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=mlbhttp://nyyu.blogspot.com/2006/02/gloven ... aired.htmlhttp://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.