Swanson gets custom glove to honor fallen friend

Swanson gets custom glove to honor fallen friend

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- When Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson takes the field this year, he'll once again be able to look at his glove and proudly remember the times he spent with Dai-Jon Parker, a former Vanderbilt University basketball player who passed away two years ago.

Swanson received his new Wilson A2000 glove before the Braves staged their first full-squad workout on Saturday. The leather that will rest upon his left thumb is adorned with the words "All Dai", a tribute to Parker, who was 22-years-old when he drowned after being involved in a tubing accident on an Indiana lake.

"It impacts a lot of people just because of the legacy he left behind," Swanson said. "Just to be able to wear that every day and to keep him close to me is pretty cool."

Swanson met Parker as they were playing high school basketball in metro Atlanta and developed a bond with him when they both matriculated to Vanderbilt. He proudly put "All Dai" on his glove last year, his first professional season, which was highlighted by his August promotion to the Major League level.

When Swanson joined the pro ranks, it was not difficult for him to continue using Wilson, which had supplied gloves to him and his Vanderbilt teammates. He recently made the switch from the A2K model, because the A2000 model is a little thinner.

"Just to think of the position I'm in to be blessed for someone to just give me a $400 glove," Swanson said. "That's pretty special."

A Wilson representative was in Braves camp on Saturday to also provide gloves to Ender Inciarte, Johan Camargo, Lucas Sims, Luke Jackson and Mike Foltynewicz.

When Inciarte returned to his native Venezuela after the 2014 season, he carried a bag filled with gloves manufactured by at least four different companies. He intended to get a better feel for how these gloves differed, until this bag was stolen while he was on a cruise.

With Spring Training quickly approaching, Wilson quickly shipped Inciarte a glove and consequently gained a loyal relationship with the Braves' Gold Glove Award-winning center fielder, who has never again debated about which glove he will use.

"Once I used that glove Wilson sent me, it felt so good that I didn't think about using any other models," Inciarte said. "That's the glove I used when I won my Gold Glove [last year], so I won't be using any other glove."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.