Rawlings began providing the hometown St. Louis Cardinals with gloves in 1906. In 1920, Bill Doak, a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, suggested that a web be placed between the first finger and the thumb in order to create a pocket. This design soon became the standard for baseball gloves. Doak patented his design and sold it to Rawlings. His design became the precursor to modern gloves, and enabled Rawlings to become the preferred glove of professional players.
Paul Lo Duca, a Washington Nationals player, wearing a Rawlings catcher mitt
In 1955, Spalding bought Rawlings, and began using it to manufacture baseballs. In 1957, the company introduced the Gold Glove award, which became the major award for baseball. It also sponsors the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) "Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year" award. Thirteen years after acquiring it, an antitrust investigation forced Spalding to sell Rawlings again, but as it did so Spalding set up a contract that would have Rawlings manufacture baseballs to sell with the Spalding logo.
When this agreement ended in 1977, Rawlings began using its own logo, becoming the official supplier of the major leagues (producing separate balls for both the American and National Leagues from 1977 to 1999, and since 2000, a single ball for all of Major League Baseball), succeeding Spalding, which had been the supplier for a century. All the balls supplied to MLB teams are manufactured in Costa Rica. Many major leaguers have endorsed Rawlings equipment over the years. There are five main series for the gloves: the Gold Glove Series, the Heritage Pro Series, the Heart of the Hide Series, the Pro Preferred Series, and the Gold Glove Collection Series.
With an assortment of baseball, basketball and football game-related product lines, Rawlings is present everywhere team sports are played. Leagues and conferences of all skill levels integrate Rawlings’ unparalleled product portfolio into their sports: as the Official Baseball Supplier and Official Helmet of Major League Baseball®, the official baseball of Minor League Baseball, the official baseball and softball for the NCAA®, and the approved baseball, basketball, football and softball of the National High School Federation®.