On the subject of baseball gloves, why not return the favor from when Dad bought you your first glove and get him a mitt for Father’s Day? It’s something new and timeless that will conjure up fond memories of gloves past.
I mentioned previously how Coach was inspired by baseball at the time of the company’s founding back in 1941. Well things have come full circle over 70 years later, as Coach has collaborated with Insignia Athletics to create a stunning baseball glove. Available in a limited edition, the Heritage Baseball Leather Colorblocked Glove is a regulation glove fashioned from glove-tanned leather. It’s available in five striking colors and should develop a rich patina over the years.
These gloves are the perfect blend of beauty and utility — symbols of the bond that connects the two of you, and with the quality for which Coach is renowned. Your father can make a statement when he wears the glove, and you can make a statement to him with an unforgettable Father’s Day gift.
One of my most visceral memories from my youth is my first baseball glove. I can remember vividly the smell of it. I also remember the original color of it, before it darkened with use. Most of all, I remember the feel of the leather. It was soft but seemed rugged at the same time.
I have fond memories of breaking in my new glove with my dad. I had friends who put their gloves under the sofa cushions or baked them in the oven. We opted for oiling it up, putting a baseball into it, and putting it under some books. That did the trick, as that glove got me through tee-ball and Little League.
In thinking back about baseball and my father, that glove stands out. He had taken me to buy it at the sporting goods store, helped me pick it out and then guided me through the breaking-in process. He then taught me how to use it, and he and I would play catch countless times with that glove over the years.
Those are the things that I pictured when I first saw Coach’s Heritage Baseball Double Billfold. Made from actual glove-tanned leather, it looks and feels just like that familiar mitt. It’s a visit to the past for Coach as well. The company was inspired originally by the national pastime when it was founded back in 1941.
I wanted to get my dad something for Father’s Day that not only would mean something to him, but also to me. What better than a billfold, where fond memories would flood over him whenever and wherever he used it.
Baseball lineage was on full display at last week’s MLB Draft, where a number of prospects with Major League bloodlines heard their names called. Even if none of them are able to match the Griffeys’ feat of playing together, they’re on their way to joining the long list of families with multiple generations of Major Leaguers.
Aside from inheriting their fathers’ athletic ability and growing up around Major League clubhouses, these players benefitted in other ways from their upbringings. Playing catch with Dad involved much more than just father-son bonding and practice throwing and catching, as their fathers could pass on their own baseball wisdom and coaching. As youngsters, they also got a first-hand tutorial on how the game is played from watching their fathers in action on the field.
A trio of Texan prospects with potential Hall of Fame fathers went in this year’s Draft. Roger Clemens’ son, Kacy, was picked by his hometown Astros. The Phillies took another promising Houston-area product with a Major League pedigree in Craig Biggio’s son, Cavan. And the Yankees drafted Josh Pettitte on the very same day his famous father won his 250th game.
Two other active players saw their sons drafted. Torri Hunter Jr. was drafted by the his father’s club, the Tigers. Meanwhile, as free agent Jamie Moyer plots his return to the mound at age 50, his son, Dillon, was picked by the Dodgers.
Former Major League shortstop and current Rockies manager Walt Weiss saw his organization draft his son, Brodie. According to the elder Weiss, Brodie’s mother will handle the negotiations with the club. Elsewhere, catcher Chad Wallach, son of former third baseman and current Dodgers coach Tim Wallach went in the fifth round to the Marlins.
It will be fascinating to watch these young players mature and develop, regardless of the paths they take. It’s yet another reminder of how the game is passed down from one generation to the next.
Ben Jenkins played one season of professional baseball: 41 games for the 1996 Martinsville Phillies of the rookie Appalachian League. One of his teammates that season happened to be Jimmy Rollins, who was just getting his feet wet in pro ball. It will be interesting to see what Rollins remembers of Jenkins, his one-time double-play partner, because while only one of them made it further as a ballplayer, they both wield important bats and “colorful” personalities today.
I was looking at Coach’s Father’s Day collection of gift ideas for men, and was especially inspired by the story of their dip-dyed bats. If you watch the video about the bats there, made by Warstic for Coach, you will see the story of Jenkins, in his own words.
Those words are a great example of this blog’s focus on Heritage Baseball, a father and a son playing catch and then a seed planted that becomes an inspired creativity. The bats are $248 each and would be a pretty cool Father’s Day gift, with several different colors in stock. Here’s what Jenkins had to say about his passion:
“Two things that I’ve always been most passionate about in my life would be baseball and making art for design. As early as I can remember playing catch with my dad, I was also drawing and painting, making things with clay. I was always doing those two things. Even up to the point where, during my early 20s, I was playing Minor League ball and designing in a hotel room.
