By Steve Sidoti
It is amazing how one life could drastically change with hard work, a passion, and dedication. Three years ago, Bob Salomon was just a regular family man with a wife, two kids, and a full-time job as an officer for the state of New Jersey. While Salomon enters his 24th year on the job, these days you can also find him at the center of a unique movement with the commitment to making a difference. As the co-creator and driving force behind the children’s book, “A Glove of Their Own,” Bob has watched numerous organizations and foundations use his book as a platform to spread the message of giving and helping children.
“A Glove of Their Own” is a story about paying it forward and children who play baseball simply for the love of the game. You’ll find no coaches, no concession stands, and sometimes just an old bat and ball. This is the way baseball was meant to be. It has the power to touch both the old and young, with the underlining theme of both kindness and “paying it forward”.
Salomon now collaborates with some of the biggest names in sports, as he has gained the trust of the hundreds that support him. Since its publication in 2008, “A Glove of Their Own” has received recognition and attention on a national level, with numerous accolades and supporters that include both former and current players alike. The endless list features names such as Yogi Berra, Joe Torre, Tommy John, Phil Niekro, Bud Harrelson, Roy White, Bernie Williams, Eric Chavez, and Nelson Cruz, among many others. Even companies such as Louisville Slugger, Modell’s, Rawlings, and Upper Deck have joined the cause.
Bob’s latest addition to the list of superstars is former New York Yankees great and current Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Like the many others behind his movement, Bob and Don share many of the same values, beliefs, and overall determination that have helped form the basis for their success. With their respected efforts, these men have only one mindset towards the future, and that is to help children.
Mattingly currently orchestrates “Mattingly Charities,” which is a nonprofit fundraising organization that launched in January of 2011. Its main purpose is to serve under privileged children by supporting programs that promote baseball and softball participation. The former Yankee is also an avid supporter and contributor to the Boys’ Club of New York. When ordering “A Glove of Their Own,” $3 will be donated to Mattingly Charities when using the code “DON23” at AGloveOfTheirOwn.com.
“It is an honor to have Don Mattingly on board,” Salomon said. “He is an icon and a role model for many in professional sports. He is also a class act, whose off the field work is second to none. I grew up rooting for Don as a kid, so I am truly grateful to have him support me today.”
“A Glove of Their Own,’ captures the spirit and true meaning of giving back and sharing with kids less fortunate,” said Mattingly. “It is another reminder of why the game of baseball is so special.”
After the success of the first book, Bob hopes to reach even greater heights as he produces a second children’s book, while this time, using the sport of football. The story will portray the true gift of athletes, which is the impact they have on children. It will unite all sports and also showcase the message of never giving up.
The story promises to take you on a roller coaster of emotions as the game of football helps a father and son overcome and obstacle that simply defines the will to keep fighting. Salomon’s own love for the sport is beneficial, and with many big names sharing his beliefs, the sky is the limit for what this new project can achieve.
“The goal of the football book is to make all athletes come together to help kids,” Salomon said. “We want to tour throughout hospitals around the country with various sports figures and send the message out about not giving up. My dream is that the NFL and United Way will use the book to help promote this message and place a positive impact on children and the game of football.”
With the baseball book, the vision is almost parallel. Bob continues to reach out to all 30 Major League Baseball teams and hopes that one day, each team will use his story as a platform for the various outreach programs in the sport. His latest efforts have led him to an advisory board position with the Dave Clark Foundation, which helps children with disabilities.
“Bob Salomon is one of those people who you can just tell is extremely motivated to promote a great cause,” said Rich Lampmann, director of promotions and public relations at Modell’s Sporting Goods. “Bob shares the same feeling as countless Americans when it comes to the game of baseball. The memories of pick-up games in the yard, lot, or at the field stick with us for a lifetime. Bob and his team have taken this a step further and are not only promoting the game in and of itself, but also using the game as a means of spreading sportsmanship and teamwork for the greater good.”
It is amazing to step back and see the relationships that Salomon has made since the inception of “A Glove of Their Own.” Today, one of his valued friendships is the one he holds with former MLB player and current ESPN analyst Doug Glanville, who has served as a sounding board for Bob’s endeavors.
“I connected with Bob Salomon through a mutual passion and cause,” Glanville said. “We both shared the desire to help youth through sport. After one phone call that could have lasted 24 hours, we knew right away that we spoke the same language. His drive and passion through the phone was tangible. I was drawn to his selfless will to step aside and let the purpose lead the way. There was no ego, there was no filter. It was real and it was about children.”
All in all, it is clear that Bob Salomon, Don Mattingly, and the rest of Bob’s supporters, are all truly blessed and want to do right by the children.
“I hope you will join him,” Glanville added. “Because it is a runaway train and it will one day bring the humanity back to all of the sports we hold dear by employing our greatest resource – people.”
To join the movement and to learn more, please visit AGloveOfTheirOwn.com.
To contact Bob Salomon, feel free to e-mail him directly at AGloveOfTheirOwn@aol.com.