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Baseball players’ irrational love for their gloves

You love baseball. Tim Kurkjian loves baseball. So whereas we await its return, day-after-day we’ll give you a narrative or two tied to this date in baseball historical past.

ON THIS DATE IN 1981, second baseman Brandon Phillips was born.

He was a great participant, particularly defensively. He would fastidiously place 5 gloves in his locker, three of them observe gloves, all considerably smaller than his sport glove.

“You can touch my practice gloves, but no one touches my game glove,” he said. “I put a batting glove on prime of my glove so I’ll know if somebody touched my glove. [Pitcher Mat] Latos held my glove as soon as. If he had put his hand in my glove, we might have fought.”

The full “On this date …” archive

Gloves are essentially the most private piece of apparatus. Players nourish their gloves, they shield them, they deal with them like a cherished one, not a bit of leather-based. No one was allowed to the touch second baseman Roberto Alomar’s glove or shortstop Mark Belanger’s glove. Former Oriole infielder Rene Gonzales carried his glove in a Wonder Bread bag as a result of its slogan is “no holes.” Former shortstop Walt Weiss used his glove for so long, it was so beaten and weathered, he called it “The Creature.” Ex-infielder Nick Punto saved his beloved glove lubricated, not floppy, by spraying it with suntan lotion, Aqua Net, Glade, and many others.

“This is my baby,” he said. “I’ve to handle it.”

Former utility man Jeff Manto used to hold 13 gloves on highway journeys, together with two catcher’s mitts and two first baseman’s mitts. “The guys call me, ‘Store,”’ Manto said. “The gear man hates me.”

Utility man Jeff Baker used 4 totally different gloves: one to play second base, one to play third, one to play the outfield and a mitt for first base. No one was allowed to the touch the gloves for second or third, however he had teammate pitcher Kerry Wood break in his first baseman’s mitt as a result of Wood cherished enjoying first throughout batting observe. And he had the staff’s video man, Naoto Masamoto, break in his outfielder’s glove.

Former second baseman Darwin Barney carried 5 gloves, the very same make and mannequin, on each highway journey. Each one was strategically damaged in to sometime turn out to be his sport glove. He by no means used his sport glove besides within the sport, “I don’t even play catch with it before the game,” he said. “If I play catch with it too usually, it could possibly make the pocket too deep. The different 4 gloves, I rank them. My No. 2 glove is subsequent in line.” One sport, he did not make a backhanded play. “I threw the glove away — in the trash can — and I never used it again,” he said. “It lasted a yr and a half, however I simply could not use it anymore.”

Infielder Mike Gallego, a profession .239 hitter, was within the A’s clubhouse when the earthquake hit on the 1989 World Series. “The lights went out, everything was dark,” Gallego said. “The place was shaking. Guys are operating all around the clubhouse, making an attempt to get out. I used to be midway out after I realized I had forgotten my glove! I ran again into the clubhouse — a safety guard mentioned I could not return in, it would all collapse — however I discovered my locker. I received my glove. I could not depart my glove behind, that is my livelihood, my glove.”

Other baseball notes for June 28

In 2007, Craig Biggio received his 3,000th hit, a single, however was thrown out making an attempt to stretch it right into a double. He is the one participant to file his 3,000th hit in a sport by which he received 5 hits. The identical day, Frank Thomas hit his 500th residence run.

In 1960, John Elway was born. He was drafted out of highschool by the Royals in 1979, however went to Stanford, performed soccer and baseball there, and was drafted by the Yankees in 1981. He performed one yr of minor league baseball. Several years later, one in all Elway’s former baseball teammates, Rangers third baseman Steve Buechele, instructed me, “Man, he had an amazing arm.”

In 1976, Tigers pitcher Mark “The Bird” Fidrych beat the Yankees, 5-1, to boost his file to 8-1. The sport was televised nationally on Monday Night Baseball. I bear in mind it prefer it was yesterday. He talked to the ball. He was so entertaining. He was a phenomenon.

In 1964, outfielder Kevin Reimer was born. He was a great hitter. Teammate B.J. Surhoff, who was an knowledgeable on bats — as a catcher, he knew what mannequin each participant used — mentioned Reimer as soon as broke 12 bats in someday: 4 in batting observe, 4 within the sport, and 4 that he angrily snapped the handles off of after making every of his 4 outs within the sport.

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