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 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:! 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!

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