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The Last American Baseball-Glove Maker Refuses to Die

In a small town outside Dallas, niche manufacturer Nokona is hanging on. How?
Rob Storey holds a glove made for the Texas Rangers at the Nokona manufacturing facility in Nocona, Texas.

Rob Storey holds a glove made for the Texas Rangers at the Nokona manufacturing facility in Nocona, Texas.

Photographer: Cooper Neill/Bloomberg

This little brick factory isn’t supposed to be here. It should be in the Philippines, or Vietnam, maybe China. Not here, in the heart of Texas.

Baseball gloves, like many other things, aren’t really made in America anymore. In the 1960s, production shifted to Asia and never came back. It might be America’s favorite pastime, and few things are more personal to baseball-lovers than their first glove — the smell, the feel, the memory of childhood summers. But most gloves are stitched together thousands of miles away by people who couldn’t afford a ticket at Fenway Park.