How Long Does a Baseball Glove Last?

How Long Does a Baseball Glove Last?

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Have you ever noticed that some baseball players use baseball gloves that appear to be extremely old?  This may have led you to ask yourself, “How long does a baseball glove typically last?”  In this article we will answer this question and we will thoroughly examine some other interesting facts about baseball gloves.

Baseball gloves can last 10 years or more if the proper care and maintenance is given.  Many baseball players are able to use the same glove throughout their whole 4-year high-school careers.  The same is often true at the collegiate level of baseball.  Even some Major League Baseball players use the same glove for 4 years or more (this is much rarer at the MLB level though, as the sheer number of games played causes gloves to wear out faster).

Want to know the #1 tip for making your baseball glove last longer?  Keep reading below to find out.

Cleaning Your Baseball Glove after each Game

A little tender love and care (TLC) should be applied to your baseball glove after each game.  This is especially true if you desire to use your glove more than one baseball season!  If you take good care of your baseball glove, your baseball glove will take good care of you during game time!  Think of your baseball glove’s routine maintenance just as you would your automobile’s routine maintenance.

After each game, examine your baseball glove for any scuffs or dirt marks.  Take a clean cloth or small hand brush and soak it in a warm water / light soap.  Wring out the cloth very well to prevent the glove from being weighed down with too much water.  Gently remove any scuffs or dirt marks with the cloth or hand brush.

If your glove gets wet during the game from rain or perspiration, make sure to dry it out with a soft cloth after the game.  After your glove fully dries out, apply some glove conditioner or glove oil.  This will help keep the leather soft and will extend the life of the baseball glove. 

Be sure to never use any type of oil or conditioner that will discolor your baseball glove.  There are some products on the market that contain bleach and bleach is extremely harmful to gloves.

When to Replace your Baseball Glove

It can be difficult to determine when to replace your trusty old baseball glove.  Many baseball players get sentimental when it comes to their glove so it can be difficult for them to finally admit that it is time for some new leather!  Here are a few tips that will help you know when it is time to start shopping for a new baseball glove.

  • If your game performance is starting to be affected in any way, it may be time to get a new glove.  If the top of the glove starts to feel floppy, that can affect your ability to catch pop flies. This lack of confidence in your glove can bleed over into other areas of your game and no one wants that.
  • If your glove has a rip or tear anywhere on it, it is time to shop for a new one.  Even a small tear will eventually affect the ability of the glove to properly absorb a powerfully hit line drive.  This could result in a hand injury for the player such as bruising.
  • If your glove feels excessively heavy, it is time to seek a new one.  Baseball gloves get heavy over time due to playing games in the rain, being left out in the rain by mistake, or by excessive sweating from the hands.  The heavier weighted glove will affect your defensive performance in negative way.
  • If catching a line drive or a hard ground ball is starting to hurt your hand more than it normally does, it is time to buy a new glove!  The lack of padding means the glove is probably worn out and you need a new one.
  • If there is a crack anywhere in the leather it is time to start thinking about a new baseball glove.  It is acceptable for the leather of your glove to look worn but any cracking at all means the glove is near the end of its life.

Popular Brands of Baseball Gloves and Price Ranges

There are many different brands of gloves to choose from for baseball players.  Here are a few of those brands below, as well as some price ranges.

  • Rawlings– This company was founded way back in 1887 in a small Missouri town.  Rawlings specializes in all baseball apparel and equipment.  Their most economical (around $50) baseball glove option is the Rawlings Renegade 12.5” glove that is suited for almost any position. Rawlings top of line glove option goes for around $500 and is called the Rawlings Gold Glove Mocha.  (Side note:  Rawlings owns the naming rights to Major League Baseball’s Gold Glove Awards for both the American League and National League).
  • Mizuno– This is another sporting goods company with a long, rich history.  Mizuno was created back in 1906 in Osaka Japan.  Former Atlanta Brave Hall-of-Famer Chipper Jones helped make Mizuno more of a household name back in the 1990’s.  Mizuno’s most cost-effective option is their Prime Exclusive Edition 11.75” baseball glove.  Their most expensive glove option is called their Mizuno Pro line which sells for around $525.
  • Marucci– Marucci is newer to the sporting goods market.  They were established in 2002 by former Louisiana State University athletic trainer Jack Marucci.  Marucci teamed up with two Major League Baseball players, Kurt Ainsworth and Joe Lawrence, and this really helped grow the company’s brand.  This company makes all types of baseball equipment, but their main focus is on baseball bats. Marucci does offer baseball gloves in the $65-$400 range.

Interesting Facts about Baseball Gloves

Did you know that in the early days of baseball no one wore gloves?  Ouch! Imagine catching a hard-hit line drive with your bare hands!  Here are some other intriguing facts about baseball gloves.

  • Baseball began being played in America in the early 1800’s, but many baseball historians believe that the first baseball glove was not worn until the year 1870.  Other historians claim that the first glove was not used until 1875 when a Saint Louis player named Charlie Waitt competed with a glove on both hands.
  • In the early days, baseball gloves were normal leather work gloves with the fingertips cut off so that the player could still feel the baseball when catching or throwing.
  • A.G. Spalding (famous for starting Spalding, the sports goods company) had a big hand in making baseball gloves a staple of the game.  Spalding convinced lots of infielders that it was safer and better to wear gloves while playing defense. 
  • The typical size of a baseball glove varies in the range of 9 inches for a young Little League kid to as large as almost 13 inches for grown adult outfielders.
  • Infielders typically prefer smaller gloves that range in the 11inch to 12inch range.  The only exception is First Base Mitts, which usually end up being around 13 inches (the same size as an outfielder’s glove).  Infielders prefer the smaller size gloves because they help with quick transitions from glove to throwing hand.  The smaller glove size allows the infielder to waste less time trying to “feel” where the baseball is after a catch.  Time is always of the essence, especially if an infielder is trying to turn a crucial double play!
  • Most outfielders prefer the larger (13 inch) baseball gloves because the added length makes catching fly balls easier.  Also, that extra inch or two could be the difference between the outfielder “robbing” a home run ball or having the ball just narrowly make it over the fence.
  • Catcher’s mitts are not sized in the same way that infielder and outfielder gloves.  Catcher’s mitts are sized by the circumference which is unlike the other gloves.  The circumference of most catcher’s mitts is in the 32-to-34.5-inch range.  Obviously, a catcher’s mitt will not last as long as other gloves.  This is because the catcher is squeezing the mitt on almost every pitch.  Whereas each infielder or outfielder is only squeezing their glove when the ball is hit to them.

Related Question

Q. Is there a correct way to store my baseball glove?

A. Yes, there is a right and wrong way to store your baseball glove. The first and most important rule is to never leave your glove outside where it is exposed to the elements of excessive heat and rain showers.  When the temperature is extremely hot outside, the leather of the baseball glove tends to dry out quickly and lead to cracking. 

If the leather has several cracks in it, the glove will have to be replaced much sooner than it should have to be. The ideal place to store your baseball glove is somewhere indoors that is cool and dry such as under your bed or in your closet.  Also, always make sure to thoroughly clean your baseball glove before storing it away for the entire offseason!

See Also:
How to Break in a Synthetic Baseball Glove
Where Are Wilson Baseball Gloves Made?
Softball Gloves Vs Baseball Gloves: Here’s the Difference

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