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Limited Release: Red Eyed Raven football.  *SOLD OUT*

Limited Release: Red Eyed Raven football. *SOLD OUT*

Limited Release: Red Eyed Raven football.

*SOLD OUT*

Red Eyed Raven

It took just over an hour, but our latest limited release has sold out.

When we found this remarkable side of red leather, we immediately conjured thoughts of a dark, spooky Fall nights.  The leather was a deep, rich red color with dark highlights.

From this Red Raven leather, we created a ball design to launch as a limited release aligned with Halloween.  The side of leather yielded 12 balls, each with a unique code number to validate its Limited Release status.

The code's prefix, Ltd2 signifies out 2nd limited release.  Its suffix is a serialized number: 01-12 making each ball individual and unique.

                 

When we consider a limited release item, it is our conviction that we operate with fairness and integrity.  We'll keep the quantities low, likely under 100.  We'll also strive to create equal opportunity for everyone who wants to acquire one of our unique artifacts.

Typically we'll tease it out on social media, and also send an alert e-mail prior to our actual launch.

Stay tuned to our Instagram account, and look out for our periodic e-mails.

We've got some really cool balls in the works and we can't wait to share.

 

Announcing Limit Release footballs

Announcing Limit Release footballs

Limited Release:  Amber Rio 169

The first edition in a new feature from Leather Head Sports.

Amber Rio 169 Limited Release football

If you're familiar with the leather industry, you know that leather sources are varied.

As a leather goods manufacturer, we source leather directly from American tanneries. We also scour the secondary market of suppliers that offer limited quantities of interesting leathers.

The Leather Head Limited Release balls are made from beautiful sides of leather that have caught our eye.

These are limited since the leather is only available in small amounts, and once the balls sell out, they won't be back.

In order to qualify for Limited Release, the leather and finished ball must meet our exacting standards of beauty, playability, and durability. They must have the ability to age to a beautiful patina, and the potential to achieve heirloom status.

Amber Rio football banner

 

The Amber Rio 169 is our first Limited Release football.

Amber Rio refers to the specific color and tannage of leather from the SB Foot Tannery of Red Wind, MN. 169 refers to the pebble grain texture of the leather.

We have a single side of this leather which should yield between 10-14 footballs. With it's beautiful Amber color and beefy heft, these footballs are especially worthy of Limited Release status.

A Mission to Resist Convention

A Mission to Resist Convention

March of 2020 marks the 14th anniversary of the founding of Leather Head Sports.

We started small, designing and making a single product, our Lemon Ball baseball.

It was a one-man band back then.  Everything was made by hand in a small basement workshop.

Ball making is captivating.  What started as a hobby evolved into a branding experiment, which grew into a real business.

In those early days, it was therapy.  Sitting at the work bench, hand stitching, one’s mind quickly enters a trance like state.  It was meditative.  In that peaceful place, the vision of a bigger business began to take shape. 

With our early success, the transition from a hobby to a viable business model was inevitable.

At the time, people were growing tired of generic, throwaway goods.  The vision for Leather Head Sports was to make a product more personal, more durable, and make it in a more thoughtful way. 

Leather sports balls have an irresistible quality.  We imagine them as finely crafted heirlooms.  By sourcing the finest leathers from American tanneries, and committing to the highest level of American craftsmanship, Leather Head Sports aspires to elevate the perception of sports balls.

Since our modest beginnings, our product line has expanded and our branding has evolved, but our vision is intact.

At the heart of our brand is a love for playing sports.  As we celebrate our 14th year, we hope to inspire and connect over the love of play.

An Appreciation of the Turkey Bowl

An Appreciation of the Turkey Bowl

The grand tradition underpinning America’s greatest holiday.

It is a lesser known fact that football was actually invented by the Pilgrims. 

According to legend, it started at the home of the Standish family during the very first Thanksgiving, because Pilgrim Myles and Little Josiah were disrupting the meal prep.

Pilgrim Barbara, ambitious as ever, was over extended. As she anticipated the arrival of their indigenous guests, she worried that the Turkey might be dry, and the gravy was looking a bit lumpy, and she had never cooked maize mush before, which she thought looked too soupy…

With the first currant pie out the oven, Pilgrim Myles and Little Josiah began to pick and nibble at the meticulously formed crust.

