I had not envisioned doing a follow up to a follow up, at least not so soon, but I felt compelled to for a number of reasons. Before going any further, I would like to offer my thanks and appreciation to Mr. Rick Levy for not only additional information, but the manner in which it was conveyed. Mr. Levy responded to my article in a MEARS Board on 2 September. Before you go any further, I urge you to go back and read Mr. Levy’s post. It also may be worthwhile to read the entire thread as well, but that is up to you. Did I mention you need to read Mr. Levy’s post before going further? Although you may take this as sarcasm, it most certainly is not. Unlike other’s who have only decided to e-mail with their thoughts on this topic, Mr. Levy chose to make a very public, accountable, and responsible expression of his views in this matter. In my book, that is something to be commended.
As such, I need to make sure that his comments are known to the same audience who reads the Current News Section. I shouldn’t assume that if you are regular or even a casual reader of our weekly content, that you also follow Board Posts and traffic. Since you are reading this on the MEARS home page, the link to Board Posts can be found on the left hand side of the screen of the MEARS homepage, under Collector’s Forum and the sub heading of Bulletin Board. The thread discussing this under the heading of Baseball on the Forum Page.
Mr. Levy was kind enough to provide us with a very interesting photograph and he has given me his permission to post it here. A photograph, that by the annotation made by the photographer, identifies the image as being from 1956. The image appears to show Mantle with a black and gold label Rawlings glove. What this tells us is that this label was available at some point in 1956 and I will gladly concede that point. However, as I stated in my most recent article, “There are a couple of posed advertising shots of Mantle pointing to a glove with a black patch, that even if dated to 1956, do no make it the glove in question. There is always the possibility these photos were taken after the event or with another glove.” My questions still remain; what makes the glove in this picture, the glove in question, and the glove used by Mantle in the 1956 World Series one in the same? And no, the owner of this glove nor anyone else owes me an answer to those questions.
Mr. Levy goes on suggest, and maybe rightfully so, that my comparison between Don Larsen and Mickey Mantle and their glove usage is not relevant based on Mantle’s position and stature as probably one of the most valuable and visible of the Rawlings’s endorsers from the period. I also don’t dispute that you would want who you perceived to be “the face” of your advertising campaign to showcase your latest and best. But then we are still left with, as Mr. Levy points out, that Rawlings first commercial use of the Heart of the Hide logo was listed as 6/13/1957. Form your own opinion on what this means, but to me this implies the Heart of the Hide logo was either first placed on a product of used in a promotional advertisement at this time. Mr. Levy goes on to say that “It isn’t hard to imagine that Rawlings head glove designer had access to the HOH stamp in 1956 given they would be using it commercially in June 1957.” My question is what evidence is there to indicate it was available for use in 1956? I don’t know of any 1956 information from Rawlings that makes this apparent. With Mantle being the preeminent endorser, why miss the opportunity to call attention to the Heart of the Hide issue and Mantle’s use of it? This does not seem consistent with the argument that because of his endorser status, he got stuff early as why would Rawlings not choose to capitalize on this in the same vein?
My Levy also takes issues with my statement that the glove would have to have been made early in 1956. Upon reflection, he was right to have taken issue with that statement. He is correct in that gloves could have been made anytime during the year, to include either before, during or after the World Series.
Have I changed my mind or position, no not completely. What we know is that a there is a picture of Mantle from 1956 with a black and gold patch and that Rawlings has stated that their first commercial use of the Heart of the Hide logo was some eight months after the 1956 World Series. This picture, nor any others that I know of from 1956 show the palm and thus enable us to say the Heart of the Hide logo was present in offerings of that year. And yes, if this or these pictures are out there, my questions will still be; what makes the glove in this/these picture(s), the glove in question, and the glove used by Mantle in the 1956 World Series one in the same?
All of this begs another series of question if you accept that the glove in question is from 1956 and that both the black patch and Heart of the Hide logo are correct for that year. How do you tell the difference between a glove manufactured in 1956 or 1957? If this can then be answered in some definitive manner, then it is time to address; what makes the glove in this picture, the glove in question, and the glove used by Mantle in the 1956 World Series one in the same? This is not a poke in the eye, but part of what I laid out in the template for evaluating gloves.
As I stated at the close of my article earlier this week, “At the end of the day, each person will have to be satisfied with the body of work and the totality of the circumstances surrounding this glove and any claim to what it is, might be or is not. That is an individual decision. For me, in this case and others, it all goes back to what do you know, how do you know it, and how is this objectively demonstrated…Whether it be a glove, bat or jersey….That is the Heart of the Matter…”
What started out as my answering an e-mail question about a glove, led to an initial article and then a second on nothing more than providing what I feel serves as a solid template or point of departure for doing some analytical work on gloves. I tired to put some of what I suggested to use in the last article that got Mr. Levy’s attention and spawned what I think is a healthy debate. Believe it or not, my interest in this topic is largely focused on process and the ability to ask and answer questions. If you have not gone back and read Mr. Levy’s post and comments by now, then make time to do it.
As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.
MEARS Auth, LLC
For questions or comments on this article, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com