New glove

Just got my new glove in the mail. Check it out:


Here’s what the pocket looks like:


You may recall that I lost my old glove on 8/22/12 at Citi Field. That one was a “Gold Glove Series” infielder’s glove; the new one is a custom “Pro Preferred” outfielder’s glove, and I love the fact that my name is on it. This glove measures 12.75 inches, which is the largest size allowed in Major League Baseball. I’ll always be a shortstop at heart, but since the bulk of my catching now occurs on home run balls in the stands, getting a bigger glove made sense. (No, not THIS big. C’mon.)

As for the color, I thought about getting a black glove with white lacing — a snazzy look for sure — but ultimately chose to go the non-gimmicky route. As for the ball pictured above, I decided that the very first ball to touch my glove should be my favorite ball that I’ve ever caught. No disrespect to Mike Trout, but the final Mets home run from Shea Stadium is still at the top of my list. (Here’s my blog entry about the final day at Shea — definitely worth a read, especially if you’re looking for some baseball entertainment this offseason.)

Does anyone have advice for breaking in a new glove? I have my few standard techniques (including the application of shaving cream), but I’m open to new/zany suggestions.


  1. Adam Davis

    Just start using it! And when you aren’t, put a ball at the very bottom of the pocket, basically in the palm, and wrap it in a bunch of rubber bands (TIGHT). You have plenty of rubber bands to spare a few =]

  2. Cartoon Bird

    Hey Zack, awesome glove! Love the Trap-Eze! I basically have the same model, but mine is all black and it’s the Heart of the Hide series. Unfortunately, I didn’t get my personalized, but I had my name embroidered on a piece of black leather and glued it onto the glove. Doesn’t look half bad from a slight distance!

    Don’t always follow the advice of professional ball players. If they screw up their glove they can easily get a new one for free, while you’ll have to spend another $200-$300+ to get yourself a new, custom glove.

    I use Pecard Leather Dressing. It protects as well as helps soften up the leather a little bit. To start out, I also kept a softball in the pocket and wrapped the glove up with an Ace bandage whenever I wasn’t using it. This helped develop a nice big, deep pocket. Other than that, I just played a lot of catch. I guess you could go to the batting cage to speed up the process if you need to.

  3. Paaoool123

    First, Put a softball inside of your glove. Then, tie it together very tightly with a thin rope. After that apply shaving cream to the outside of the glove. Then put it in your OVEN for a bit. Once you take it out of the oven dont take the rope/string off for at least 24 hours. The whole process works like a charm :)

  4. kslo69

    Those Nokona gloves are sweet, I looked at one a couple of years ago, didn’t find one to fit my hand. Mizuno,”Strong Oil” works well for me, and a little goes a long way. One 65g tin has broken in 4 gloves at our house. Also have seen a wooden mallet with a round knob on the end being sold for too much money. Probably could find a cheaper version at the hardware store.

  5. Ray Burton

    Hey Zack , nice glove , and personalised too !! Very impressed. You’re in the bigs now. Sorry to hear about the old glove. It looked like you grew up together or were about the same age. That glove snagged some balls [ so to speak ] including the ones on our wall. Cartoon Bird sounds like he knows his stuff with regard to glove care. Keep it supple and use it as often as possible. We cricketers , being far more manly than baseballers ,, don’t use gloves so I have never had to break one in. Look forward to seeing the new glove in action [ if you overlook the cricket insult ] . May 2013 bring you record numbers of home runs , especially game balls.

  6. Brian

    I bought my son a new glove at the beginning of this past season and I needed to break it in quickly (overnight!!) because he had his first clinic here in town I should mention that the guys who run the clinic are former Major League players; Gene Johnson and his son Jeff, Jon Shea, Mike Wadniki and Jimmy Gonzales (look them up to see their respective organizations that they played with if you’d like to know). What I did to break it in was put a ball in the pocket, wrap the glove w/ string/twine, bake it in the oven on 350 for about 20 minutes. Take it out and let it cool to the touch. Unwrap it, rub some oil on, wrap the ball back up. Let sit overnight, then in the morning, unwrap it again, grab yourself a rubber mallet and beat the living crap out of it. You’d think my sons glove was worn for YEARS after this method.

