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Sports Then and Now



The Pocket: A Story About Life and Baseball 2

Posted on January 16, 2010 by Rojo Grande

It was summer, in the late 1950s. I was a young kid about to enter the “Sandblasters”, an intermediate baseball league, just a step below Little League.

My old hand-me-down ball glove was feeling it’s age, so I was saving my money for a new one. The fact that all my friends were sporting new gloves may have fueled my motives as well…

Finally the day arrived when I had enough cash to plunk down $8.95 at the Montgomery Wards store and buy my very own mitt. I didn’t care that it was a Hawthorne, Wards’ economy “house brand”.

It had a great new-leather smell and it was a Stan Musial signature model.

After the initial thrill began to wear off, I noticed it was rather stiff and felt awkward in my hand. It had no “pocket”, like my old glove.

A pocket is important in a baseball mitt. It is the very heart of the glove—a vague, but tangible “sweet spot” inside the webbing, where every hit or thrown ball would ideally be captured.

In the mind of a yet unspoiled and innocent lad, the pocket held a certain mystique—a magnetic attraction to any spherical horsehide object in motion.

My older brother told me how I could quickly form a pocket in my new glove: oil the mitt generously with goose grease, place a ball in the web of the glove, then close the glove around the ball and tie it tightly with a rawhide shoelace.

For some yet unknown reason, it was also important to place the bundle under my pillow and sleep on it. Read the rest of this entry →

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