Thursday, December 27, 2012

World Baseball Classic Preview: Dominican Republic National Team

The history of the Dominican Republic in the world of baseball is one with much success, talent, and many Hall of Famers. However, in the two previous installments of the World Baseball Classic (W.B.C.), fate has not been as kind to the island-nation. 

In 2006 and 2009, the Dominican Republic was represented by talented coaches and players alike, only to stumble across the finish line both years. In 2006, the D.R. finished the competition in fourth place, as a semi-finalist. The next time around in 2009 they continued to stuggle, despite fielding arguably the best team in the tournament, being eliminated in the first round. Needless to say, they have their work cut out for them come March seventh.

The Dominican Republic fields over a hundred players in Major League Baseball today, along with countless minor league prospects. Today, most would argue that they the most talented athletes to the sport are from the Dominican, and with good reason. That being said, let's meet some of the representatives who will wear the cap above, this year:

Robinson Cano: Robinson is currently the second baseman for the New York Yankees. He has appeared in 4 All-Star Games, 2 Home-Run Derbies (winning one), captured 2 Gold Gloves, and 4 Silver Sluggers Awards. Additionally he was part of the 2009 World Series Champion Yankees team. 

Jose Bautista: Jose is a current outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays. In past years he has provent to be a threat at the plate, posting home run totals over the past 3 years in the 50's, 40's and high 20's accordingly. Over the past three seasons, he has made 3 All-Star Game appearances, captured 2 home run titles, and 2 Silver Sluggers Awards.

David Ortiz: David is currenlty a member of the Boston Red Sox of the American League. In his career, he has been part of 2 World Series Champion teams. Additionally, he has made 8 All-Star Game appearances, captured 5 Silver Slugger Awards, a home run title, and currently is the all time leader in home runs and rbi's as a designated hitter. The Sporting News named David to the All-Decade Team of the 2000's. 

In addition to that big-three, the team will also feature notable players this W.B.C. such as Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Ubaldo Jiminez, and Nelson Cruz. 

 The cap above features a red brim, blue crown and an interlocking "R" and "D" on the front in red and white (traditionally read as Republica Dominicana). On the side, the cap features the flag of the Dominican Republic, and on the back the World Baseball Classic logo is centered. 

Play begins in group C against Venezuela, with games against Puerto Rico, and Spain to follow. 

This cap can be found HERE at New Era. 

Check back in the coming days for the preview of the next team in the series, the United States of America. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Q & A with The Cohen Brothers of Stown LTD.

 One of the most appreciated talents in the world is artistic creativity. The tangible presentation of the inner-workings of the mind for all to see is something we often marvel at. When it's something great, we all develop a desire for it. Original works of art are often extremely pricey and frangile; 2 big reasons which might prevent you from displaying these works, or buying them to begin with. What if you could own and display great art without having to worry about it losing value? Seem too good to be true? Well, not quite.

With the fore mentioned in mind, Brandon and Spencer Cohen, of Long Island, New York, have started Stown LTD. ; a graffiti inspired streatwear company. The unique and eye opening designs come from Spencer, as Brandon handles the marketing and sales aspects of the brand. Together, they have embarked on a journey of outfitting the world with culture and inspiration. 

The following is the Q and A The Fitted Diaries conducted with the brothers earlier this week: 

TFD: Would you call yourself a sports enthusiast? If so, what are your favorite sports/teams? 

SL: Not particularly, but I have love for all New York teams!

TFD: Do you have a fitted collection of your own? If so, how many do you own? 

SL: I have an extensive hat collection to say the least. I have about 5 new era boxes filled. I haven't counted how many hats I have recently, but I would say upwards of 100.

TFD: What was your first fitted? 

SL: It was a navy blue Yankee fitted.

TFD: What would you say is your favorite fitted? 

SL: My favorite fitted is the first hat we ever put out. We refer to it as the OG Stown Fitted. It’s an all-black hat with teal accents and a green under brim. It Features a Medusa like face in yellow, which has evolved into our signature logo. I would love to bring these hats back in future.

TFD: For those who do not know, what is Stown LTD? 

SL: Stown LTD. is a Graffiti inspired streetwear brand whose goal is to create wearable art & inspire everyone our brand reaches. It was started by two brothers from Long Island, New York July of 2011.

TFD: What type of products do you offer? 

