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. 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.