Friday, June 30, 2006

Lost Mitt Safe at Home

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times
Bob Pool, Times Staff Writer
June 30, 2006

Jeff Reynolds is a hit with his big brother after finding his sibling's baseball glove at a swap meet — four decades after it disappeared.

Nice catch by his brother, Patrick Reynolds admits. Forty-two years after his boyhood baseball glove disappeared, his brother discovered it hidden in a barrel of used sports equipment at a Torrance flea market.

Reynolds' name, printed with a felt-tipped laundry marker on the left-hander's mitt, was still legible. So was his family's pre-area code phone number: "FRontier 18709."Reynolds, 57, a Lomita resident who is a senior Los Angeles County parks landscape architect and UCLA extension instructor, was stunned when his brother bought it for $5 last week and returned it to him.

"He thought maybe I'd had the glove all these years," Jeff Reynolds, a 47-year-old telephone service technician, said laughing. The Rawlings "Trap-Eze" outfielder's glove was still in good shape. Patrick Reynolds had used it in 1961 and '62 while playing Little League and Pony League baseball. He switched to first base — and to an infielder's mitt — when he began playing freshman ball at Torrance's North High School.

"It was a great, Don Demeter autographed glove," named for the Dodgers' center fielder who accompanied the team from Brooklyn, Reynolds said. "I worked on my dad's catering truck to save money to buy it. At the time it was very expensive. It cost $14, and I bought it at the May Co."

Reynolds' father, Jim, was a championship Fremont High School baseball player before being drafted by the old St. Louis Browns. But before he could join the majors he was drafted by the military for World War II. Afterward, he played recreational ball and mentored young players until about age 65.

"He was always collecting old gloves and relacing them and giving them to kids who needed them. I figure he found mine at home and donated it to somebody to use," Reynolds said. "Dad lived and breathed baseball."

When his father died last October at 80, his memorial service was held at Alta Vista Park in Redondo Beach, where he had coached baseball. Friends sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in his honor. The swap meet, at the Alpine Village, is close to where the brothers grew up.

They speculate the glove remained in the neighborhood this whole time.

Reynolds will display his old glove on a shelf. "All my grandkids are right-handed, so they can't use it," he shrugged.

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