More than 60 years ago, Don Strash was playing catch, using his leather baseball mitt in a park in Buffalo, New York, alongside his father and grandfather.
He moved out of Buffalo in 1977, and the last time he saw that old leather mitt, it was in the attic of his parents’ house.
Today, he’s a Santa Clarita resident, a Lockheed Martin employee and a husband to his wife of 36 years. And once again he has that leather mitt from his childhood and all the memories that come with it.
“It was just unbelievable,” said Strash, 68. “At first, I thought it was a hoax.”
The week of July 9, Don had been traveling for business in Connecticut, when he got the call, said his wife, Rosanne Strash. A phone call and a text came from an unknown number with a picture of a special childhood memory.
The picture was of the baseball mitt he had worn years ago — with his own 7-year-old handwriting of his full name and former address.
“I haven’t seen that glove in 60 years,” Don Strash said.
The baseball mitt ended up with a collector in Connecticut. A company called Fielder’s Choice Goods contacted him while he was in Connecticut for business, Don Strash said.
The Strashes have no idea where else the glove has been, but they are amazed the company found it and tracked them down, they said.
“My entire childhood neighborhood has been bulldozed, and doesn’t exist anymore,” Don Strash said.
Out of more than 1,000 gloves Fielder’s Choice Goods has collected, only a few had names, according to Don Strash. “Mine happened to be one of them.”
“All the gloves have some kind of story,” said Robbie Aronson, FC Goods brand development manager. “We can preserve the legacy of the game and carry the memories on.”
The company has been turning baseball gloves’ leather into other products since 2012.
“We acquire (the gloves) from vintage baseball collectors and repurpose them into functional products we use daily,” Aronson said.
When the company contacted the Strash family, they offered to return the glove to its rightful owner, Rosanne Strash said.
“It was a little strange for us since he was right in our backyard,” Aronson said, noting FC Goods is located in Newport Beach.
On the night of Aug. 28, company representatives traveled to Don’s Valencia home to reunite him with his baseball mitt.
“He was almost in tears,” Rosanne Strash said.
The company brought a camera crew to film Don Strash being reunited with his glove. They will be sharing his story with the world in the video being released Monday as a part of a series of promotional videos, Aronson said.
“It was really cool to hear his story,” said Aronson. “It’s kind of serendipitous.”
The glove looked similar to how he remembered it, Strash said. His first and last name with his childhood home address, and a few girls’ names on the inside in the same handwriting.
“It must have been my girlfriends or something,” Don Strash said while laughing.
The glove is old looking inside, his wife said.
Although it is a little worn out, it has history — and is now being passed down three generations.
“My great grandson, Elias, is turning 7 and starting baseball,” Don Strash said. “I am going to give it to him to use.”
Employees of FC Goods are all big baseball fans, Aronson said. His glove is now going to have a much longer life than it would have had, just sitting in a collector’s garage.
Just as he played baseball in a park with his father and grandfather in the 1950s, Don Strash will now have the chance to play with his great grandson — with the same glove he used almost 60 years ago.