Via Matt Fortuna -
Between the time Brian Gordon was released from the Phillies organization last Tuesday to the moment he took the hill for the Yankees on Thursday, one man in Cooperstown, N.Y., did everything he could to contain his excitement.
Scott Carpenter might have been looking forward to Gordon’s first career Major League start more than anyone in the Gordon family, all because of the lack of leather Gordon would carry to the Yankee Stadium mound.
That’s because the 32-year-old Gordon’s 5 1/3-inning debut marked what is believed to be the first use of a leather-free glove in a Major League game, as his black model was made entirely of synthetic materials.
And Carpenter, the founder of Carpenter Trade Company, is the primary reason for that.
“I was ecstatic,” said Carpenter, who sat in the second tier on the third-base side Thursday with his girlfriend, brother and niece. “I had chills. I almost couldn’t believe it. It’s something I’ve been imagining and hoping for for a long time.”
Carpenter’s project had been in the works for 10 years, seeing spurts of success at the Minor League level but never on the big stage until Thursday.
Gordon came across the tool last summer with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where teammate Michael Schwimer took a lot of ribbing from the rest of the squad for his glove.
“With them having their fun with him, it raised a couple questions for me,” Gordon said. “And I just kind of picked his brain about it, and he told me a brief story on how he got introduced to it. So I was intrigued by what it was about and it just kind of made sense to me.
“He gave me the number to Scott, and I contacted him and said, ‘Hey, I don’t know much about your product, but I got a chance to talk to one of your clients, and if you don’t mind, I would love to try it.’ He sent me a glove, and that was all she wrote. I’ve never been back to my old glove.”
The gloves are custom-made for the players, who sit at a table and have their hand molded, about a 30-minute process. From there, they tell Carpenter how they like to squeeze their fingers.
The final product, which takes 20 hours to manufacture, is one that requires none of the traditional oiling or heating, as the glove is already broken in.
Gordon first used one of Carpenter’s gloves in a game for Triple-A Lehigh Valley last August, immediately feeling the difference between his new glove and the traditional leather ones, which are five to 10 ounces heavier.
I’m in the process of breaking in a Rawlings’ Heart of the Hide Dual Core PRO1175DCC Glove – it was a Father’s Day gift from the kids – so, I find this interesting.
Yes, it takes time to break a mitt in – but, that’s part of the bonding process that the user has with the glove. I’m not sure that I would want to give that up…or not use a leather model.