There is nothing like the feel of a well-worn baseball glove. But it must be your own baseball glove. If you have ever played catch with baseball glove that is not your own, then you understand what I mean.
A baseball gloves is a deeply personal object. It can be a cherished possession. I personally own 5 baseball gloves. I have in my collection maroon Rawlings softball glove, a black Rawlings infielders glove, and Nike outfielders glove. Recently, for my birthday, I was given a new Mizuno catchers mitt to help ease the pain that I feel when I am playing catch with my son. For an eleven year old, he can really bring the heat!
But my prize glove, is my Rawlings Tom Seaver model that I have had since junior high school. I still keep it oiled, even though It is now far too small for my hand. Once or twice a year, I play a game catch with it. Just for old times sake.
I have read a lot about how to break in a new glove. Everyone has their own techniques. These are some of the tricks major league use ball players use to break-in their gloves.
Soak the glove in a bucket of water for three days.
Place the glove in the microwave oven for five minutes.
Cook the glove in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
Dip the glove in olive oil.
Tie the glove to a rope on the back of a truck, and drive around with it for a week.
Please note, most glove manufactures recommend that you do not do any of the things on the above list:
When you buy your young player a new glove, please keep these things in mind.
If you have a young player, ages 4-7, it is not necessary to spend a fortune on a glove. Most of the gloves for players in that age group are already pretty soft and are not designed to last more than 2 season. Wilson, Rawlings, and Easton make some very nice glove for under $20.00 that you can get at any decent sporting goods store or at Amazon.com.
If your player continues playing, them you will want to invest in something nicer that will last them for several years. I ordered a Rawlings gold glove series online and it came with a nice leather nameplate over the pocket webbing with his name on it. My son has used that glove for seven seasons of little league baseball over the last 4 years. He is about due for a new one as he has just about outgrown this one.
An important thing to remember is this; the higher quality of the glove, then the stiffer the leather will be, and the more work it takes to get it game ready. A well-made "Heart of the Hide" glove can run between $100-300 dollars. A glove like that can last you a lifetime.
This is how my son and I break in our new baseball gloves. We have had very good results with these techniques.
Step 1: Before you do anything else, go outside and play a game of catch. He or she just got a new present and they want to use it. Go outside and play catch. The glove will be very stiff and hard to use. Do it anyway, go play catch with your kid!
Step 2: You can by a break-in kit online. These kits include oil, and applicator a large rubber band and sometimes a few other goodies. These kits are great, and one stop shopping. Or, you can just buy some glove oil by itself.
Step 3: Some people recommend shaving cream or saddle soap for your new glove. I personally have found that layers of those products can make a glove a bit heavy for young kids. Begin by applying a generous amount of oil into the palm of the glove. Using a circular motion, spread from the center of the palm out towards the fingers of the glove. Be sure and include the rawhide laces, as they tend to dry out first and can snap off. Be sure and cover the back side of the glove as well.
Step 4: Once the glove is well oiled, have your player throw the ball into the glove over and over again, squeezing the ball on every catch. This is is an excellent way to form a proper pocket.
Step 5: Place a large wiffle softball into the pocket of the glove and wrap tightly. Use either a strong rubber band or a leather belt. Personally, I like to use an old elastic knee brace or ace bandage. Using those an ace bandage creates a consistently tight hold all the way around the glove.
Step 6: For the first couple of weeks, I like to keep the glove in a large ziplock bag when not in use. That helps keep the moisture in and the glove soft. This works especially well if you are treating an old glove or trying to restore an old glove.
Step 7: Finally and most importantly, play a game of catch as often as you can. It is a wonderful bonding experience, just you and your kids, outside, playing catch. What could be better?