Excerpt from my interview with Joe.
Give us yours and your dad’s background.
I have been a sports fan ever since I was born. My dad worked for the NCAA for awhile when I was really young and then became the beat writer for the Dodgers, Angels and Rams for local Los Angeles area newspapers and later became the sports editor. I went to a lot of Dodger games as a kid and got to know most of the players personally from those ’76-’78 teams. We went on road trips with them and got to be around them socially. This made a life-long impression on a young kid. As I got older I read a ton of books and studied the old game. That’s where my true love lies these days. Baseball is who I am.
When did you buy your first glove-circumstances?
I was a card collector along with my dad and younger brother all through my youth. I pretty much stopped collecting actively in the late 1980’s when I started college. My girlfriend bought me a teens Spalding buckle web, buckle back catchers mitt and a 1940’s splitfinger Arrow Brand softball glove for Christmas in 1993 or ’94 I think. What the heck are these I thought? After I put them on, I was hooked. Of course I proposed to this woman and we got married in December, 1995. She created a monster. It was all her fault.
What’s your favorite glove(s)?
Why don’t you ask me which one of my kids I like best? Tough question as I’m pretty sentimental about many of my gloves. I’ll always love the two Jenn got for me. I especially like my Wapiti Elk Decker Patent sewn palm catchers mitt because I found that in an antique store in Cooperstown on my first trip there. I love my Gehrig because that’s the only really good glove I found on the hunt. I found it at a flea market at 10:30 after all the dealers and collectors had passed on it for about five hours. It was a beater. I bought it for $15, took it home, relaced it, cleaned it and uncovered the block and facsimile signatures of Gehrig. I used up my one bit of good luck on that one. Another one I will never part with is my burgundy webless crescent. It was way out of my league pricewise at a point when I really couldn’t afford to spend that kind of money on a glove but it is just about perfect. It taught me that you really can’t overspend on quality for a glove you will keep forever. I love gloves more for how I obtained them or the story involved, more than the actual model of a glove itself. My wife has since bought me other gloves. She is a “keeper”.
Do you try and play catch with any? Always put your hand inside your new glove?
I keep gloves in my office. I walk around half the day throwing a ball into a glove while on the phone. I guess it’s how I deal with the stress of the day. It makes me feel more comfortable. Whenever someone comes in my office and sees them, they always put them on and we play catch in the front part of the office where we have more room. I have this long hallway where we can really throw harder and since we usually use 1” webs, we have dinged up a lot of walls at the office playing catch. I do love the feel of a great glove. I’m not a total lining guy though. I go more for the certain model and eye appeal. A good lining is just a bonus but it will never stop me from buying a glove I like otherwise.
Friends you have made in the hobby??????
I have made so many great friends in this hobby. I know it sounds cliché that glove collectors are a different breed, a different animal so to speak, but I totally agree. There are a lot of genuinely great guys in this hobby (and a few exceptions). I love the fact that everyone collects something different. I love the fact that people are trading all over the place. Rob Mucha, glovecrazy, is my closest glove buddy and we live near each other. We have a healthy, competitive rivalry going and we try to get together at least once a month, to compare finds or clean each other’s gloves. In the past, I have cleaned his white ones and he has cleaned my extra dirty ones that I don’t have the energy for. We occasionally pull off a big blockbuster trade that is years in the making. Mike Ellis is another great friend to whom I will always be grateful. He generously gave me the opportunity of a lifetime and I’ll never forget it. I probably wouldn’t have built my website if it weren’t for him. I have made a lot of good friends in this hobby. You know who you are guys.