SL: We offer fitted hats, snapbacks, clothing, jewelry, and are working on a line of toys. We are however known best for our hats! We’ve put out 4 different New Era Caps to date. We’re about to produce our second run of Zephyr hats. We will be having one of our most exciting products to date coming out soon, which is a fitted hat through Grassroots California.

TFD: Where can the products be purchased?  

SL: You can also check out some of our gear at Karmaloop’s website for independent brands & Select Stown LTD. from the drop down.

TFD: Spencer, what would you say you use for inspiration as a designer/artist? 

SL: I Love art, graffiti and all types of weird shit. I find inspiration in my friend’s reactions when I drop something new to keep putting out something that was doper than the last time. Seeing people rock my hats is the best reward.

TFD: What made you decide to start Stown LTD? 

SL: I started as an artist. I always tried selling my artwork and always found it to be a pain in the ass to go through the motions, and not sell dick as an un-established young artist. At the end of the day I found myself frustrated and underselling my work. At this point I decided I had to apply my artwork to a different medium. At the time, hats were becoming insanely popular, so we took a shot and tried to get some New Era hats made. The rest is history.

TFD: What do you see as the next step for the company? 

SL: I envision the next step for our company to be getting stocked in some influential brick & mortar retail locations. Having an exclusive product is great; at the same time it’s crucial to our evolution as a brand to continue to develop a strong customer base and following.

If you haven't heard of their work before, do yourself a favor and check out the links in this post. Definitely something worth looking into, that will more than likely leave you hooked. 


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Jets Sideline Cap

It should be no surprise to anyone at this point of the year that the New York Jets are having a...less than stellar season in the NFL. It is what it is. We, as fans, can't do anything about it, and we're just passengers of pain along for the ride (New York Jets Fan-Code Affidavit). 

That being said, let me introduce the Breast Cancer Awareness New Era NFL Sideline Cap for the fore mentioned New York Jets. This year marks the first year of New Era's outfitting partnership with the NFL, in which they are executing to perfection from most fans point of view. They have been great looking caps that represent each of the franchises, with a 59/50 fit that we all know and love. This specific cap that was released for all October games this year. It's marketed like any other New Era Cap with the size sticker and the league authenticated merchandise sticker, but has a third of a different variety. Located on the left side of the brim is a pink sticker reminding all of the pandemic of breast cancer. The sticker urges all to visit where you can bid on and buy "Pink" items where proceeds go to cancer research, schedule a yearly mamogram, and even learn about the disease. This is truly a great effort and partnership with the American Cancer Society by the NFL and New Era which I commend them both on. 

I know fashion is fashion, and a lot of people will probably just buy it for the unique colorway of gray and pink, but please remember there is a greater cause here of which you can wear the cap with pride.

The cap shown above has a gray crown, with the New York Jets logo front and center where the normally green areas are now highlighted in pink. The top and bottom of the brim is pink, and on the reverse of the cap, the breast cancer pink ribbon is centered with the NFL shield overlapping. 

You can help support and buy caps and other merchandise for your favorite franchise in support Breast Cancer Awareness HERE

Saturday, December 1, 2012

New Era X EA Sports NFL Madden Inspired Snap-Back

It took 4 months, but it finally arrived. The New Era, NFL Madden inspired EA Sports Snap-Back is here. This cap is a mail-in exclusive offered through EA. As shown above, the EA Sports logo is located front and center, the company slogan, "It's In The Game", is located on the right side, New Era Flag on the left, and a chalk board play marked up on the under brim. The back features a khaki colored snap back clasp. Unfortunately, this cap was not for sale in stores. However, it is available on eBay, HERE. Definitely an exclusive I'm proud to have, and one I would want if I didnt own it; even if it isn't a fitted.   

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Earn Your Stripes

Without a shadow of a doubt, if you're here reading this post, you've watched NCAA Athletics at some point in your life; more likely than not, it was college football. One program that constantly finds itself at the top of the rankings is the Louisiana State University Tigers. 

Perhaps this author has a soft spot in his heart for the  "Bayou Bengals" due to Louisiana being his state of birth, but it is a logo/font set that seems to excel in the unique purple and gold color-way as good as, if not better than the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA. Something that speaks louder to a monarchy than the deep purple of the teams uniforms, is their prestigious history on the field. 

Since the football programs inaugural season in 1893, the Tigers have accumulated an all time record of 733-390-47 , good for a winning percentage of .647%. The teams current head coach, Les Miles, has personally accounted for 81 victories over an 8 season career in the Bayou State. The team has captured 8 division titles (competing in the SEC West), eventually leading to 3 claimed national titles; the most recent of which was in 2007. 

