I remember my first new baseball glove. I’d been through all of the hand-me-downs from cousins, uncles, friends, even from affluent uptown acquaintances.
Somehow that parade of gloves proved similar to the half dozen exhausted and rusted automobiles handed me a decade later.
They appeared effective and efficient for a month or so, then totally broke down.
And so it was with the gifts of tired, tattered, torn, and discarded baseball mitts.
Then my big brother drove me to a local sporting goods store, Davaga.
Whatever became of them?
Probably occupying the same department store limbo as E.J. Korvette and S. Klein stores.
He said, card playing style, “Pick a mitt!!! Any mitt!!!”
I snatched the box holding my choice right off the shelf.
The Stan Musial, PMN model.
That glove matched up to any I’d seen. Just as my high back sneakers sporting the circle K possessed the magical elixir of flight, my PMN Glove would transform me into a budding Stan Musial.
Kids in my Brooklyn days didn’t just buy a glove, then play.
There was a quasi-religious ritual attached to “breaking-in” the mitt.
One preened it.
One punched it, Marciano style.
One drenched it in Neatsfoot Oil.
One squeezed a ball into its pocket, tied it tighter than a tourniquet and strangled it with rope.
Finally, one placed it under a mattress and slept on it.
All this preparation designed to develop the deep pocket, so one would never drop a baseball.
You see, the glove was an admission ticket to the diamond dream
And, even when that dream dissolved to stardust,
it was all still worth the ritual.