As I sat there watching the pitcher and infielders warm up in between innings, out of the corner of my eye I noticed one of the coaches just outside the dugout trying to get someone’s attention. When I realized it was my attention he was trying to get, I gave a nod. He then barked out, “Got another one!” and proceeded to throw a fielder’s glove at me. I caught it, gave it a quick inspection and knew what I’d being doing a little later that evening.
Well that’s how it has gone the last four or five years now when I’m in the dugout or around local baseball or softball fields. I’ve repaired gloves for a number of players and hence I’ve been labeled as “The Doctor”. Word has gotten out over the years and I’ve fixed many gloves for small kids, big kids, adults, you name it. I never realized how much people liked their gloves and I also never realized that people didn’t fix their own gloves when they broke, even the simplest repairs.
That’s how this all started for me. One day I repaired an older Wilson A2000 from the late 70’s or early 80’s. It was being used by a younger girl playing softball. It was her dad’s glove in college. It needed a lot of lace work but was in surprisingly good shape other than that. It looked great when I was done.
Since then, I’ve repaired gloves for a lot of kids. Never charged anything, which was probably a small mistake. I was just glad to get the glove back to them the next day or so. I didn’t think much about until I was looking around on the Internet about a year ago and saw what repairing gloves costs both in money and time. Only then did it occur to me how much money I saved kids and parents and more importantly, the glove was lost for one game at the most.
This is what I’m getting at. If you have young kids active in baseball/softball or are a member of a team or teams yourself, you should really look into trying to repair a few gloves yourself, in your spare time. Believe me, it will come in handy more times than you think and you can save yourself and other people some money.
Let me define what I mean by glove repair. I don’t mean repairing major tears in the leather and the little runs of stitching in the glove. That stuff requires more tools, leather and time. I’m talking about repairing the most common types of lacing breaks that occur throughout a season and just relacing these breaks or retightening lace runs to keep the glove in its original shape and form.
About two months ago at one of my son’s tournaments the third baseman’s glove broke, right in the web. As you already know, tournaments have lots of games so these guys don’t want to lose a glove for a week while also paying to get it repaired. Anyway, I took the glove and fixed it in between two games. I just went back into the hotel room, turned on The Weather Channel and restrung the lower part of the web. It took about fifteen minutes and the glove looked great. It lasted the rest of the season with no problems.
Now, if he had sent the glove away to get repaired, a fix like this would probably cost him anywhere from $15.00 to $35.00. This would be higher if he wanted the glove back sooner. He would also probably lose the glove for a week. If he got the glove back and didn’t like the results, he’d probably just live with it. It wouldn’t be worth sending it back out again.
If his mom, dad or someone else repaired it, (in this case I did it) the lacing required for this would cost anywhere from $2.00 to $5.00. He’d only lose the glove for about fifteen or twenty minutes, no real downtime! Any more adjustments would probably be done by whoever fixed it.
If more laces are broken, it gets more expensive. Whole glove relacing is around $50.00. You also have shipping to pay on top of that. Plus, you’ll lose your glove for a week. It really is a huge benefit to know how to do most, if not all of the lacing repairs yourself. If you have young kids playing ball and you see a good number of years ahead of you, or you are a coach, learning how to do general restoration, conditioning and relacing of gloves is a great thing.
I’m not saying glove repair places are bad. They’re great! Most do good work and will save your glove for more years to come. I’ve even recently come across a site on the Internet that offers a really good deal, with one to two day turnaround. Of course, if they had 75 gloves come in, that’s a tough guarantee. Basically, you just have to decide on your time and money budget. For nearly all of the gloves I have repaired overnight or in ten or fifteen minutes, time was the big concern for the kids and parents, not the money. They wanted their gloves for the next day.
Take a look at this glove – it looked old and beat up when it was given to me. After some basic repair work, it looks great!
So if you have the time, find a few old gloves or buy a couple at a yard sale and just try to restring them. It’s really not that hard. And most of the breaks are very similar, especially with today’s gloves. Once you do two or three, you’ll be on your way to being a “Doctor” yourself. You’ll be able to do glove repairs in one inning and the kid will be able to use the glove that same game! That’s the cool part. You make a lot of kids and parents happy.
There is also another part of having this skill. You can make a little money for yourself doing this. In fact, you don’t have to be a coach or even have a kid playing. Once word gets out that there is someone locally that can repair a glove overnight or in a day, people will find you. Believe me.
They found me, and still find me throughout the summer five years after I figured I’d just repair this one glove for a young softball player.