The best way to break in a baseball glove is to use it, but here's a way to speed up the process. The goal of breaking it in is to create a nice pocket for the ball and soften the leather. Apply a dab of shaving cream to the center of the glove and then put a baseball in the pocket. Secure the glove closed by tying a shoelace around the glove and put it between your mattresses overnight.
Very interesting and time tested advice! It is almost exactly how we got my son's first TeeBall glove started, five years ago and yet, the advice was first given 60-80 years ago.
Back then, all baseball gloves were leather inside and out. They were made from heavy tough hides and were padded with raw wool. They were even laced using Rawhide, the toughest leather lacing you can get. Man, those mitts could get uncomfortable if they were allowed to dry out in the sun. They would wear your hands raw. I used to see news reels of teens beating on their gloves with baseball bats, trying to soften them up again.
It is also interesting to note that Shaving Cream in those days, contained plenty of Lanolin and Glycerin, which is now the unprintable "secret formula" in those mysteriously unmarked $5 foam treatments for mitts. It is sold in most Sporting Good stores in one or two ounce cans.
Today's shaving cream contains distilled water and some skin softeners, but not much. The key words today is "cheapest."
Only one in a hundred kinds of shaving cream contains lanolin and glycerin ingredients anymore. When you can find it, the good stuff will also contain some aloe and three or four kinds of natural vitamins in it. It is actually better than the old stuff. It is usually referred to as "Medicated shaving cream, with Menthol"... menthol being-- peppermint extract. Which all together gives you quite a sensation, particularly if you rub it in your eye....chuckle.
My baseball gloves seem to like it too. Last year I bought four cans of the good shaving cream, 10 to 12 ounces in each can; for under $2/can.
It is a fun glove treatment during the Season. I have yet to meet a young player that doesn't love to put a pile of it in his mitt. When rubbed in, it drys in about 5 minutes and leaves a white residue. I encourage the boys to use a rag to wipe it off the seams and anyplace it has built up in the corners. It is not the shaving cream I am after in those areas, because it is good for leather and nylon thread. It is even good for the balls they catch. But, it is the dirt build-up in those places that destroys stitches.
Without shaving cream applied, I have not been able to get even one child to wipe off their glove, no matter how dusty it is.
Baseball playing boys everywhere seem to love dirt. And Shaving cream. Even the ones who make millions per year, like JJ Putz... the shaving cream pie thrower.
So in conclusion, not enough was originally said about shaving cream, and not enough was said about which baseball gloves need to be tied closed with a ball in it. (All Tee Ball parents need to know that much, so they will put the smallest away rubber banded around a ball). Neither was there enough said about WHICH gloves need to be put between the mattresses without a ball in them: True mitts, go in folded and can stay in there for weeks. Middle infield gloves need to be short, wide and flat with their finger tips firm and splaying outward, so don't put them in there folded, ever.
Outfielder gloves and softball gloves, OK. Put a ball in the first night, and anytime after you have cleaned them. It won't hurt them, and who knows; it might still help.
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