two series are the standards for glove quality. And after she is suggested a certain glove for her young player, she asks the burning question, “Well, how is this going to compare to a Heart of the Hide or an A2000?”
Or you might have a father shopping for his young daughter’s first glove. He knows from his experience playing baseball in college that the HOH and A2000 rule the glove world. One of our Experts suggests a glove like the Rawlings R9 or Wilson A1000. This dad feels the question welling up and lets it rip, “Yeah, but how will this glove stack up next to an A2000 or a Heart of the Hide?”
We think that you get the picture. The glove world runs through the Heart of the Hides and A2000s. But we bet that you might be wondering how they stack up one against the other...
When released for Spring Training of 1957, the Wilson A2000 took the sporting goods scene by storm. Up to that year, gloves were made to mimic the anatomical shape of a human hand.
However, this new glove that only vaguely imitated a human hand allowed players to dive for baseballs and feel confident that they’ll catch or stop the ball. The glove critics of the late 50’s bestowed unflattering, but telling, praise on the A2000 saying that it was the first glove “without a major flaw”.
While Wilson created something that didn’t look much like a human hand but did something better. Their A2000 would ultimately allow a glove to feel like an extension of a player’s hand.
Nearly 70 years laters, the Wilson A2000 is still iconic as they've maintained a level of consistency with each glove they've crafted in this series.
Customers know its look. Ten of ten times, they’re going to see that distinct Wilson “W” on the thumb backing of the glove. Ten out of ten times they’ll see “A2000” printed in block letters on the index finger backing of the glove.
Customers know its feel. The Pro Stock leather used by Wilson to create the A2000s offers the perfect amount of stiffness. It’s provides the perfect canvas for allowing the glove to perfectly mold to your hand while not taking months to get into game-ready shape.
An A2000 is a glove you can use as your gamer and be proud to give it to your son, daughter or grandchild when you’re done with it.
The Heart of the Hide
The late 50’s were a key time period for the advancement of glove innovation and culture. As mentioned above, Wilson crafted the A2000 for Spring Training in 1957. It seems as though Rawlings may have felt pressure to bolster their marketing and innovation efforts immediately following the release of the new Wilson glove. First came a genius marketing tactic as Rawlings presented the inaugural Gold Glove Awards to the best nine fielders in professional baseball following the 1957 season.
Rawlings rode the wave of notoriety into the ‘58 season when they introduced their XPG model of glove that was built from “Heart of the Hide” leather. Eventually, that “Heart of the Hide” moniker used to describe the leather became so popular, that it took over as the actual name of the glove series.
The marketing and innovation efforts of Rawlings have been sustained for nearly seven decades. From a publicity standpoint, the Gold Glove is arguably the most covered baseball award. And if you want testimony that speaks to the quality of the Heart of the Hides in today’s game, here you go: In 2022, What Pros Wear reported that 55% of starting professional baseball players used Rawlings gloves. Further, they have reported that there is a pretty even split between those players using the HOH series or the Pro Preferred series. In conclusion, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that one out of every four big leaguers uses a Heart of the Hide.
What’s Different Between a Heart of the Hide & an A2000?
As you can probably tell, both lines are illustrious and both have quite a following amongst ball players, but what is different between the Heart of the Hide and the A2000? Let’s dive in…
- Backings - While both Rawlings and Wilson offer options when it comes to alternative glove backings, both companies have slightly different variations.
- A2000 - Wilson offers the most iconic alternative glove backing with their SuperSkin material. It was pioneered by their Glove Guru Aso in the late 90s and its origin story is pretty neat. They’ve innovated it in recent years to create Super SnakeSkin which offers similar lightweight benefits, but provides a refreshed look.
- Heart of the Hide - Although their alternative glove backings may not be as iconic as SuperSkin, Rawlings offers many options. You can choose from their Speed Shell & Hyper Shell which will lower the overall weight of the glove. In addition, they offer mesh backings plus leather imprints on select gloves (the imprints can make a glove’s leather look like crocodile skin). They even have a new geo print design that can add a topographical flair to your glove.
- A2000 Glove Technology - Select A2000s will display the features below. You won’t find these on Rawlings gloves.
- Spin Control - This technology exists in the form of hundreds of circular indents (or dimples) on the catching surface of the glove. These dimples increase friction on the ball by up to 5% and should help prevent baseballs from spinning out of a catch.
