Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Selling an Alfonso Soriano Game Used Cubs Cap

I am selling an Alfonso Soriano game used Chicago Cubs cap on eBay. I am a bit reluctant to do so, but there are six days during the Holiday season that my work is closed that I don't get paid for them. In other words, I really need the dough.

I acquired the cap through a person that got it at the Cubs Convention in 2012. It has no authentication but shows use. I am willing to put my reputation on the line and say that Soriano used it at one time or another. Soriano's main 2011 gamer had distinct sweat stains so I doubt this one is it. My best guess is that it's from spring training 2011, since the Cubs wear their standard uniforms in spring training games. Either that or it's a backup or secondary cap.

Get it for yourself or for the Cubs fan or Soriano fan in your life. Just in time for the Holidays! Check out the auction HERE!!!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Era Repairing Caps Again?

Sorry for the lack of updates, school and work have kept me busy.

A website called The World's Best Ever posted some recent pictures of the New Era factory. In a few pictures, some vintage New Era caps (Yankees, Indians, etc.) are shown stripped apart. When I asked the website about the caps shown in the photos, the one-sentence answer that I got was "They're being reconstructed". I don't know whether they belong to the company or whether they were being repaired for someone. Regardles, they're definitley being repaired.

If any of you want to call New Era and ask about doing repairs, go for it and let me know what happens. Maybe mention the caps in the photos and why they're being repaired? I'd be interested in knowing what that is about. I bet they'll mention that they don't do repairs, and will ask you if you heard about it from "some guy from California with a blog" (that would be yours truly). That's what they've said to a few people I know that have called in the past couple of years. The article also mentions a "Heritage Collection". Maybe New Era is going to make more accurate reproductions of vintage caps? Hey, a guy can dream...

HERE is the link to the factory photos, which are interesting even without the vintage caps.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Ebbets Field Flannels Brings Back Single-Piece Custom Caps

NOTE: EBBETS CAN NO LONGER TO SINGLE PIECE CAPS AT THIS TIME

Since I've been writing heavily about Ebbets Field Flannels lately, I figured that I should mention that EFF recently brought back the option to order a single custom-made cap, for the price of $99. If there's an obscure retro team that you are dying to have a cap of and you're willing to pay the price, this is your chance. There are several styles and variations to chose from. Just go to Ebbets.com/category/Custom_Caps and scroll to the bottom for more details.

I had a 1962 San Jose Bees cap made, and it turned out exactly the way I wanted. I was extremely happy and I plan on having more custom caps made in the future. Take note that unless it's a cap Ebbets has made before or they already have research done on the logo, you may have to provide them with pictures and logo artwork of the cap that you want made.

  
 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Interview with Jerry Cohen of Ebbets Field Flannels


For the past 25 years, Ebbets Field Flannels has been bringing us high-quality retro sports apparel and simultaneously preserving the legacies and stories of obscure teams and leagues of the past that would have otherwise been forgotten. Their specialty is hand-made reproductions of vintage flannel baseball jerseys, or "shirts" as they were known back in the day. Ebbets Field Flannels also produces a wide variety of reproductions of vintage baseball caps, made with high-quality 100% wool with goat hair buckram, satin taping and undervisors, and on their 8-panel caps; genuine leather sweatbands. You can view what they have to offer offer at Ebbets.com.

Q. For those of us that don't know or don't remember, what were some of the first caps EFF first produced?

A. I think the first two caps we did were from the old Pacific Coast League, the San Francisco Seals and Seattle Rainiers.

Q. What are some of the most popular/highest selling EFF caps of all time?

A. 1955 S. F. Seals, New York Knights, 1940 S.F. Seals. Those never seem to go out of style.


Q. How do you decide which caps to produce each time? 

A. It is important to have a good mix of colors (difficult to market new hats if seven out of eight are navy blue, for example). Then I try to have a good mix of regions or themes, say, a couple of Negro leagues, some PCL, some Cuban, etc. We find this usually works better than coming out with hats that are all the same theme.


 Q. How much research is involved in making sure the caps are as accurate-looking as possible?

      A. The devil is in the details, obviously, so the research is key. To us, a the whole hat has to be historic – not just the emblem – so we try to make sure things like visor style, whether it was a felt or embroidered emblem, etc. are all accurate. Of course, most research is photographic, and black and white at that, so we have to be very careful. It is quite surprising to me when I see competitors’ so-called vintage hats out there that are so fundamentally different from the original hat it is supposed to be emulating, but I guess that’s what makes us different.


Q. After not making caps with leather sweatbands in quite some time, why did you decide to use leather sweatbands on the new 8-panel caps?

