Game-Used Ballcap Mystery

Hello everyone and sorry for the lack of updates. I should have some more free time in the new year to dedicate to the blog. I am working on an article about the colors of the undersides of visors (aka bills/brims), so if anyone has any information that they feel might be relevant, please contact me.

Anyway, I just recently purchased an (alleged) game-used San Francisco Giants cap. Pictures are below. It is a KM Pro cap that the seller said was used by Danny O'Connell. Now first and foremost, he wasn't trying to dupe me, he simply said he had purchased it in the 1980s and the seller told him that was who used it. O'Connell had played for the Giants from 1957 (their final season in New York) and then in San Francisco in 1958 and 1959. There is just one problem; the cap has a 1970s style KM Pro tag and not a Tim McAuliffe tag like a 1950s cap would. Also, normally a game-used cap would have the player's number written in marker under the visor near the sweatband, or on the backing behind the front of the crown. Instead "Danny O'Connell" is written in marker on the back of the sweatband, and a faint "O CO" to the left of the KM Pro tag on the left side of the sweatband. The cap itself is in very well-used condition. However, what makes it believable that it may be from the 1950s is the green fabric under the visor. The Giants switched to gray sometime between 1969 and 1971. The team last used KM caps in 1976. Since the Tim McAuliffe name disappeared from KM caps in 1969, a cap with a KM tag and a green under-visor must be somewhat rare, and perhaps was only used for one season or two, 1969 and/or 1970.

Another question is why counterfeit a Danny O'Connell cap? He seems like a random player no one's ever heard of. Most likely it was for a morbid reason; O'Connell is dead, and died tragically at the age of 42 in 1969 in an auto accident (another website says it was a "coronary occlusion"), and left behind a wife and four children.

If anyone knows if the cap really could have been used by Danny O'Connell or not, please let me know, or if you have any other comments about the cap!

The front. Notice the embroidery is exactly the same as the 1976 version of the cap in the first picture of my blog "Team Cap History: The San Francisco Giants".

The inside. a vary faint "O CO" can be seen just to the left of the tag on the sweatband, or maybe it's something else?

"Danny O'Connell" written on the back of the sweatband.


  1. The genius part that the player mentioned is completely random. In the late 1990s, on ebay I bid and won a 1990 alleged game-worn Rodney McCray cap (because the swirly-C wasn't being reproduced yet due to its obscurity), well-used cap, leather sweatband & red cursive New Era tag & a MLB tag, "28" in black ink under the gray visor, but the size tag & the red button on top were missing, and a cracked brim in two places near the middle. Size 7 1/2, the auction said. McCray only played for the White Sox in 32 games in '90, and the baseball cards I have of him, the cap logo (slightly fatter logo/ wider & fuzzier crown, clearly did not match tho it could had been Spring Training pics). But by judging the crooked sweatband to crown stitching, it was probably a leftover from '89 and I think the "Diamond Collection" started right after this time.

    I looked for clues as a fake within the cap like Caucasian hair, but did not find any. Eventually I popped a red button off another cap & hot glued it on, and was generally satisfied overall with the cap since it barely fit, even tho I slightly overpaid what a reproduction would have cost eventually.

  2. I'd like to see a picture! I thought the last New Era caps with leather sweatbands were made in 1987.

  3. I found a picture of O'Connell

  4. Note the fact that the label in the cap has a zip code. Zip codes were first introduced in the USA in 1963. Therefore it could not have been worn by any player prior to 1963.


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