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The baseball glove whisperer – The Boston Globe





CAMBRIDGE — Robert Megerdichian’s idea of bliss is sitting in his kitchen listening to Boston Red Sox games on the radio as he refurbishes baseball gloves.

Monday’s Red Sox home opener means the high season is back for Megerdichian’s side business, which he launched six years ago after a player who was angry over a call threw a glove into the dirt during one of his adult son’s baseball games.

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“That’s not taking care of a glove very well,” Megerdichian told his son, Greg, a longtime player for the Cambridge Spinners in the Boston Men’s Baseball League.

Gloves sometimes break, Greg responded, and when they do, players make repairs or buy a new one.

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That answer didn’t sit well with Megerdichian, 64, a self-proclaimed “throwback,” who drives a 1986 Volvo, uses a flip phone, and has lived in the same two-family home on Chilton Street in Cambridge his entire life.

“Why would someone buy a new glove when they could just fix the old one,” Megerdichian asked Saturday as he stood in the kitchen that doubles as his glove repair workshop. “I’m old fashioned. Old-fashioned people fix things.”

Megerdichian, a Red Sox fan, decided he would start repairing baseball gloves. He just needed to learn how to do it.

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Greg Megerdichian, 31, got him started by teaching his father basic repairs, showing him tools like lacing needles, and letting him restore some of his old gloves. Some of the first gloves he repaired belonged to Greg’s teammates and players from the Cambridge Babe Ruth League.

“He was good from the get-go,” said Paul Abreu, vice president of Cambridge Babe Ruth. “He takes a lot of pride in what he does.”

When a client approaches Megerdichian with a glove, he said he asks: “What do you want me to do with it, and when is it due?”

Megerdichian worked on a glove in his Cambridge kitchen.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Megerdichian worked on a glove in his Cambridge kitchen.

Sometimes, a broken lace needs to be replaced and the player wants the glove back right away. Others ask for the glove to be refurbished.

In those cases, Megerdichian said he cleans the glove with mild detergent, conditions it with oil, and changes the leather laces, often the most arduous step.

Even with lacing needles or pliers, laces are sometimes difficult to pull through the glove. His wife, Becky, said she has helped with some of the toughest cases.

To finish, gloves get a coat of shoe polish and long laces are trimmed. The entire process normally takes a few days unless a client needs a glove urgently, Megerdichian said.

Greg or Becky are called upon to inspect the finished product.

“When I think it’s done, if Greg’s around, I’ll pass it by him,” he said. “And then I’ll pass it by the ultimate test, which is Becky. If Becky says ‘It’s OK ,’ it’s ok.”

Megerdichian calls his repair operation Gloves Redone. His fees vary depending on how much work is needed. A fully refurbished glove can cost $65 to $70, though he said he charges less for simpler jobs.

Glove repair is among several passions that Megerdichian juggles. He runs a business, Robert Megerdichian & Associates, which specializes in measuring and providing floor plans for existing buildings, and closely follows the career of his other son, Eddie, a professional dancer.

He also promotes metal miniatures created by his late father, Abraham, a machinist whose tiny pieces have been displayed in area museums.

“I do try to encourage him to do things,” said Becky, 62, Megerdichian’s wife of 33 years. “He’s not really a [baseball] player, but he loves to do things with his hands.”

Megerdichian’s business cards are unique: he scrawls out his contact information on an old baseball.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Megerdichian’s business cards are unique: he scrawls out his contact information on an old baseball.

Greg Megerdichian said the glove business keeps his father connected to the sport, even if sometimes that means stopping him from looking for business among opposing players at his baseball games.

“Nobody wants to talk to you right now,” his son tells Megerdichian. “They’re trying to get ready for baseball.”

Megerdichian’s clients are mostly men. Some are young players who need gloves repaired before their next game. Older customers come to him with gloves they’ve owned for decades.

“They give me the glove, and you’d think that I’m stealing their children,” Megerdichian joked. “They’re not going to be relieved until they get their kids back.”

Courtney Majocha, who lives in Woburn, hired Megerdichian last year to refurbish her husband’s high-school baseball glove as a birthday gift.

“He was thrilled,” Majocha said. Megerdichian “made it look brand-new when we got it back.”

Larry Christofori said he’s gone to Megerdichian four or five times to repair gloves for his son, Cal, a catcher at Belmont High School who plans to play baseball when he enters Yale University in the fall.

“He’s certainly not doing it for the money,” Christofori said. “It just matters to him. He cares.”

Megerdichian treats glove repair as a labor of love. One client was a soldier who wanted to bring his glove on a deployment to Afghanistan. Megerdichian said he repaired it for free. Another customer told him he keeps his glove in a special spot on his bookcase.

Megerdichian said: “I want people to say to me, ‘You did a really nice job on that glove.’ ”

Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.


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