They’re not as big as some of the other companies that make the gear you see on the field, but Nokona is back with the help of a few loyal sluggers.
Founded in 1926, Nokona Athletic Goods Company , the only US company that continues to manufacture high end baseball gloves on American soil, burned to the ground on July 18th, 2006 after a fire destroyed the 70 year old building in Nokona, Texas. With nothing left standing but the casts to build the baseball gloves and the spirit of its employees, the company has rebuilt thanks in part to the support of some of its high profile Major League clients.
One year after the blaze, Nokona has signed David "Big Papi" Ortiz, Vladimir Guerrero and Miguel Cabrera to endorse the new line of baseball bats, " Nokona Wrecking Crew, and position the company as a big leaguer. In addition, the Nokona baseball factory is operational 100% and is making more baseball gloves, bats and equipment than it did the previous years.
"Nokona is a big part of the baseball tradition and culture in this country; our employees are ecstatic. We are a small company which has been producing top quality handmade baseball gloves in Nocona, Texas for over 75 years" said Buddy Lewis, Managing Partner.
"This year, we introduced a new line of bats which are endorsed by David "Big Papi" Ortiz, Vladimir Guerrero and Miguel Cabrera; and for Vladimir to win the Home Run Derby competition with a Nokona baseball bat is an amazing achievement."
During a ceremony at the new facilities to commemorate the one year anniversary of the company re-birth, employees also celebrated Vladimir Guerrero’s Home Run Derby Crown at the Major League Baseball® All Star game events in San Francisco. Guerrero, who took the title this year after been absent from the competition for 7 years, was handed a new Nokona baseball bat by Ortiz after three turns without hitting one out of the park. This baseball bat, which was delivered inside a mahogany and ash wooden box, is designed by The Nokona Baseball Factory.
"Being a small company does not mean that Nokona can not compete with the large companies. On the contrary, when the factory is in a small town, and the company represents so much to the local industry, employees take pride in producing the best products," Lewis said.
Nokona bats and collectors items can be found on eBay.