Exasperated, Pilgrim Barbara grabbed a nearby gourd and commanded Myles “Be Gone!” Get thee to the Football Patch!” (gourds were known as “footballs” back then).

Hence was born the game of football, and the very first Turkey Bowl.

Conceived so Pilgrim Barbara could clear the kitchen, the Turkey Bowl remains as important as ever. It is a righteous tradition that serves important functions.

Why else do we play football on Thanksgiving? We’ve done our homework, surveyed the masses, and compiled the definitive list of why the Turkey Bowl is so vital:

  1. The Turkey Bowl is an American Tradition.
  2. Vigorous exercise, like playing football, cures your Thanksgiving Eve hangover.
  3. Believe me! It’s way more fun than a “Turkey Trot”.
  4. Nothing better than rough sports with friends and family.
  5. It’s essential for working up a hearty Thanksgiving appetite.
  6. and the corollary; Exercise softens the blow of the food coma that’s coming.
  7. The Turkey bowl is a legitimate excuse to crush your obnoxious, know-it-all cousin.
  8. Turkey Bowl heroics make great Thanksgiving dinner conversation.
  9. Getting muddy playing football satisfies a primal need.
  10. That amazing leather football that’s sitting on a shelf? It was made to play. Take it out now and use it the way the Thanksgiving gods intended.

 

Considering the tradition and importance of the Turkey Bowl , shouldn’t your game ball hold a place of honor and esteem? To quote the great Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal, “A leather football is one of the things every home must have, like a dishwasher and a bourbon distillery in the garage.”

About that leather football, Leather Head Sports has you covered. Makers of the “The Official Football of Tailgating”, the Thanksgiving version is embossed with a football playing turkey and it is the ultimate leather game ball.

Rally the teams, grab your Turkey football and get outside! You’re gonna get dirty, but it will all be worth it. And when it’s over, you’ll have an appetite worthy of Thanksgiving.

Honor the family, honor tradition, and above all give thanks on Thanksgiving, the greatest holiday.

Introducing the "Old Fashioned" collection

Introducing the "Old Fashioned" collection

 The name "Old Fashioned" evokes nostalgia, and the pleasures of an earlier era. 

Remember as a kid when you couldn't wait for school to end so you could play sports with your friends?
Waiting impatiently for your dad to get home so you could have a catch before dinner?
We never forgot the allure of sports.  We relish sports' ability to connect friends and generations, the power to transcend cultural differences.
Especially powerful are the hero fantasies:  The walk off home run, the last second touchdown pass, the winning shot at the buzzer... 
The "Old Fashioned" collection is here to recreate those memories.

We actually put a lot of thought into naming our collections.  Our original "Handsome Dan" collection is named for Yale University's Bulldog mascot.  A collection named for collegiate mascots seemed natural.  After all, Leather Head is the "Official Football of Collegiate Tailgating"

For this new collection we kicked around a lot of ideas.  It's no secret that we appreciate a well crafted cocktail, so we thought of classic mixed drinks.  Naturally the Old Fashioned came to mind.  The rich, caramel colored leather in the  "Old Fashioned" collection made the name a perfect fit. 

The Bourbon Old Fashioned:

Stir together in a rocks glass with 1 large ice cube:
3 oz of your favorite bourbon
1 tsp simple syrup
2 dashed bitters
Twist a lemon peel over it and garnish with an orange peel and a good cherry.
Classic! 

It's all about connecting people: family, friends, generations and cultures.
Isn't it time to get out and play.
And by all means, enjoys a well crafted Old Fashioned afterwards.

Leather Head balls are for making memories.  That's how you create an heirloom.

Click here to shop the collection.

Sorting Through the History of Soccer: When, Where & How Did it Come to Life?

Sorting Through the History of Soccer: When, Where & How Did it Come to Life?

THE SHORT VERSION:

While the exact history of soccer is ambiguous, many believe:

  • The game traces its origins back to rudimentary ball games played in China and Rome.
  • Soccer as it’s known today developed over centuries in England.
  • Freemason’s Pub in where many of the modern rules were laid down.

Football, or better known as soccer in America, is the world’s most popular sport with over 4 billion fans. But what’s the story behind this game? Who invented it? Where did it originate? And how did it find its way to the United States?

