Curveball Keepsakes is the culmination of a near lifelong journey in and around the games of baseball and softball. It also represents the cumulative lessons learned over the last two years as we've introduced some brand new ways to express our shared loved of these games. Baseball and softball have threads that run through so many of our families and communities, and it’s been an absolute joy connecting with so many people through our art.
Baseball and softball have been a big part of Curveball Keepsakes’ founder Tad Richardson’s life since his first shoebox-full of baseball cards as a very young boy. He grew up in the suburbs of Seattle and was just 6 years old when the Mariners joined the Major Leagues in 1977. He fondly recalls the old Kingdome as a “second home” and still has the Bo Jackson batting practice home run he got there on his 16th birthday. His bachelor party in 1997, started in the upper deck…
The following year, Tad realized a longtime dream when he went to work for the Mariners, joining the gameday guest services team on a part-time basis. In 1999, he joined the club full-time as the Mariners said goodbye to the Kingdome and moved into the brand-new Safeco Field (now T-Mobile Park.) With the two ballparks as his office, Tad loved creating memorable experiences for friends and fans at the games.
Tad (R) with the 1st homerun hit at Safeco Field (and the kid who caught it) 7/17/99
He played baseball and softball into his forties, but fatherhood and a bad elbow led to a natural transition to coaching and volunteering in Little League. A natural community-builder and fundraiser, Tad served on the West Plains Little League board near Spokane, WA for 10 years and was recognized as the inaugural recipient of the league’s Volunteer of the Year award in 2014.
That same year, Tad’s marketing career brought him back to the Seattle area, where he filled his free time by dabbling with an idea he’d had in his head since college: making braided rope necklaces from the yarn inside game-used baseballs. He bought his first authenticated MLB baseball in the summer of 2014 and discovered the Japanese rope-braiding technique called “Kumihimo.”
While he was happy with the first Kumihimo-braided necklaces, the entire experiment was tabled in 2015, as Tad created and eventually sold a successful digital advertising agency. After the sale in 2017, he was faced with the big question of “What next?”
With the perfect combination of opportunity and support from his partner (and now wife) Karen, Tad purchased more game-used baseballs and began creating several types of jewelry and accessories. As Sodo Mofo Designs, they participated in their first market together in December of 2017 and have since become regular participants at markets all around Seattle, with evolving product lines and a growing fan base.
Tad at artist's reception and showing in La Quinta, CA. May, 2019.
Tad is a 20-year veteran of the digital advertising industry and a longtime community volunteer and fundraiser. In addition to his 10+ years in youth sports, his private fundraising events have raised more than $40,000 for Meals on Wheels programs across Washington State over the last 9 years. The self-proclaimed "Baseball Nerd" is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and enjoys sharing the history of the game and his experiences in and around it though his blog @SodoMofoDesigns.