Mark Minicozzi is a relative newcomer to Maricopa, starting his batting-glove business after a 12-year playing career. Photos by Kyle Norby
Batting gloves, fielding gloves, football gloves, accessories
Manufactured in Pakistan
Contents: leather, pitted leather, Lycra spandex, nylon, quad-flex creasing

Though all games from Little League to the majors have been stopped by COVID-19, baseball is still America’s pastime. From the roaring crowds to a player’s competitive spirit, Primal Gloves founder Mark Minicozzi believes baseball loses all meaning if you aren’t having fun.

His batting-glove designs bring whimsy and attitude to an often-unnoticed aspect of the game. He runs the business from his home in Maricopa, where he and his wife have lived a little over a year.

A professional ballplayer for 12 years, Minicozzi cites playing for the San Francisco Giants and the Washington Nationals farm systems as major career highlights.

“I grew up in the Philadelphia area,” Minicozzi said. “I played college baseball down in North Carolina at East Carolina University, and I ended up getting drafted my junior year, which brought me out to the lovely Scottsdale, Arizona.”

After years of baseball, Mark knew he was getting older after a game injury in 2017 landed him in a boot for three months.

“I’ve had about six surgeries. My body was hurting.” Minicozzi explained. “I ended up going back to school and finished my degree in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in recreation and facilities management from East Carolina University.”

During his pl aying days when not affiliated with a major league club, Minicozzi noticed the outrageous price of batting gloves when buying his own. Ripping through Nike gloves every few games, he could not justify purchasing just a single pair for prices upwards of $65.

Minicozzi said the experience got him thinking: “How can I put my imprint on the game and make it better? I can develop a better glove.”

Minicozzi spent months letting professionals test his glove prototypes and asked for feedback on how to make them better. With different colors and designs, he wanted his batting gloves to stand out from the plain and generic black-and-white offered by bigger athletic brands. Fast forward to 2018, after much research and testing, to the birth of his company, Primal Gloves.

Customer Britt Hinklin said quality does not have to come with a big price tag. With a 14-year-old son, Hinklin saw the excitement a unique batting glove brought.

“My son had a pair of those gloves and tried them out. I’m telling you, he loved them,” Hinklin said with a laugh. “It’s kind of surprising, with Mark being able to put that product out there right around the same price, if not cheaper than the high-volume ones that you get at Dick’s or other sporting goods stores.”

With a website up and running as well as an engaging social media presence, Minicozzi’s vision for a more exciting and quality batting glove became a reality.

Minicozzi said the logo of a fierce lion always came first in design concepts. “The lion is the king of the jungle. He is the top of the food chain. He wants to be the best.” He said. “The primal lion is the top, the best of the best.”

Prices range from $30-$35 and allow customers to choose from existing designs or a custom choice, accompanied by an option to have the player’s name, number or whatever else they would like stitched in. Minicozzi says turnaround time on orders is eight to 10 days.

Scaling up quickly, Minicozzi says supply and demand is the main obstacle at the moment. He plans on building an office in a corner of his backyard.

“The growth we’ve had over the last probably eight to 12 months, we went from selling about $150-$200 a day to where we’re doing right around $3,000 a day,” he explained. “I hope by the end of this year to have that office up and being able to make it where you can come to make your glove right on the spot.”

With business continuing to boom, Primal Gloves has ventured into multiple products, such as catching gloves, hats and other apparel. Even farther into the future, Minicozzi sees himself establishing an instructional baseball academy in Maricopa.

“We haven’t even really got into the community yet. We got married in October, so that sort of ruled our life for about six months, but now we’re getting settled in here,” Minicozzi said. “As we grow, a place for people to train and stuff like that, that would be my long-term goal.”

Admitting to being a prankster during his career, he wants baseball to be an enjoyable experience, not an expensive one.

“The biggest thing for me is, you know, we want to make it affordable so every kid can enjoy it. We also want to make it fun,” Minicozzi said with a smile.

This story appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.