Monday, April 04, 2011

Vin Scully, on Glove Lore

Vin Scully, from Friday's telecast:

...and he'll be facing Nate Schierholtz, and it's a little bit of a surprise, as Schierholtz takes a strike. Nate, when he first came up to the big leagues, was one of those rare players who never wore a batting glove. Well now, he wears two gloves, one on each hand.

Oh and two.

Batting gloves have been around a while. I can remember, when we were back in Brooklyn, I had a friend of mine named Danny Lawler, who was a golf pro, and he worked for Izod, you know the sporting goods company with the little alligator as a logo?

And Danny Lawler gave Bobby Thomson, of the New York Giants and of the famous home run, he gave Bobby a batting glove and said, "You oughta use these. Golf pros use a batting glove. They take the glove off when they putt, but otherwise they use a glove."

So Bobby would wear the batting glove, but he only wore it in batting practice and spring training. He wouldn't wear it during the game. Slowly and surely guys were wearing batting gloves, but only in batting practice.

Finally, and this is a guess, but it might have been Ken Harrelson, with the White Sox, back around '63, '64. Ken, I believe, might have been the first player to use a batting glove.

But it all goes back to Danny Lawler, an old pro who gave a glove to Bobby Thomson. 1949.

Here's Sandoval.

There are a couple of things that might amaze you in trying to think back. I was thinking the last couple of days, what's different. The batting glove is reasonably different. The helmet, in the fifties.

You know what might shock you? Until 1953, in that season, you know players left their gloves on the field? Did you know that?

Shot up the middle! Right between the legs of Guerrier and the tying run's aboard as Sandoval singles. [...]

You might say, "What do you mean, they left their gloves on the field?" Yeah, they did. If you were the third baseman or the first baseman, the inning would end, you'd throw your glove in foul ground. Shortstop, second baseman, they'd scale their gloves out into the shallow outfield area. The catcher and the pitcher would walk off with their glove. The outfielders would drop their gloves.

One and one.

And because players left their gloves, the other team used to do some mighty nasty tricks.

I know Phil Rizzuto, once, put a dead rat in the glove of the opposing shortstop. Oh yeah, they were full of that.

And I know one game at Ebbets Field, I don't know who the Dodger was, they put a small snake in the glove of the shortstop.

And they left gloves on the field until the end of 1953. And you know what? I don't ever remember of anything happening, where a game was lost, somebody stepped on a glove, slipped or whatever, nope.

One and one....

photo from Studio 1050...