19 April 2008

My old baseball glove

Okay, this will be a quick one. I've already forgotten exactly how I happened to find the photo of the glove in my previous post here. I suppose I Googled "Hawthorne baseball glove" or something like that.

I know this much: It found it as part of an auction on eBay. And since I no longer had my old glove – I thought I'd left it at Mom's house, but when I last went looking for it in early 1980, it was nowhere to be found – OF COURSE I had to bid on it.

I was the only bidder – who else would want a 45 year-old baseball glove from Wards? – and won it for $2.99. I'll have to dig up an old Wards catalog, but I bet that was around what it cost back then.

It was a little more expensive if you add in the $7 it cost to ship it to me and the glove conditioner I picked up for $3. But how do you put a price on nostalgia?

I used up about half the conditioner, stuck a ball in the pocket, wrapped a couple of fat rubber bands around it and let it sit for a few days.

Then, about 45 minutes ago, I dug a baseball out of the garage and made my middle daughter (who pitches on the varsity softball team) go outside and play catch with me. After about 5 minutes, she blew the lacing out in the pocket, even though she wasn't throwing very hard.

I had to come in and fix it, then we went back out and threw for about 10 more minutes. This time the glove stood up okay.

It felt just like my old glove, and even though it looks like something out of an old baseball movie, it caught the ball just fine. It's hard to describe the feeling of being out there and throwing with one of my daughters, using a mitt that was such a tangible link back to my childhood.

I probably need someone like W.P. Kinsella to try to explain what that connection feels like when you play catch with your kid, then think back to when you were the kid and it was your dad or your grandfather out in the yard playing catch with you. Whatever it is, it's good.

Oh, and since this glove is less worn than mine was when I last saw it, I still can read the model number on it. It's a Hawthorne 60-4076, near as I can tell, a not-particularly-distinguished glove that's pretty much been forgotten. Google it and see – no hits.

Well, that's not quite right. There should be at least one now, since I remember it, was out in the yard playing catch with it (and my daughter) a few minutes ago, and will be posting this to my blog in a few seconds. So the name of the Hawthorne 60-4076 will live SOMEWHERE on the Internet or the archives of the Internet for as long as there's an Internet. And with luck, maybe someday my daughter will be out in the yard throwing with her daughter or son, maybe even using this old glove.