Wilson Sporting Goods has produced several videos about Major League Baseball players getting their gloves delivered for the 2014 season. We've seen the Boston Red Sox get their leather. Next up, Minnesota Twins camp in Fort Myers, Fla.
Nicknamed the "Jedi Master" of baseball gloves, Wilson's master craftsman Shigeaki Aso has been designing gloves with major leaguers for nearly 30 years. Part of his job entails delivery of the product, every season, to the spring headquarters of every team. Upon his return to Twins camp in February, Aso recalled meeting Twins legend Kirby Puckett not long after Minnesota beat Atlanta in the 1991 World Series. That's where Wilson's A2000 KP92 comes from.
"I visited the Twins' spring training camp in 1992, and Kirby Puckett came to me to design his glove," Aso said. "He liked to make it a little wider at the heel."
Puckett also had Aso reinforce the stitching between the index finger and webbing — by the process of "dual welting" — about an inch from the top. Why?
"That makes a 'snow-cone catch' easier," Aso said.
"I'll never forget that player."
One of the indelible moments of that Series, and Puckett's career, was his catch at the Metrodome fence in left-center to take Ron Gant of extra bases in Game 6. Watch it again on what would have been his 54th birthday:
Puckett's signature catch wasn't a "snow cone," but you can't help but think that he had plays like that on his mind when he asked Aso to make his next glove.
Aso also came by to visit Twins infielders Brian Dozier and Pedro Florimon, and another of the team's legendary players, Tony Oliva, makes a quick appearance.
It's not clear if Dozier received a new glove this season, or is just sticking with the same model he says he always wears, but it's pretty special to him.
"For me, personally, I like to stick with one glove," Dozier said. "It's kind of my baby. This has kind been my baby the past three years. Whether it's (playing) short or second, I stick with this one no matter what."
Aso has done at least one YouTube video of how to break in your leather glove — and this information probably would be helpful even if your glove is another brand, like Mizuno or Rawlings. Check out what the "Jedi Master" says. It's rated well, with very few negatives, which you don't get on Youtube that often, so take advantage of his advice and wisdom.
Next week, we'll see what Aso has in his sports bag for the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays.
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