About 20 years ago, Chuck Labitan was at the beach when he noticed people were throwing footballs or playing smashball, but it was rare to see anyone tossing a baseball back and forth.
He speculated the reason might be that beach-goers didn’t want to ruin their leather baseball gloves with sand and salt water.
“I thought there might be something here,” said Labitan, 56, a Carmel Valley resident.
So, he set to work on designing a baseball mitt made of the rubbery material used for wetsuits, with the catching surfing reinforced by material similar to the sole of a beach flip-flop.
He patented his idea, then caught the attention of Hasbro, the toymaking giant. And...