The programs only Heisman Trophy winner came in the form of running back Billy Cannon, in the 1959 season. Cannon has had his number 20 retired by the Tigers since the conclusion of the '59 season, and was the only player to receive the honor until 2009 when former defensive back Timmy Casanova joined the exclusive club. 

Unfortunately, the most recent LSU star to draw national attention, was 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist,  cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. Following a stellar campaign, concluding with a 21-0 loss to Alabama in the national title game in '11, Mathieu was dismissed from the program for misconduct of team policies. Following multiple reports of said violations possibly being failed drug tests, the rumors were confirmed when the young star checked into a drug rehab center in Houston, Texas. 

Now that you have a brief history of one of the most presigious programs in the land, lets review the cap. The crown and top of the brim are both purple, while the underside of the brim is yellow. On the front, we see the "LSU" word-mark in purple, with the "Tiger Face" logo inlaid, while resisting an overflow of the letters. On the rear, the "Tiger Face" is centered across the back 2 panels. 

Overall, a great non on-field 59/50 cap. It's clean, not too busy, with an all time classic logo and color-way. What else could you really ask for? 

Until next time, hope you enjoyed. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Looking Forward into The Past

Some may love them, some may hate them, but all must acknowledge them; throwback uniforms. They are an undeniable feature of sports Americana. Certain teams choose to don uniforms from their heyday, others prefer to bring back looks from darker days and brighter colors, and some just simply do what they want. That being said, feast your eyes on the Tampa Bay Rays 2012 "Throwback Cap". 

The fore mentioned "Throwback Cap" is in quotes for a good reason. The club decided to represent an era in sports-logo design history relevant to the 1970's, when in fact the franchise was still more than 20 years away from existence. Strange idea without a doubt, but still one with much potential. This is perhaps the wildest concept in Major League Baseball since the 1998 season, when the marketing geniuses over at league headquarters decided to attempt a "Turn Forward The Clock" uniform project. That venture was nothing short of a train wreck. They used colors with no presence of team history, at times no sleeves, and even vertically aligned nicknames. Now that all of that is once again fresh in your mind, I must say Tampa Bay has (big sigh) avoided the root-canal-like pain of it. 

As a matter of fact, some would say the Rays did a pretty damn good job with it. HERE is what the total package looked like, as worn by team manager Joe Maddon. After digesting that, it is probably fair to say some of it looks questionable; but hey, so were the 70's. Luckily, they were nice enough to stick to the teams actual current color scheme. Conveniently, the powder blue does lend it self back to the intended era. The differentiation in sleeve and body color of the uniform, along with the cap's crown panels, really brings back memories from certain looks of the past. The only thing that seems off, however, is the choice in color of the pants. I understand the 70's were a time of pastel colors, however, along with the navy blue top, it makes the whole look seem "top-heavy" to me. But hey, if you take a peek at other teams during the decade, they didn't shy away from the concept either. Maybe it's something you just have to get used to. 

Going back to the cap, and cap alone, take a look at the style and font chosen on the letter mark and logo. I get the concept of the yellow circle with black lines dividing it into proverbial slices. It definitely references the roof of Tropicana Field, where the Rays play their home games, seen HERE. Could it also be representing a simplistic depiction of the sun and it's "Rays"? Perhaps. Either way, well done. The soft cloud-like font of the "T" and "B" looks similar to the current Tennessee Smokies 70's inspired home cap.

In review, the Tampa Bay Rays came pretty close to hitting the nail on the head with this unique project. It's certainly period correct, reminiscent of simpler times in the game we call America's Pastime, and an inspiration for teams that may attempt this in the future. I can think of a few who would entertain it off the bat. How about the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Miami Marlins with their vibrant colors, or even the Washington Nationals? A whole lot of interesting thoughts to ponder about throughout a relaxing weekend. 

The cap above was purchased at the New Era Cap Flagship Store: Miami. I'm sure it can been found in stores near you, as it is indeed different and interesting. It features two powder blue front panels, four navy blue panels, and a navy blue brim. The logo on front is a navy "T" and "B" for Tampa Bay, with a yellow circle divided into 12 slices. 

Love it or hate it, it certainly is worth admiring for a minute. Good job, Rays. Can't wait to see who tries it next.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A First Impression Is Everything

     It's happened to all of us at least once. You've walked into a cap store, perused the selection, and then had one in particular caught your eye. You've never seen it before, to your knowledge, but for some reason it appeals to you like no other before. Given the scenario, the odds are you couldn't resist and you added it to your collection. From then on, everyone stops you to ask what team is emblazoned on the crown and where they can buy it.

