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The owner of the catcher’s mitt was born on October 16, 1882 and was named James Francis Wilson. He was called Frank. I never knew him personally because he died before I was born. What I know of him I know from my Dad. Frank was his father and Daddy loved him dearly.

Dad had this to say about his father and baseball.

Until the depression started in 1929, Dad played semi-pro ball for the company he worked for. He was an excellent catcher, and had played with many of the future major league stars. He had progressed up to Triple A Ball with both Beaumont of the Texas League and Milwaukee of the American Association, but was prevented from going on to the majors because of his size; he was only 5’8” and 152 pounds. He was a better defensive catcher than Mickey Owens, and a better hitter then Wade Killefer, but he was just too small. The then New York Giants did have his contract in perpetuity though.
When cleaning up the house to sell I found a metal box. I had to break the lock to get it open to see what was inside. It contained My Dad’s baseball gloves from the time he was a child until he retired and no longer played. I distributed the other gloves to my brothers and niece but I kept the catcher’s mitt. Dad had very little from his Dad but that mitt traveled around the country with him.

I would have loved to have known my paternal grandfather. In knowing my Dad though I got to know this grandfather. Dad’s sisters said that Dad and his father were very much alike. They had to double check when one walked into the room to see which one it was. They looked and sounded so much alike that it was difficult to tell them apart at first glance.

Dad got his love of sports from his Dad. I got my love of sports from him. Being an only girl I loved to play catch with my Dad. He taught me to throw a baseball and softball as well as a football. When you are an only daughter with a sport’s nut Dad it helps to be a tomboy. To this day I love to watch sports.

Dad took us to many baseball games when we lived in the Bay Area. We cheered on both the Giants and the A’s. We watched football every Sunday. Dad was a huge Raiders fan but he also watched the 49ers.

When I look at that old catcher’s mitt it brings back memories of my Dad. It also connects me to a man I never knew but still love. My Dad loved him dearly and that is good enough for me.

  photo GrandfatherJamesFrancisWilson3_zps68163e7c.jpg
James Francis Wilson

  photo DadampMeaWedding_zps27311e86.jpg
Dad and I

  photo CatchersMitt001_zpsc5cea372.jpg
The Catcher’s Mitt

Originally posted to Street Prophets on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 09:12 AM PST.

Also republished by Genealogy and Family History Community.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 09:12:59 AM PST

  •  That's a good memory. (5+ / 0-)

    Today, not too many remember a new glove, and breaking in ,until it's just right. Sticking it in your face to smell it. A wonderful smell. It meant amazing catches to come.

    "The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced." -Zappa My Site

    by meagert on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 09:24:56 AM PST

  •  What a nice keepsake to have to remember (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, yella dawg, BachFan

    your grandfather and your dad.

    "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." Ted Kennedy 1980 DNC Keynote Speech

    by Dumas EagerSeton on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 10:38:15 AM PST

  •  It's kinda cool.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln

    That he shared a last name with Thomas Wilson, who gave his name to the company that is still the premier manufacturer of mitts.

  •  Baseball was Summer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, Ohkwai

    What a great story, and memory.

    Generation to generation to generation, baseball gets passed along. The game on the radio was the soundtrack of Summer; now I stream the game on some mobile device. Pickup games were the eternal weekend family activity, the bases permanently worn into the lawn.

    I was in Cooperstown two weeks ago. But most of have our own Cooperstowns. Baseball stuff tucked away in attics or basements, moving from generation to generation.

    I still remember the thrill of the once a year game at old Tiger Stadium with my Dad and/or Grandfather. More importantly, I remember taking my daughters to their first game at Fenway Park.

    Generation to generation. The game goes on.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Peace on Earth was all it said.

    by BobBlueMass on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 03:32:50 PM PST

  •  I couldn't be sorrier that I didn't see this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln

    until today as I was looking for the GFHC Open Thread diary.

    I,  too, have baseball in my blood. My grandpa never played ball other than out in the cow pasture with his brothers and their friends. One of my uncles was invited to try out for the Yankees but my grandpa wouldn't let him go - he had to help get the crops in.....

    My dad had a cousin that played pro ball - SHE played in the  AAPGBL for the South Bend Blue Sox as a catcher!

    We should collaborate on a baseball memories diary sometime. That would be fun!

    Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

    by figbash on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 09:35:08 AM PST

    •  Sounds Good (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      figbash
      We should collaborate on a baseball memories diary sometime. That would be fun!
      Sounds good to me.

      "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

      by michelewln on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 12:27:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  All right! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        michelewln

        I've got lots of ideas/stories/stuff that I've been gathering up over the last couple of years. This will be fun to do for Opening Day, don't you think?

        Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

        by figbash on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 12:34:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sounds Perfect (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          figbash

          I've got my Dad's baseball story as well as memories of all the Giants and As games he took us to as kids.

          "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

          by michelewln on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 03:08:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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