Gloves and SoxDecember 24, 2010
I’m at my parents’ house in Vermont, enjoying the company of family and artifacts from my childhood. My old baseball glove, for instance.
My first love among sports was not running but baseball. I grew up rooting for the Boston Red Sox and in particular Carl Yastrzemski, a potato farmer’s son from Southampton, New York, who led the Sox to the World Series in 1967 and 1975. By the time I was old enough to watch Yaz on TV, his speed and power had diminished somewhat, but that didn’t temper my irrational devotion to him. He had had a great career, and I for one was going to keep cheering.
Blessed with average hand-eye coordination and below-average size and strength, I never made much of an impact as a baseball player. In my final season of Little League I claimed a .500 batting average, but only by counting a few ambiguous at-bats as base hits rather than errors.
If my skills and stats were unspectacular, I at least had a truly excellent glove. It was decorated with not one but two signatures of early-’80s All Stars: those of Dave Parker and Ron Cey. Even more strange was the fact that Parker’s autograph was mostly obscured with a pair of dark triangles, with Cey’s added below it.
I’ll always wonder what story lay behind the double signature. Did Parker cancel his endorsement deal with MacGregor after the glove manufacturer failed to offer him what he thought he was worth? Did MacGregor dump Parker after a subpar season? Did Parker and Cey dislike each other, resulting in a “this glove isn’t big enough for both of us” situation?
The details, like so many other details of my childhood, may be gone for good. But the nostalgia of seeing my glove again and the anticipation of using it to play catch with my son in the spring gives me a doubly warm glow.