Ken-Wel and the Kennedy Brothers

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Ken-Wel and the Kennedy Brothers

Postby mikesglove » August 3rd, 2010, 1:32 am

Philip and Bert Kennedy introduced some innovative glove designs during the 1920's. The brothers were partners of Ken-Wel Sporting Goods, a company started by their older brother Dr. Morris Kennedy of Gloversville, NY.
The baseballglovecollector.com website shows many variations of the Kennedy brother's designs during this period. As a group, the gloves are a highly popular and sought after baseball collectible. However, based on patent drawings, there are three models I cannot match with any examples. If anyone has one of these gloves, I would be interested in seeing a picture posted here.
Glove number one is the 1922 patent model.
1922.png
note the centered finger seam and no gusset reinforcement at the wrist opening

Glove number two is the 1924 patent model
1924.png
note the leather ears on the back of the fingers with lacing running through. Also the addition of V-notch reinforcing gussets at the wrist opening
IMG_1967.jpg
This ad for a Babe Pinelli model shows the features of the 1924 patent
bpinelli.jpg
This 1924 model was in my collection. I know it is an example of the 1924 patent but it was totally thrashed with no lining or wrist strap. The "Glove Doctor" rebuilt it and did a great job. I'd like to see an all original version of this model possibly with a cloth patch and some markings in the pocket

Glove number three is the famous Dazzy Vance Model
IMG_1969.JPG
note one important difference. The V-notch gussets of the 1924 patent had not been replaced by the newer patented 1927 design which incorporated a diagonal shaped gusset. Never have seen one of these older Dazzy Vance Gloves. Illustrations from vintage ads indicated this as the 560 model. Would love to see one of these posted.
Last edited by mikesglove on October 12th, 2010, 12:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Super-Fabulous Kennedy Boys

Postby softball66 » August 3rd, 2010, 1:12 pm

Other companies tried variations of that double finger lacing idea: the Goldsmith Valdez Modelo, Reach had a version. Nocona's Pinky Higgins model, which was much later, incorporated a similar double entry lacing, horizontally parallel to one another.
Talking about glove designers I've been fortunate to have met and talked with four or five: Jay Rawlings and Bobby Storey at Nocona, Bob Clevenhagen and Rollie Lattina at Rawlings and Earl Malone at Wilson. All fine gentlemen and not discounting "Ab" Lemons at Nocona who could work wonders with gloves. Funniest line was from Jay Rawlings, who told me, there is no problem getting ideas from customers or glove people about ideas for gloves.
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Re: The Super-Fabulous Kennedy Boys

Postby okdoak » August 4th, 2010, 12:38 pm

That is a really interesting Babe Pinelli glove that you have. Don't think I've seen another with the leather tabs instead of eyelets for the lace. I don't recall seeing a Vance with V-shaped seams either, just the diagonal pattern. Maybe some of other members have and will weigh in. This page from their 1928 catalog shows it with V-shaped seams also.

Image
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Re: The Super-Fabulous Kennedy Boys

Postby mikesglove » August 4th, 2010, 10:14 pm

Your ad shows the glove really well. my ads were copies of copies and poor clarity. I think if that Dazzy Vance glove surfaced it would be a big hit. I bought the 1924 era glove with the leather tabs on the back of the fingers about 10-12 years ago on ebay. It was really pitiful looking and I was the only bidder. I was into Ken-Wel gloves at the time and knew it was something special.
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Re: The Super-Fabulous Kennedy Boys

Postby okdoak » August 5th, 2010, 3:52 am

I think there would be a lot of interest if that glove surfaced also. Same as with another Pinelli glove like yours. Can't be many like that out there. It seems like the earlier Ken-Wels in general just don't show up on ebay these days. Here's a photo of Babe Adams circa 1924 with a Ken-Wel with the V-shaped seams.

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Re: The Super-Fabulous Kennedy Boys

Postby mikesglove » August 8th, 2010, 1:38 am

I'd love to see what type of finger lacing his arm is hiding.
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Re: Ken-Wel and the Kennedy Brothers

Postby mikesglove » December 2nd, 2010, 1:28 am

A KenWel type zipper back catchers mitt closed on ebay a few days ago for $15 . It was pretty thrashed but had some distinctive characteristics.That kind of stitched reinforced wrist opening can only mean a zipper attachment. Note the 3 rows of holes to the left of the wrist opening with lacing. A common feature of KenWel mitts to cinch up a loose fit. Also, the out-seam stitching between the first/second and third/fourth finger is a common KenWel feature.
zipper back mitt1.jpg
zipper back mitta1.jpg

Here is a nice example of a KenWel mitt from http://www.baseballglovecollector.com with everything intact.
Ken Wel Zipper Back Catchers Mitt Back Brett.JPG
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Re: Ken-Wel and the Kennedy Brothers

Postby Kenny Wel » December 4th, 2010, 11:56 am

When did Ken-Wel lose the Lou Gehrig endorsement? What brand glove did he use afterward?

