Minoring in Taco Bell

UPDATED 5/6/20

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 bothers me.

Anyway, here are the minor league teams that have worn these caps at one time or another. From what I can tell, most wore these for only one or two seasons. Unfortunately, finding minor league photos is a challenge, especially in color...

First, we will start with the Padres affiliates...

1978 Reno Silver Sox
The Reno franchise wore Taco Bells the longest, starting in 1978. The team was the Silver Sox despire being brown and gold because 1. Silver Sox was already a long-time name for Reno teams and 2. San Diego had the Amarillo Gold Sox as their Double-A affiliate.

1983 Reno Padres
By the early 80s, the Reno franchise had changed its name to that of the parent club. I can confirm they were worn in 1983 but I am unsure if they continued to wear this cap the following season. By 1985 they had switched to a brown cap with an orange logo. They continued to wear recycled early 80s Padres pullover jerseys through the 1986 season.

1983 Las Vegas Stars
1983 was the inaugural season for the Las Vegas Franchise. They wore the Taco Bell cap only that season. In 1984 they switched to a solid orange cap. Ebbets Field Flannels made reproductions of these a few years ago.

2016 El Paso Chihuahuas
The current Padres triple-A team did a 70s "Fauxback" game.

2019 El Paso Chihuahuas
The Chihuahuas added a bell panel cap into their rotation of game caps in 2019. They may have only been worn in a handful of games. They sold out quickly in the team store and are currently unavailable.

Now the non-Padres affiliates...

1978/79 Spokane Indians (Mariners affiliate)
One of these popped up for sale on eBay a couple of years ago. Unfortunately I was outbid. Ebbets Field Flannels has made a reproduction.

1982 Tucson Toros (Astros affiliate)

1982 Buffalo Bisons (Pirates affiliate)
The logo is identical to the Pirates "P" only with the added segments to make a "B".

1984 Salinas Spurs (Mariners affiliate)
The second California League team and second Mariners affiliate to wear this type of cap.
The logo is nicknamed the "Exploding Coat Hanger."

2017 Bowling Green Hot Rods
Taking a cue from their parent team, The Tampa Bay Rays, the Hot Rods wore a "Fauxback" cap in 2017.

2018 Ft. Myers Miracle
In 2018, the Ft. Myers Mircale also jumped on the "fauxback" bandwagon with these. Unfortunately, they are flexfit caps and not fitted.

2019 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders
The Railriders wore these as part of the "Copa de la Diversion" program.

2020 Harrisburg Senators
The Senators are wearing these as part of the "Copa de la Diversion" program.

Are there any I missed? If so please email me.

-Thanks to Andy Sorber for additional info.


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  5. great blog! what I find interesting about these 80s Baseball Caps pictures is that their shape really doesnt look like the ones we find on the market today. On our site gold-headwear.comwe tried to revive this type of model but it is obvious that today, these are no longer fashionable ... you who know this market very well, do you think that these models will be again
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