A.      We wanted to make the 8-panel caps distinct from the 6-panel ones, and we located a leather supplier who made decent leather bands. There is a certain segment of our customer base from way back who remember the leather bands fondly, and this is a way to at least make some of our hats available with leather. 


Q. Using green satin under the visor is a great touch. It makes the caps look very classy and helps separate EFF from the competition. Satin "undervisors" weren't found on every cap back in the old days, so why did you decide to go with them for every cap? (Not complaining by any means, just curious)

A.      It is precisely because they were not usually done in satin that we adapted it as one of our “trademarks”. The idea came from an original 1950s Seattle Rainiers cap that I had in my possession. It had this beautiful satin undervisor and satin taping between the panels and I thought it was the most gorgeous cap I had ever seen. It gives the Ebbets caps a distinctive flavor. 



Q. EFF was once part of a joint venture with Roman Pro and Mitchell & Ness (caps were made with the EFF cap pattern, Roman Pro did the embroidery, and sold under the Mitchell & Ness name). Old-style 7-stitch visors were used. These were easily the best reproductions of old MLB caps ever made. What led to this and when did it come about? Why and when did it end?

A. The short version is this project was initiated by us. We did the research and the development, but because M&N already had an MLB license it was decided to do it as a joint venture with them. One  issue is that shortly after launching this collection Roman Pro was sold to idiots who did not believe there was a future in making high-quality vintage baseball caps, so the supply chain was threatened anyway. We tried to bring on another supplier but it was an exercise in futility. Needless to say the new owners of Roman Pro ran it into the ground in short order.  This was obviously very disappointing to us, because of all the work we put in. That’s life. It’s amazing how many people recall those hats though.


  Q. What does the future of EFF look like?

A. It looks very bright! Being stubborn, making things authentically in the U.S. for all these years means that finally the market has come around to us. We haven’t done anything differently, except perhaps open up the design process a bit so that we can collaborate with other brands on headwear collections. The last two years have been among the most rewarding for us in all the years we have been in business, and we are looking at record growth continuing. EFF is now a worldwide apparel brand.

Q. Why do you think that MLB has not given you permission to make any MLB apparel?

A. As you probably have guessed, after 25 years this we get a little tired of this question. Suffice it to say that it is na├»ve to believe that licenses go to whomever produces the best quality or most accurate historical reproduction hat. Beyond that you would really need to ask MLB why they won’t give us a vintage hat license. That’s simply not something I spend a lot of my time worrying about anymore.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ebbets Field Flannels 8-Panel Caps

Ebbets Field Flannels recently unveiled a new line of 8-panel caps. The 8-panel cap has a much lower crown and has a more vintage look compared to the normal 6-panel caps. 8-panel caps were common in the pre-WWII era but disappeared by the early 1940s. The caps are unstructured (no buckram) and feature EFF's trademark satin taping and undervisor. The visor is soft and flexible. EFF also reintroduced leather sweatbands, which they haven't offered with their caps for many years. The EFF logo is embossed into the leather.


First impression:

The first 8-panel cap that I ordered was the 1923 Sacramento Senators. First glance at the cap reveals a headwear masterpiece, an amazing sight to behold for anyone that loves caps; The look of the old-fashioned wool, satin, and leather really made me thankful that we have a company like EFF around and that we can purchase a ballcap like this in the year 2013. Another thing that I noticed right out of the box was the smell of leather. There's no doubt in my mind that the leather was genuine. For some reason, this cap had the standard sweatband tags instead of the embossed logo, or perhaps they are covering it. I believe this problem has been corrected so if you buy one they probably won't have the tags.

 

Wearability:

I wore the cap around for the weekend. The low crown look does not work for everyone, myself included. However, the cap actually looked alright on me. I also found the cap to be quite comfortable. The leather sweatband did what it was supposed to do: act as a gasket to seal off sweat. You don't notice it after wearing the cap for a few minutes. I wore the cap to the local batting cages and wore it under a helmet while I worked up a decent sweat. The cap held up just fine. The green undervisor can show moisture stains like all EFF caps, but that easily remedied by wiping it down with a cloth dipped in warm and mildly soapy water.

Another concern that I had was the visor. With a flimsy visor, can I wear the cap without looking goofy? The visor feels like when you get a normal visor completely saturated, only this one is dry. When wearing the cap, I was able to get a decent curve without much trouble. If you try to make the visor perfectly straight, it probably won't work.

An Ebbets rep on their Facebook page mentioned that the caps could be folded and put in your pocket. This is actually true; you can make them into a rather compact bundle.