  7. Liz Merry

    I have no advice to offer, but it is beautiful and I am glad Beltran’s HR was the first ball to touch it. I watched you snag that one on tv. Always fun to watch you in action

  8. Manuel

    NEVER microwave a glove. Especially a pro preffered. Just play catch with it. Do you play to have 2 fingers in the pinky slot to make the pocket bigger because that is what most major leaguers do. But if the is a local batting cage just go there and go to a speed you comfortable with and just catch those balls. That in my opinion is the best way

  9. Rocco Sinisi

    Zack, what happend to the “OLD” Mizuno glove you used to use? I thought it was your baby! Well it needed to be retired anyway.

    That is one sweet glove you got for Christmas! Just play catch with it!!! And as Adam Davis said, put a ball in the pocket for a while and wrap it with rubber bands, but when you wrap it with the rubber bands, put a small towel around it so the rubber bands don’t scuff up, or put marks on the leather. What ever you do…DON’T MICROWAVE IT!!!!!!!!! This ‘COOKS” the leather, and breaks down the stucture of the glove! Also, I don’t like “yanking & cranking” on my glove a la’ Aso from Wilson “the Glove Guru”. Hope this helps…Enjoy!

  10. Rocco Sinisi

    …oh yeah Zack, one mored thing, I use Mizuno “STONG OIL” Glove Conditioner that comes in a can. It’s great stuff, and it doesn’t *GUMP UP* my glove like regular glove oil. Regular glove oil spills all over the place, and it’s hard to control. I can controll how much glove oil I put on with this stuff…it is more of a paste than oil really. Just put it in on web and in the pocket of the glove not all over the glove, this will soften where the glove bends. Happy Snagging, Rocco

  11. Mateo Fischer

    Oh. Wow. I too have a new glove awaiting me when I get back to New York. Although, I have no clue where/ how I lost mine, I was getting tired of using my mom’s glove for the second half of the season. I went a little more “out there” with my choice in glove, but hey, if this goes wrong, I know what not to get next time. We’ll see how both of our experiences go with our new gloves. It should be fun.

  12. Cook & Son Bats

    Beautiful glove, Zack! I am partial to black gloves. But the traditional brown glove seems right for you. I have a black Trap-Eze with white lacing. I love it. But I think you made the right choice. You’d stick out like a sore thumb and more and more players would recognize you if you wore a black glove with white lacing (which could be good or bad thing depending on the player). Gloves are my weakness. Rawlings gloves to be more specific. I have several Trap-Ezes. The one that is most like yours has always naturally felt like it wants me to wear it with two fingers in the pinky slot. It is my only glove that I wear that way but it feels much more natural to catch a ball wearing the glove that way than it does in the normal five-separate-finger way. As for breaking it in, I never apply anything to my gloves except baseballs and my fist. My advice is to grab Leon, go to Central Park and have him throw you hundreds of chest high fastballs until the glove feels just right.

    And now, a moment of slience for your lost glove. It was truly a beauty.

  13. Larry Larson

    Hi Zack. Nice glove! What I do whenever I get a new glove is put 2 baseballs in it and put a rubber band around it. It is also good for gloves that aren’t new.

    Good luck!

  14. Ray Burton

    Good to see the ” fiscal cliff ” holds no fears for you , young master Zack. Good to see you stimulating the domestic economy in the best possible way. Does that mean you’re the new Big Glove Zack ?

  15. Cartoon Bird

    Oh yeah, as pointed out a couple times above, both pinky and ring finger in the pinky slot, middle finger in the ring slot and index finger in the middle slot, leaving the index finger slot empty.

    Wearing the glove like this will indeed give you a deeper pocket and it really gives you a great snap closing action. It’s also easier to wear the glove a little higher up on your hand this way, giving you a few extra inches of reach. You’ve probably already noticed that TONS of Major League players do this. Practically every outfielder it seems, as well as a lot of pitchers, too.

  16. smillermarlins

    I have the same model!!! Except mine is black. I really like it, but it does take a while to break in. I lathered it up and situated a softball inside the pocket, and then tied some bands or string around it. The pocket ended up really nice, round, and deep after a few throwing sessions and redoing the softball thing.
    Good luck!


