In June, 2012 I was contacted by ESPN The Magazine through the website about doing a piece on the evolution of the baseball glove. We corresponded back and forth for months, traded some pics and then they said they would send out some photographers to shoot the gloves. (I could have saved them a lot of time as I’m the world’s worst photographer – no brainer.) They asked me to pick out 20 so I did. The piece, called The Collection, was to be their biggest spread to date, four pages versus the typical one page and focuses on different types of sports collections. I chose a few of my favorites and some others I thought would appeal to the typical sports fan and reader like a two finger, a three finger, WWI & WWII gloves, a Winchester and an Abercrombie & Fitch as most people wouldn’t know they made gloves way back when. So, they sent out three professional photographers to shoot the 20 gloves front and back. Then came the equipment…
I could not have imagined the production involved in shooting a few gloves. I usually throw a poster board on the floor, drop a glove on it, turn on the flash and hit a button, then flip and repeat. That’s the extent of my mad photography skills. Not these guys. Each side of a glove took time to stage and then 20 minutes of actual shooting time. They would hit a button and walk away. The camera would take 20 pictures of the glove and overlay one image on top of the other over the 20 minute period. The resulting image was a whopping 500MB file (made up of 20 shots). When we amateurs snap pics, the file size is about 1 or 2 MB. These big files could be blown up, projected on the side of a building and not lose resolution and they were only going into a magazine.
Great guys. They shot for two full days. It had to be expensive. After they were done on a Friday evening, one of the guys staged them into a collage on a whim. He wanted more gloves so he took some off the shelves in my office. Those gloves were just great feelers that I like to put on when I’m on the phone and otherwise aren’t too special. Unfortunately, those gloves rounded out his collage.
When it was all said and done, ESPN had sold more advertising space then they had planned and decided to use the one collage shot instead of the 40 other pics. It made the March 4, 2013 Spring Training issue.
For some reason I have a special respect for Joe Gordon. Maybe it was after I saw When it Was a Game on HBO or maybe because he was one heckuva player. Most Gordon glove models are quite common and were made by Marathon (Montgomery Ward), Folsom, Sonnett, OK, M&H Sporting Goods and Stall & Dean. I have owned all of them at one point and over 60 in all according to my records and most were had in the $10-$30 range except for the nice ones.
Although Gordon gloves are plentiful, Nr-Mt or mint ones and the boxes they came in are not. I recently completed my quest for all the known boxes and I couldn’t be more excited. For me, it’s what colleting is all about – setting a goal and accomplishing it. As my glove collecting approaches 20 years, I have never seen any other Gordon box models. If there are any others I want ‘em.
The first one is a Marathon 4206. The second is a Folsom G225. The third is a Marathon 4205 and the best looking box in my opinion. The next is a Marathon 4207 and my favorite Gordon glove model. The last one is another 4205 and a variation and is the toughest Gordon box known. I have never seen another. The green one is tough but there are a few known. (Note about Marathon glove model numbers – if a left-handed model exists, it usually ends in 6 when it’s right-handed counterpart ends in 5.)
Ran out of room in the closet so I had to shuffle and move some things to overflow. Boxes are the pinnacle of the hobby but they take up so much room. Once you get one in the box, there’s nowhere to go from there. I get such a kick out of pairing up a glove with the empty box. It gives me something to do and something to strive for. It keeps it exciting for me. But, I’m almost out of room!
These are old photos. I’m up to about 40 Nokona boxes and it’s what I mainly try to collect now. If anybody has any Nokona boxes, empty or not, please let me know.
Per your requests, I uploaded all my Oregon Trail catalogs to the Glove Library. It’s fun to reminisce and get nostalgic about the old days of the hobby but it’s even more fun to see so many glove offerings. Oh how we used to look forward to receiving these. Go to the Glove Library and take a look. You won’t see any graded cards in here.
As I was putting Jonathan’s book on the shelf in my library, I came across this old one from 1992. Has anybody read it? Do you agree with his predictions? How do you think it holds up today? It’s interesting to compare the landscape of ’92 to today.
Back in December I received a rogue package in the mail with a personal note accompanying a book. This note, so eloquently and passionately written, moved me. It was from Jonathan informing me that he had spent the last two years writing a book and asked if I would give it a read.
A new baseball book? I’m in! I have every one ever written on the subject of baseball gloves. I was excited to start reading it. I thought if this book is anything like his note, then I’m gonna love it. He appeared to be quite a writer so I eagerly opened it up and then saw the first picture. Simply stunning. Screw the writing I thought. These pieces and pictures are fantastic. I quickly flipped the page and saw another, and another. The brilliant photography and presentation made it impossible for me to put down. Here’s a hint of what I mean (click on the photos to enlarge):
I did this through half the book before I decided to stop looking and start reading. I’m glad I did. Jonathan is a storyteller. He writes about collecting, but more importantly, about the joy of collecting. He tells us stories about his time on the hunt with his father, John, and his brother, Michael. These stories weave the theme of the joy of the hunt, the passion of collecting and more importantly, doing it with those closest to you. The bond he shares with his family is quite evident and the collection they put together is even more special because they did it as a family. His sincerity and passion were exciting.