- Flat Finger Binding - Wilson adds Flat Finger Binding to their A2000s by adding an extra line of stitching into the binding just above the knuckles of a player’s hand while it is in the glove. The extra line of stitching makes it easier for a fielder to wear their index finger on the outside of the glove if they wish to do so.
- Heart of the Hide Glove Technology - The attributes listed below are unique to select Rawlings Heart of the Hides. Wilson gloves will not display these glove advancements.
- Hand Sewn Welting - This is one of the coolest pops of craftsmanship that exists on gloves. If you want to add a touch of subtle swagger to your glove, seek out a Heart of the Hide with Hand Sewn Welting on it. Check out what Hand Sewn Welting looks like below on Sierra Romero's gamer glove:
- Fastback Design - Although it is becoming more rare, Rawlings will produce some of their outfield gloves with their signature Fastback design. This is a single hole for the index finger to come out of if a player wants to wear their glove in that manner. This feature typically only comes on select Rawlings outfield gloves.
As you can probably tell, we had to reach to find the differences between these two lines of gloves. Most of the differences that exist are going to be the inherent and minute details that simply come from the two gloves being made by different companies.
What’s The Same Between An A2000 & Heart of the Hide?
Because of how strongly these two gloves are linked within the equipment, tradition and nomenclature of America’s pastime; we believe that it is fair to say that the Rawlings Heart of the Hides and Wilson A2000s are quite similar when it comes to their essential aspects.
The leather quality of both series are time-tested and loved by players. Rawlings uses US Steerhide on their Heart of the Hide gloves. Due to the nature of steerhide (it’s harvested from a young animal that had less lifetime to grow a belly and stretch the hide), it is a stiff material.
Wilson is more coy in how they market the leather for their A2000s. They call their A2000 material Pro Stock Leather. Its characteristics are similar to what is seen on Heart of the Hides. Due to that, we would infer that steerhide is mostly being used to make A2000s.
As mentioned above, both materials are stiff in their feel. And due to that, you can expect to invest extra effort to get the gloves broken into a game-ready feel (i.e. a few weeks of using the glove consistently). However, both Rawlings and Wilson offer select models of their signature lines that should come with easier break-ins. The Heart of the Hides will have their R2G models which receive extra softening in the factory and also have a thinned out heel pad that should require only 35% of the break-in to be done by the player (Rawlings says a regular Heart of the Hide will require 60% of the break-in to be done by the player). Wilson also offers a remedy to the longer break-in and that is their SuperSkin material that was mentioned previously. Not only does SuperSkin provide lightweight benefits, but it also makes a glove easier to break in.
Another thing at which both series are exceptional is offering an array of fits so that different ages and genders of players can use them. Both the Heart of the Hides and the A2000s will have youth options available. Rawlings has come out with their ContoUR fit models that have an adjusted hand opening and finger stalls to allow a young player’s hand to fit securely in the glove. Similarly, the A2000 can be found in the Pedroia or DP15 fit (Dustin Pedroia #15). Although it is named after a former big leaguer, Dustin liked his gloves to fit extremely tight on his smaller hand. After launching this style of glove to the public, Wilson found that this glove was perfect for introducing players to the A2000 series early in their careers.
And be sure to note that both the HOH and A2000 are available for fastpitch players too. If you see a model of either series with the “Fastpitch” distinction on it, be sure to know that the glove has been designed with a fit for a lady’s hand!
Shop Heart of the Hide Fastpitch
Lastly, both gloves are going to sell at similar price points. When first released, an A2000 or Heart of the Hide will typically run a customer right at the $300 level. This is a higher cost, but due to the material used and the craftsmanship that goes into the glove, we think that it will be worth the investment. Furthermore, if you work to care for this glove, you’ll be satisfied with how long the glove serves you. But if you’re looking for a deal on a HOH or A2000, be sure to check our closeout page as we will have models available on discount at certain times of the year!
We hope that you’ve come away with a little more knowledge on everything related to Heart of the Hides and A2000s. Overall, both gloves are excellent and a decision to go with one over the other won’t be a mistake.
If you still have questions even after reading this article, please reach out to our trained team of Glove Experts. They can be reached on the phone at 866-321-4568 (GLUV), via email through email@example.com or by doing a LIVE CHAT here.