Back in 1992 in Albeř during the summer camp of a starting team Iuridica Outlaws one could overhear a nocturnal conversation of two rugby players returning from the tavern – “ you know him – the chap with spectacles and a beard who constantly bosses the players – during the training, in the dining room if it rains – yesterday evening I even observe him pushing everybody to exercise the play positions before going to bed”
The person they talked about was me – Robur. Why www.no16.cz? „No16“ means a number on my uniform and I have been wearing this number from 1983.
I played softball for the first time in a team led by Jirka Bursik and than his brother Martin. But the real attempts started only in 1984 in Humanity team lead by Dr. Endršt. I came to Spofa in 1985 into the newly formed B team, stayed there for 2 years as a player and than became the coach.
Until 1990 it was really impossible to buy any softball equipment with the exception of smuggled gloves from abroad. The only legal way how to get a glove was to get signed into an official list and wait until anything is imported from Cuba. This equipment was of poor quality. When I manage to get an old Wilson glove A 9811. I dismantled it and after along battle with torn and hardened leather I produced the cut and sew a new glove. I improved the cut – those improvements have not been discovered by the Americans yet. I marked my product Wilson A 9816 – thus I admitted I copied the original cut but the suffix 16 represented my improvements. And I played with this glove for many years in the top league. The gloves I produced later were marked by my own Robur logo. I did not produce many complete gloves – the pure handwork cannot compete with industrial mass production.
I am proud I was able to give the catchers glove I produced to Jerry Stitt, coach of Arizona University. My fielders glove is exhibited in the Softball Hall of Fame Museum in St. Petersburgh in Virginia. And Steve Baker, Vicepresident pof MLBI, the former pitcher of Oakland Athletics is also a proud owner a Batos glove I completely restored. It reminds the harsh times Czech softball and baseball had in the past.
In early nineties I suggested the Presidential office to use my glove as gift from President Václav Havel to President George Bush senior – big baseball fan and a first baseman during his Yale studies. However the protocol rules are strict and there was not enough time to produce the glove in time. It all ended with a courteous thank you for your effort.
During the years 1992-1995 I had a workshop in Žižkov – the shop sign said Robur softball, baseball, leather products. Apart from softball equipment sale I repaired the gloves and produced many accessories – bags, cases, hairclips…. All members of Spiritual Kvintet wear my leather belts, Milan Broum and Petr Janda from Olympic group picked up the guitar belts.
I founded a craftsman association Vlastníma rucemi (self made) and we organized an exhibition of products created through traditional handmade techniques.
After the Spofa engagement I founded a young player team at SOU ČKD Praha in 1990. We were sponsored by Boris Hybner theatre so we played under the GAG BH name. After winning the Prague championship and consolidation with MFF team we joined the 2nd league. Than I transferred to Krč, trained the juniors, played in B team and won the Czech Republic championship. So in 1995 I was allowed to play at PMEZ in Netherlands.
I moved from Prague to Sedlčany, where I started to play and train in the softball club Pegas Sedlčany. I do not spend 6 days a week on the playground anymore – I play not so much already, but I still repair the gloves.
When you see a man sitting close to the playground surrounded by many straps and couple of dilapidated ruins that gradually become a league player gloves you will know it is me. If you need an advice come to see me – I know everything about the gloves and with a little bit of exaggeration I have no real competitor. Even if I admit that the Maxwell from San Francisco is not bad…
Baseball and Softball Glove Relacing, Cleaning, and Conditioning Services
I have been repairing and making baseball and softball equipment, especially gloves, since 1983. I have been working for players competing in Czech national competitions including players of the czech softball and baseball national teams. During the tournaments organized in the Czech Republic, I repaired gloves for players from the USA, Holland, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Australia and other countries. I have repaired and maintained gloves for MLB coaches during a MLB development camp. The names include Jim Snyder, Gregg Riddoch -San Diego Padres, Frank White, Steve Boros – Kansas City Royals, Galen Cisco – Toronto Blue Jays, Brent Strom – New York Yankees, Jeff Calderone – Atlanta Braves, Bob Chuck, Steve Baker – Oakland Athletics. [References]
The president of American Baseball Association – Dick Case and the vice president of MLBI – Steve Baker have also appreciated my work.
One of my hand-made gloves is currently exhibited in the Hall of Fame of Softball in St. Petersburg, Virginia.
I am offering my services during tournaments. Namely glove maintenance, tightening and exchange of straps, leather conditioning, and glove re-shaping. I also offer so called Robur-cross, the prevention and repair of leather tears between the fingers on the glove.
I can also repair firstbase and catcher’s mitts.
I perform my work immediately and can fix a glove during the break between the games. In case of bigger orders or multiple items I will take the order in the evening and deliver repaired items in the morning next day.
Basic service – 300CZK, other work – per agreement.
I also offer used equipment for sale for very favorable prices. I have in stock some refurbished gloves from a „piece of baseball history“ category that have been used during 70s and 80s.