The second cap that I purchased was the 1933 San Francisco Seals. This particular cap didn't actually exist back then. The Seals wore a blank cap that season, so EFF used their jersey logo for the emblem which made for a great-looking cap. This cap had the embossed leather sweatband without any tags.

 

Historical Accuracy:

These are obviously the most historically accurate ballcaps on the market today. I was surprised at first that the visors had 8 rows of stitching, which is a more modern feature. I also think another thing that they could do is have the cap size stamped onto the sweatband (either embossed or with ink) as opposed to the paper size tags. I'm really splitting hairs here though, they did enough of a fantastic job.

Verdict:

Bravo, Ebbets Field Flannels! Their work continues to amaze me. I highly recommend buying one. Even if you don't find it wearable for one reason or another, they are still worthy of display. The caps go for $48 via Ebbets.com.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Caps made for the film "Moneyball"


For those that didn't see the movie, the film came out last year and is about Oakland A's GM Billy Beane and the 2002 Oakland Athletics season. There are many scenes depicting games and even flashback scenes.

The first thing that crossed my mind was that perhaps the caps (particularly the A's caps) were just "deadstock", just leftovers sitting in storage. However, all the caps were made specially for the movie with the exception of the A's Spring Training/Batting Practice caps, which were a mix of deadstock and reproductions. New Era provided all of the MLB caps. They were made in USA and most are 100% wool or wool combined with acrylic. Aside from the A's (Home, Road, and BP/Spring Training), there were caps made for the Dodgers, Twins, Royals, Yankees, Angels, Tigers, and Mets. Some were made for A's game scenes and some for Billy Beane flashback scenes.

The A's Spring/BP and Home caps were all "weathered" by the props department. They look heavily soiled and stained like real gamers. This includes sweat marks and thumb prints on the undervisors. Another extra detail is that they all have player numbers written on the undervisor (and some on the buckram).

There were also minor league scenes. In one scene, Billy and Peter are watching minor league footage, showing the Visalia Oaks vs. the San Jose Giants. New Era did the caps for that scene as well, although the San Jose Giants caps have the "G" logo from their BP caps instead of the normal "SJ" logo. The older minor league caps from the Billy Beane flashback scenes were provided by AIS/Sports Studio (made under private label by California Custom Caps), who provides all non-MLB caps and uniforms for film and tv. The caps they made were the Portland Beavers, Rochester Red Wings, Syracuse Chiefs, Toledo Mud Hens, and Tidewater Tides "pillbox" caps. There were also little league caps with a "C" logo made for a scene where the players took the field with little leaguers. They were made by Pacific Headwear. The AIS and Pacific Headwear caps were not made in fitted sizes, they are all flex-fit.

Most of the scenes and footage showing these uniforms and caps ended up on the cutting room floor. However, many can be seen in footage on the DVD & Blu Ray special features. Recently, much of the film wardrobe including the caps and uniforms were auctioned off at a Hollywood wardrobe auction. I was fortunate enough to make contact with someone who purchased a large amount of caps from the film at the auction. Here's what I ended up with.

Oakland A's Spring Training/Batting Practice Cap

The "deadstock" cap that I received had tags dating it to between 1999 and 2001. It appears to have been slightly worn, perhaps by and extra in the film.

 The reproduction uses the exact same material, which is 100% polyester mesh. However, the back of the tag says "70% acrylic 30% wool". Obviously mislabeled. The cap was worn by an extra actor playing Jim Mecir.

There are some slight differences between the original and reproduction Spring/BP caps. There's the color, the way the eyelets are swen, and in the embroidery. The logo on the reproduction is close to the original but just slightly different. I am shocked that the embroidery pattern for the original logo isn't still around.

Oakland A's Home

The particular A's home cap that I purchased was worn by the uncredited actor that played (and was a dead-ringer for) Barry Zito. The cap is 70% acryllic and 30% wool. Some amazing detail work was done making this cap look soiled and broken-in.

Oakland A's Road

With "23" written on the undervisor this cap was worn by actor Stephen Bishop, who played David Justice. Unfortunately, there are no road game scenes in the film with Bishop/Justice, but he may be in the dugout during some parts. The cap is 100% wool. There is also a slight difference in the color of the green fabric compared to the home cap.
 Detroit Tigers

The only other MLB cap I was able to get. The cap is 100% wool. It appears to have been worn by an extra actor in the filming and has dirt on the crown.

