by Roy Smalley III
“A glove, a child, a difference” is a perfect summation of our mission at Pitch In For Baseball. I was asked recently if I could remember getting my first glove. Remember? It is a memory I will carry forever. It was Spring Training in 1958 and I was 5 1/2 years old. My dad, Roy Smalley Jr (I am Roy III) was with the Philadelphia Phillies. My dad would take me to the ballpark every morning and I would hang around the dugout watching my heroes go through their workouts. One day the great Hall of Famer-to-be, Robin Roberts came up to me with an old, worn glove of his, handed it to me and said, “Here young man. I’d like you to have this.” I know he meant it to be a souvenir–he even signed it. But for me, it was my glove–one I would use until my dad bought me my first brand new one when I was 10. It was ten years of growth too big for me and was too worn for Robin to use, but it was mine. I took if everywhere, used it in Little League games and had it next to my pillow at night. I am convinced that using that way-to-big-for-me glove helped develop my “hands” as a young shortstop. When I did finally get that brand new Rawlings I couldn’t believe how easy catching a groundball was.
I know that very few kids will ever be lucky enough to be given a glove by a major leaguer. I also know that there are far too many kids who will never be given a glove at all. The point of my story is not where the glove comes from. A kid getting a glove is a magical moment. It is a moment of pure joy that will be relived for days and days to come in the child’s life. Thank you for continuing to help us bring those moments to more and more kids. There are so many more magical moments waiting to happen.
Roy Smalley III is the current Board President of Pitch In For Baseball