New baseball glove, proper care

I couldn’t find this in a search, which surprised me. I apologize if this has been covered.

I just bought my son his first “big guy” baseball glove, in preparation for the upcoming season. Still not completely full sized, but much bigger than the dinky numbers he used in tee-ball and “coach pitch.” I was more thrilled than he was (just the smell of a new glove–wow! the promise of a new season), but I guess that’s beside the point.

I found a thread on general leather care here that suggested store-bought leather conditioners. And that might be exactly the answer I’m looking for. But I recall from my youth different techniques/methods used to treat a glove in getting it ready for the season–to condition it, protect it, make it supple.

I knew a guy who rubbed shaving cream into his glove. One of my friends’ dad had this can of oil (I don’t remember what it was) that he used to rub into my friend’s mitt, burnishing it until it shined. I knew a guy who rubbed vaseline into the pocket of his glove (he said it kept it from cracking).

Anyway, is anyone aware of a tried-and-true technique for treating a mitt, especially a new one? I’m interested even if the method used (e.g., shaving cream) is one that is not typically associated with the treatment of leather (in general) and baseball gloves (in particular).

And someone also told me last season (and I forgot it) of a technique for instantly breaking in a new glove that involved rubbing something into the leather, wrapping the glove in tin foil and baking it. Anyone familiar with this, or was he pulling my leg?


I remember using saddle soap as a kid. Mind you, that was 20 years ago. Maybe there’s something better now.

hrm… The last glove I bought, i used the aforementioned glove oil. I do think that the best conditioning for a new glove is use.

It takes a few months for a glove to become comfortable, and about a year before it becomes fully acclimated to the user’s hand.

anyway, what i did was use the glove oil, then, when i had nothing to do, sit around and throw the ball from my right hand into my gloved left hand. Also, during practice, I’d have a friend throw the ball almost as hard as possible to me.

I’d recommend, since it is your son, that you spend half an hour a day playing catch with him. but try to throw the ball rather hard… a couple of months of this, and his glove will be ready to go.

Anyway, glove oil is fine and all… but the more he uses it with an actual ball, the faster it will become the comfortable glove he’ll use for years.

oh… i forgot to add…

i’ve heard the baking thing too… but i was unwilling to throw my $120 glove in the oven. Again, the best way to break in a glove is to use it over and over again.

Not to be repetitive (but I will be anyway), a half an hour of day of throwing the ball back and forth will break it in naturally, and faster than any other method.

Now, if i could just find my damn $120 glove…

Put a ball in the pocket, wrap it with rubber bands (or whatever), shaping it to the form you want, then soak it in a bucket of water overnight. In the morning, take it out of the water and let it dry completely with the rubber bands still on the glove. After it’s completely dry, unwrap it and rub it completely with a good mink oil. Your glove will take on this beautiful patina, will be softer and more pliable as well as having the shape that you desire.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, there Catenary! I may not be an expert on glove care but I do know the golden rule is to keep your glove away from water at all costs. When I was a kid, I once left my fathers 35 year old glove out in the rain. Needless to say, he was pissed. It took me a month of rubbing glove oil into it to restore it to its pre-soak condition.

In my experiences, rubbing in glove oil once before the season, playing a lot of catch, as zuma suggested, and putting one or two baseballs in the pocket and wrapping it in a rubber band when not in use are the best methods to break in a ball glove.

This is from the Rawlings website:

Thanks to all who responded (though I’m with Llardball–I can’t bring myself to drop a glove in a bucket of water!)…

Hey Bob, I just bought a new glove for my daughter.She starts softball soon.I HAD to buy a new glove for me of course so we could have a catch now and then.

Anyways…I saw the same thing about shaving creme at the Rawlings site.My friend the Ex semi pro player says use shaving creme with lanolin in it.No gel! He recommends Colgate.

Petroleum jelly. That’s the ticket. …and I wouldn’t bake the glove, or dip it in water either.

Read this:

Petroleum jelly is the only thing we use on our gloves.