Its history is muddy and while some details are up for debate, below is a brief overview of soccer’s history.

Ancient Beginnings

Although a far cry from today’s version of the game, some historians believe early games played with a ball occurred over 3,000 years ago in Mesoamerican culture.

China had a rudimentary game called Cuju that involved kicking a ball on a square surface through goals made from bamboo back in the second and third centuries. Also, the ancient Greeks had ball games as did the Romans, and some allege the Romans brought these games to the British island.

While the exact history of how soccer as we know it got started, historians think the game developed in England in the 12th century. Back then, the game was played in the streets and players could use their hands and their feet to move the ball. Historians say these early games were so violent, players sometimes died during competition, and eventually the game was banned by King Edward III in 1365 and later by King James I in 1424 and it remained so for several centuries.

In 1863, in London, the first Football association came into being and during the meeting, they established rules such as the rule against using hands to advance the ball, and the rules regarding the size and weight of the ball. Also, during this meeting, the game was divided into clear delineations: association football and rugby, which had different rules such as allowing for the kicking of shins, tripping and carrying the ball.

Even though the game was taking shape, it still didn’t resemble what we see today. The game continued to evolve with new rules added and changed, such as the number of players allowed in the field during play. During this evolution, the idea of using your head became part of the game.

As the game continued growing, it became a popular form of entertainment for the British working class and would draw huge crowds to see big matches. And, while football clubs existed, they were unorganized and it’s difficult to tell which was the official first football club. However, historians believe the Football Club formed in 1824 in Edinburgh was the first official club.

 

It wasn’t until October 1863 that what we call modern soccer was formed. Eleven representatives from the football clubs and schools that played the sport met at the Freemason’s Tavern to lay down standard fundamental rules, and the result was the creation of the Football Association. It was in December of that same year that Rugby Football and Association football went their separate ways marking a clear separation between rugby and soccer. Then in 1869, the Football Association put a stop to players using their hands to advance the soccer ball and the game grew more popular especially with soldiers and sailors who helped spread the sport around the world.

Soccer in the United States

Like soccer in Europe, the origins of the game here in the US are fuzzy. Some believe the game came to the US via Ellis Island in the 1870s, however, other historians say the game came to America back in the 1850s in New Orleans when Scottish, German, Irish, and Italian immigrants settled there.

However, it wasn’t until the 1920s that the game truly ‘arrived.’ Back then, there was a boom in manufacturing in the United States and with plenty of immigrant workers ready to go to work in the mills, plants, and factories it was only natural they brought their favorite game with them. Then, in 1921 the American Soccer League (ASL) was formed with the founding teams coming from blue collar places like Bethlehem, Pa. and Fall River, Mass.

Although the sport grew, infighting caused the collapse of the ASL and the game lost popularity for about 40 years.

Then, in 1967, a group of entrepreneurs started the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) hoping to revitalize the sport, but they failed and the group disbanded after only one season.

In 1975, Pelé - who was considered the greatest player of all time - signed to play with the New York Cosmos, which was a team owned by Warner Communications. It was his signing that catapulted soccer back into the spotlight in the US and drove it into the mainstream. And while interest in soccer fell after Pelé’s retirement in 1977 and as the economy tanked, it would come back about 10 years later when FIFA, the world’s governing body of the sport, brought the World Cup competition to the US.

After the World Cup, soccer continued to grow in popularity and Major League Soccer was formed, which endures to this day.

Layups, Point Guards, and Hook Shots: A History of Basketball

While baseball has long been considered America's favorite pastime, the fast-paced game of basketball is undeniably a crowd-pleaser, with endless edge-of-your-seat action from start to finish. As Bobby Joe Hill from Glory Road infamously said, “Having the ball in your hand...is like making sweet music with your game.” Unlike other sports, basketball is a game that can be played anywhere, at any time - whether you’re teaching your son how to dribble in your driveway or hitting up a local court with a group of guys to play ball.

Have you ever considered how basketball originated? It’s one of those prized activities that seems like it’s just always been in existence. However, that’s not the case. Let’s delve into the history of one of the most popular and lucrative games in the world.

