Ah, the smell and feel of a new leather baseball glove. There is nothing like the promise of a new glove. With proper care, you can expect your new glove to feel like your own hand. The two most important things to do is to soften the leather and form a pocket in the palm of the glove to catch balls. To do this, you need to break it in properly. Here are some tips for bringing your glove up to speed.
Use it! – The best way to form the “pocket” in any new glove is to use it. An average of 100 catches per day, for two weeks, can do wonders to a new glove. If you don’t have someone to play catch with, a batting cage pitching machine is a good substitute.
Oil it – But not too much. Neat’s-foot oil is the premier oil to use on a baseball glove, although there are any number of other oils out there to use. Whatever oil, cream or foam you choose, apply it sparingly with a cloth and rub it in well. Let the glove sit for 24 hours before wiping it off and do not reapply anything for two weeks afterward.
Do not bake it – Some old wives’ tales suggested oiling gloves and then baking them in a conventional or microwave oven. All this will do is harden and eventually crack the leather. So don’t do it!
Do not soak it – in water or even in oil. Soaking the glove in water will only lead to cracking and hardening. Likewise, soaking it in oil will do nothing but waste the oil and could shorten the life of the glove.
Help that pocket along – Shove a ball into the glove, then wrap the glove tightly with a rubber band or belt each night. This helps form a pocket in the palm of the glove to trap a ball better.
Give it time – Don’t expect your glove to soften up overnight. Especially if your glove is made of full-grain, instead of top-grain, leather, it will feel stiff for awhile. Be patient and use these tips and your glove will be good to go well before that first game.