PARMA, Ohio - Gordon King grew up in Parma with a love of baseball. He started playing when he was 6 years old and broke-in his first ball glove at age 7.
"I was taught by my dad to take care of my ball glove because it was an expensive piece of equipment," said King.
During his nearly 30-year softball playing career, Gordon started repairing his teammates ball gloves.
"He was doing it more and more and he enjoyed it," said Joyce King, Gordon's wife. "It seemed like he really enjoyed it and had a passion for it."
After being laid-off from his job as a controller and credit manager due to a poor economy, Joyce suggested Gordon follow his passion for repairing leather ball mitts.
"Because of my love for the game and my love of repairing things, I ended up doing this and it turned into a full-time business," said Gordon.
King started A1 Glove Repair & Sales, LLC five years ago without financial assistance. Glove break-in and repairs are performed in the couples Parma home.
Gordon has been called 'a mechanic for baseball gloves' by people he meets. He travels to youth baseball tournaments to offer his services.
"I enjoy working with the people and find out what their problems are and taking their glove and making them very happy with it," said Gordon.
With ball glove leather coming from bulls, cows and bison, it is no surprise that Gordon also grew up wanting to be a cowboy. He is a huge fan of professional bull riding.
"I rode the arm off my mother's Ethan Allen couch as a child wearing boots and a big belt and a cowboy hat."
Gordon is the self-proclaimed #1 fan of Bodacious, the world's most dangerous rodeo bull who died in 2000. King considers Bodacious the 'Babe Ruth' of rodeo bulls.
He proved what an incredible fan he was of Bodacious by traveling to Texas to meet the family who owned Bodacious.
The family was so convinced that they made Gordon an unexpected offer.
"They asked me if I'd like to be buried next to him (Bodacious) on the ranch."
The bull owner was not kidding. Gordon will be buried next to Bodacious on the family ranch in Bagwell, Texas.
"He was one of my favorite athletes," said King. "I don't think it's any different than people who want to be close to Elvis or buried near Marilyn Monroe."
Gordon's baseball glove repair passion will now enable mothers and fathers to pass on their ball gloves to future generations.
"I feel like I've found an untapped market that people didn't know was there."
In addition to educating young ballplayers about the importance of caring for their mitts, Gordon also donates repaired ball gloves to charities for under-privileged children who are unable to afford a new glove.
For more information about A1, visit: http://www.A1GLOVEREPAIR.com.