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Re: Ken-Wel and the Kennedy Brothers

Postby mikesglove » December 5th, 2010, 2:00 pm

sorry, double posted again
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Re: Ken-Wel and the Kennedy Brothers

Postby mikesglove » December 5th, 2010, 2:00 pm

That is an interesting question. I don't know about the Gehrig/Kenwel zipper back endorsement contract. All the pictures I have seen of him with his mitt show a buckle back. He may have used the buckle back KenWel model as his game glove for a while.
3242773.jpg
His final game glove in the Hall of Fame is a Spalding. Love that web!
3648029224_337bf614c0.jpg

I can't make out the manufacturer of this Gehrig game glove. It looks to have a trophy in the middle of the cloth patch. I like the rivets holding the tunnel loop webbing in place. It is a better variation of the 1923 Goldsmith patent design
gehriga.jpg

It seems like the mitt above may have the R.K. Mizuno cloth patch. That is pretty interesting. Mizuno was making gloves in the 1920's and started in the sporting goods business as Mizuno Bros. in 1906. The founder, Rihachi Mizuno fell in love with the game of baseball in 1918 and was an inspired designer.
mizuno.jpg
mizuno.jpg (33.37 KiB) Viewed 8243 times

57213890.jpg
A baseball glove used by New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig in the 1930s was repaired by Osaka-based sportswear manufacturer Mizuno Corp. in 2006 and is displayed in the U.S. ambassador's official residence in Tokyo. 19/06/09
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Re: Ken-Wel and the Kennedy Brothers

Postby Mr. Mitt » December 5th, 2010, 3:55 pm

I don’t know any of this for certain, it’s simply speculation on my part based on piecing together very small tidbits of information gathered through the years. Though Ken-Wel catalogs say that Gehrig endorsed mitts were designed and used by him, there is no evidence that he ever used a Ken-Wel basemitt. It’s possible that, like with today’s game used craze, Lou wore one during practice or a spring training game in order to justify the marketing statement. Perhaps he did use a Ken-Wel for a time, but all the photographic evidence I’ve seen suggests he was partial to Spalding mitts. As for the Mizuno connection, Gehrig was presented a Mizuno basemitt during the 1934 tour of Japan after he lost the one he brought with him. Here are a few links for reference;

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/print.jsp?ymd=2 ... p&c_id=mlb

http://nyyu.blogspot.com/2006/02/gloven ... aired.html

http://bobdupuy.mlblogs.com/archives/20 ... glove.html

Also, here’s a link to JD’s site which shows pictures of a Gehrig endorsed Mizuno mitt. The endorsement on this Mizuno basemitt isn’t Lou’s signature (it’s generic script), so it’s unclear if he actually had an endorsement contract with them or if they were simply trying to capitalize on his fame after the tour. Wish the patch were still attached to it!

http://www.baseballglovecollector.com/g ... +Front.jpg

Back to Ken-Wel. Gehrig endorsed mitts appear in the 1927 through 1932 Ken-Wel catalogs, with the 632 zipper-back remaining in their line, sans the Gehrig endorsement after 1932. As a sidebar, D&M had an endorsed Gehrig basemitt in 1927, for one year only, so it appears as if Ken-Wel secured exclusivity in 1928. As for the 632 zipper-back, there are two different patterns to the mitt. These two photos (in the next post) show slightly different forms of the mitt as well as different patches. The older “Gloversville” patch indicates the mitt was an early rendition coming from 1927, 1928 or perhaps as late as 1929. In 1927, the company decided to move from Gloversville to Utica. As for the actual date of the move or when the supply of “Gloversville” patches ran out, I’m not sure. The second mitt has a “Utica” patch and is cut of a slightly different pattern. To me, the “Gloversville” 632 is from the late 1920’s and the “Utica” 632 is from the early 1930’s.

To throw a curveball at us, another Ken-Wel Gehrig basemitt has been found that is uncataloged. It’s model “G155 Special” and has characteristics of a late 1930’s basemitt, presumably after his endorsement contract ended if we’re to believe that they parted ways after 1932. Also, the signature endorsement on the mitt is slightly different than the ones currently known. The “Gehrig” is identical, but the “Lou” is slightly loopier like his later signatures. As for other companies using Gehrig’s endorsement (JC Higgins, Dubow, Pennant, etc.), I’ve only seen them in mid-to late 1930’s catalogs, furthering the notion that Ken-Wel had exclusivity up until about 1932 before they parted and other manufacturers picked him up.
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Re: Ken-Wel and the Kennedy Brothers

Postby Mr. Mitt » December 5th, 2010, 3:58 pm

Gloversville from the late 1920's
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Re: Ken-Wel and the Kennedy Brothers

Postby Mr. Mitt » December 5th, 2010, 4:01 pm

Utica from the early 1930's
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Re: Ken-Wel and the Kennedy Brothers

Postby Kenny Wel » December 6th, 2010, 7:06 pm

The above information is interesting. Thanks!

The preface to the 1924 Ken-Wel catalog states: (and I am going to paraphrase as I don't remember the exact words) It is our distinct pleasure to state that there are more Ken-Wel baseball gloves in use in the American League and the National League than all other brands combined. Since Lou didn't use a Ken-Wel mitt, can we assume that this claim is bunk? The company was only in business for 5 years at this point, so this is quite a claim to make.

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Re: Ken-Wel and the Kennedy Brothers

Postby mikesglove » December 7th, 2010, 3:19 pm

I found some old ads for KenWel gloves from 1922-1924 and one states that 150 National and American League players use and endorse KenWel gloves and mitts. Giants outfielder George Burns was the first to endorse his own KenWel model circa 1922. In 1923, KenWel went on a big advertising campaign featuring Bill Kamm, George Burns, Sammy Bohne, Eddie Rousch and Babe Pinnelli. Dazzy Vance was KenWel's big star endorser and the ad for his glove states mailing in a coupon would result in a letter from Vance and a KenWel catalog.
kenwela.jpg
kenweld.jpg
kenwelc.jpg
kenwelb.jpg
vance.jpg
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