“I don’t see myself much as an inventor-type designer. I’m more of an improver. I think as I get older I keep getting more and more minimal. It turns out that that creates more meaning. I love simple things, strong authentic design stands the test of time versus things that are overly complex.
“Design is in my blood, it’s not something I’ve decided to do, it’s just something I’ve always felt like I’ve needed to do. It’s kind of a fever type thing, where I get this feeling that: I need to make something, I need to make something, I need to make something. Design becomes like a therapy to getting that out of my system. It’s nice because I end up having made something.
“The designs are simple, bold and strong, and I think that’s what really resonates with people. Baseball is such a mental sport, and hitting a baseball is all about confidence and believing that you can do it. It’s just this feeling of, ‘Hey, this isn’t just a bat, this is my Warstic, this is my bat.’ Where Warstic and Coach really come together and see the world in the same way is that design is about simplicity, and it’s about essential, and it’s about creating something beautiful in the most simple way you can.”
It is Coach’s first collaboration with the Texas-born designer, who was undrafted but given a shot at a baseball dream, one he turned into an opportunity. He turns 39 in August. His is a limited edition collaboration of classic craftsmanship and modern style, and a good Father’s Day idea. Maybe he can get Jimmy Rollins to swing one at least in BP.
Here is the video of the bats’ story, in Jenkins’ words:
Each Father’s Day we show our appreciation for everything our fathers have done for us. We give symbolic gifts, as we know that actually paying Dad back for everything he has given us over the years is impossible. For many, an appreciation for the national pastime is an important part of their father’s legacy.
It starts from a young age, typically with a father sitting down with a child to explain a game on television, or in the stands at a Major League or Minor League game. The pace of the game is perfect for these teaching moments — initially rules, then fundamentals, and eventually strategy. Soon the teaching is happening in the stands at the ballpark, accompanied by a sundae in a miniature helmet. We learn to watch the game the way our fathers watch it.
The baseball education isn’t limited to discussion, as soon our fathers transition into the role of coach. This can be as simple as playing catch together in the back yard or practicing hitting in the park. As we grow, our fathers might lend a hand coaching our t-ball or Little League teams, or could simply lend support from the stands during games and advice afterward.
The vast majority of us transition to fandom over the years, but a select few get the opportunity to play on for a living. For a fan, it’s great seeing the son of a former player making his Major League debut. From father-and-son combinations like the Griffeys, who actually played together in the Mariners outfield, to three-generational Major League families like the Boones, there’s a lineage on the diamond as well in the seats.
I was looking around at possible Father’s Day gifts for my own Dad, and I noticed that Coach’s Heritage Baseball collection is designed with fathers and sons in mind and a good idea to share. Inspired by the sport that inspired Coach, it features eye-catching regulation gloves, colorful hand-dipped bats and wallets and baseball paperweights made with their iconic glove-tanned leather. So you could give Dad Color and Craft this Father’s Day, some luxury that combines his favorite tradition.
One of my favorite father-son memories of all-time happened on Aug. 31, 1990. Ken Griffey Jr. and Sr. were in the same lineup for Seattle against Kansas City, and they became the first father and son combo to both play, hit and score in the same game. The next month, they would go on to hit back-to-back home runs. Junior would say later: “I got to play with my Dad. That’s the biggest thing to ever happen to me, other than the birth of my children.” Watch this from the MLB.com archives:
Joltin’ Joe breaks through a ceremonial “56″ banner after hitting in that many consecutive games. As we saw with Andre Ethier last year, when today’s players reach 30 the watch becomes intense and the questions constant. The 1941 hitting streak remains one of the most unbreakable records in Major League Baseball. That image above is in this Summer of Legends video from MLB Productions, aired last season on MLB Network:
There’s something incredibly nostalgic about a vintage baseball glove. A glove from the 1930s and 1940s looks fairly similar to what we use today, except for the fact fielders’ gloves were yet to feature lacing between the fingers. One thing that’s remained the same is the rich leather used to make the gloves.
That leather inspired Coach when they started out back in 1941, initially specializing in small leather goods like wallets and billfolds. As a nod to that past, Coach has released the Heritage Baseball Billfold Wallet as part of their Baseball Collection.
The limited edition wallets are handcrafted with leather from vintage baseball gloves. Each wallet is numbered and totally unique, typically requiring the leather from 1 1/2 gloves and two to three days to create. Initially, the gloves for the wallets were found on eBay, before Coach found a dealer in the Midwest.
Establish your link with the game’s past by taking a look at the full collection Baseball Collection, available now online at coach.com and select Coach Men’s stores.