This Texas Town has One of the Last Baseball Glove Factories in America

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Nocona is a small North Texas town whose claim to fame is being home to one of the last remaining American factories to manufacture baseball gloves. Bill Zeeble, from KERA, picked up the story, which was published by NPR. It’s since been shared on social media for fans of the town, Texas, and the great American pastime to read.

Rob Storey is the factory’s executive vice president. What’s the business name? Nokona, of course. It’s a nice play on the town name, with a small alteration. The company wasn’t legally able to make use of the city’s spelling at the time, and so the “c” was changed to a “k,” continuing to honor Comanche Chief Peta Nocona, for whom the town is named. “We literally bring leather in through one door and magically, ball gloves come out the door at the very end,” he explained to KERA News. “That, and about 45 labor operations, and you’ve got a ball glove.” And Storey’s not telling… well, stories. It’s a family business. His grandfather Bob Storey began the business of making leather goods, and in order to make it through the depression, he added the making of baseball gloves to their compendium of products. Since that time, almost all of the American competition has moved their production of baseball gloves elsewhere. Storey told Zeeble that his grandfather, who passed away in 1980, had said he would rather quit the business and go fishing than import Nokonas.

This Texas Town has One of the Last Baseball Glove Factories in America

Photo: Facebook/The Texas Bucket List

“Our competitors are making them in factories,” Storey said. “[In] a lot of those factories, people have never even seen a baseball game or know what it is. Sure, it would be easy to go over there and do something. But that’s not who we are. We’re not about easy,” Storey explained. Many of his company’s employees have been there for years. They’re well-practiced and very knowledgeable about their work. Despite the fact that larger names are more familiar throughout the sport, the youth market is big for Nokona. Major league pitcher Robby Scott told KERA News, “I grew up using a Nokona glove. My first glove that I ever really remember was a first baseman’s mitt that was a Nokona.” He went on to expound on the brand, saying: “I will never wear a different glove. It’s a special bond I have with them. They could have 200 players wearing their gloves. But to me it seems special because they make it seem like I’m the only one.” To Rob Storey’s knowledge, Nokona is the only brand that will refurbish their old, worn-out ball gloves – something he doesn’t see happening with those made overseas.