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I Found My Childhood Baseball Glove on eBay — Should I Buy It?

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When I was five, my Dad gave me my first baseball glove. It was made by Wilson and featured an embossed autograph of Boston Red Sox infielder Pete Runnels, who immediately became my favorite player.

As time went by, that glove either wore out, was thrown out, stolen, eaten by the dog, given away or replaced by a newer model. But oh, what I wouldn’t give to have another one just like it. So, the other night while perusing eBay I found a glove that looked suspiciously like my old baseball glove.

But first, a little more background. When I was 6-years-old and growing up in Palestine, Texas, I was too young to play in real Little League. For that, you had to be a more mature nine.

However, the Palestine YMCA held organized ‘pick up’ games for the little kids on Saturday mornings. I was in! And, I was sure, my first step toward Major League stardom was now merely days away.

But first, like all budding pro athletes who played at their local YMCA onSaturday mornings, their Dad needed to take them for a haircut.

A Present from Dad

It’s barely 9 a.m. and I’m climbing into the barber chair. I love the smell of the barbershop: hair tonic, shoe polish and cigar smoke (it is 1958, for heaven’s sake). My Dad waved and, as he often did on haircut day, left the shop to wander up or down Palestine’s four street downtown visiting with friends.

As always, the end of my haircut and his return were simultaneous. But this time he was carrying a bag and, smiling, he handed it to me. ‘This is for today’, he said, smiling. ‘Don’t think you can play without one.’ The bag was from Beeman’s Sporting Goods, which was right next to the Texas Theater.

On Saturday afternoons on our way to the movies, we’d stop our bikes in front of Beeman’s front window and gaze longingly at the perfectly arranged baseballs, gloves and bats in their front window. And at the center of it all a mannequin in a full baseball uniform, spikes and all: a flannel clad Greek god staring down at us!

The Baseball Glove

I quickly tore open the bag to find the previously mentioned, brand new, Wilson model A2980 ‘Ball Hawk’ glove, Pete Runnels embossed autograph perfectly affixed. My Dad and I looked at each other smiling, both bursting with joy. ‘Hey’, he said, ‘Let’s go play some baseball!’

So, a Half Century Later…

Fast forward, oh, a mere 55 years. The other night I was on eBay and, for reasons unknown, searched ‘Wilson Pete Runnels baseball glove.’ In a digital flash, there it was! And up for sale by a vintage sporting goods dealer in Jacksonville, Florida.

The eBay listing read: ‘Vintage Wilson Pete Runnels Baseball Glove Model A2980. Mint Condition! $75 plus shipping.’

Robert Makes an Offer

‘Whoa! That’s nearly $90,’ I thought. And thought. And thought all night and all day. I asked my brothers, my friends, Erin, then listeners on the radio what I should do.

It was unanimous! ‘Buy it!,’ they said. So did the part of me that’s my Dad. But the part of me that’s my Mom (she was, after all, the world’s most frugal woman) kept saying, ‘Get a better price!’ I swear I could her her voice! ‘Offer him $65 with shipping included!’

So, I did. I emailed him my offer earlier this evening and I’m waiting to hear back from the seller. As soon as I know, I’ll let you know. maybe even tomorrow morning on the radio.

I really want that glove because I want to pay tribute to my Dad. But, because I want just as badly to honor my Mom, I’d better get it for $65…shipping included.

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