Visalia Oaks

The Visalia Oaks were the A-Advanced affiliate of the A's in 2002 and are featured in a prominent scene in the movie, where Billy and Peter watch a video of the Oaks vs. the San Jose Giants. An obese Oaks catcher attempts to run to second for a double but falls over, crawls to back to first, and then is told that he actually hit a home run. Because the Oaks existed until 2008, it was easy for New Era to make an exact reproduction. The cap is 100% polyester like today's caps, with a gray undervisor and black present-day style sweatband. One difference compared to the original is that the batterman logo on the back originally had a gold outline, this one is white. The Oaks have since become Affiliates of the Diamondbacks and have been renamed the "Rawhide". The A's current A-Advanced affiliates are the Stockton Ports. The cap itself It appears to have been worn by an extra actor in the filming and has dirt on the right side of the crown.

San Jose Giants

It was neat to see the San Jose Giants in the film because I actually live in San Jose and have been going to SJ Giants games since childhood. Like the Oaks cap, it's 100% polyester like today's caps, with a gray undervisor and black present-day style sweatband. It was odd that the "G" logo was selected when the San Jose Giants have always used the overlapped "SJ" logo on standard on-field caps. I don't ever recall seeing the G logo on on-field SJ Giants caps other than batting practice caps. However, this cap apparently did exist. They can be found on the "Fan Edge" website as "San Jose Giants Alt 2", but they are out of stock. I personally don't remember seeing them. This particular cap was a leftover and not worn in the filming. Visor stickers are still attached.

Tidewater Tides

Young Billy Beane is shown in a 1980s Tides uniform in a "flashback" scene. The material is not mentioned anywhere and the cap is a flex-fit, although it's not really stretchy. The Tides were affiliates of the Mets from 1969 to 2006, moving to Norfolk in 1992. The Tides are currently affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles.


Portland Beavers

There was a planned scene to feature young Billy Beane in a Beavers uniform in a "flashback" scene but it ended up on the cutting room floor. Again, this material is not mentioned anywhere and the cap is a flex-fit. This material is more flexible and can stretch. The Beavers were affiliates of the Twins from 1987 to 1993, which is the era this cap is representing. After the 1993 season, Beavers owner Joe Buzas moved the team to Salt Lake City, Utah, where they became the Salt Lake Buzz, and later the Stingers. They are now known as the Bees. A second Portland Beavers existed from 2001 to 2010 and then became the Tucson Padres.

The person that sold me the caps has now started to list them on eBay under the name "beachwoodcollectibles".

Sunday, May 19, 2013

2013 Padres Taco Bell Caps

So I said that my next post would be about the caps from Moneyball, but there has been an unforeseen delay. I should have it done in the next week or so.

This past Friday (May 17th), the Padres had a 1984 "Turn Back The Clock" game vs. the Nationals. The Nationals did not participate, which is unfortunate. I would have loved to see them wear 1984 Expos uniforms.


 The taco bell caps were identical to the 2011 1983/1984 TBTC caps. The good news is that THEY WILL BE AVAILABLE IN RETAIL. The bad news is that they will be made in China like the 2011 taco bells. MLB shop is already taking orders HERE. Oddly, if you look at the photo of the cap at MLB shop there is one missing detail: There are no eyelets on the front panels! This has been a recent issue with reproduction taco bell caps that I mentioned before. However, the caps that the players wore in the game DID have eyelets. Either the photo at MLB shop is a prototype that didn't have eyelets, or someone that works in the Padres clubhouse put eyelets on all the player's caps. I won't know until I actually get one of these in my hands. Another mystery is the material. The 2011 caps were a combination of wool and polyester. I don't know yet if these are 100% polyester or not. Hatclub.com will also be receiving some by the end of the month, but I was informed that theirs will be different (a more accurate bell shape).


In other news, the Tampa Bay Rays will be wearing their "fauxback" Padres knock-off uniforms again this season. Their version of the Taco Bell caps will also be available in retail with the correct panel instead of a full panel like last season. Like the Padres caps, they will also be made in China.

Monday, April 22, 2013

MLB Caps Made For The Film "42"

 This is the first of two posts focusing on caps made for recent films. The next post will be on caps made for "Moneyball".

The MLB caps made for the Jackie Robinson film "42" were provided by "Sports Studio" and were manufactured under private label by California Custom Caps. Ebbets Field Flannels provided the Minor League and Negro League caps.

Despite the fact that most (if not all) of the logos back then were embroidered, many of the film's cap logos were felt. This was because the film's producers decided that they looked best on camera. Despite the felt logos, the caps were very well made and are historically accurate in other respects. The wool fabric looks correct for the era, and satin taping and leather sweatbands were used. The caps are extremely similar in look and construction to Ebbets Field Flannels caps. I believe that if EFF was ever allowed to make MLB caps, this is exactly what they would look like, only with the satin undervisors that EFF is known for. It's a damn shame that historically accurate MLB caps such as these have not been available in retail in quite some time. The caps may become available in the not-too-distant future if they are sold at a Hollywood wardrobe auction. I'll definitley be on the lookout for them.










