Gloves in the Movies by Joe Phillips

Back in the early yon of glove collecting, (early 1990s) several movies were in the hopper. “Eight Men Out” about the 1919 Black Sox World Series scandal and a followup bigger box office draw, “Field Of Dreams.” Both movies were under the direction of John Sales.

Curiosity got the best of us as we were publishing “The Glove Collector” Newsletter at the time and we interviewed the man responsible for making some gloves and baseballs for both movies John Laliloff (sp.?) John went to some time and effort in re-creating the balls and gloves and laughed when I asked what happened to the earlier movie’s gloves from “Eight Men Out.” “The actors took them home I guess.”

A year or so later another baseball movie for a salute to the Ladies who played baseball during World War II, “A League of Their Own” needed gloves and we were contacted by the prop master John Allen for a Nokona reproduction (they needed a new glove for a scene) and some older ones which David Bushing provided the set. Bushing told me later he wished he’d just loaned the gloves and had gotten them back. At any rate the new glove I sent was used by some of the actresses before the new glove scene was shot and we had to send another. We got the used glove back and it rests in our collections.

Following this we were approached by the prop man for the movie “For the Love of the Game” who needed some earlier gloves for the “growing up” scenes. We turned him to vintage glove collector Doug Wolk who provided some of his leather from Oshkosh, WI. No “call” from movies until Spike Lee’s company phoned us to get a vintage trapper mitt for his planned movie on Jackie Robinson’s life. We assume the movie never got off the ground though we did get a check for a trapper from Lee’s company. Oddly that led the latest round of inquiries this from J. P. Jones who was assigned as prop master J. P. Jones. We advised him on the proper look for a mid 1940s trapper and told him we would be glad to help provide him some gloves. He never got back to us but did get some gloves from active internet sellers like Brett Lowman and Rob Mucha who sold some gloves to him. He also turned Rawlings for a re-make of the trapper. Bob had to tap me for a used ’40s trapper to see how the patterns he had fit together. Unfortunately once the “Humpty Dumpty” Trapper was taken apart, alas, it couldn’t be put back together again.

So it goes in the film industry.

We were in touch with Lamar Smith who said some of the scenes in the upcoming flick were filmed at Birmingham’s Rickwood Field and that he and fellow collectors “checked out” the gloves being used. Smith added that 6,000 “balloon people” were used to fill the stands.

Many times gloves are used in scenes in non baseball films and this always draws attention from glove collectors. Most talked about is the German POW cam’s Steve McQueen who goes into his solitary cell with his ball glove and ball for the movie, “The Great Escape.”

One never can tell when a ball glove might steal the scene!

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