Mattel Inc.

Real life inspires Carmel Valley man's toy creations

Real life inspires Carmel Valley man's toy creations

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...

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