     The Clink Room, of San Diego, Calif. has been creating memories, such as the fore mentioned, since 2009. Jason and Casey, the originators of the modern day baseball logo revolution, have re-branded over 12 professional clubs in their careers. The most notable would be their work on the "re-imagined" Mr. Red Legs of the Cincinnati Reds. Additionally, the guys and their team have worked on teams such as the: Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Richmond Flying Squirrels, Mobile Bay Bears, among others. As if they weren't impressive enough to this point, periodically they accept submissions from readers to create their own team concepts for New Era Caps, in "Fantasy-Leagues" (Check their website for details, it's certainly worth a look).    

     Recently, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to shoot the guys a few E-Mail questions in regard to their baseball-filled youth, admiration of the fitted cap culture, and incredible successes within the industry. It was honestly an honor to talk to the guys behind some of my favorite logos. I wish them the best success in the future, and assure them that I will be a fan for life. Keep it up guys.

The following is the Q & A from last week, as responded by Casey. Hope you all enjoy:

The Fitted Diaries: Growing up, were you an avid baseball fan?

The Clink Room: Yeah, Jason and I grew up loving the Padres and played Little League. Summers at Jack Murphy Stadium are some of our favorite memories.

TFD: If so, what teams did you grow up rooting for? (Major League and/or Minor League teams)

TCR: We're from San Diego, so we grew up Padres fans. Because we work for so many different MLB and MiLB teams, we're now sort of team agnostic. But whenever I see the Pads take the field in their bean & cheese on a retro-night I still feel that loyalty to our hometown team.

TFD: Have you been a fan of fitted baseball caps since you were young?

TCR: Yeah, we used to pour over the Starstruck catalog picking our favorite fitted MiLB logos. Of course getting the fitted meant you had the official hat not a giveaway. It always felt special.

TFD: Do either of you remember what your first baseball cap was? Do you still own it?

TCR: Mine was probably a Padres giveaway hat, but sadly I don't know where it is. The first fitted I had was a Kansas City Royals hat. I was probably 7 or 8 and because it had the "KC" on it and my name is Casey I thought I was pretty cool.

TFD: How many fitteds do you currently own?

TCR: I try to keep the collecting down to a minimum otherwise it could get out of hand. I have a box of a couple dozen that I keep for sentimental reasons. But other than that, once I've worn a hat for a couple months I donate it. Keep it fresh.

TFD: What was the first professional team design that you had ever worked on?

TCR: Our first team we worked for was the West Tenn. Diamond Jaxx in Jackson, Tenn. They gave us our first shot at branding a team. We'll forever be grateful to them for that. They have since been sold a few times and are under a different name and management.

TFD: What is your favorite professional team logo/design that you have created?

TCR: Too difficult to pick. They're like our kids. They each have a special place in our history. But a few notables, to me, are the Cincinnati Reds, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Richmond Flying Squirrels, Clearwater Threshers, Lakeland Flying Tigers, and the Asheville Tourists. I'm leaving so many that I love out, it makes me feel bad.

TFD: What is your favorite "Fantasy-League" cap that has been produced through The Clink Room?

TCR: Also too tough to call. Let's say Clink Kong (below) is my favorite. He was named by Gyula Nemeth of Hungary and was designed by Kevin Werther of Webster, NY. He is Clink's mascot and I love everything about him. I love that he was created through collaboration and that represents what I love about The Clink Room.

TFD: What is your favorite baseball related logo past or present?

TCR: The Padres Swingin' Friar (below).

TFD: What do you feel makes a team logo a quality design?

TCR: From most important to least...

1. Story
2. History
3. Design

TFD: Is there anything in particular that you try to take inspiration from for a design/logo?

TCR: Research is the most important part of design. We travel to all the cities that our clubs play in and become honorary citizens for a few days. We talk to historians and take tours. We eat at the local joints and attend the game. A good sports design has to represent the city that the team plays in.

TFD: What made you decide to get into designing baseball logos?

TCR: We love sports. But what we love most about sports is fandom. Going to a baseball game, having a beer, talking to you buddies. Tailgating before a football game. This is what we wanted to be apart of. Seeing a uniform that you designed on the field is great. But the best thing is seeing a parent and their kid decked out in gear you designed. You really feel like you're part of something bigger. That's the best.

