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Showing posts from 2016

Minoring in Taco Bell

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UPDATED 10/1/19

Not to toot my own horn, but I do consider myself to be the foremost expert on the history of the "bell panel" baseball cap started by the San Diego Padres, typically known as the "Taco Bell" cap. If you read my previous blogs you will notice that the shape of the front panel of the cap resembles a bell when looked at straight-on. The reason for that is because the Padres celebrate the California missions. The missions all had bells at the top of the buildings and well, so did the Padres players by donning these caps. It all makes sense.

I noticed that several minor league teams in the 70s and 80s also wore bell panel caps. Only two of them were actual Padres affiliates. Why use a bell panel when you're not a Padres affiliate? It makes no sense to me. Many have never noticed that the shape is a bell, they probably just liked the look. That's why when the Rays wear their 70s "Fauxback" uniforms that are 70s Padres rip-offs, it bothe…

An Open Letter to New Era

Dear New Era Cap Company,

I first fell in love with New Era on-field baseball caps in 1995. I was nine years-old and had recently learned how to play baseball. My parents were not into sports to say the least, so my younger brother and I learned about sports from the kids down the street and to us, baseball was our favorite. I can't remember exactly where, and what adult in my life purchased it for me, but I remember picking out my first authentic "Diamond Collection" on-field cap. It was a Chicago Cubs "Road" cap, the one with the red visor. Size 6 7/8. I remember being absolutely thrilled that I now owned one of the exact same caps that MLB stars wore on the field of play. I wore it for years until I could no longer squeeze it onto my head.

Over the course of the rest of my childhood and into my twenties I continued to collect New Era on-field caps. New caps, vintage caps, actual game used players' caps and everything in between. Now, at thirty years of a…

Mysterious Padres Taco Bell Cap Surfaces

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A couple of weeks ago, I got a message from a friend and fellow collector saying that he had found an odd Padres cap that he had never seen before. This is the cap.



The caps with this style had come from a long-gone sporting goods store in Buffalo, NY (coincidentally, the home of New Era) and the elderly woman that co-owned the store sold off the deadstock that had been sitting around to someone else, who then sold some of it to my friend. Immediately we believed that this cap was made to go with the recently unveiled 1985 Padres prototype jersey, which is owned by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and was displayed at the 2016 MLB All-Star Game FanFest in San Diego.


Looks like a match, right? Turns out to be not so. I reached out to some folks in the know via Twitter, and one person that had seen the original 1985 prototype designs said "Totally different-cap that went with the Fanfest jersey was brown with a yellow interlocking italic "SD".

So there you have it. A re…

Hell Bent For Leather

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I apoligize in advance for the different fonts and text sizes. I have tried to change it but it doesn't work when I do...

Ah, the leather sweatband.  A controversial topic for us baseball cap enthusiasts. Preferred by the traditionalist but derided by the casual wearer. Over the course of the last twenty-five years, leather sweatbands in baseball caps have become a rarity and have all but disappeared. However, there are still a few places were leather sweatbands can be found today.

One place where leather sweatbands can still be found is on the field of Major League Baseball. No way! Really? Yes, it's true. MLB umpires can still get leather sweatbands on their caps.




Although leather sweatbands on MLB and MiLB players caps were last seen in 1988 (with some caps possibly lingering into 1989), they have continued to be seen inside non-retail versions of umpire caps.

The leather style has also changed. The sweatbands had been the exact same kind seen inside of on-field caps since the …

Mystery of the San Francisco Giants Pillbox

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It has been well documented that many teams wore "pillbox caps" at some point during the 1976 season and the Pittsburgh Pirates ended up wearing them for ten seasons after that point.

Aside from the teams we know that wore them for sure (Pirates, Mets, Cardinals, & Phillies, then possibly Expos and Yankees) there were other teams that no one knows for sure if the team wore them or not: White Sox, Red Sox, Cubs, Padres, & Giants. Sometimes it's hard to tell if the cap is game worn or team issued when they show up online somewhere. Sports Specialties made pillbox snapback fan caps available for all teams during the 80s, so you could imagine what it would have been like if your favorite team opted to wear them. New Era even made fitted cap versions of all teams as well (from what I can tell). Now, the Giants pillbox that I had seen in an eBay auction a few years back used the 1977 to 1982 logo. However, I had heard that the Giants had supposedly worn them in 1976, b…

1986 San Jose "Bad News" Bees

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The coming 2016 baseball season marks the 30th anniversary of one of the most notorious teams in all of professional baseball, not to mention my hometown team the year of my birth; the 1986 San Jose "Bad News" Bees. The Bees were one of the last independent teams in minor league baseball, but did have a partnership with the Seibu Lions of Japan. As the second incarnation of the Bees (the original Bees existed from 1962 to 1976), the team existed from 1983 to 1987. The franchise failed to be profitable and operated on a shoe-string budget. Aside from several young Japanese players, the rest of the players were disgraced former major leaguers, the majority of which were blacklisted from the big leagues for substance abuse. During the season, many players lived in nearby flophouses and even on mattresses inside stadium's clubhouse. Known as the "Rebels Cave", it featured a refrigerator, beer signs, broken bleacher seats for guests, and a painting made by one of th…