Fast Stats:

  • Basketball was invented in 1891
  • Basketball originated in Springfield, Massachusetts by Canadian physical education instructor, James Naismith.
  • Basketball was originally intended to be played indoors and considered a less injury-prone sport than football.
  • The first official game was played in 1892.
  • William R. Chase is the infamous first “goal” titleholder.
  • The NBA was established in 1946.

Now that you’ve gained a quick overview of the noteworthy stats surrounding basketball’s origins, let’s probe a bit deeper into the nitty-gritty of this beloved sport.

history of basketball

The Basketball Baseline: Where and When

On December 21, 1891, James Naismith, invented a new game, publishing thirteen rules surrounding the logistics of how to play. One of his students proposed calling the sport “Naismith Game,” but James pointed out the obvious - there’s a basket and a ball, so why not name the game “basketball?” James developed the game as a safer, indoor alternative to football. After all, at the time, football was played without the hard helmets that safeguard today’s players.

The following thirteen rules were originally implemented by Naismith and observed during the first official game in 1982.

  • You may throw the ball in any direction with one or both hands.
  • You can bat the ball in any direction with one or both hands.
  • You cannot run with the ball. You have to throw the ball on the spot where it’s caught. However, there’s an exemption to this rule for any individual who catches the ball while “running at a good speed.”
  • You can only hold the ball in or between your hands, you may not use your arms or body to hold it.
  • Shouldering, holding, pushing, tripping, or striking is prohibited. First offense is a foul, the second will disqualify the player until the next goal is made. If injury is evident on the player, the offender is required to sit out for the remainder of the game.
  • You cannot strike the ball with your fist.
  • Three consecutive strikes on one side means a goal for the opposing team.
  • A goal can be made by either throwing or batting the ball from the ground into the basket; it must stay in the basket. If the basket is moved while the ball rests on the edge of the basket, it’s counted as a goal.
  • An out of bounds ball shall be thrown into the field and played by the first person who touches it. If a dispute arises, the umpire shall throw it into the field. The “thrower-in” is allowed five seconds, but if he holds it past the time limit, the ball will go to the opponent. An umpire may call a foul on any side that purposely delays the game.
  • The umpire is the judging power over the players and potential fouls. They will notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made.
  • The referee holds the ruling power over the ball and dictates when the ball is in play, in-bounds, and which side it belongs to. He will also keep the time and decide when a goal has been made, as well as keep count of the goals scored.
  • The time will be fifteen-minute halves and with five-minute rests in between.
  • Whoever makes the most goals within the allotted time frame is the winner. If there is a draw, the game may be played further, if agreed upon by the captains, and will continue until another goal is made.

Historically, when basketball was first born, no open net was used. Therefore, each ball dunked into the net had to be retrieved manually. Which, ultimately sounds very time consuming, but a great game always starts from humble origins.

Swish: The YMCA and War

Arranged by Mel Rideout, the first European game of basketball was played in Paris in 1893.

The YMCA was a key pioneer in bringing the game of basketball to the rest of the United States, Canada, and the world. After the first World War broke out, U.S. troops would regularly play the game wherever they found adequate space. This not only had an influential impact on fueling the popularity of the game, but it also gave troops a moment of psychological peace during a time of chaos and distress.

It was in 1936 that the first game of basketball was played at the summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany.

Court Vision: National Basketball Association

Basketball Association of America was established in New York City on June 6, 1946. The league later rebranded to the National Basketball Association in 1949 after they merged with the National Basketball League, their old rival. Today, the NBA dominates any other professional basketball league in regard to widespread popularity, salaries, talent, and competition. One of the most profitable markets in the world was created by using a peach basket and a soccer ball; now the NBA is wildly successful and is an international language that everyone speaks.

Whether you are spending long days at the office, traveling the world, or spending time with your family, this athletic pastime can be enjoyed by all walks of life around the globe. While you’re passing the ball or dribbling it to your next win, you can think about the history that brought an everyday activity to the forefront of mainstream culture.