TFD: If you had your own baseball team, what would they be called?

TCR: The San Diego Scribblers

TFD: Are there any plans on expanding The Clink Room to sports other than baseball?

TCR: The hat has really become our specialty and I love exploring all the possibilities that a hat can have. That, of course, means that baseball will always be a huge part of our story. But Brandiose has grown a lot in the last year or two and you'll be seeing some of those changes in the next few months. We've got a lot of exciting things to unveil for Brandiose and The Clink Room.

TFD: Finally, What size fitted do you wear?

TCR: I'm a size 7 5/8 and Jason is a 7 3/8. I wear mine fresh out of the box and Jason likes to beat his up before wearing it. 

-Matt Aballi,

The Fitted Diaries

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Peek Inside The Workshop

It's apparent at this point that if you've found yourself reading today's post that you, like me, are an avid New Era Cap fan. You probably wear one every day, know all about the teams on the front of them, and even where they are produced (It's Derby, New York, if you weren't sure).

That being said, the great people at New Era are offering an opportunity to witness the making of their ever popular 59Fifty fitted cap. This upcoming Thursday, July 26 at 10 A.M., New Era is letting you take a peak at the process which results in something near and dear to us.

This LIVE chat, which will be conducted on Twitter through their official account @New_Era_Caps , will give you a chance to have all your questions answered in regards to the 22 step process to perfection. Remember to use #22steps leading up to and during the chat to spread the word about this unique experience.

Enjoy, Everyone. Hopefully this will make the ever-long work week go a little quicker.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Runnin' Up and Down The Hardwood

 Sure, your run of the mill gambler on the Las Vegas strip can walk into any casino, into any sports book, and place a bet on almost any mainstream franchise or athlete in the wide world of sports. However, one must wonder, does the home team bias play any role in the process? There aren't any professional sports franchises (Outside of the AAA level Las Vegas 51's) that call the Clark County city home, but there does happen to be one prominent division one college program in town.

The University of Las Vegas, Nevada has called the desert home since 1957. Sports weren't initially a priority for the school. None the less, it didn't take long for the administration to try their hand at being one of the many eye opening attractions in town. The schools basketball program, which will be the main focus of today's post, joined division one competition for the start of the 1970 academic season. Following 6 seasons of poor to mediocre play, the Runnin' Rebels found their stride in the 1977 season. That year, the club made it all the way to the Final Four. Time would tell that that certainly wouldn't be the last time America a go around with a grouping of twelve from the Sin City.

Since then, the Rebels have amassed 19 NCAA Tournament appearances, made 10 Sweet Sixteens, traveled to five Elite Eights, appeared in a total of 4 Final Fours, and even captured the National Title in 1990, defeating the Duke Blue Devils. Not too shabby for a D1 program that just short of its 45th birthday.

The Rebels play their home games at the Thomas & Mack Center, which they have called home since 1983. In addition to Rebels games, the 18,000-plus seat facility has hosted events such as the NBA All-Star Game in 2007, multiple guest speaking appearances, and a plethora of concerts. In it's time, the building has also seen plenty of stars pass through it's doors wearing the Scarlet and Gray.

Some of the more notable Rebels over the years that have had theirs jersey retired by the university are Larry Johnson, Reggie Theus, Greg Anthony, and Armen Gilliam. There are also multiple players who have played or currently play in the NBA, who have also run a fast break of two in the desert; some being: Joel Anthony, Louis Amundson, Marcus Banks, Shawn Marion, and even Isaiah "J.R." Rider.

The cap shown above was sent to me by a friend and avid reader of TFD, Angel Del Rosario, who you may remember from previous posts. Angel was recently featured by New Era in a Collectors feature video, which we shared a couple days ago on the blog. Angel was kind enough to pick this up from the UNLV bookstore, and send it my way a few months back. Props to him for that. It was much appreciated. The cap features a Scarlet and black crown, with a black brim. On the front, the UNLV Rebel caricature is centered in all his glory. On the reverse, the name "Rebels" is simply spelled out in Scarlet, over a black backdrop. Overall, an incredibly classic cap not to be overlooked.

Hope you all enjoy your Sunday, and distract yourself briefly from the unavoidable realization of yet another Monday being just around the corner.