Friday, April 19, 2013

Procaprepair.com is up and running!

Folks, the day has finally come! We can now get caps of all years and makers repaired. Longtime cap collector Clint Farrell has founded a new company: Procaprepair.com! They can make various repairs to caps, mostly focusing on replacing cracked and broken visor boards.
BCB: First and foremost, you are a cap collector yourself. How long have you been collecting and what are some of the highlights of your collection?
CF: I was a kid in Toronto before MLB came to Canada. I always wore a Toronto Maple Leafs (International League) cap. By the 1980’s I had a nice little collection of Expos, Blue Jays and Orioles caps. All long gone now. When the Expos announced their move in 2004, I made sure to grab some caps from their final season, and that got me started again. I bought some Cooperstown caps, but was disappointed to find that they didn’t match the original caps all that well. So my search was on for vintage caps!
I have close to 200 vintage caps in my collection now. My favorite is the first Orioles white panel cap from 1975, nylon, made by AJD. A close second is their orange panel AJD cap from the same year. Other highlights include a 1969 Expos KM Pro, 1977 Blue Jays New Era,  1962 Houston Colt .45’s McAuliffe, 1961 LA Angels McAuliffe, KC Athletics Wilson caps from 1958, 1961 and 1962, 1969 Seattle Pilots Wilson, and an Oakland A’s 1970 KM Pro that had the “’s” embroidered on after the cap was made. I’ve fixed the visors on most of those. Oh, and Ebbets Field Flannels made me an awesome replica of a 1963 Toronto Maple Leafs cap.
BCB: What made you decide to figure out how to repair caps?
CF: I bought a 1976 Red Sox KM Pro several years ago. It had been in storage. I put it on and the visor disintegrated. I tried milliners, tailors, shoe repairs, seamstresses - no one would fix it. By now, I had more caps with broken visors. Thanks to your help, I sent some to New Era. They fixed a few (and I’m grateful) but sent the rest back (including the KM Pro) with a letter advising they would no longer fix caps. My dad offered to try, and he did an OK job, even though I didn’t have the right materials at that time. At that point I knew it could be done, so I decided to try it myself.
BCB: How long did the learning process take?
CF: It took about 5 caps to get it right.
BCB: How did you acquire the machinery to repair caps?
CF: Just rigged up a regular sewing machine. 
BCB: How did you find the right materials for the repairs and was there much research involved?
CF: It took awhile but I found a cap materials supplier here in the U.S. They sell in bulk, and I’m not a high volume manufacturer, so it took some work to get what I needed.
BCB: Is there any other interesting info you would like to share?
CF: Being a collector, I pay attention to detail and stay true to the original look as much as possible. I was surprised to find such a variety in visor board shapes, meaning they cannot be bought pre-cut. And replacing the undervisor fabric is tricky.

Before Mr. Farrell went public with his repairs, he worked on a few for me and they turned out amazing! There are some photos on his website to show how they turned out. Just be aware that the repairs won't always look like they way they were made originally (although in some cases they did). Clint's work is fantastic and second-to-none. As far as I know, he's the only person doing this kind of work on the entire planet. In the cap collecting community, he's a hero. Go and check out ProCapRepair.com!

In other news, I have more caps up for sale on eBay. Check it out!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Padres Fan Fest

This year, a friend was able to get me an early entry pass into Padres Fan Fest. Unfortunately, there was an extreme lack in the amount of caps this time. Despite the fact that I got in early and was in the front of the line, there were only about four or five team-issued 1978 Turn Back The Clock game caps. There were no 1989 or 1997 Turn Back The Clock game caps. There were some older 1980-84 team issued caps that appeared to be from around 2006, but they were in small sizes and were growing mold.

As I've said before, the 1978 Turn Back The Clock game caps were not sold to retail. They were basically identical to the 2007 versions, but with the batterman logo on the back and a black sweatband. While the 1983/84 Turn Back The Clock game caps last season were made in China, the 1978 caps were actually made in the USA. Instead of the "Authentic Collection" tag, the cap has a "Cooperstown Collection" tag. On the back of the New Era tag, it says that the cap is made of 100% polyester. However, the brown material feels more like acrylic or cotton material. I'm guessing that these caps were made out of the same recycled cotton material that the 1989 Turn Back The Clock game caps were supposedly made out of. As I've learned in the past, non-retail caps don't always have correct tags.


Despite the lack of caps, prices were lower on everything else this year so I purchased a number of other items. I'm looking forward to next year. Hopefully, they will have more caps!