Anyone who has played baseball in North Texas, perhaps even the rest of the country, knows that the best baseball glove you can buy is made by Nokona. A few years ago, my wife and I were able to take a tour of their museum and factory in the little town of Nocona, Tx.
Here are some pictures from that visit.
These are some of their different models of gloves and some other items. In the top left, you can see an autographed photo of Joe DiMaggio, and then on the left wall you can see Mantle’s #7 framed.
Here’s the DiMaggio photo.
This is a Nolan Ryan signature model collector’s throwback glove. You can see a Nolan Ryan autographed ball at the bottom, and a nice box of what looks like 1988 Donruss baseball cards.
These are some of the old presses/stamps they used to put the markings on the gloves.
This is a Juan Maurichal autographed glove. You can also see an autographed photo of Stan Musial above it.
This is a reproduction of a 1920 Babe Ruth model glove.
This is the Carl Erskine model glove. In the picture on the right, you can see Erskine wearing a Nokona glove in his playing days. Then there’s a picture of him wearing a modern Nokona glove on the left.
This is an old Nokona Little League Baseball.
I thought this was neat. Nokona made the baseball gloves for the US Military during World War II. This is one of those original US Army gloves. You can see the label on the right of the glove.
These are some of the newer baseball bats that Nokona makes. You can see that some are signed. Nokona has several major leaguers as spokesmen for their products.
Here, you’ll see a Todd Walker bat and Jeff Frye bat.
You’ll also see a Jorge Cantu and Ryan Franklin bat.
Here are Miguel Tejada, Miguel Cabrera, and David Ortiz models.
Vlad Guerrero also is one of their spokesmen.
And this is a pink glove.
Now for the factory tour.
This is the raw leather they use to make the gloves. As you can tell, it’s already been dyed.
This is the guy who took us on the tour. At the very bottom of the picture you can see the plates they use to cut out each piece of the glove. These are very valuable, because they are the “patterns” for each glove that is made.
Here are some of the patterns after they have been cut out. They’ve just glued the emblems on them.
Here are some more that have been “stamped.”
Some more pieces before they are assembled.
This is where they sew on the standard embroidered emblems and product names.
This is a product line of gloves for toddlers and babies.
You can special order a baby glove and they will put the name and birth date on it.
They also do other special events.
Here’s a woman sewing the webs together.
And a completed web.
One thing I didn’t know is that gloves are sewn together inside out.
This guy turns them outside out.
Here’s one after it’s been turned outside out, but not laced up.
This guy puts the padding in the fingers of the gloves.
And here are the lacers.
This woman only laces the special orders.
Once they are all put together, they are oiled and then put into an oven. Afterwards, this guy takes this hammer thing and bangs out the palm of the glove to make it fit better and feel better on the hand.
And, here’s the finished product.
They also make the inside pads of football helmets and catcher’s masks.
We had a great time, and the people at the factory were very nice and seemed to really enjoy what they do. They’ve since moved the factory to another location (still in Nocona), but you should give them a call and see if you can go by and take the tour sometime. It’s definitely worth it.