|I got my first real glove on July 3, 1972. The family took me to Mr. Sport on Park St. that Monday night before we headed off to Westbury for the Sonny & Cher concert (opening act: an unknown comedian who got on people’s nerves with all his props and shtick, Steve Martin). I call it my first real glove because I was outgrowing my previous glove. It was from a company I’d never heard of and had no player’s inscription. Since I was in my second year of Pee-Wee League ball, I wanted something substantive, something real, something you’d heard of.
So the salesman found me a Spalding fielder’s glove. Good fit. A little stiff, but time would take care of it. Only problem was the signature: Bobby Murcer.
I didn’t want a Bobby Murcer glove. It wasn’t so much that Bobby Murcer was a Yankee, it was that he was the favorite Yankee of my alternately good friend and sworn enemy who lived in Lido. The sworn enemy part only flared up when there was a severe disagreement between us. Days earlier, we had an argument over a ball that was fair; he said it was foul; even his mother said it was fair. We snarled at each other, ended our two-man game of whatever kind of baseball we were attempting to play and I went home mad.
Now I was wearing a glove with that kid’s favorite player’s name. But it was a good glove. I said yes, I will take it. My father paid $10 for it, or 28 cents a year over the past 36 years.
It became my first real glove and, unless I make a comeback to pick up for Moises Alou, my last real glove. It hasn’t seen any action since 2003, but it is my glove. Every catch I’ve had since I was 9-1/2 has been with Bobby Murcer’s name facing out.
I didn’t do it justice, I’m sure .