On June 16, New York Yankees pitcher Brian Gordon became, according to PETA, the first player to use a non-leather glove in a Major League game. Gordon used a Carpenter glove, produced by a small Cooperstown, New York company owned by Scott Carpenter.
Leather has been a staple of baseball at every level of the game since the sport's beginnings. Yet over the past decade glove manufacturers have experimented with hybrid leather/synthetic gloves in the interest of increased durability and reduced weight. But none of the major glove manufacturers have introduced a fully non-leather glove. They still have not. Leave it to Scott Carpenter and the Carpenter Trade Company. Carpenter's glove manufacturing started in 2001, after he had spent time working for the Rawlings glove company. Instead of leather, Carpenter uses a synthetic material named Clarino, which replicates the durability and supple nature of broken in leather, and makes for a more efficient glove wear, since break-in time for a Carpenter glove is less than that of an animal leather glove. The Carpenter glove is ten ounces lighter than the average baseball glove and its materials have twice the durability as leather.
According to Carpenter's website, animal leather baseball gloves today are not as high quality as they were in decades past because of the origin of the leather. This may sound familiar to vegans. Glove leather comes from the same source as beef, pork and chicken: large factory farms where the cattle are treated only well enough for them to mature and be led to slaughter. The result is an inferior leather that pales in comparison to that from years past. The CAFO reaches into all levels of society.
Carpenter's gloves are not entirely vegan, they come standard with a wool padding inside the glove, but since each glove is custom made, Carpenter can replace the wool lining with a synthetic lining to produce a vegan baseball glove. The glove Gordon uses has the wool lining. Nevertheless, the use of a non-leather glove in a sport that revolves around leather stands as a significant development for vegan fans of the game, as well as vegan parents who have children involved in baseball.
For the sports fans reading this, Gordon pitched 5.1 innings, gave up 7 hits and 2 earned runs and left the game with a no-decision.
Photo credit: Carpenter Trade