Glove Love & Dream Catchers

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to rekindle your passion for your profession’s tools. Reading time: 3:34

       Yeeeowwww! He grimaced as the pain burned through his fingers, the stinging pain of a hardball slammed on a baseball field and caught. Bare-handed!

Baseball Glove circa 1920

Baseball Glove circa 1920

        Then stoically, the infielder somehow finds the strength to grip the ball and throw to first base, transferring the same stinging pain to the first baseman who likewise absorbed the pain — bare-handed.

      And in the process these hard-core, bare-handed baseball players of yesterday taught us a keen lesson in leadership: Passion trumps convenience and the bond of a team working together for a shared goal can endure and even thrive on pain and frustration.

      They followed their passion for the game FIRST. Then the supporting equipment –from baseball gloves to catcher’s masks—would follow decades later.


     Leaders know that passion drives performance. No sense waiting around for another tool, another piece of equipment, a larger lab, a more advanced manufacturing facilities. Build it now.Play ball! Now!


     So what that baseball gloves protecting against the sting of a hard-hit baseball  weren’t worn until 29 years after baseball was first organized in 1846. That was 20 years after first competitive baseball was played (1855) and six years after the first professional baseball teams were formed in 1869.

     Passion trumped comfort.

     Historians tells us, the hard-core baseball players of yesteryear resisted wearing baseball gloves. Ironically, they felt they literally had a better hand on the game bare-handed. They did not want anything getting in the way of their fielding and catching — the old-fashioned way. Hands-on.

Resisting Glove Love

     They endured the sting of the baseball’s tightly wound 341 yards of yarn wrapped around a core of rubber and cork. A hard swing at that tightly round ball could do a lot more than sting your bare hand. It could rattle all 28 bones in a player’s two hands and verge on breaking a bone or two.

Barehanded baseball fielder circa 1880

Bare-handed baseball fielder circa 1880

      These baseball pioneers endured that bare-handed pain for 50 years after the game was invented. Finally in 1896 all fielders wore gloves in professional baseball. The transition took 21 years from the first player who wore a baseball glove in 1875.

     These baseball pioneers also taught us another leadership lesson. Sharing.

     So few players had their own baseball gloves in the nascent days of padded prominence on the baseball diamond it was customary for fielders at the end of the inning to leave their gloves in the field for their counterpart to wear.

     The more players wore their gloves, the more they realized the added value to their performance. And the more they taught us another leadership skill: the care, safety and maintenance for their tools, their equipment , their baseball gloves.

    Call it Glove Love.

   Like Your First Kiss

Willie Mays glove. Circa 1954

Willie Mays glove. Circa 1954

       Indeed, passion flames a heated love affair between a baseball player and his glove. Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller compared his Glove Love to his first kiss or his first car. Complete with a whole lot of rubbing going on passed down to generations of baseball players. Rubbing?

    Yes rubbing. (No, not THAT kind of rubbing.) Chances are if you played baseball as a boy you remember rubbing your brand new baseball glove with shaving cream or Vaseline to break it in.

    You remember putting a baseball in the pocket of the glove; wrapping a shoe string around the glove and ball, and then bedding down the whole affair.

    You placed the tied-up, rubbed-down, rawhide-smelling baseball glove underneath the mattress and slept on it for a couple of nights to ensure the integrity of the pocket and the flexibility in the glove. And then follow-up sleep overs with your baseball glove tucked underneath your pillow.

     No Tooth Fairy surprises in the morning were uncovered beneath that pillow. Just a lot of sweet dreams. And a lot of dream catchers especially for leaders-in-progress following their passion. Hand in glove.

Today’s ImproveMINT

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