Franklin Sports got its start in 1946 as a regional brand of sporting goods products. Irving H. Franklin, who co-founded Franklin Sports in 1946 with his brother Sydney Franklin, brought the innovative idea of centering a complete line of products on a single athlete – Joe Namath. Over the years Franklin has affiliated with the best in sports including world-class athletes like Sugar Ray Leonard, David Robinson, Dan Marino, and Barry Bonds.
THE BATTING GLOVE
The breakthrough for Franklin and the batting gloves came when Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt and Irving Franklin teamed up to create the basic design that is still the preferred glove of most major league hitters. Irving Franklin went to Clearwater, Florida, to meet with Schmidt during spring training in 1983. Together, they worked tirelessly to make sure that the materials and design were perfected, so collaboratively the two were the first authors. At that time, most players wore no gloves. A few wore a single golf style glove, but no company offered a product specifically designed for the needs of professional players. Franklin today is the industry leader as the premier batting glove company, and custom fits batting gloves for MLB® players.
In 1982, when Franklin signed Mike Schmidt, Irving Franklin asked:“ How can I get the name Franklin on field at the Major League level?” Schmidt suggested putting the name on the back to maximize exposure, and then helped to design the glove for lasting success at the Major League level.
THE FRANKLIN HERITAGE
Irving Franklin was first employed at a shoe factory in Brockton, and later joined his grandfather in the scrap leather business, which he took over when his grandfather passed away. When the Korean War began, Mr. Franklin obtained a variety of government contracts, and produced gloves, trigger finger mittens, and a variety of other products. In 1962, Irving Franklin went to Japan and began to import baseball gloves. Irving was a “leather” man at heart, and became an expert on leather manufacturing. He worked with Pittards to create the first batting glove leather. He then partnered with a start-up factory to produce the gloves with a unique tri-curve design for superior fit and feel. The same factory is still manufacturing our batting gloves. Larry Franklin took over the reigns as President in 1986. His son Adam works in the company as well.
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