The “Taco Bell” cap saga continues.
After my blog about the Padres 70s & 80s "taco bell" caps I received several emails regarding versions of the caps I never knew existed. There have also been some recent happenings regarding the Padres this season and the bell caps. Let’s discuss.
At some point, the 70s-style bell caps had overlapped “SD” logos instead of interlocked ones. I’m guessing it was the earlier ones. I thought I had noticed one before, but a Ballcap Blog reader sent me pictures of several examples. Here is one below.
It turns out that Roman did make a 70s-style bell cap, but it appears to have been under Mitchell & Ness. I received an email with a picture and I was told that they were made for a “Turn Back the Clock Game” about eight or so years ago. There is no manufacturers tag and the cap was leftover from the lot sent to the team. After some research, I found that Mitchell & Ness did indeed sell these in retail, which I confused with American Needle. American Needle has apparently never made the 70s-style cap. The embroidery pattern of the interlocked “SD” is from the embroidery archive of the Roman/KM/McAuliffe companies, which Mitchell & Ness had access to at the time. KM did make Padres caps from around the 1969 to 1971 time frame, so at least with these caps the embroidery is accurate and thus makes it one of the better reproductions.
Turn Back the Clock Game-issue cap. There is no manufacturers tag.
Retail version. Ballcap Blog reader Louis Griffel made his cap seen above more accurate by swapping the incorrect brown button with a yellow one.
I also found out in that in 1997 the Padres wore a cap with a full yellow front panel, during an interleague “Turn Back the Clock Game” against the Angels in 1997. Evidently it was a screw up. The caps for that game were also made by Mitchell & Ness. The screw up may be explained by the fact that Mitchell & Ness did not have an existing pattern for the 70s bell cap design yet, but did have the existing embroidery pattern. Someone has to have one somewhere. If anyone has pictures please let me know.
Here is the awful later Mitchell & Ness version of the 80s cap after they changed cap manufacturers. It’s not even a triangle, and nowhere near the realistic bell shape.
While we're on the subject of reproductions, here is Twins Enterprises’ version of the 80s cap. Not bad compared to the above Mitchell & Ness version, but the only reason I never bought one was because “1984” is embroidered on the bottom rear of the cap. Twins Enterprises’ reproductions have been out of production for a couple of years or so.
Louis Griffel got New Era to make him a 1984 style cap back in late 1997 before New Era started making their reproductions of it. Apparently hand-made by New Era CEO Chris Koch, it is by far the most accurate reproduction ever made (except for the wide bell and gray underbill). The front panel is even made of nylon.
I got an email with a picture about what was supposedly a 1983 spring training prototype. It has been added to the list of “holy grails”. It was sold on eBay around the year 2000.
Evidence now shows that there are THREE different versions of the 1980 to 84 New Era version. I was sent several pictures that show that the 1983 caps had brown interlocked “SD” logos instead of the black "SD" from 1984. The 1980-82 versions had the larger “SD”.
This season, the Padres have been having a promotion called “Throwback Thursdays,” where the Padres wear retro uniforms at Thursday home games. It appears they have been alternating all season between the 1978-style and 1984-style uniforms. Since I had previously reported that the reproduction 70s caps were out of production and that “New Era will probably make more available the next time the Padres have a 70s “turn back the clock” game” I scoured the internet looking for them, and quickly hit a brick wall. Then, a fellow collector told me that they may be exclusive to the team store at the ballpark. I made a phone call to the “Padres Majestic Team Store” at Petco Park in San Diego and sure enough, they had them. Wanting a 70s-style Padres cap I could actually wear, I asked them if they could ship me the cap, as well as the 1984 version. They obliged, and here they are, $42 each (ouch!) plus shipping with FedEx (double ouch!). It was a very pricey purchase, but if you can’t get them anywhere else you have to pay the price. As expected, they seem relatively unchanged from the previous New Era “Cooperstown Collection” versions. They still haven’t put a yellow button on the top of the 70s cap. The logos are now embossed, but not drastically so I’m not complaining. One thing that is different is a big deal to me: there is now an "MLB batter man" logo on the back just like the current caps. However, this is understandable, since the team is wearing the 70s and 80s-style bell caps on a semi-regular basis this season, they are now basically “alternate” on-field caps. One thing that is NOT understandable is the infamous New Era “flag” logo on the side of the cap. At least it is brown so that it blends in. The insides are the same except the taping, which is now black instead of white. The 70s cap also has a black sweatband (perhaps a tribute to leather?). The caps are also 70% acrylic, 30% wool. Yuck! The texture is very rough and scratchy. I can’t believe that New Era is allowing the team to actually wear these! I confirmed that the team is indeed wearing them after reviewing photos of the games. Maybe it’s not New Era’s fault, maybe the team is trying to save a few bucks. A call to New Era revealed nothing other than it may be a team preference.
Here are the official on-field “Throwback Thursday” caps:
I will be out of town through the weekend so don't expect any new posts until after Monday. I do have a few blog projects I am working on and I will try to finish them when I get back next week.