2020 San Diego Padres Fanfest Finds

This year's Padres Fanfest was quite something. Upon entering the Padres garage sale, I was greeted by tables and tables covered in caps. It appeared that the team was getting rid of all of its team-issue stock since the Padres will have new uniforms next season.

They had all the varieties; spring training with the Cactus League patch, batting practice, primary home blue, Friday brown alternate, and camouflage alternate (the later three had 50th anniversary patches).

 Spring Training "Hex Tech" bell panel cap with Cactus League Patch.

Standard blue cap with 50th Anniversary patch. Good bye and Good riddance, blue!

The caps were definitely team issued, as they lacked New Era's stickers. The boxes they were in were labeled clearly for the clubhouse manager to easily find what he needed. I grabbed a few of the boxes when they became empty.


In retail, the Friday brown Taco Bell caps were only made in USA for the first batch sold in the Padres team store at the unveiling of the Friday brown alternate uniform in 2016. The rest were made overseas from then on. The team's stock was almost all made in USA. Only the "low crown" caps were made overseas. I assume New Era's Derby, NY plant didn't have the equipment to make low crown bell panels. The 7 1/4 Taco Bell caps appeared to have been made in 2016 given by the lack of the flag logo. The other sizes appeared to be newer as the flag logo was directly sewn on. The Derby plant must have made more to supplement the team's stock before closing.

 Made in USA bell panel cap with the 50th Anniversary patch.

A made in USA version with a sewn-on flag logo. This variation was never available in retail.

There were also a few surprises. At a table next to the standard caps, some unused Memorial Day caps were there as well as some moldy oldies; some brown caps from a Turn Back The Clock game in 2003 and brown and yellow caps from a late 90s Turn Back The Clock game.


The 1969 Turn Back The Clock caps from 2003 are interesting. In typical New Era fashion, they feature the wrong logo. New Era has always heavily favored the variation of the logo that was ONLY used during spring training 1972 instead of the right one. The undervisor is also gray instead of green. I am not sure if this was a New Era oversight or a team request. This is probably why they feature "Genuine Merchandise" labels instead of "Cooperstown Collection."



The 1978 Turn Back The Clock caps from the late 90s (97 or 98) are also a curiosity. I recall reading about these caps before; Mitchell & Ness couldn't get bell panel caps done in time so they sent these. The caps were actually made by Roman Pro Cap Company but feature the M&N label. The caps fit smaller than normal; a 7 1/2 I bought fits like New Era's 7 1/4.  Some had price tags attached. I am surprised that older caps like these are still being found. Who knows what other caps lie in the Padres storage.



And to think nowadays we pay $45 for caps made in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Hati!

I ended up with a lot of caps to buy. When my wife and I stopped and tried to add all of my purchases up, we were harassed multiple times by security and told we needed to get in line immediately or leave. We packed up and continued to browse but security still continued to tell us to get in line and leave. This is par for the course at the Padres garage sale and I get harassed by security every-other year. I have even been accused of theft. Upon checking out, I complained face-to-face to the person in charge of the garage sale. She apologized and said it's because some people "hoard" items. My question is; how is it hoarding if you're planning on buying everything? You're not allowed to make a large purchase and take your time? After a nine-hour drive, four hours of sleep, and two hours waiting in line I did not appreciate the hostile treatment. Oh, the things I do for baseball caps...

Who knows what next year will be like.

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