The passing of Ron Santo yesterday brought a twinge of nostalgia for me. My first "real" baseball glove was a "Ron Santo" edition (I think it was made by Wilson, but I may be mis-remembering) that I received when I was eight, about to turn nine. I spent a number of years dreaming of playing like Santo, even though I was a Giants fan and he was a Cub, because third was my position of choice. And Santo was a truly class baseball player.
Now I'm thinking about baseball gloves for another reason entirely. My son (who I had no hand in raising) called me last week with a request: my grandson (who is now eight) wants a baseball glove more than anything else for Christmas. For clarity, my son knows absolutely nothing about baseball while my grandson loves the game and dreams of being a ballplayer. When I asked my grandson what position he wants to play, he said without hesitation "third base" which certainly warmed my heart. So my son wanted advice about what would be a good glove for an eight year old, but I told him "I'll take care of it" because I'm going to have to shop around a bit. I'll be glove shopping this weekend with a kind of 'holiday spirit' that I don't usually indulge in.
The memories of that first "real" baseball glove and a child's dream of being a ballplayer are such an essential part of baseball's everlasting romantic beauty. It feels good to be passing a tradition on to a new generation (even though I'm sure that they don't make a "Ron Santo" model anymore).
Do you remember your first baseball glove?