*Guest Blogger* Joe Murphy discusses the proper way to break in a glove.
Joe is the CEO of Glove, Inc., a company in the greater Boston area that repairs and restores gloves.
Joe has been repairing and reconditioning baseball gloves since 1983. He has played amateur and semi-pro baseball for 21 years, and has coached on the college level. Over the past 25 years, he has worked on and restored thousands of gloves. His work has been endorsed by hundreds of ball players, from Little League to the Pros. He reconditioned the glove Dennis Eckersley used in the 1989 World Series. He worked on gloves of former Red Sox Trainer, Charlie Moss, right in the Red Sox Club House.
Old Wives Tales
There are many old wives tales about the proper, the best, the only way to break in a new glove. Let me take a minute to dispell a few of them.
The most widely known misnomer is to take your new glove, put a ball in the pocket, wrap some string around it and leave it under your mattress. No, that doesn’t work too well. You get this lump in your mattress, making it hard to get a good night’s sleep, and you end up with a smelly glove that still needs to be broken in.
Another one is to soak a new glove in a bucket of water, let it dry in the sun and play catch with it. You might as well just throw it in a dumpster, because soaking a glove in water will ruin it. As it dries, all of the natural oils in the leather – the only thing that is keeping the leather supple and healthy, dries out. Such a glove never had a chance.
The best way to break in a new glove
The best way to break in a new glove is to play catch with it, a lot of catch.
We all have very unique hands. Just like fingerprints, no two hands are alike. Even your right hand is subtly different from your left in size, strength, etc. A new glove has to, and eventually will conform to the unique contours and features of your hand. In order to do that, the glove must be worn a lot and be used in catch a lot – so the leather gets warm, stretches a bit and conforms to the unique way you hold the glove and catch the ball.
Some do’s and don’ts:
- Don’t use , neetsfoot or linseed oil on your glove. They are too heavy and will clog the pores of the leather. Then, as the glove gets dirty, the dirt and oil get trapped in the leather, making it heavy and eventually will rot the leather.
- Don’t use Vasoline or other petroleum products on your glove for the same reason. It’s too heavy for the leather and will clog up the pores. You want your glove to break in light and flexible.
- Don’t use shaving cream. The foam gets clogged up in between the laces and the lacing starts to rot.
- Do wipe your glove down with a damp cool cloth after you use it.
- Let it rest on the thumb and little finger, so you don’t distort the pocket you are trying to create. Never let a glove rest on its side. This is a cardinal sin. The glove will cave in under its own weight and you’ll never have a well formed pocket.
- Don’t use any additives to try to accelerate the break-in process. Just let the leather conform to your hand naturally, by playing as much catch with your new glove as you can. You’ll know when it’s ready for its game debut: when it feels right, when it feels like part of your hand.
Have fun and play ball. Hit ’em where they ain’t.
CEO, Glove, Inc.