Baseball Glove FAQ’s – Break-in, maintenance, when to replace your baseball glove & more

How can you tell when your glove properly broken in? And when is it just broken?

How can you make a glove last longer, and when should you replace your baseball glove?

We got this question in an email, and thought it was a great one.
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Doug,

I love your insights…question about breaking in a glove/mitt – goes to your point of an inferior glove not having leather up to the task – how broken in is broken in? I didn’t play at an elite level, nor have I handled an elite player’s glove. I don’t know when the glove is finally broken in, and also when the glove is eventually just broken.

I picked up a Rawlings HoH outfielder’s glove for myself this past year and we just had a custom 1B mitt, also HoH, made for my 12yo for Christmas.

I’m mostly worried about making sure his mitt is properly broken in for use…I hope to get some time in the Gameday bubble over Christmas break to have him catch balls from the machine…

Thanks,

Jason

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Hey Jason,

Good question!!! How are you liking your HOH Rawlings glove? I personally am liking mine a lot. Gloves are such a personal preference but I know many people that love those gloves and I hope yours is treating you well.

How do I know if my glove is properly broken in and ready to play?

To try to answer your question, the baseball glove break in process is unique to each person.

I’ve played with guys who get a new glove and they play catch with it once, and use it in the game that night.

On the other hand, it takes me about a year to get my glove where I would even think about it. I think most people are in the middle.

Some people like their gloves stiff and some like it extremely floppy.

The biggest thing for me how the glove is catching the ball. Is the ball sticking in the pocket when I am catching a ball?  Is it popping out or is the leather so weak that the ball slides out the top because the leather fingers are too soft?

How can I make my baseball glove last longer?

1. Tighten the laces

For me if I feel the fingers are getting too soft and balls that I would normally catch are popping out the top I will tighten my laces.

This is important for me, I tighten and at least look over the laces once a week.

How to take care of your baseball glove

Baseball glove care and conditioning

I just replaced a glove that I used in games for 4 years. After each season I would get leather patches put on the rips. I stayed with that glove for as long as I did because I liked the way it caught balls.

I have had gloves where catching a ball felt easy and some gloves where catching a ball feels like I’m working too hard.

2. Oil your baseball glove regularly

Also, don’t forget to oil your glove periodically, especially in drier areas of the country.  The need for oiling can range from 1 time per week to 1 time per month, depending on the humidity where you live.

I use Lexol spray, saddle soap or mink oil when conditioning my glove.   Lexol is my favorite.  Mink oil takes a while to sink in and you’ll probably need to remove some excess the following day before your game.  Saddle soap is great too.  It’s very light, so you might need to do it more often.  But the upside of using saddle soap on your baseball glove is there’s no left-over residue.

when should a baseball glove be replaced? How can I make my glove last longer?

When should I replace my baseball glove?

I replace a glove when the leather seems to be so weak that a hard line drive won’t stick in my glove.

Sometimes too, if the ball is caught closer to the fingers than the pocket and the leather gives too much, the ball will not be secured.

It feels like the ball went through your glove, where in actuality the glove wasn’t strong enough to catch the hard throw or hard hit ball, then that is a big indicator that it’s time to replace it.

There is no right or wrong answer to your question, but as long as the glove catches well, the laces are tightened to your liking and you oil your glove from time to time, your glove should last for a while.

Good luck and thanks for the question,

Doug Bernier

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About Author

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, PIT Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. (You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier) Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, Doug retired and took a position as a Major League scout with the Colorado Rockies for 2 years. Currently Doug is the Data and Game Planning Coordinator with the Colorado Rockies

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