Friday, June 1, 2012

To Hell and Back

Today, on TFD, we take a closer look at the New Jersey Devils. The Devils, as you may or may not know, are currently in the Stanley Cup Finals of the NHL, against the Los Angeles Kings. Game two of the 2012 Finals is tomorrow night at 8 P.M., when the Devils get their shot at redemption in this best of 7 series, following a game 1 overtime loss. The Devils, who are currently in their 30th season in the Garden State, are vying for their fourth Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history, let alone the past 17 seasons. 

In this years NHL post season, the Devils have outlasted the Florida Panthers in round one, blown past the Philadelphia Flyers in 5 games in the second round, and even defeated the cross-river rival New York Rangers in 6 games to reach the Finals. This is nothing short of remarkable after you reflect on the undeniable difficulties the Devils have faced: 

1.) Regardless of being perhaps the most successful and talented goalie in NHL history, Martin Brodeur turned 40 years old in the beginning of May. He is also in his 20th season on the ice, which undoubtedly has taken a toll on his mind and body. The teams success this season, and in seasons of past, is a true testament to his professionalism and personal preparation.  

2.) The Devils head coach this year, Peter DeBoer, is in his first season at the helm of the New Jersey franchise. Despite not having an abundance of familiarity with his roster, he managed to lead the team into the postseason with 41 regular season wins, and a 12 and 7 postseason record to this point. 

3.) Lastly, the fore mentioned three series victories in the playoffs so far. In the first round, the Devils were pushed to the brink of elimination by the Florida Panthers. The New Jersey club won back to back overtime thrillers in games 6 and 7 to advance. In the second round the Devils made quick work of the Flyers. After stumbling briefly in game 1, the Devils won 4 straight to close out the series. In the Eastern Conference Finals the Rangers pushed the Devils to the furthest extent of their talent. It took 6 games, but New Jersey was able to advance to the Stanley Cup, topping a 1 seed and perhaps the best team in the league. 

The Devils have certainly paid their dues this postseason, however they most certainly face a worth opponent in the Kings. The Kings have beaten a 1, 2, and 3 seed in succession to make it to the finals as an 8 seed. All we can do is wait to see if the Cinderella story will play its course, or if the glass slipper will remain off the West Coast franchises proverbial foot. 

The cap featured above is a throwback colorway for the New Jersey Devils, dating back to the period in the teams history from 1982-1992. Those were certainly the early foundation stages of a franchise that has risen to prominence through trial and tribulation. The cap features a Devil red brim, and a kelly green crown. Located symmetrically on the front is the Devils logo, which many feel is one of the best sports logos of all time. On the rear, is the NHL Shield shaded with the same kelly green. I found this cap at Cap City, located in West New York, New Jersey. The fitted is not available on the website currently, however that may change so check back regularly if interested. 

Have a great weekend, and GO DEVILS!!!  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Before The Braves, there were Crackers

Hey everybody. Just keeping you all up-to-date today, on one of the more recent fitted acquisitions to the ever growing collection. This is an Atlanta Black Crackers inspired New Era 59/50.   

This particular 59/50 was most recently worn by the the Atlanta Braves in a 1997 "Turn-Back The Clock" game against the Philadelphia Phillies (playing the part of the Philadelphia Stars). The game paid homage to two former Negro League teams from before the breaking of the color barrier by Jackie Robinson in 1947. 

The Black Crackers operated from 1919-1952. Their stint as a member of the Negro League, was sandwiched around a couple runs as an independent club. They adopted their moniker from the all white club in town (the Atlanta Crackers), whom they shared their home park with.

The original Ponce de Leon Park was first constructed for the 1907 season. The 20,000 seat ballpark lasted up until 1923 when a fire ravaged the venue. A second edition was re-created for the 1924 season, although this time it was dubbed Spiller Park, in honor of the Atlanta Cracker's owner Tell J. Spiller. The unique aspect of the park, which was demolished in 1965, was a Magnolia Tree located in the outfield. The interesting quirk of this obstacle was that balls hit into the tree were deemed in-play up until 1947. The historic tree, which had seen players the likes of Babe Ruth lodge balls among its branches, still stands in the parking lot of a shopping plaza now on the site. 

The only championship the Black Crackers captured was the 1938 second half title in the Negro American League. Unfortunately, their championship series with the Memphis Red Sox was subsequently canceled following "Umpire Controversies" surrounding the games. 

The cap above features a navy brim and crown, with a bold all-white uppercase "A" front and center representing the city of Atlanta. On the rear of the crown, is the New Era adopted Negro League logo, which is branded across their wide range of league related caps. 

I found this cap at , where they have a solid selection of Negro League caps to choose from as well. 

