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Rawlings/TAG reunion

Photos by Christy Porter
Past employees of Rawlings/TAG gathered for a reunion at Old City Park to reminisce and share a picnic lunch.

By Christy Porter
Managing Editor

Many times co-workers become like family, sometimes more time is spent with co-workers than with your actual family. In a small community, perhaps this is truer due to the fact that your co-workers also attend the same church, shop at the same stores, some are truly related and friendship may already exist.
Co-workers attended the first Rawlings/TAG Reunion on Saturday at the Old City Park in Licking. A previous employee, Kay Mosley, missed seeing her co-workers and suggested the reunion, which was readily accepted by other prior co-workers.
One attendee jokingly commented that there was, “five hundred ninety-nine years of combined tenure and lots of carpal tunnel at this gathering.” Combined tenure of the hundreds of employees would indeed add up to likely thousands of years and the twenty-plus people who attended Saturday’s get-together represented many of those years. There was lots of laughter, reminiscing and food.
Jackie Elliott retired after 30-years of employment. Mary Hunt worked at Rawlings Sporting Goods, TAG Team Uniforms, Elite Custom Uniforms and finally Darmo, Inc., saying, “I closed ‘em all down.” Some did not retire but continued in the work force before or after the facilities closed. Patsy Edgemond-Wade, employee and Steve Reddy, previous mechanic at Rawlings, went to South Central Correctional Center. Linda Schafer took a screen-printing position in St. James. Freda Drury went to Briggs and Stratton, Harry Evans to employment in Willow Springs. Some, like Sonny Lonnind, went to Fort Leonard Wood before retirement. Freda Kell was employed in a floral shop after leaving Rawlings/TAG. Reggie Ward left to do machine quilting. It was indeed a time of catching up with each other and talking ‘old’ times.
Photos by Christy Porter
Rawlings manufactured sports uniforms, shoulder pads, helmets, baseballs, footballs and baseball gloves, employing several hundred people over the years in this community. TAG, Elite and finally Darmo continued the manufacturing of sportswear and uniforms.
The Licking Development Company completed construction of a factory on Cedar Street in 1948 to house Steinwear Manufacturing Co. which manufactured army clothing. Steinwear began operation in 1948, and shortly thereafter dissolved.
In 1949 Rawlings Manufacturing moved their J.H. Grady Mfg. Co., a St. Louis subsidiary, into the building, becoming Rawlings Plant #7. In 1962, Rawlings Plant #3, became operational in the then ‘new’ factory located on Hwy. 32 when Plant #7 relocated to the new facility. Rawlings reoccupied the Cedar Street #7 location in 1969, then having two operating plants in Licking.
After 53-years, Rawlings announced closure of both plants in Oct., 2002, for financial reasons. Plant #7 closed in April, 2003, and Plant #3 closed in May, 2003.
TAG Team Uniforms opened in the Hwy. 32 plant in January of 2004, operating under the TAG name until February, 2014, when it became Elite Custom Uniforms.
After the closure of Elite, Darmo was located in the Hwy. 32 facility for a time.


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