I got an e-mail from a long time friend and collector who asked me to take a look at a glove on the Vintage Baseball Glove Forum. The topic of the post was a Mickey Mantle glove that is said to have been used in the 1956 World Series. The issue at hand was could the glove be from 1956 since this style patch did not show up in catalogs until 1958.

It was explained to me that this style of Rawlings label showed up in 1956 for gloves made for Professional players and the retail offerings and catalogs did not catch with this until 1958.

I have enclosed a number of pictures from 1956 that shows the red Rawlings label still being used in 1956 by professional players. In addition, I reviewed the 1956 All Star Game in color and saw that both Pirates pitcher Bob Friend and Reds outfielder Frank Robinson had red label Rawlings gloves.

With respect to tracking variations by catalogs, collectors should know that these catalogs are often prepared before the start of the calendar year. I noticed this when I bought a 1972 Adirondack catalog that still had the original letter from the Adirondack VP of Marketing attached to the catalog dated from November 1971.

Please know I have no opinion on this glove, but with respect to when this label changed occurred, I would suggest it was 1957 and not 1956 or 1958. I have included a photograph of Mantle from the 1957 World Series. You will see his black (Mantle) Rawlings label and that of Enos Slaughter (Wilson) show up differently or much darker than a red label, even in black and white photographs.

As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect. If you have a question for us, we will try to answer it as best we can.