Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bingo's Glove

Here's a great look at the custom glove worn by former Brewer first-sacker George Alvin "Bingo" Binks, who passed away last November.

The glove was his lucky charm, and as the leather wore out he had the pocket replaced with a Frankenstein's Monster of wire.

From Paul Tenpenny's excellent profile of Bingo last year:

George Binks with the 1941 Milwaukee Brewers
(collection of Paul Tenpenny)
As early as 1941, George's first baseman's mitt was a topic of much conversation. Seemingly held together with tape and bailing wire, the team couldn't get him to give it up. It was a good luck charm given to him by a major league scout when he first began playing baseball in 1936. It was the cause of much laughter and some consternation with manager Charlie Grimm who considered it a "hunk of leather."

"I just can't part with it," said Binks in 1944, "There's a lot of memories in that piece of leather. It's not the fanciest glove, I know, but I prefer it to a new one." Binks turned down a new glove offered to him by manager Grimm. The web of the glove is made of bird cage wire put together by a Green Bay clubhouse boy when the leather wore out. "It's been a luck charm so I will go on using it," said Binks.

Well, he did use it until a storm tore the roof off of Borchert field on June 15th. In the ensuing excitement he lost the treasured keepsake.
That homemade glove is one of the hundreds of personal details which color the rich history of the minor league Brewers and the characters who took the field at Borchert's Orchard. And I love the classic block-M uniform he's wearing.

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