A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
A Glove of Their Own
NEW JERSEY—It is amazing how one life could drastically change with hard work, a passion, and dedication. Three years ago, Bob Salomon was just a regular family man with a wife, two kids, and a full-time job in his home state of New Jersey. These days, you can find Salomon at the center of a unique movement with the commitment to making a difference. He now collaborates with some of the biggest names in sports, as he has gained the trust of the hundreds that support him. One of those names is former big league outfielder and current ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst Doug Glanville. The driving force behind Bob’s involvement with Glanville and other big-time athletes comes from the compelling children’s book, titled “A Glove of Their Own.” Together, the duo share many of the same values, beliefs, and overall determination that have helped form the basis for their success. As they now join forces, these men have only one mindset towards the future, and that is to help children.
Since its publication in 2008, “A Glove of Their Own” has received recognition and attention on a national level, with numerous accolades and supporters that include both former and current players alike. The endless list features names such as Yogi Berra, Joe Torre, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Jim Eisenreich, Dick Drago, Eric Chavez, Michael Cuddyer, and Nelson Cruz, among many others. Even companies such as Louisville Slugger, Modell’s, Rawlings, Eric Chavez – Brown Gloves / Diego Bats, and Upper Deck have joined the cause. The story and its process to stardom is certainly unique as it originally began with words and ideas placed on a computer by first-time authors Debbie Moldovan and Keri Conkling. Both are family friends of Salomon, and knew that he loved to give back and help children. Add that with his love for baseball, and the two women were certain that he was the one to jumpstart the project.
“After I read the story for the first time, I thought it was amazing,” proclaimed Salomon. “I knew we had to get it out to the world.”
Soon thereafter, Bob did just that. With his first move, he contacted a third author in Lisa Funari-Willever. While offering advice, Lisa soon learned of Bob’s vision and after much dialogue, agreed to join the team. Her experience and efforts ultimately got the book published. Although the publication of “A Glove of Their Own” was a special day for Salomon, he quickly realized that the real work was ahead of him. What followed was a process of networking that involved creating friendships in the sporting world. In order to promote the book’s release, daily interaction was key. Bob’s sincere way of drawing people together led him to the many relationships that he still holds dear to him today. One person in particular who he feels has had a big impact on his success is Jim Watson of New Egypt Entertainment. Like most who encountered with the cause, Jim asked for nothing in return, except friendship. Bob soon formed the ability to network at a rapid pace, which was driven by a nonstop passion and the desire to make a difference.
For each book sold, $3.00 is given to one of the many non-profit organizations affiliated with the movement. As the winner of the Benjamin Franklin Children’s Book Award, it is safe to say that this story is a product of hard work and triumph, which comes from a group that although new to the game, refused to fall short of reaching their full potential.
Now, Bob hopes to reach even greater heights as he assembles a new team of individuals to help produce a second children’s book that will portray the true gift of athletes, which is the impact they have on children. It will unite all sports and also showcase the message of never giving up. This project involves joining forces with Doug Glanville and creating another impactful cast.
Glanville, a native of Hackensack, New Jersey, is most known for his nine-year playing career in the major leagues, most notably with the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies. The outfielder entered the game with promise after the Cubs made him their first round selection in 1991. He enjoyed his best season in 1999 while with the Phillies, as he finished the season with over 200 hits, batted .325, and drove in 73 runs. Currently, he can be seen on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight as an in-studio analyst.
Like Salomon, Glanville has also surprised many with his success in the book world. As a former player, he is the author of “The Game from Where I Stand: A Ballplayer’s Inside View.” In it, Glanville gives his perspective on his playing days and treats fans with a true and humble story. Through their own works, it was evident that Doug and Bob shared a similar agenda, one that helped pave the way for a friendship.
This friendship will also serve as the basis for the new children’s book that the two will produce together. After reading Glanville’s story, it was clear to Salomon that he was the perfect match to help produce a second book.
“We have the same nucleus and the same passion and as I got to know him, I knew he was my partner,” Salomon said. “His kindness and humble ways were unmatched. It was clear that he portrayed his passion in his writing. He loved the idea and we immediately started on our vision.”
