For the past 25 summers, Iâ€™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, Iâ€™ve been using the same glove (or mitt) since I was 13â€¦and it was beginning to show. My reliable USA-made Rawlings â€œGold Glove Seriesâ€ Pro 1000-H infielderâ€™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 (â€œa small village on Long Island, barely 15 miles from Ebbets Field and 20 miles or so from the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium,â€ according to his web site) that specializes in such a craft. Dick Wilson (no relation), otherwise known as the â€œAce of Lace,â€ 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, heâ€™s been honing his skills, repairing as many as 30 baseball gloves a month.
Wilsonâ€™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 newâ€¦ready for the start of another season.
The full re-lacing and conditioning will run you $50. Learn more here.