The Tale Of The Prodigal Glove

In middle school and high school, I played first base and left field.  When I was stationed at first, I used a Rawlings RFM14 (Wally Joyner signature model).  I Iiked it.  It was a good glove.  In fact, it helped me set a school record for consecutive put outs without an error in 8th grade at old College Place Middle School.

Here, in the only known picture of me during one of my high school baseball games…

EW on field.jpg…you can see me wearing my trusty RFM14 while watching my buddy, Jason, warm up.

harold.jpgBack in 1991, I went to Spring Training.  For the final spring training game of the year, the Mariners let me be their bat boy for the day — a Mariners win over the Cubs behind the pitching of Randy Johnson and hitting of Ken Griffey, Jr.  That day, the much-loved Harold Reynolds actually used my RFM14 to warm up before the game.  So, it was definitely a good glove with a rich history.

Then came 1994 and my playing days were finished.  But for some of my lucky friends, there was more organized baseball to be played.  A contingent of my best friends went on to play at junior colleges and a couple four-year universities.  One of those guys was my good friend since Sherwood Elementary School, Brian “The Amazing Speed” O’Neal.  “The Amazing Speed” was a joke nickname in 5th grade.  Later on, one of the guys would bestow upon Brian the nickname “Butch,” and for me it has stuck.

Anyway, Butch went on to play college ball in Oregon.  He was a pitcher, and later a first basemen.  With my playing days behind me, it made sense for me to loan my trusty RFM14 to Butch.  And so, I did.

Fast forward 15 years to Monday, December 7, 2009.  Butch and I have exchange thed occassional email and we spoke briefly on the phone once this past season.  But for the most part, we’ve been out of contact for probably 12-13 years.  But on Monday my wife called me at work to inform me, “You received a package in the mail today…from Brian O’Neal!”

Alarms instantly went off in my head.  “Oh, my god,” I thought, “ITS MY GLOVE!”

Although I have never made any effort to retreive my glove or ever really been concerned about getting it back, I’ve never forgot about that glove.  It has crossed my mind from time-to-time as the years have passed.

Could this really be the day?  I didn’t know why else Butch would be sending me a package.

Colleen asked if she could open the package.

“No way,” I responded!  “How big is it?”

“Like a package from Amazon.com,” she replies.

“Hmm…” Now, I’m not so sure.

On the drive home after work, I continue thinking.  Brian and I made a bunch of home “movies” — most notably, “The Hound Of The Edmondsville” — when we were…hmm…sophomores, I’d guess.  Maybe this Amazon.com sized box was a VHS copy of the “‘Brian & Todd: Come Jam With Us” video we shot at the little kid hoops at Sherwood? That seemed more the size of an Amazon.com box.

Finally, I walk into the house and see the box. “Hey, that seems glove sized,” I though. I shook the  box like it was a birthday or Christmas gift.  “Hmmm…that doesn’t seem very glove’ish. And it does sort of have a video cassette’ish sound to it.”

Colleen walked in and I declared to her that “I have two ideas of what this is…otherwise, I have no clue.”

THE MOMENT OF TRUTH:

1 - welcome home.jpg“YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

And, Butch included a note:

2 - note from butch.jpgThat’s just too funny…and thoughtful.  I’m sure he figured I had given up on any thought of ever seeing the glove again.  So it was very cool of him to take the time (and postage) to send it across the country to me.

Anyway, I was pretty excited to see my old friend again.  I did some inspecting and found that the years hadn’t been kind…so, after typing out a quick “thank you” email to Butch, Tim and I headed to “The Baseball Store,” our local Rawlings outlet.  I decided the glove could use some new laces, and I figured that it would be fun to do them in dark green, which is the primary color of our high school baseball team.

Here are some photos from the last twenty four hours.

3 - look inside.jpgAs you can see in the upper left, the sewn connection at the top of the webbing tore off.  Hopefully Butch didn’t take a hard liner to the eye due to that.  I had to fix that and, as you can see at the bottom right, it now looks much better.

Here are some comparison shots of the back of the glove…

4 - back fingers.jpg…and the back of the webbing:

5 - outer webbing.jpg.

Although Brian’s “fix” was creative, I think mine will hold up a little bit better.

Finally, you can see that my old friend was a little tired and flat from his 15 year journey…

6 - flat not flat.jpg…but it was nothing a new set of lacing couldn’t fix.  Now, he’s standing at attention…just waiting to dig a low throw out of the dirt.

Its good to have my old friend home again.

7 - Thanks Butch.jpg

8 Comments

Awesome! That’s a great story. Happy to have had a part in it.

Congratulations for the happy retern of your prodigal glove! It’s a really moving story.
Let me show you this small congratulatory image of a baseball glove stand made of Japanese ash blocks that failed to become Ichiro’s baseball bats (you can place a baseball at the center of the diamond):
http://www.mizunoshop.net/disp/CSfDetailGdsImage_001.jsp?GOODS_NO=64984&IMG_NO=1

http://nao. mlblogs.com

I generally go to mlblog.com for mlb stuff…this was a nice and refreshing change. I loved your story. Good on you for getting your mitt back. Good on your old buddy for returning it. Cheers.

BRIAN -
Happy to have you be a part of it!

NAO-
Thanks. Those are great looking glove stands. I’d really like to have a couple of those. All of my gloves are just on a shelf with no stands. You really find some great bat-related links on the web! Thanks.

EZ_MAC71-
Glad you enjoyed. I concentrate primarily on our MLB experiences here. But baseball is so much more than MLB. And its probably our own baseball experiences that make us such big fans of MLB. This blog is all about my and Tim’s baseball stories, and from time-to-time that includes non-MLB stories. Check back some time and I hope you’ll enjoy some more of our stories.

Todd,
So glad you liked that glove stand! (the plain wood surface of Japanese ash timber is really beautiful. no further surface coloring necessary)
But would you mind placing a Rawlings baseball glove on a glove stand with a blanding of “Mizuno”?
(I’ve just cheked the Rawlings online store but found nothing but products used in actual games or for repair/maintenance works)

NAO-
Sure. That would be no problem.
Hmm…I’m not sure what webpage you found for Rawlings. Here is a bunch of stuff: http://www.rawlingsgear.com/baseball/baseball-gloves/
Also, here is their custom glove page:
http://www.rawlingsgear.com/custom-gloves.asp
I have used and loved Rawlings gloves for years. I particularly fell in love with them when Griffey came to Seattle with his black Rawlings Trap-Eze. Great stuff.

Thanks for the links to Rawings online store webpage. Surprised to find an incredible variety of baseball gloves with fully customizable webbings! (this somewhat reminds me of Japanese cell phones)
There are also many nice leathercraft accessories, both large and small (maybe you are using a Rawlings business card holder). Now I can see Rawlings is specialized in making leathercrafts for baseball (maybe that’s why I couldn’t find a wooden glove stand with a Rawlings logo), while Hillerich & Bradsby is specialized in making woodcrafts for baseball.

NAO-
You’re right. While they both have tried to permeate all parts of the baseball equipment market, Rawlings definitely is best known for their leather (gloves) and H&B is best known for their wood (louisville slugger bats — by far the most popular bat used in MLB). Interestingly, at the Rawlings Outlet store in my town, they don’t offer glove stands of any type (wood, plastic, etc.).

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