Written by Alan Rutcofsky

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 useless.

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


Glove Oil

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 mattress.

Shaving Cream

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.

Hot Glove

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).

Water

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.