Eric Walbridge, better known as the Glove Cowboy, is possibly the most known figure in the market of baseball gloves. He’s done it all within the baseball sporting goods sector going all the way from being his college team’s glove tinkerer to a product designer for Marucci and Victus! His story is not only awesome to hear from the perspective of being a baseball and softball sporting goods retailer, but it’s great for any person looking for some inspiration to battle through adversity! Let’s dig in on the Glove Cowboy…
Anyone who is a lifer within the sport of baseball is going to have some kind of attachment to the gear they used as a kid. And in this way, Eric is just like many of us as he saved all of the gloves that he used while growing up. Eric was a standout pitcher at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, CA (also the alma mater of star slugger Giancarlo Stanton) and was on his way to pitch at UC Berkeley. But misfortune struck by way of a labrum injury heading into his freshman year in 2010. Eric made the most of his downtime during recovery by turning his interest in gloves into more of a passion. He became the team’s glove expert. He’d re lace teammates' gloves and if requested, even break in his teammates gloves! What a guy!
Eric was looking forward to a healthy sophomore season when trouble struck again. This time he injured his UCL and had to get Tommy John surgery (and he’s got the scar to prove it). He should have been on the bump for Cal during the spring of 2012, but he was back to serving as the team’s glove maestro for another season. Walbridge once again took advantage of the downtime to build on his burgeoning knowledge of gloves. Not only did he restring and break in gloves, but he was also getting familiar with the patterns of different gloves and getting feedback from his Golden Bear teammates on what they liked and didn’t like about their gloves.
The Glove Cowboy Is Born
During this time, Eric’s glove collection continued to grow. He soon discovered the ball glove community that existed on Instagram where gloves were not only being discussed but they were also being bought, sold and even traded. Walbridge had quite a stockpile at this time and at the height of his activity; he could be buying, selling and trading close to 10 gloves a week! And he was known on Instagram under the tag: TheGloveClub.
Eric eventually moved into a new place and had to sleep in a twin size bed. The only sheets he had to fit the bed were some cowboy sheets that he had left over from his childhood. I bet you know where this is going...
Those cowboy bed sheets found their way into becoming the background for all of his glove photos. It was essentially his Instagram watermark. His TheGloveClub name started to mean nothing. He was now "the guy with the gloves on cowboy sheets." He changed his Instagram account to GloveCowboy and the rest is ball glove history.
Cowboy Rides Away…To Easton
In case you were wondering, Eric did make it onto the mound for Cal during the 2013 season. But by this time, he knew that his future in baseball was probably going to be away from the diamond.
He found an opportunity to intern at Easton for a summer and a fall and then landed a full time gig with Easton…drum roll please…in the accessories and helmets division. This wasn’t exactly where he wanted to be, but once again the Glove Cowboy took this hurdle in stride. After learning a new side of the sporting goods world, a job at Easton did come up in the gloves department, Eric was hired and the Glove Cowboy was locked, loaded and ready to further influence the glove world.
[Check out the above image from 2017 when JustBats wrote a post on the Glove Cowboy]
His following on social media was so vast at this point that he brought immediate credibility to Easton gloves (a company more known for their metal baseball bats). Within a short amount of time, he was put in charge of developing the Easton ball glove line and helped usher in the popular Small Batch releases of gloves that Easton pushed out in phases between 2017 and 2018.
But it wasn’t meant to last.
Marucci Corrals The Glove Cowboy
Word had gotten to Eric that Marucci had some big visions for improving their ball glove line. Those visions included bringing on Scott Carpenter of Carpenter Trade. By the second half of 2018, Scott Carpenter had already been working with baseball gloves for nearly 20 years. Through his company, Carpenter Trade, Scott built the first all synthetic glove that was used in a Major League Baseball game (used by Brian Gordon of the Yankees during the 2011 season).
Marucci and Scott Carpenter were willing to challenge the traditional way of making gloves that Carpenter believed had held back fielding performance for many years. The Cowboy was fired up and ready when Marucci came calling in 2018 to ask him to join the team in Baton Rouge, LA.
Eric and Scott have worked together to usher in a new era of ball gloves for Marucci. On the baseball side, we’ve seen them work in ergonomic C-MOD gloves (now known as the C-TYPE). And they’re consistently producing the Capitol and Cypress Series for adult players. JustGloves is extremely excited about their youth baseball gloves. The Ascension, Oxbow, Acadia, Caddo and Krewe are all turning heads on the youth baseball side.
While working with Marucci, Eric has been able to still commit to creating small releases of gloves that no one has ever crafted before. His Nightshift line offers limited runs of gloves inspired by the culture within or outside of baseball. Check out his sold out Spongebob Squarepants glove and his sold out Sandlot glove.
He’s even created a Project Wildcard series that sells gloves built from scraps of Marucci glove leather that might otherwise be thrown away (this is the same concept by which our Mark of a Pro Gloves are made). Here is a link to the listing for an 11.5” Wildcrd model he has sold under the Project Wildcard release.
JustGloves is very excited to see what the Glove Cowboy, Scott Carpenter and Marucci will create going forward!
We hope that you’ve enjoyed learning about the journey of the Glove Cowboy! If you’ve read through and have had some glove related questions come up, please reach out to our trained Glove Experts. They can be reached by phone at 866-321-4568, through email via firstname.lastname@example.org or clicking right here to chat!