“As a father of two, I often think about the world I want my children to inherit and I can’t look myself in the mirror if I don’t use every gift I have to do what I can to make that world as healthy as I possibly can,” Glanville said. “Bob shares that same spirit. We did not have to talk about money, contracts, splits, whose name appears first, we just talked about the goal, the will to help children, and how to tell that story. Amazingly, like this book, gifts just keep falling from the sky to help us achieve this mission.”
Since Salomon’s son is an avid football fan, the idea involved using a story about football to represent the gift of athletes and the theme of never giving up. The story promises to take you on a roller coaster of emotions as the game of football helps a father and son overcome and obstacle that simply defines the will to keep fighting. Salomon’s own love for the sport is beneficial, and with Glanville on the team sharing his beliefs, the sky is the limit for what they can achieve.
As the two co-authors complete the beginning stages of the book, Bob has already brought on board a promising illustrator in Cortney Wall, who will produce the many images that will appear on the book’s pages.
Because of the significance of the project and the vision its authors have for it, choosing the right illustrator was of the utmost importance.
“I was looking for a perfect match,” Salomon said. “We had a couple of illustrators in mind. One was very popular and established in the art world
Originally, that one name was not Cortney. It was not until a phone call to the young artist that Bob realized what he needed to do. What started out as a courtesy call, turned into the realization that the “perfect match” was on the other end.
“I had my heart set on a particular person,” Salomon admitted. “But after giving a call to Cortney, I knew that she belonged. Within five minutes I knew she had to be the one. She told me that a book was her dream. And as a 26-year old illustrator, she has done so much in that short time. Her kindness, willingness, and energy was absolutely off the charts. The next day I gave her a call and asked her to be on my team.”
“It became clear that we share a lot in common from the importance of family, values, sports, and living a positive life that can impact others,” Wall said. “He recognizes the fact that this project is a dream come true for me. I am truly grateful to him. But one thing that makes Bob such a great guy is not only that he is humble, but that his positive attitude of paying it forward is not only an important message in ‘A Glove of Their Own‘, but it’s one that he truly lives his life by.”
Cortney Wall is undoubtedly an excellent addition to Bob’s new team. She has done a lot of work with kids and in foundations. Her vast experiences at such a young age will help prove her talents as the book nears completion.
She has always had a passion for sports, which has helped pave the way for her career as an artist.
“I grew up an athlete and an artist,” Wall said. “My family was always incredibly supportive of me and always encouraged me to pursue my dreams, whether it was art or to be the first female pitcher on the Yankees which was my dream at the age of eight. Growing up and playing three sports year round paid off in high school where I was the captain of my softball, volleyball, and tennis teams. My two passions merged naturally as I began experimenting ways of incorporating sports into my artwork.”
One of Wall’s most notable accomplishments came at the age of 24, when the New York Yankees commissioned her to create a painting of pitcher CC Sabathia. She delivered her work to the Yankees ace on the field before a 2009 regular season game at Yankee Stadium. The painting served as a welcome gift during his first year in pinstripes, and incorporated his tattoos which include the names of his children, along with their footprints, and the words, “Truly Blessed.”
All in all, it is clear that Bob Salomon and his new team of Doug Glanville and Cortney Wall are all truly blessed, as they want to do right by the children and see them smile. As each contributes with their own unique talents, the end result of this anticipated children’s book is sure to be extraordinary, just like its projected impact on others.
“The goal of the football book is to make all athletes come together to help kids,” Salomon said. “We want to tour throughout hospitals around the country with Doug and other sports figures and send the message out about not giving up. My dream is that the NFL and United Way will use the book to help promote this message and place a positive impact on children and the game of football.”
“This story has been rallied behind and a movement was spawned with a charitable heart and the will of a lion,” Glanville said. “And we plan on barnstorming the globe, sharing the message, bringing more people into the fold, and truly ‘paying it forward.’ I hope you will join us, because it is a runaway train and it will one day bring the humanity back to all of the sports we hold dear by employing our greatest resource – people.”
Steve Sidoti can be reached through e-mail at Stephen.Sidoti@gmail.com.