Batter Up: A Brief History of Baseball's Origin

The Short Stop Version:

  • Abner Doubleday is most commonly known for inventing the game of baseball, but that is a myth; many historians credit Alexander Joy Cartwright as the man who created the game and rules of baseball as we know it today.
  • Baseball traces its roots back to ball and stick sports that were played in England and Europe.
  • For much of its beginnings, African Americans were barred from playing in the Major Leagues, and it wasn’t until people like Jackie Robinson, Moses Fleetwood Walker, and William Edward broke the color barrier which allowed black peers to be accepted into Major League Baseball.
  • The first game of modern baseball in the United States was organized back on June 19, 1846, in Hoboken, NJ

A Brief History

Baseball was once considered America’s Pastime, and while some would argue football has taken that spot, baseball is still a beloved sport for many.

So, how did baseball get started?

Well, that’s a big topic with many books, and hundreds of thousands of words have been written dedicated to the history of baseball, and some facts are still up for debate.

Most people heard the story about a gentleman named Abner Doubleday who came up with the game of baseball back in 1839 in Cooperstown, NY, however, that story is just a legend, and the real one is a bit more challenging to piece together.

Baseball’s origins can be traced back to England where people played bat and ball games, namely cricket and a game called rounders. By the 18th century, games resembling baseball were being played here in America, and these games became more and more popular up and through the American Revolution. And while these games resembled baseball, they were a far cry from the game we know today.

According to historians, a group of men from New York City created the New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club back in 1839. It was at this time the game of baseball took shape thanks to the introduction of rules and specifications including the diamond-shaped field and the three-strike rule. This is also around the time that the lemon peel baseball started to come to life.

leather baseball

Today, many historians credit Alexander Joy Cartwright as the man who created these rules and the game of baseball as we know it. The first game of modern baseball in the United States was organized back on June 19, 1846, in Hoboken, NJ.

After baseball’s official organization, it didn’t take long for it to take off. In 1850 the National Association of Baseball Players was created, and the National League came about in 1876. After this time, efforts began to make baseball a worldwide sport and it was introduced to Cuba in 1870.

By the time the 20th century rolled around, baseball in the United States was in full swing, with the American League going against the National League in the World Series. By the early 1920s, organized baseball leagues started popping up all over the world.

The Negro League

While baseball continued to grow in popularity, it remained a segregated sport due to racism in the United States. If African Americans or other minorities wanted to play, the only option available to them was to form their teams; hence the Negro League was born, which some define as the many black teams operating outside the league that started operating as early as the 1880s. It wasn’t until the end of the Civil War that black baseball teams began and were mostly made up of ex-soldiers.

While all of these teams were semi-pro, the 1870s saw professional baseball teams made up of African Americans coming onto the scene.

In 1885, the first fully recognized professional African American baseball team was created when three clubs, the Keystone Athletics, the Orions, and the Manhattans came together to form the Cuban Giants. It was this team’s success that led to the creation of the Negro Leagues in 1887.

 

Segregation

Up until the 1940s, baseball was segregated, but many people were starting to call for black players to be allowed into the major leagues. And while there wasn’t an official rule among MLB owners barring blacks from playing, it was considered by many to be a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ to prohibit letting in African Americans.

The manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey, decided to experiment with bringing black players into the league when he brought Jackie Robinson on in 1947. Rickey thought that since there was still so much resistance to the idea of a black player coming into the major league, he needed a strong player able to break the ‘color line’ and withstand the criticism that would come with it; he felt Robinson had the talent and wherewithal to stand up to the hostility and confrontation he would no doubt receive.

However, while Jackie Robinson gets most of the credit for being the first African American baseball player in the major leagues, that is disputed by some historians who cite both William Edward White and Moses Fleetwood Walker as being the first African Americans to play pro ball in the majors and break the color line.

The Typical Baseball Season

In 2019, Major League Baseball’s opening day was held on March 28, and the season typically begins in early spring. The regular season runs from March or early April through late September or early October. The season is made up of 162 games for each of the 30 teams in both the American League and the National League. After this, the postseason begins in which the teams battle for Division Champs, Champion Series Champs and finally, the World Series Championship.

While baseball was once billed as America’s Pastime and is still enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, a recent Gallup poll suggests baseball is ranked third behind football and basketball as the favorite sport among Americans. However, a survey conducted by ESPN found baseball ranked only second behind the NFL.

Regardless of the numbers, baseball was and is a wonderful sport, and there are few better ways to spend a weekend afternoon than at the ballpark with the kids.