The World of Little League® Museum and Official Store’s newest acquisition is made mostly of cardboard.
The hand-made, right-hander’s baseball glove, fashioned by 9-year-old Little Leaguer® Philip Adeeri Fagbenro of the Ekiti Kete Little League in Ado Ekiti, Nigeria, is now considered one of the Museum’s most important artifacts.
“I saw a photo of Philip and his glove posted by a Facebook friend who is a coach in the league in Nigeria,” said Lance Van Auken, Little League Vice President and Executive Director of the World of Little League Museum. “So I asked the coach (Aina Sunday Oluwafemi) if Philip would allow it to be put on display in our Museum.”
The glove arrived on June 11 from Nigeria at a cost of more than 17,000 Nigerian Naira, or about $47. It can be seen as the centerpiece of an exhibit in the Connections Gallery of the World of Little League Museum.
“It’s made from cardboard, paper, glue, black thread, and copper wire,” Mr. Van Auken said. “You can tell that Philip worked hard to make it authentic-looking, including the stitching. It reminds me of some of the equipment created or repurposed by children in the U.S. before Little League came along.”
Very few players in the Ekiti Kete Little League have gloves and other equipment, so after receiving Philip’s glove, Little League® International sent him back a brand-new Easton glove to replace the one he provided to the Museum. In addition to the glove, Little League also provided Philip’s league with a kit of other baseball equipment, as well as school supplies for the school which he attends.
Because baseball gloves usually are endorsed by a Major League player, Philip had attached a photo, clipped from a magazine in the mid-1980s, of Phillies outfielder/first baseman Von Hayes, who played for Philadelphia from 1983 to 1991.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with 190 million people, 60 percent of whom live in extreme poverty. Ado Ekiti is located in the Southwestern part of the country.