I got an email from Ray Wood of Stockton California on September 5th 2005, with a photo of a baseball glove attached.
YEA TAKE A LOOK AT THIS REACH WORKMEN GLOVE I FOUND AT THE PMA PARKING LOT SHOW SAT FOR 20.00 BUCKS , WOW
HI THE GLOVE IS 8 3/4 IN. TALL FROM THE THUMB ACROSS IS 7 1/2 IN. IT IS A
FULL SIZE ADULT WORKMAN'S GLOVE. THANKS
Though I’m not a glove guy, I knew workman's gloves were rare. Nevertheless I shucked it off after a short congratulations.
You de man Stockton boy...nice
Later it dawned on me the glove had to be pretty important for Ray to email me about it since he rarely replies to, or sends me emails. So I called him and he gladly gave me the details of his proud find. He was set up selling at the PMA show in San Mateo, twenty minutes south of San Francisco. He said he bought it from another dealer that just plain didn’t know what he had. Ray asked him how much, and the guy quoted him $20.00.
Ray said he'd only seen about 5 workman's gloves on eBay over the
When I started to write this, I recalled my friend John Gennantonio
had been very disappointed he had been outbid on eBay on some kind of rare
workman's glove he had always wanted. So I called him to tell him about Rays workman, and he bought it for $3,500.00.
John said he had never heard of a workman's that had a makers
Ray goes back pretty far and was among the pioneers of sports antiques in the San Francisco/ Northern California region. He hits it, or at least, used to hit it hard looking for stuff. He’s always been very active, combing the flea markets and shows. Ray deals in and collects a wide variety of areas, including field sports (hunting and fishing), athletic sports, a little advertising, BB guns, and pedal cars, plus a lot of other stuff. I remember running into him one morning in the dark, way down at the Rose Bowl Flea in Pasadena. He looked like he just crawled out of bed, and no doubt drove his
motor home there. I remember once when we were both new to it all, and I had bought an early Spalding Baseball Guide for $100.00 at a show. I remember Ray and I discussing my find, and that neither of us knew what to make of it, as we’d never seen one before….that’s how far he goes back. I imagine every region of the country has a Ray that is very aggressive and really shakes the bushes for stuff. Anyway, it may sound like he hit an easy home run with the
workman's glove but he probably put in major mileage before he found it. Finding great stuff takes diligence, knowledge and skill, it doesn’t just happen…and Ray has all three. This is far from his only or greatest find. There was one a lot better than this I’ll never forget.
One day at the PMA show I walked into Ray’s booth and he kind of cautiously says, take a look at this, and opened a box with a bunch of baseball gloves that were in brand new condition. I seem to recall a white catchers glove that stood out. I
politely said, hey those are pretty nice, really good condition. But I wasn’t really very impressed. Like I said earlier, I’m not a glove guy. But I could tell he was exceptionally proud of them, and he told me how he had found them at Brimfield and paid $500.00 for all. But to me they were just some nice looking gloves in really good condition.
So maybe two months later I was set up at the 2000 National in Anaheim, and was sharing a booth with John
Bounaguidi. (I’m only friends with Italians) So John sells Ray an antique porcelain mug with a sports scene of some type. Ray said he would pay for it as soon as he sold some stuff. About two hours later Ray paid for the mug and told me he sold that box of gloves he had shown me at the PMA show, to Bob McCann for $10,000.00. I remember John, I, George
Kenneston, and Bob Christianson all marched over together to Bob McCann’s booth and asked to see those gloves. Bob showed them to us and I recall him saying there would never be another find of gloves like it in the hobby. I heard latter that Bob had sold them
immediately for $16,000.00. And you know, come to think of it…that wasn’t the only action that went down at that National. I recall another juicy story I watched go down right in front of me…but we’ll
have to do that one another time. It’s all good!
TO RETURN TO TOP
WOOD WORKMAN'S GLOVE
spoke with John Gennantonio yesterday to see if he'd gotten the
glove, as there'd been a little delay of the delivery. One
thing about dealing with John is there's no playing games. You get
a cashiers check like next day if you've got what he wants.
Naturally, when you get a customer like that you want to reciprocate
and expedite delivery, especially for a high ticket item.
said the glove was everything he'd hoped for, and that he was very
pleased with it. I asked him if he was satisfied with it for
$3,500.00 ,and if he felt it was worth it. He let out a laugh, and
there was a short pause...."this is a ten thousand dollar
glove" he calmly told me, "maybe fifteen". Are you
kidding I said. "If you'd have told me it was $6,500.00
I'd have said no problem" he said.
said the glove was soft and supple, and in very good condition. He
said most workman's gloves are brittle from age and the padding is
usually flattened from use, but that this one looked like it had
only been played with for one season then put away. He said the Reach
logo was pretty legible, and that he's never heard of one with a
legible makers mark.
said the only thing was all his research material was on Spalding
gloves. He said the first chance he got, he'd go to the Baseball
Hall of Fame to research it. Either that or the New York public
library he said.
went on to explain that the color of workman's gloves were
intended to match skin color, so that fans in the stand couldn't
tell the player was wearing a glove. Gloves were just coming into
use then, and players were concerned they would be perceived as
less than manly for wearing one. I told John I'd never heard
that, and asked if this was common knowledge. He said mainly only
the glove collecting community was aware of it. It's interesting
football players of the same 1890-1910 era had the same concern
regarding the introduction of head gear.
has referred some great display pieces to me over the years, so I
was glad to finally find something significant for him. It's a