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!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Oakland A's Fan Fest Finds + A's eBay Oddballs

This years Oakland A's Fan Fest turned out to be much different from last year. This is due to the fact that the A's had a very successful season in 2012 compared to 2011. This year it was sold out. My brother (the A's are his favorite team) and I arrived as the doors were opening. The A's fan fest is held in the Oracle Arena, which for those of you that don't know, is right next door the Oakland Coliseum. Of course, we made a B-line for the memorabilia sale. Last year, the memorabilia sale was held in the "Bud Club" lounge downstairs at the Oracle Arena. There was no line, we just walked in. Plenty of caps, but jerseys and pants had been picked clean. This year, it was along the main walkway. My brother and I quickly realized that we might not be lucky enough to just walk in. We were right; there was a huge line waiting to get in! After what seemed like an eternity, we were ushered in to the sale. Luckily, there was an abundance of items; still plenty of caps along with jerseys, pants, game used balls, helmets, jackets, bats, and wine bottles from their wild card celebration.

My brother and I began digging through the caps, hoping to find some from the 1955 Oakland Oaks Pacific Coast League turn back the clock game held last July. Those caps were not released to retail. Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be found. I found a Jemile Weeks team-issued cap from the 1936 Philly A's turn back the clock game vs. Boston. That was the only cap from that game that I found. Most were from opening day, camo logo caps from Memorial Day and the 4th of July, and also several Postseason caps, although they were all road versions.

The Jemile Weeks 1936 Philladelphia A's turn back the clock cap

I ended up with a game used Jerry Blevins camo logo cap from the 4th of July game, the aforementioned Jemile Weeks team-issued 1936 TBTC game cap, a Stephen Drew team issued Postseason road cap, and bench coach Chip Hale team issued Postseason road cap. The Weeks cap has since been traded and the Hale cap sold.

Jerry Blevins 4th of July camo logo cap

Outside of the Stephen Drew team issued Postseason road cap

My brother ended up with Stephen Drew's game used Postseason road cap as well as one used by George Kottaras. His best find game with a bit of luck; underneath the pile of jackets, he found a game used Grant Balfour cap from the Memorial Day game.

Grand Balfour's Memorial Day camo logo cap. Balfour altered his cap in many ways, including cutting out some of the buckram and removing some of the sweatband material.

Interior of Stephen Drew's game used Postseason road cap

Interior of George Kottara's game used Postseason road cap

While we are on the subject of the A's, a couple of bizarre vintage A's caps have shown up on eBay being sold by the Lelands sports memorabilia auction house. First, we have a circa 1968 and 1969 cap, which at first glance appears to be made by KM Pro (the profile, embroidery, 7-stitch visor). Now, look at the underside (#30 in both of those years belonged to pitcher Jim Nash). There appears to by a New Era tag on the sweatband! What in the world?

Second; we have a mid 70s A's cap made by New Era. Turn it around, and there is a strange tag that says "Pro McAuliffe". What? Wait a second - wasn't the McAuliffe name gone from caps by 1968?

I have a couple of theories...

Under Charlie Finley's ownership, the A's were extremely thrifty. I have read that instead of ordering new caps and jersyes, they would just have the old ones repaired. Which means, McAuliffe & KM Pros may have been repaired by New Era and vice-versa. The sweatbands would definitley be the main thing replaced. Look at the 68/69 cap. The sweatband looks brand new! I have seen some caps before with the "Pro McAuliffe" label. They might have been made for New Era repairs on KM caps. Since it probably didn't happen often, there may have been leftovers from after the McAuliffe label was gone. My second theory is that the repairs were contracted by Stall & Dean, who made McAuliffe jerseys for years after the name was gone from caps. Stall & Dean would repair the jerseys, and may have had New Era repair the caps for them under private label under the McAuliffe name. Does any of that make sense? That's all I've got...