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Let’s talk about Clayton Kershaw’s glove

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A small but notable part of a profile of the future Hall of Famer.

Miami Marlins v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

I give my highest recommendation to Jorge Castillo’s extensive profile of Clayton Kershaw at the Los Angeles Times. Castillo visited Kershaw at his home in Texas, and touched on a variety of subjects, including fatherhood, the relief of winning a World Series, Kershaw’s Starbucks alias, and his future both with the Dodgers and in the game.

Kershaw has one more year remaining on the three-year, $93 million contract he signed after the 2018 season. Castillo reports that Kershaw and the Dodgers have not yet discussed a potential contract extension, and Kershaw was open about the uncertainty of his baseball future.

Asked if he wanted a contract extension, Kershaw said this:

“I don’t know,” he said. “Honestly, I wish I had an answer.”

Kershaw and his wife Ellen also discussed their family being a priority, and how Kershaw being around his kids would be tougher once all three are in school. Kershaw elaborated on the baseball aspect of it:

“I love being with the Dodgers,” he said. “Love it. So thankful that I’ve gotten to be there, and I would never want that to change. I’ve always loved being there. Playing with one team your whole career is very cool, I think, but legacy’s not important to me on the baseball field. I don’t worry about that.”

It’s a great article by Castillo, and I highly suggest you read it in full. But I was also enthralled by another part.

Kershaw has retired his game glove now that the Dodgers won the World Series. You might not think of a glove when it comes to pitchers, though I tend to associate Kershaw with his glove thanks to several pictures of him just before his windup through the years.

His eminently repeatable delivery tends to start with Kershaw holding his glove held in front of his face, fanned out so hitters can’t pick up the kind of pitch he’s about to throw. Here are two pictures four years apart at Coors Field, with 2015 on the left and 2019 on the right.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

That glove has been through the wars, but now after 13 major league seasons it sits enclosed in glass in Kershaw’s office, now retired from battle.

What struck me — you can see the glove in Castillo’s story, or by clicking here — was just how worn and old Kershaw’s glove looked. It’s the kind of glove that could almost pass for use in a reenactment of old-timey baseball, one just as suited for use in 1908 as it was in 2008.

I wanted to see how Kershaw’s glove held up over the years, if there were any noticeable signs of age.

Here’s a shot from spring training 2008, two months before Kershaw’s major league debut:

Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

That gives us a decent look at what was presumably then a new glove.

Compared to five years later, in 2013, you can see a little wear and tear on the outside of the pocket, but this close-up still looks nice and shiny. The biggest difference between these photos and the shot of the now-retired glove seems to be that the earlier pictures show a glove that is properly oiled.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

You can see the years of use thanks to a pair of glimpses into the pocket of the glove, seen first here in 2011 on the left, then again during the 2020 World Series, on the right.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB: World Series-Los Angeles Dodgers at Tampa Bay Rays Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The pocket in 2011 still looked new-ish, while the pocket on the right looks it’s seen some things, man. To Kershaw’s right hand, I imagine that glove on the right was as comfortable as a warm quilt on a cold day.

As much as I think it might take time to get used to Kershaw using a new glove, I must admit I did not realize he used the same glove during games for 13 seasons. I just assumed he used multiple gloves, maybe not within a given year but that he might have changed up at some point during his career.

But whether it’s the glove on his hand or the cap on his head, as long as Kershaw’s comfortable with it, that’s what ultimately matters.