Organizing Dialogue, Experience and Knowledge for Complex Problem-Solving

Maker in the USA: Scott Carpenter

June 20th, 2011

Many years ago, in another lifetime, it seems, I was in a restaurant in Cooperstown, New York, where I began my career as a journalist. I spotted a beautiful drawing entitled "Ava, Missouri." I asked about the artist and the owner of the restaurant said, "You have to interview him." He led me to a glass door through which an art studio was visible, small and bright from all the windows. The artist was not present but his spirit was revealed by the arrangement of his tools and supplies. The afternoon sun highlighted his neatly spooled thread.

I soon returned to visit the artist, Scott Carpenter (shown above). I realized he was the Person Doing Something I'd been spotting around town, cutting across the parking lot between the laundromat and Doubleday Field, visible from my kitchen window. He was always carrying a leather portfolio or cardboard tubes or some other accoutrement that could only belong to a Person Doing Something. I often wondered what, and this was my chance to find out.

We sat together in his small, golden, windowed studio, surrounded by trees and peered into by the occasional passersby. He held up a blue and gold sneaker that he'd made and told me how he'd felt as a child when people were literally getting killed over Air Jordan sneakers. He had started a story that would take him a couple of years to finish telling me in full. The gist for our purposes today: Scott Carpenter was on a mission to see his custom hand-made gloves used by professional baseball players.

The market, Carpenter noted, is dominated by large corporate brands who have a tight grip on players who are paid to wear their logos. His plan was to change that. His beautiful drawing of Ava, Missouri depicted the town in which the Rawlings factory is located. He explained his complex journey to understanding corporations and brands.

It was through my relationship with Scott Carpenter that I started to develop awareness of some aspects of the brute force of multinational corporations (which became the main focus of my journalistic work along with the nuclear industry).

Cooperstown, home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, was the obvious place to set up shop. The town is steeped in baseball.

The Ultimate Diamond
When I got a note from Scott this week to let me know that his dream had become a reality, I cried.

"Cooperstown is known for its history and for preserving the rich traditions of baseball," Scott said. "However, this is an account of a Cooperstown local breaking with tradition and pioneering a trend that will shape how baseball is played in the future."

His gloves are being used in major league baseball! Brian Gordon is the first player ever to use a non-leather glove in major league baseball. Ever since Doug Allison first wore a glove in 1870 all major league baseball gloves have been made with leather. Until now.

Gordon used this groundbreaking glove on June 16, 2011 as the starting pitcher for the New York Yankees against the Texas Rangers. Gordon converted to pitching after spending his first ten years as an outfielder.

He says of his Carpenter glove, “For the first time in my career I felt comfort and control on the field. I love it.” Gordon was born in West Point, NY and he is the only NY player using a glove made in NY.

The idea of a non-leather baseball gloves defies expectations of the traditional smell and feel of glove leather, Scott said. However, synthetic materials have already been a growing trend for several years. Star players such as Roy Halladay and Alex Rodriguez have already been using gloves that have some synthetic parts. Synthetics offer greater strength than leather while also being remarkably lighter. Carpenter synthetic gloves average 10 ounces lighter than comparable leather gloves, giving players a considerable performance advantage where speed is essential. Carpenter gloves are the lightest gloves used in professional baseball today.

Carpenter’s alternative approach to his business is as unique as his innovative baseball gloves. Scott Carpenter has never paid players and has never done any advertising or marketing beyond his website: He makes all Carpenter gloves himself. The baseball glove is an American icon; Carpenter is proud to be the only glove brand used in major-league baseball that has never imported, never outsourced, and has always produced their own gloves in the USA.

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Categories: alex rodriguez, baseball gloves, carpenter trade company, major league baseball, scott carpenter, texas rangers

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