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1910 Spalding Catalog
Roger Bresnahan

Roger Bresnahan

Nap Lajoie
Nap Lajoie

 Fred Clarke's
Flip-down sunglasses

Rawlings Bill Doak Glove ad
 

Elston Howard's Training Weight Patent

 KeyMan Collectibles  NEWSLETTER December 2017  
Innovative Baseball Players with Major League
 Steven KeyMan
Steven KeyMan
 Experiments & Inventions - By Steven KeyMan
Founder of Keymancollectibles.com, and a long time collector, Steven KeyMan has more than 30 years of experience in researching, and cataloging information on Baseball Memorabilia. Researching his own personal collection, and helping others find information on their collectibles, the website grew into the largest online resource for baseball memorabilia
 

   Ask Steven: Direct your questions or feedback, about Baseball Memorabilia to Steven KeyMan Steve@keymancollectibles.com You can also Send KeyMan pictures of your personal Memorabilia Display, and get your own Free  Collectors Showcase Room featured on the website..   

 There are a number of ballplayers that left their footprints on the game, coming up with innovative designs & ideas that changed the way the game is played. Some with major impact, others short lived with less importance.

 The first recorded instance of any player using a baseball glove dates to the season of 1869, when Cincinnati Red Stockings catcher Doug Allison first experimented with the idea by having a glove made for him by a local saddle maker. At that time, however, it was considered “unmanly” for players to seek protection for one’s hands and the use of a glove was considered a sign of weakness.

 In 1875 Charles Waite of the St. Louis Brown Stockings became the first fielder to wear a fingerless glove. Unfortunately for him, he was the subject of intense ridicule by not only the opposing players and fans, but by his own teammates as well. Obviously, the timing was not right for the widespread acceptance of baseball gloves. It would take a few more years, along with a significant rule change, before the use of gloves became accepted. The adoption of the baseball glove by baseball star Albert Spalding when he began playing first base influenced more infielders to begin using gloves.Fred Thayer catchers mask patent

  Modeled after a fencing mask in 1876, Fred Thayer commissioned a local tinsmith to create the first catchers mask. Resembling a birdcage, the mask worn by Thayer on April 12th, 1877, was the first to be used in a professional baseball game. Fred Thayer was granted a patent on the mask n 1878, and would officially mark the evolution of catchers mask. Later in the year, A. G. Spalding and Brothers Company, the leading American sporting goods dealer, began selling the Thayer Catcher's Mask for $3. In 1883 Thayer sued Spalding for patent infringement, and Spalding was ultimately forced to pay royalties.

 Hall of Fame Catcher Roger Bresnahan Played between 1897 - 1915 Bresnahan most notable contributions to the game were in protective equipment. In 1905 after getting "beaned" in the head with a baseball began experimenting with head gear similar to the leather football helmet of the period that were made by A.J. Reach. Sliced vertically: one half for covering the left side of a right handed batter's head, the other for the lefty hitter.

 Two years later in 1907 he devised catcher's shin guards. The first, evidently modeled after a cricketer's leg pads but were large, and bulky. NL president Pulliam dismisses the Opening Day protests of Pittsburgh manager Fred Clarke over Roger Bresnahan's shin guards. As yet, Bresnahan was the only catcher using them. Ignoring the ridicule, it was not thought to be gentlemanly to use them. By 1909 the design was refined, and became accepted, and more wildly used.
  Patented and first sold in 1903 by Wright & Ditson, "The Lajoie Bat" with the double ring handle was designed by Napoleon Lajoie. The bat was said to offer a better grip and improve bat control. As advertised; "Players who want a splendidly balanced bat, good, hard driver, and superior bat for blocking, bunting or hard hitting, will find the the Lajoie will fit the bill." The second ring on the handle was called the shoulder. It could be used for choking up on the bat. There were three models available. Model No. 1 the shoulder was 3 inches from the end, model No. 3 was 5 inches from the end, and the third model No. 5 without the shoulder, had the handle wound with tape. 


 The flip-down sunglasses was invented and patented in 1915 by Hall of Famer Fred Clarke. Unlike the modern-era flip-style, these glasses were actually bolted into the brim of the hat, and were of metal construction except for the lenses. The Fred Clarke Sun glasses were advertised in the Spalding catalog at $10.00 a pair, "Complete with attachment for fastening to cap." Clarke was the player-manager for four of Pittsburgh’s pennants.

 The largest improvement ever in glove design happened in 1920, when Bill Doak, a journeyman pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, approached Rawlings with an idea for a web laced between the first finger and thumb. Before Doak's invention, gloves were primarily protective equipment that kept fielders' hands and fingers from being hurt by hard hit balls. Doak developed the idea of putting a substantial webbing between the glove's thumb and first finger to form a substantial pre-formed pocket in which to catch the ball. The Rawlings "Bill Doak" model that was first introduced in 1920 was so revolutionary that it remained available until 1953 with only minor modifications. Doak's invention was the ancestor of all modern gloves.

Harry "The Hat" Walker, a National League batting Champion with the St. Luis Cardinals in the 1940s, developed his own distinctive bat color pretty much on a whim. Walker was touring the H&B plant and noticed a bat in a bucket of dark stain, where it was being used as a stir stick. Walker pulled out the bat, and said he liked the color, and the two-toned "Walker Finish" - still in use today as one of H&B's many bat finishes- was born.

 The development of the "Trapper" begins with Hank Greenberg, first baseman of the Detroit Tigers. Hank Greenberg concocted a mitt that looked as big as a catchers mitt with a fishing net attached. In 1939 Greenberg's oversized mitt was the source of worry, and protest. It was a fortuitous time for Rawlings glove designer Harry B. Latina. by 1940 he revolutionized the base mitt with his "Trapper" design, replacing the older "Oven Mitt" style. In 1940 Rawlings and Latina filed for a patent that was granted in 1942. The glove was a hit with players and the "Trapper model" is born.

  The Bat doughnut was created by the New York Yankees catcher Elston Howard. The first team to invest in Howard's bat weight was the St. Louis Cardinals, to essentially get players out of the habit of swinging multiple bats to warm up. However Howard's invention did not make him the amount of money he had hoped. Other companies made their own versions of the bat weight, and Howard and his supporters did not have the funds to take the companies to court. The Elston Howard's On-Deck Bat Weight was patented in 1967, approved in 1970. 

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