I hope I was able to share some knowledge on today's subject to make your Friday slightly less painful. Have a safe and great Memorial Day Weekend!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fan Cap Collection with Angel Del Rosario

Check out this feature video from New Era Cap Co. which breaks down the extensive collection of a personal friend and fitted connoisseur Angel Del Rosario. We featured Angel a few months back in the first edition of our Q and A collectors series. Enjoy. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

The 1972 Chicago (Red) White Sox

If you happen to be watching a Chicago White Sox game this summer, and something seems "a little off", take a deep breath and relax. EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK. The hue on your television screen or computer monitor is not on the fritz, it's merely a Sunday home game on the South side of the windy city.

By most standards, 1972 was an average year for the Chicago White Sox: the club finished the regular season with a final record of 87-67 (a mere 20 games over the all important mark of .500), they found themselves 5.5 games behind the American League West Champion Oakland Athletics at seasons end, and they were destined for another long off-season in the middle of a 55 year championship drought. Although the next ticker tape parade, in celebration of the teams third title, seemed to be an eternity away, a certain first basemen gave the teams fans something to watch.

Dick Allen, a 31 year old infielder, took the Chicago fan base by storm with his inspiring offense. Allen, who averaged 25 home runs and 80 RBI a season over his career, quickly opened eyes across the nation. The first basemen slugged 37 homers and drove home 113 runs that summer, which was good enough to take home MVP honors in the American League, and make a start at the All-Star Game in Atlanta. Allen would spend two additional seasons in Chicago, before moving onto Philadelphia and Oakland, where he spent the twilight years of his career.

Other notable players and coaches to take the field for White Sox that summer, include: Rich "Goose" Gossage (more notably of the New York Yankees), Wilbur Wood (who was also an All-Star in 1972 and won 24 games), and manager Chuck Tanner, who managed 6 seasons on the South Side (Tanner also won a World Series Championship with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979).

This cap is more or less the same one we all know and love today, outside of a couple key differences: The diagonally interlocking "S" "O" "X" logo on the front has a slightly more "boxy" font to it, and the primary colorway is a bright red other than the typical black worn on their primary cap. All in all, it really is a beautiful cap. I give New Era and the White Sox credit for bringing back an all time classic look, that I wouldn't mind making a somewhat regular return to the field past 2012.

 The cap can be found and any of your major New Era retailers, but this one in particular I picked up at Cap City in West New York, New Jersey. The link to the stores website is HERE.

I hope you enjoyed today's post, and maybe even learned a thing or two. Have a great weekend.  


Sunday, March 25, 2012

K-Tribe Strikes Out Looking

Every sports fan understands the unfortunate possibility of their team  possibly being moved to a distant city, or even being disbanded forever. Often times the mental and emotional trauma never reaches the front line, but other times it is an unavoidable blinding light in your face.

This past September, reality set in for the Kinston Indians, formerly of the Carolina League of Minor League Baseball. As they fell to the Frederick Keys in the Mills Cup Championship Series on a somber Friday night. The season was now over, along with the teams tenure in the South-East North Carolina city.

The Indians had been a part of the Kinston community since the 1987 season. The 25 seasons of baseball that were played in the area undoubtedly provided endless hours of entertainment, family fun, and ninth inning rallies.  In that quarter century of bloopers and bombs there were championship seasons and notable alumni worth acknowledging along the way.

In the K-Tribes time in the Carolina League, the club had recorded 10 division titles and 5 league titles. Throughout those championship seasons, a few players that have buttoned up the Indians jersey have hit pay dirt in "The Show". Some of those men are: Jim Thome, of Cleveland Indian and Philadelphia Phillies fame, Ron Guidry of the New York Yankees, and Manny Ramirez of The Cleveland Indian and The Boston Red Sox. Throughout their entire history, the club has been the High-A affiliate of (you guessed it) The Cleveland Indians.

The club played all of their home games at  historic Grainger Stadium, which holds 4,100 fans. Grainger Stadium has been a part of Kinston baseball for over 62 years. Despite the departing of the Indians, the community has hope that the park will play host to a club in the future that will play in the Coastal Plain League; a wood bat college level summer league.

However, with death comes life to some extent in this scenario. As the last out has been recorded in Kinston Indians history, the resurrection of another historic club becomes official for the 2012 season. The Carolina Mudcats are making a return to professional baseball, after a brief hiatus during this past off-season. The new Mudcats will replace the spot voided by the Indians in the High-A level of the Carolina League.

