AJ Reach Mitt found this wknd

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AJ Reach Mitt found this wknd

Postby rgray58 » June 24th, 2013, 6:41 pm

Antiquing with the wife on Sunday and found this AJ Reach mitt. Seller wanted $40 but I bundled with some other things so hard to say exactly what I paid just for the mitt. I'm not a collector but bought as gift for my son who grew up playing and finished out HS as varsity catcher. I grew up in Philly, saw the Philadelphia on the label and took a chance. Here on this forum I learned the AJ Reach history with the Philadelphia Athletics and the Phillies but what really pushed me to buy is I knew my grandmother sewed baseballs for a living in Philly. I called my mom last night and learned it was indeed the AJ Reach company that she worked for (She always called it "Reaches"). Several years ago when my son graduated HS we took an East Coast tour of 7 baseball stadiums and games plus the Hall of Fame where in a Cooperstown store we saw a baseball sewing machine probably just like what my grandmother used (too high for my wallet).

Well anyway, my wife plans to figure some way to display the glove and give it to my son for his birthday. I want to write up as much information about the glove I can learn (starting with the AJ Reach history I have already found). I am curious as to what anyone can tell me about this particular mitt. It is 10" across and the front is fully intact with no tears. I can just barely make out some print on the front but it is so worn as to unreadable. The back of the mitt that would be against the back of an inserted hand is torn in several places but the mitt still fits easily on the hand and would be usable (something I guarantee my son will try before retiring to display).

Thanks for reading this post, viewing the pics and any possible info you might have.

Bob Gray

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Re: AJ Reach Mitt found this wknd

Postby ebbets55 » June 24th, 2013, 6:54 pm

Hey Bob, good to hear from you. That was a high end model that shows up a lot from 1914-22ish. In 1914 it looks like it could be a model 10A, The Brute. The later models, like the 6A Professional Model in 1922, tended to have a buckle web so I would think yours would be on the earlier side rather than the later side. I would call it mid to late teens if I were to venture a guess. Mike, a little help here.

Here's the 1914 catalog page. Note, the back strap is known as the Hold Fast Feature.

Cool mitt. Thanks for sharing.

JD
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A J Reach 1914 Catalog_Page_05.jpg
A.J. Reach 1914 Catalog Page
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Re: AJ Reach Mitt found this wknd

Postby rgray58 » June 24th, 2013, 7:40 pm

I have to thank you for sharing the info. I found your site and the full catalog. This glove looks darn close but I can see how hard it could be to identify exact details. I can just barely see where there was print on the heel and top of the front of the mitt. Are there any non-destructive CSI-type techniques that can enhance the worn print - e.g. lights, mild chemicals, etc.?

Also, the catalog ad you shared cites asbestos filling. Was this a common material? I assume that a reasonable amount of caution should be taken when handling this glove though I figure no real problem shy of cutting into it.
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Re: AJ Reach Mitt found this wknd

Postby ebbets55 » June 24th, 2013, 8:18 pm

Nope, no special CSI techniques. You might try a blacklight. Moisturizing or conditioning it usually brings out stampings a little but it would probably darken it and it already has a neat look and color that I probably wouldn't touch it.

Although we normally associate the earlier gloves with asbestos linings (because it was visible), my experience from reading catalogs and seeing some glove guts is that asbestos was widely used as padding for many years past the commonly known crescents. So yes. There's a pretty good chance that a lot of our gloves have some asbestos in them. If that's the case I should have mesothelioma by now as my house must be full of asbestos. As long as you are not sucking in large doses of asbestos, I would worry about it, but then again I'm not a doctor. The second I have to wear a mask to put on a glove, I'm out. When I handle an asbestos glove, I just try not to pound a bunch of dust loose - maybe even wash my hands after, but that's it. I love early gloves with those linings. They are much more desirable in my opinion.

JD
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Re: AJ Reach Mitt found this wknd

Postby mikesglove » June 25th, 2013, 1:34 am

The dating of the mitt seems right to me. Here is a photo of an old 10A mitt I had. It looks like yours. I think I see a 10 at the top of your mitt. As you can see, "The Brute" is big and in block letters at the heel of the mitt below. Anyway, stretching the leather with your thumbs around the stamping can sometimes lighten the background leather color and give contrast to the stampings. It is a quick and dirty technique I use at flea markets and the like.
bru.jpg
bruu.jpg
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Re: AJ Reach Mitt found this wknd

Postby rgray58 » June 26th, 2013, 5:46 am

Thanks for the info and pics. Wish mine was in as good of condition but it definitely looks like it was well used by someone. No illusions as to a great deal but it works for me. After having done this bit of research I will probably be more interested in any old gloves I see.
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Re: AJ Reach Mitt found this wknd

Postby rgray58 » July 19th, 2013, 6:26 am

Figured to close out with a couple pictures of the display we came up with and will give to our son for his birthday along with a print-out of the 1914 catalog, a web page about A.J. Reach (http://explorepahistory.com/hmarker.php?markerId=1-A-3), and the info that his great-grandmother (who he knew as a child) sewed baseballs for the company. Maybe the next time I am in Philly I will go downtown to see the historical marker located at the former location of his company.
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Re: AJ Reach Mitt found this wknd

Postby vintagebrett » July 22nd, 2013, 1:30 pm

Thanks for sharing! I like the home plate holder - I'm sure you're son will love the present.
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