After reading the stories about how their pieces were acquired it became evident why it was so difficult to wrangle some of them out of their collection. There is a story behind every piece (oftentimes an educational one), and Jonathan itimately brings us along for the ride. I couldn’t help but reflect back on how much fun I too have had on the hunt over the years and how I long for the innocence of my early days searching for and collecting gloves. I look forward to re-experiencing the hobby through my son’s youthful eyes and I have Jonathan and his memories to thank, and for that, I’m grateful.
Please go to Dugout Treasures Book to order a copy. Enjoy this great hobby and enjoy the read. I know I did, four times…
Just released! New EXPANDED VERSION of “Baseball Gloves Merge With America’s Past” is now in 3 different book formats. The hot off the press glove book has over 110 pages loaded with more than 500 high quality glove related pictures depicting glove evolution. It is now available in three formats: printed book, CD-book and PDF-book and can be purchased at Dave Cunningham’s new website at www.vintageballgloves.com. Any of the three book formats focus on the history of ball glove evolution alongside our great nation’s past. Check them out by visiting Dave’s new website.
Over the last couple of years John Graham and I would meet up for breakfast or lunch every couple of months when he was in Orange County. Well I got to Dallas recently and spent some time with John. Finally got to see his collection in person. OMG! What a collection. He was the most gracious host. Had a great time. Then we had lunch with Joe, TGC himself. Man he’s a hoot. It sure was great to see him again too. It had been too long.
Our great hobby is getting all kinds of publicity lately with the Tornado Palm, Brett on ESPN E-60, Joe’s comments in the Dallas Morning News, John Graham’s book and now Dave’s enjoyable follow-up book entitled Baseball Gloves Merge With America’s Past in which Dave weaves an American historical thread through the evolution of ball gloves. This new book has many more glove pictures and pages than his two previous books and was written with the love and memories of his dad in mind.
Great job Dave. The hobby can always use more glove books. Thank you.
Dave can fill you in on all the specifics if you contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s selling this book for $24.
This beautiful Christy Mathewson Goldsmith JG8 Spider Web glove just came across my desk to sell. It marks just the 10th Matty to surface in the hobby. The seller is not a glove collector so this one was unknown til now and that’s exciting to me as a collector. It makes you wonder how many other great gloves have yet to be found. This is the first Matty to sell publicly in about three years and that one was a youth-sized spider web as well. I believe it is from the early 1920′s. This glove is in wonderful condition and retains almost all of the silver in the stampings and has not been cleaned. Of the five Matty’s I have seen in person, this is in the nicest condition. I’m glad I got to see it. Thanks KS.
This is what we mean by pain for pain. Don’tworry RBD, the sorrow will go away in just shy of 10 years. That’s what Rob keeps telling me of our earlier trades.
I have been on such a boxed glove kick as of late. I have been trading off lots of stuff that isn’t boxed toward stuff that is. It took me many years to get here but now I finally appreciate them for what they are. From a collecting standpoint, it’s the ultimate way to complete something – get it in the box and check it off the list forever. I get such a kick out of buying empty boxes and finding their matches. I feel accomplished when I do.
Ricky Bulldog has dangled these in front of me for some time and we finally pulled it off. The trade was actually bigger but these were the boxes that got me excited enough to finally update this page. Thanks so much bud for holding them for me and since cash is tight for most of us right now, trading is a lot more fun and easy to do than buying. Everyone keep up their trader photos in the Collector’s Corner and keep their gloves updated in the galleries. Lot of us are doing lots of trades lately.
I just finished looking through my copy of my buddy John Graham’s new book for like the fifth time. I never get tired of looking at pictures of great gloves. John and his family put together an incredible book memorializing his amazing collection. What a fun way to memorialize the greatest private glove collection ever assembled. This elegant book is exactly what the hobby needs and is a must have for anybody who loves baseball or who has ever collected anything. I couldn’t recommend it more. It contains many high resolution color pictures of the most sought after gloves in the hobby like 19th century gloves, novelty gloves, Hall of Famer’s, rare models and boxed gloves to name a few in its over 250 pages. It was also nice to see lots of my old glove friends who have permanently found their way home. Great job John. I’m proud of you.
You can order your copy directly from his new website:
Would love to hear what you all think.