  17. Minor League Ballhawk

    Wow, beautiful glove you have there. What I do to break in gloves is, first I play catch for about 15-30 minutes to slightly break it in. Then, I put it under a heavy object like a couch or something like that. Then after about 4-6 hours of doing this, I play catch again for 30 minutes to about an hour. All of my gloves are broken in and have all lasted me a very long time. Also, you can b put a baseball or softball in the pocket of the glove to break it in also.

  18. Donny in Houston

    I’ve got a 12.75″ Pro Preferred that is my backup. It’s been one of the hardest gloves to break in, but I like that. Gloves that are hard to break in are better in the long run. But my go to gamer is a Nokona Bloodline 12.75″ which is like butter now. I hope to be buried with that glove.

    I’m devoutly against heating a glove, whether it be in the oven, microwave, car trunk, you name it. Extreme heat alters the leather. Instead I use Nokona NLT glove conditioner. Absolutely the best. I liked the Rawlings Glove-olium too, but there is something in it that dries out the kangaroo leather on the back my Nokona Bloodline so I quit using it all together.

    All glove manufacturers will tell you the best way to break them in is by playing with them. I would wipe it down real good with the Nokona NLT then pound it with a glove mallet. Nokona makes one that’s kinda big and expensive, but I made one myself. I just took an old ROMLB and drilled a hole into it about an inch or so deep that was the same diameter as a mini baseball bat. Then I just stuck the bat into the ball and drilled a drywall screw through the ball into the bat. You can then sit and pound on your glove with it while you watch TV, read, ponder life, wait in line at the game, or whatever. You can pack about an hour of catch into five or ten minutes.

    When you’re not wearing it, just pack a softball in the pocket and a baseball on top, making a little snowman. Then wrap it with a velcro strap or something wide. I don’t like twine, rope or rubber bands because they can leave creases in the leather.

  19. Alicia Barnhart

    Love your personalized glove, glad you didn’t go the black/white route. Congrats on being the top fan blog for 2012… excited to follow your travels this season!

  20. Michael Miller


    I have been restoring/relaceing gloves for about 5 years. I have probably owned just about all of the major manufactures glove over the past 5 years on my hand. As I also buy, sell and trade gloves also. Gloves are kind of my passion. The best way to break in the RAwlings Pro Preferreds is to liberally coat the pocket with Wilson Pro Stock conditionerand play alot of catch with the glove. I always leave a ball in the pocket when not useing it. I use (2) thick rubber bands around the pocket area while the ball is stored in the glove. I NEVER recommend bakeing a glove in the microwave or stove. It dries out the leather and causes it to break down much too quickly, thus drastically reduceing the life of the glove.
    The key thing you will want to do is apply a coat of Wilson Pro Stock conditioner at least every 3 monthe, to keep the leather soft and pliable. (the biggest problem with most peoples gloves are that they never clean/prpoerly condition them during the offseason. Thus, causing them to dry rot.


  21. Michael Miller

    What alot of Pros do with their gloves is dip them in a bucket of hot water then wrap (2) baseballs in the pocket and let them air dry. (Remember though, they get (2) free gloves every offseason). If you need to break in your glove in a quick fashion, then go to the batting cages and catch 3-4 buckets off balls at about 80 mph. That will help break it in in a quick, natural fashion. (Brandon Inge breaks his Wilson Pro Stock gloves in that way during Spring Training).
    (Ryne Sandberg used to dump a cup of boiling water in the pcket of his glove before each game to get a better feel in his glove, unfortunately he would rot the pcket right out of his gloves).
    Definitely try to break it in with (2) fingers in teh pinky stall. Makes for a nice deep/wide pocket.

  22. Matt

    Zack I love to catch balls and I live in Boston I heard that some parks kick you out if you do this do they kick you out at Fenway

    If you could can you text me the awnser at 978-831-2744

  23. Zack Hample

    Sorry, everyone, for neglecting to answer all your comments. Somehow I must’ve missed them. That was several years ago, so I guess I’ll just answer Matt, who commented here a couple of weeks ago: I’ve never had an issue with the glove trick at Fenway, so go for it.

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