The latest quick-turn baseball glove repair I did recently was just another case of glove neglect…probably from the start. Just a little baseball glove care right after the glove was bought and a little more during the playing season would have prevented the breaks that I was now repairing.
Of course, the breaks happened during the new high school season so glove downtime was a bad thing. And as I sat there repairing this glove it was clear that it never really had any glove care at all, probably ever. When I got the glove, the leather was stiff, the laces were hard and brittle in places and the glove was not far away from just coming apart. Sad thing is, it wasn’t that old of a baseball glove and it was a fairly expensive brand name glove.
So here are some Baseball Glove Care Tips to consider for your new glove and your older glove so that you can keep your glove looking great and feeling great. But most importantly, you will avoid those nuisance breaks and tears that cause you to lose your favorite glove for a number of games while repairs are being done.
Brand New Glove
Brand new gloves are usually very dry and stiff. Left untreated after being at the mercy of water, dirt, mud, sun and heat during the season, the leather will start to break down. This will show up as early wear and tear on the glove…broken laces and ripped leather way before this normally might happen.
- One of the most important things to do for your baseball glove is to condition it when it’s brand new. This softens everything up…leather and laces. It also protects the leather against water, sun, heat and any other nasty environmental elements. It’s convenient if the new glove is bought in the off-season so that the glove can sit after the conditioner is applied so that it can soak in better.
- Probably the most important thing is to not use oils on your baseball glove. Use conditioners that are pastes and/or lanolin based. Oils, like neatsfoot oil, make your glove heavy and wet but even worse, oils can clog the pores in the leather and this will eventually weaken the leather and cause it to basically just disintegrate. You can see this in older gloves that were treated with oils and are falling apart.
Before The Season
- Inspect the glove lacing and tighten any really loose runs and repair or replace any broken laces. This probably should have been done after the last season ended.
- If nothing was done to the baseball glove after the last season, clean it and rub in some conditioner.
- If the glove was cleaned and conditioned after the last season, maybe a light coat of conditioner could be applied if the glove seems a little dry.
During The Season
- When the glove gets wet and muddy, get the mud off and let the glove dry out by itself…no ovens and don’t leave it out in the sun to dry. Let it dry inside by itself. If you notice the leather feeling a little dried out because of a number of wet/dry cycles, just apply a light coat of conditioner at some point when you see this happening to your baseball glove.
- Long dry spells where the glove experiences real hot, dry weather may require a light coat of conditioner at times. Clean off dirt and dust and apply conditioner.
- Keep laces snug, like when you originally bought the glove.
- Fix broken laces. This shouldn’t really happen that often if you have kept the glove clean and conditioned. However, you should fix broken laces as soon as you can. It’s a good idea to learn, or try to do this yourself both from a cost standpoint and not having to lose your glove for a few days or a week.
After The Season
- Clean off as much dirt, dust and dry mud from the baseball glove as you can.
- Tighten any loose laces.
- Repair any broken laces or replace laces that you know may break the next season.
- Store the baseball glove in a place that’s not directly in the sunlight and not exposed to heat sources. You don’t want to dry the glove out during the offseason.
If you apply the baseball glove care tips above you can keep your glove looking and feeling great. The leather will maintain its color and softness. If you keep the laces snug and strong, the baseball glove will maintain the shape that it took as you broke it in to fit your hand when the glove was new. and you can avoid unforeseen breaks in lacing leading to downtime and the temporary loss of your favorite glove.
Mainly, the baseball glove lasts….and prevents you from going through the hassle of buying a new (and expensive!) glove and then going through the break-in process once again. And it’s just one of those things…the longer you play with and have your favorite glove, the better you become with it.
Baseball Glove Care. Just Do It!