Got to Tahoe for Spring Break to do some snowboarding and I hooked up with my bud Josh Maddux who recently relocated from Indiana to Nevada. He works with the Reno Aces, a Triple A Diamondbacks club starting their second season. It was good to see him again. Man, it was cold. The park and operation were first rate. I was very impressed. It was a fun opening night at the ballpark and the Aces won their opener in the 12th.
In the spirit and intent of the Collector’s Corner, I just wanted to post a quick note to let everyone know that I will be deleting all profiles on April 1st that aren’t at least half way filled out. If you get deleted then you can re-register and fill out another profile. Two other Administrators and I will be frequently monitoring the profiles to see if they get filled out. If not, those will be deleted again. Thanks.
It’s official. I’ve decided I’m not much of a blogger. Just not that into it I guess. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m a little burnt out. You know how you have ups and downs and highs and lows in collecting? Well I’m at the trough and am looking for the recovery, the upswing. Sorry for the business cycle references but that’s how my little mind works.
Back to blogging. It’s not that I don’t have much to talk about or say but rather that I’m always saying it. Why write about it too. I speak to my glove buddies very regularly and always have two or three trades going so there is a lot of back and forth. I return close to 100 e-mail inquiries a week so that takes up a lot of time too. I continually monitor the Forums and eBay but somehow don’t see half the great items that everyone else does – probably for the better.
I could talk about having the pleasure of looking at two more advanced book screenings. Yep, two more glove books are coming out as well as Joe’s Nokona book. I could talk about a bunch of us going to the National and raising hell and loitering in Brett and William’s booth. We’re thinking of broadcasting or streaming live video from the National. Maybe we’ll be posting on the Forum in real time for those who can’t attend. One guy might even have a continuous PowerPoint slideshow of gloves showing on a screen. We are attempting to draw more attention to the hobby because one thing is certain. Prices are historically low and this is great if you are a collector. I have added so many pieces to my collection recently that I can’t afford to keep up the pace. I don’t know why I’m complaining as I’m a collector and not a dealer. The problem is that it doesn’t stop coming and that concerns a lot of us as it appears that there aren’t enough new collectors to absorb all the gloves. Quantity supplied seems to exceed the demand keeping prices low. We are just thinking that it couldn’t hurt to help the demand curve shift to the right a little to bring the equilibrium prices back up to where they were. Do we just chalk it up to the economy, high unemployment? Well that’s a weak and overly simplistic argument. Are more collectors unemployed or cash-strapped as of late? Are they anticipating high tax bills? I’d love to blame it on the latter but that’s probably a bit pre-mature. It’s coming though. I promise but I won’t go there…yet.
Anyway, I thought I would just write something to change that link on the site so you guys don’t have to keep looking at my ugly mug from the last post. I had plans of making this section of the site a lot more dynamic than I have been but I’ll get rejuvenated. I always do and when Ricky and Brett recently called me with two great items I needed, I have to admit, the juices got a flowin’. More soon.
John Graham and I took a trip out to Rob’s new house yesterday. It’s an absolutely beautiful home and Rob and his wife Michelle are still putting it together. Here’s a pic of Rob, John and I. You should have seen him take down a mannequin, prop it up ever so carefully, put the camera on it’s head, aim, set the timer and run over for the shot. He’s truly a master photographer.
Rob got even more room to spread out his extensive collection. His displays are incredible. The upstairs landing where he took the pic is one of the most beautiful and tastefully done displays I have ever seen. This is the landing.
Michelle is a super cool wife. She’s a trooper. Here are some of the other display pics from virtually every room in the house.
On another note, Rob got in a pretty terrible car accident last week. He got hit by a big rig who had fried its brakes coming down a hill apparently. When Rob was able to get off to the side up the road a bit and get out of his car to gain his composure, the same truck with no brakes hit him again and almost killed him. Pretty scary. He’s a bit banged up and even turned down a game of catch, which isn’t like him. Glad you are doing O.K. bud. Get better soon.
John, always good seeing you.
We missed you all at the first annual Montana Glove Get-Together. I went out to see Mike Ellis again and finally met BJ Ayers. We met up at BJ’s house and were overwhelmed by his incredible collection. That’s Mike on the left, BJ in the middle and me on the right. His son took the pic. BJ had a ton of great gloves and other stuff to look at. We had a great time.
Mike and I stayed up til almost 3:00 in the morning both nights. I told him I wanted to get snowed in down in his basement. I could stay down there forever and do research.
Lots of display pics coming. Check out that Gallery to see BJ’s and Mike’s latest displays.
So far, so good guys. Start filling out your profiles and keep your traders current. I have already heard of two trades so far. That’s cool, which means it’s working. Is there any other information you want to capture or know about each other? We can make more information fields if we want.
If anyone needs any help filling out their profiles or putting up their traders, let me know and I’ll be happy to help. The Collector’s Corner will be a lot more fun if everyone gets involved.