There is nothing like getting a new baseball glove. I started
playing Little League baseball in the 1960's. My first glove was a
hand-me-down (from my cousin Bobby). It was a beat up, over-stuffed,
Phil Rizzuto model made by Spalding. One of those little fat gloves from
the 1950's. The one positive that came out of using this glove was that
I learned to catch with two hands.
For my tenth birthday, my dad bought me a new glove. It was a
Rawlings, Mickey Mantle, MM5 model. I can still remember how it smelled
when I took it out of the box for the first time. The glove was so nice I
almost didn't want to throw a ball into it. However, I ended up using
that glove until I wore a hole right through it. I'll never forget my
first new glove.
Buying A New Glove
When buying a new baseball glove, buy leather (cowhide). A leather
glove will eventually break in and form a nice pocket. Do not buy a
plastic (pleather) glove. These gloves look nice, but in my opinion are
Buy a glove that fits. If a player is going to learn to field a
ground ball or catch a fly, he/she is going to need a glove they can
handle. If the glove is too big or heavy it will hinder the players
performance, making the game less enjoyable. By the time that player has
grown into the glove, they may have already given up playing.
There are many companies manufacturing gloves today, Rawlings,
Wilson, Nokona, Mizuno, Easton, Louisville Slugger, just a name a bunch.
They range in quality and price starting at around $30 for bottom line
gloves, to over $250 for top of the line gloves. Generally speaking, (as
with most things) you get what you pay for. The older and more serious
the player becomes, the higher quality glove they will need.
Breaking In Your New Glove
When I got my new Mickey Mantle glove many years ago, the older kids
told me to break in the glove this way: Squirt some glove oil (there are
many brands on the market) into the palm of the glove; Put a ball in
the glove to form the pocket; Wrap it closed with rubber bands and sleep
with it under your mattress. This method still works today, but be
careful. Too much oil will make the glove heavy, and attract dirt. So if
your choice is glove oil err on the light side. By the way unless you
have a good chiropractor, don't sleep with the glove under your
One of the newer methods of breaking in a glove is to use shaving
cream. Use a shaving cream that contains lanolin. Apply the shaving
cream to the palm of the glove. Give it enough time to seep into the
pores of the leather, and wipe it off. Repeat as needed. You will still
need to wrap the glove up with a ball inside to develop a good shape.
There is a new product on the market called Hot Glove. The company
boasts it softens even the stiffest gloves. Rub in a little Hot Glove
and bake for 10 minutes. (Don't forget to set the timer).
In my opinion, the best and simplest method: Take a sponge and
thoroughly wet the palm area of the glove. Water will not hurt the
glove, but it will weaken the rawhide laces. So try to keep the laces
dry. Once again we wrap, the glove closed with rubber bands to achieve
the desired shape.
These methods will all work to a degree, but the quickest way to
break in a glove is to use it! Take a ball and pound it into the mitt.