Now that you own a professional level baseball or softball glove, special care must be taken to insure you receive maximum performance and durability. The following instructions are designed to help you attain this from your new glove.
- Apply glove oil lightly with a clean dry cloth to the pocket, break (where the glove folds), and web areas of the glove.
- Allow the oil to absorb into the leather for 24 hours.
- Play catch daily until the glove is ready for game play, 75-100 catches per day for one to two weeks.
- Both baseball and softball gloves should be lightly oiled after each season prior to storage. Apply oil with a cloth to both the outside and inside of the glove, to prevent the leather from becoming dry and brittle.
- Store the glove in a clean dry place with a baseball or softball in the pocket to help maintain its shape.
- CAUTION: DO NOT over oil your glove. Too much oil can cause the leather to become too soft, flexible, and heavy. Do not use any product that requires you putting your new glove in a microwave or oven. These products break down the leather fibers of the glove and diminish its useful life.
Whether or not you buy a custom made glove or a stock glove, caring for your new baseball or softball mitt is extremely important. We recommend that each of our customers pay close attention to these instructions to insure a long life for the glove of their choosing.
Ever wondered what all goes into making your baseball or softball glove? Just how complicated is it to transform rawhide leather into a top quality mitt? Read on and you'll find out.
The glove making process begins when the designer carefully sketches paper patterns of each component of the glove. The production department then hand-cuts the templates and makes necessary corrections to the design. At this point, steel clicker dies are made from the different templates.
Meanwhile, tanned hides are inspected for color and quality. The raw materials for each of the four components of the glove: the outside shell, padding, lining and the web, are separated for the production process. The shell and web travel in one direction, while the lining and padding move in another, only to meet later in the process.
Each section calls for a separate die, which is laid out on the leather hide. Then a large clicker machine, exerting hammer force to the dies, stamps out the pieces used to make the glove. The next operation is to stamp the leather hides with the trademarks of the manufacturer along with such things as the player's name, stock number and any other pertinent information.
The shell, which is comprised of three distinct parts: the fingers, the palm, and the thumb, is assembled by sewing the shell back and the palm pieces together. It is also interesting to note that these parts are stitched together inside-out. Afterwards, the glove is inspected for flaws, turned right side out and formed for proper shape and fit.
At the same time, the lining fingers are sewn together, joining the back and the palm. Although it would appear that the lining is wrong side out, it's in the proper position to be inserted into the shell. In a separate operation, the web is sewn and made ready for glove assembly.
Now it's time for the padding to be inserted into the lining for the final binding and lacing. All binding material is made with durable rawhide leather laces. After some fitting and shaping procedures, the glove is finished and ready for one last inspection.
Now your baseball or softball glove is ready for you to go out and shag some fly balls!
Although organized baseball has been around since pre-Civil War days, the baseball glove didn't gain widespread acceptance until the mid 1880's. In fact, in the earliest days of the game, the general consensus among ball players was: Real Men Don't Wear Gloves!
There were those who tried early on to introduce a baseball glove of sorts, however. In 1869, a catcher for the Cincinnati Red Stockings had a local saddle maker develop a leather mitt for him. However, the idea was ahead of its time, and did not catch on. Likewise, Charles Waite of St. Louis took the field in 1875 wearing a thin, flesh-colored glove, comparable to today's driving glove, only to face the jeers of both the crowd and the players.
Despite this early ridicule, more and more fielders began to use baseball gloves towards the end of the 1870's. These early gloves more closely resembled today's batting gloves, except that the fingers and thumb were cut off above the first joint, and a minimal amount of padding was added to the palm.
In the mid 1880's, the overhand pitch was introduced into the game. As such, catchers began seeking more adequate protection for their swollen hands and thus, the catcher's mitt was born. The glove was basically the same as that of the fielder's gloves, but with more padding than a regular baseball glove. Buck Ewing, a New York Giants catcher, introduced a revolutionary "pillow-type" catcher's mitt about this same time.
More and more players began to accept the use of baseball gloves as the game moved forward into the 1890's. Players sported versions of cowhide, horsehide, or even buckskin gloves equipped with cotton or wool padding. These early models sold for as much as $2.50 per glove.
In 1912, a major development was made in the baseball glove when the Rawlings Sporting Goods Company introduced the "Sure Catch" glove. This new glove was the first one-piece glove with sewn-in finger channels. Resembling a duck's foot, the glove was endorsed by pro ballplayers across the nation.
In 1920, a St. Louis Cardinal pitcher named Bill Doak, approached Rawlings with an idea that revolutionized the baseball glove. This new concept included a multi-thong web stretched between the forefinger and thumb. And thus, the pocket was born and proved to be remarkable fielding aid.
In 1935, Rawlings improved the Bill Doak glove by replacing the thonged web with a 2 piece leather web. About the same time, the first baseman's mitt came into being, incorporating a "T" web design. Six years later, Rawlings patented the "Deep Well" pocket for this newly popular mitt.
Since that time, baseball gloves, first baseman's mitts and catcher's mitts have undergone a number of subtle changes. However, the basic design of the glove has remained somewhat constant. Although, it should be noted that today's gloves and mitts are much larger, contain much more padding, and are made to last much longer than their primitive ancestors.
And incidentally, despite what our baseball ancestors may have once thought ... real men do wear baseball gloves!