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The best advice, though, comes from Gonzales, Mr. Wonder Bread. "Take care of your glove, and it will take care of you."
Five final facts:
•An intrepid reporter interviewed Brooks Robinson's glove after one of his great games in the 1970 World Series.
•Billy Williams of the Cubs made an annual rite of throwing his glove to the crowd at Wrigley Field after the last game of the season.
•Babe Dahlgren of the Yankees not only inherited first base from Lou Gehrig but also inherited Gehrig's glove. "It wasn't until 1940, a year after Lou played his last game, that I got his glove," Dahlgren told Bill Madden of The Sporting News in 1979. "He was cleaning out his locker, and he took his glove and threw it over to Pete Sheehy, the clubhouse man. I remember him saying, 'I won't be needing this anymore, Pete.' Well, even though Lou was lefthanded and I was a righty, I wanted that glove. So I told Pete I'd give him one of my black gloves for Lou's."
•Mizuno, the Japanese manufacturer, developed a glove with a radio transmitter so that the pitcher and catcher could communicate without the use of hand signals.
•Roberto Clemente, who used a new glove every year when he was with the Pirates, couldn't stand the sight of Bill Mazeroski's tired old mitt. "He threw it to a kid in the stands," says Mazeroski. "And the kid threw it back."
"When Frank Howard was a coach with the Brewers," says Ready, "he once told me, 'There are two ends to this business: lumber and leather. If you're not good at one, you better damn well be good at the other.' Then he whispered, 'Leather's been known to give me a rash.' "
Dwight Evans has been pretty good at both ends of the business during his 18-year career, but he still considers himself a leather man. "I think the reason I've never felt comfortable at first base is because I didn't have a first baseman's glove I really liked," he says. "My outfield gloves are not just things I catch the ball with. I want to be so familiar with the glove that I'll be able to reach in there and pull out the ball so that I can grip it with the seams when I make my throw. I can't understand guys who change gloves all the time. I just can't believe they're any good as fielders if they don't have a glove they've lived with for a while.