NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It may be called baseball, but at the heart of the sport is the glove, and repairing one takes a particular skill.
As CBS 2’s Steve Overmyer explained, that’s when you call the Glove Doctor, a New Yorker who is saving gloves and the memories attached to them.
Filling a basement in Brooklyn is the musky smell of leather, baseball fans intoxicating. It's where John Golomb does surgery on these most prized possessions.
“They’re trusting their most sentimental glove. There’s a lot of value in what I do, and it’s very rewarding to me they’re pleased. And I wouldn’t be in business if I wasn’t very good at what I do,” he said.
Mitts from across America have found their way to his shop.
“My customers are everyday people like you and me that love their glove. There’s nothing more sentimental than a baseball glove. It’s the glove you made that great catch with. It feels right. You go through the routine of breaking it in, and it just feels good,” he said.
Leather craftsman are scarce, but exceptionally rare are masters of the art — the few who are entrusted with the gloves of hall of famers.
“There was a glove that Derek Jeter had gotten a tear in the pocket. He obviously loved his glove and couldn’t use it with the tear. I FedExed it back to him so he could start spring training,” he explained.
Golomb said working on The Captain’s glove made him a little nervous, but he was up to the task.
“I trust my ability,” he said.
The gloves require intricate stitching and often have to be unlaced and put back together.
“I’ve always liked to fix things, but I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a great American manufacturing family,” he said.
Whether it’s baseball gloves or boxing, leather runs through Golomb’s blood.
His grandfather founded the most famous gloves in the history of boxing — Everlast. In 1983, John himself designed and created the thumbless glove to prevent eye injuries. It’s been recognized as the optimal design for gloves ever since.
“It led to all boxing gloves having the thumb attached. It changed boxing forever,” he explained.
Golomb said his grandfather would be thrilled with the care that he puts into baseball gloves.
“That was his guiding legacy. He wanted to make high quality products and that’s what I’m carrying on,” he said.
The average price for repairing a glove is between $150 and $200. New leather gloves are between $300 and $400. To the players the gloves are invaluable.
Former Yankees third baseman Wade Boggs refused to send his glove through the mail and had one of the trainers drive the glove to John’s shop for repair.