•When pitcher Mike Flanagan was with the Orioles, a Japanese manufacturer sent him a glove with the autograph Mike Franagan.
•Yes, you know the joke, "What do Bill Buckner and Michael Jackson have in common? They both wear one glove for no apparent reason." Well, Michael's brother Tito, an avid baseball fan, has an electric guitar that looks like a baseball glove.
•Jesse Orosco, then with the Mets, gave the glove he threw into the air after the last out of the 1986 World Series—the same Series in which Buckner let the ball slip between his legs—to New York City police officer Steven McDonald, who had been paralyzed by a bullet in the line of duty.
•When he was with the Red Sox, Babe Ruth wore a white glove.
•When a time capsule is opened in Los Angeles in the year 2085, historians will discover a glove that belonged to 20th-century Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela. It's not his gamer, however.
The gamer is a sacred object. Never, ever put your fingers in the fingers of a professional baseball player's game glove. "Players become sexually attached to their gloves," says Astro coach Phil Garner. In other words, don't mess around with gamers. (This has been presented to you as a public-service announcement.)
The modern standard professional glove is made from about 20 pieces of leather tied with approximately 154 inches of rawhide. It comes in all shapes and sizes and colors. Catchers' and first basemen's mitts are, of course, the most specialized. Outfielders' gloves are usually the biggest, the better to catch flies with, although some pitchers also have huge gloves, the better to hide the ball with. Infielders, particularly second basemen, like small gloves for better control. Outfielders break in their gloves vertically, for longer reach. Infielders break in theirs horizontally, for a wide target and a shallow pocket they can get the ball out of quickly.
There is a 40-year-old major league rule, No. 1.14, which says that fielders' gloves can be no longer than 12 inches and no wider than 7¾ inches, but until this year, May 1 to be exact, the rule was not enforced. So outfielders like Luis Polonia and Brett Butler are no longer allowed to use gloves that seem as long as jai alai cestas. "Polonia's glove was so big," says Mariners manager Jim Lefebvre, "he could use it for a shopping basket. He could put three dozen eggs, a pound of ham, some vegetables in it and still have enough room to get lost."
The smallest glove in recent memory, about eight inches long, belonged to Joe Morgan, the second baseman recently elected to the Hall of Fame. Says Lefebvre, who could do a monologue on mitts, "Joe used his glove to play golf during the day and catch grounders at night. It was so small that I think he broke it in with a marble or maybe a BB."
Last November, without consulting either the Players Association or the glove manufacturers, the Baseball Commissioner's office quietly told some of the manufacturers that it would be making sure that players' gloves measured up—or rather, measured down—to Rule 1.14. This came as a surprise to the players, some of whom acted as if Fay Vincent had just put his hand in their gamers, which in away he had.