For the past 25 summers, I’ve played some form of baseball. And while the balls and bats changed from t-ball to baseball to beer-league softball, with the occasional game of wiffle ball in between, I’ve been using the same glove (or mitt) since I was 13…and it was beginning to show. My reliable USA-made Rawlings “Gold Glove Series” Pro 1000-H infielder’s glove, was in tatters. But instead of tossing it out this season, in favor of a newer, fancier model (with a tacky velcro strap!), I decided to have it restored.
Hell, I figured if someone could make my broken down, bench-made brogues look like new, then why not my ball glove? It turns out, there is a guy in Lynbrook, NY (“a small village on Long Island, barely 15 miles from Ebbets Field and 20 miles or so from the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium,” according to his web site) that specializes in such a craft. Dick Wilson (no relation), otherwise known as the “Ace of Lace,” has been reviving gloves for nearly 50 years. In his past life, he owned and operated Sportorama (editor’s note: amazing name!), a sporting goods store in nearby Baldwin, NY. But after retiring in 1992, he’s been honing his skills, repairing as many as 30 baseball gloves a month.
Wilson’s process involves first removing all the laces and conditioning the leather with a secret mix of oils and polish to restore the color. He then lets the leather marinate overnight, before he begins the re-lacing, which can take several hours, depending on the type of glove. Carefully threading the leather, he slowly puts the mitt back together again. And before too long, my once-tethered Rawlings had regained its shape and stiffness, looking almost new…ready for the start of another season.
The full re-lacing and conditioning will run you $50. Learn more here.