Here we will discuss the “holy grails” for baseball cap collectors. These are caps that were prototypes, or only used for spring training, a special occasion, or otherwise anything that was not likely mass-produced or for some reason are very hard to find.
Let’s take a look:
1957 San Francisco Giants Prototype (1): Willie Mays is shown at a late 1957 press conference wearing this cap.
1957 San Francisco Giants Prototype (2): This cap design showed up on baseball cards before the official designs came out. They were never real (the logo was airbrushed onto the cap), and I doubt if any were made.
196? Chicago Cubs “Thin C”: The Cubs used this “thin C” variation at some point during the 60s. It’s not my cup of tea, that’s for sure! It was made by McAuliffe/KM Pro Cap Company. The Cubs rarely used their caps and I’m sure this one didn’t do them any favors. However, I have seen McAuliffe/KM Cubs caps with a correct logo.
1967 Washington Senators White Cap: This cap was worn along with an accompanying uniform to mock the Oakland (Kansas City at the time) A’s and their unconventional uniforms. They wore these once or twice against the A’s during the 1967 season and never again. Or did they? The cap was most likely made by McAuliffe/KM or Wilson.
196? - 197? Washington Senators With A Black Bill: I found this while browsing the closed auctions on www.americanmemorabilia.com. I’ve never heard of it before and can’t find anything on it. Anyone know something about it?
1968 Seattle Pilots Prototype: Previously discussed.
1968 and/or 69 Oakland Athletics (A’s): The A’s wore this at some time in 1968 or 69, anyone have more info? Very nice cap made by McAuliffe/KM.
1970 Milwaukee Pilots: It probably doesn’t exist, but an airbrushed one appeared on a Sports Illustrated cover in 1970. Because it was so small on the cover, I made the mock-up seen above. Yes, the “M” was done this way.
197? San Diego Padres w/ Full Yellow Front Panel: Another mystery from www.americanmemorabilia.com, it was apparently was made by New Era. Spring training experiment, perhaps? But what season?
1972 Padres Sunday Special: Previously discussed.
1974 Washington “Padres”: The team that almost was, but thanks to Ray Kroc they stayed in San Diego. I can’t imagine what the world would have been like without taco bell caps! The team name would have changed, but who knows to what. I’ve heard names that had to do with “Freedom” and other patriotic names. Supposedly these uniforms and caps were destroyed.
1975 Houston Astros Prototype: Designed for the "re-branding" of the Astros, the uniforms stuck but that caps didn’t.
1983 Cincinnati Reds Reverse Colors: These made their debut in spring training 1983 but were unpopular with players and most likely were never used during the regular season. New Era made them and one was for sale on eBay not too long ago and I won the bid. However, a week later the seller emailed me and told me the package was smashed and the cap destroyed while en route to me, and gave me a refund. What I really think is that someone offered him more money.
And finally, a 1983 or 84 San Diego Padres spring training prototype. Can't find anything about it, but I was told one was sold on eBay around the year 2000.
Is there anything I left out? Let me know I’ll add it to the blog!