The fitted above is a fashion-adapted version of the Indians on-field cap, which was worn over the last few seasons of their existence. It has a dark blue brim, and a black crown. The alternate logo is located front and center with white and dark blue feathers.

Minor league baseball is quirky in the field of franchises dying and then rising from the dead to play again, somewhere down the road. Don't be surprised of they make a return in the future.

Fitteds with the teams logos, either on field models or merely replicas, can be found HERE

I hope you enjoyed today's post, and even learned a thing or two.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Collectors Corner with John Beare


A few weeks back, we featured Angel Villegas Del Rosario in what would be our first edition of "Collectors Corner". In that feature, we displayed Angels' incredible collection of fitted caps, broke down a few that were his favorite, and learned the story of his journey to enlightenment by way of 7 3/8.

Today on TFD, we take a look at another collector from California, who has amassed a respectable collection of his own. As you see above, he too has seen it fit to build a shelving system to provide space for his addiction. Take the time now to meet John Beare, of Victorville, California. 

John was asked a few question pertaining to his collection, and the process of attaining all which are part of it. Here are the questions from the Q and A: 

TFD: When did you first start your collection of fitted caps?
JB: I started collecting select caps in the early 90s. The first caps I bought were exclusively of teams I liked. I grew up a California Angels fan, so I had one of those. I've had a fitted Colorado Rockies cap since their inception in 1992. My first minor league caps were a Lake Elsinore Storm cap and a New Haven Ravens cap, who were affiliated with the Angels and Rockies, respectively. I also had an obsession with the Ottawa Senators NHL team, so I collected any cap of theirs I could find, fitted or otherwise. I was content with a couple dozen caps through the end of the 90s until I was at a local minor league baseball game (High Desert Mavericks) and there was this one fan who was always at the games wearing a different minor league jersey. Las Vegas Stars, Phoenix Firebirds, other PCL teams, and I thought I need to do that. Not only get the jerseys, but the matching caps as well. So the "Collection" proper didn't get serious until around 2000. That's also when I went exclusively New Era. It was about five or six years later I stopped buying jerseys and just focused on caps. I still have well over 100 minor league baseball jerseys. 

TFD: Are all of your caps New Era Brand Caps?
JB: About 99% of them.

TFD: Do you remember your first fitted?
JB: My father bought me a California Angels 5950 cap at Anaheim Stadium
on my birthday in 1989. I still have it. It's in great shape, but
sadly a size too small.

TFD: What size fitted do you wear?
JB: Typically 7 1/4, but depending on when the cap was manufactured it
can go up or down a size.

TFD: Approximately how many caps would you say you buy a year?
JB: 15-20. My wife would say more. With New Era finally gaining the rights to produce NFL caps, that number will increase this year. 

TFD: What is your favorite sport to watch as a spectator?
JB:   I love to watch hockey in person, but minor league baseball games are the best if you want to relax for a few hours. 

TFD: What is your favorite cap in your collection?
JB:  No way I could narrow it down to just one, but these are in the conversation for various reasons: California Angels, Colorado Rockies MLB, Colorado Rockies NHL, Albuquerque Dukes, Lake Elsinore Storm, St. Paul Saints, Fort Wayne Wizards, my gold Kansas City Athletics cap, New Haven Ravens, Manchester United, and of course my Coca-Cola New Era fitted, since I'm obsessed with that drink as well. I also love my Riverside Pilots cap, but it's a New Era adjustable.

TFD: How many caps do you currently own?
JB:  What I call my "Permanent Collection," meaning the caps that are always displayed on the wall, is well over 300. The older caps and non-New Era caps, I'd say around 500.

TFD: Which was the most difficult cap in your collection to find?
JB: I recently acquired a custom fitted 5950 Kelly Green Colorado
Rockies cap. I'd hoped to find one of those for years! I finally got it thanks to, which lets you design and purchase your own MLB cap. Pretty cool.

TFD: How much would you say you've spent on caps?
JB:  If I really thought about that, I'd probably stop buying them. Haha.

TFD: What was the most you’ve spent on a single cap? 
JB: $160. It was an eBay auction, which included a fake jersey that I didn't want. But the cap was rare. 

TFD: Would you consider your collection of caps the biggest you’ve seen around?
JB: No, I've seen much larger cap collections.

TFD: What would you say makes a fitted collection a great one?
JB: Organization. When a collector can show off a collection like it's a museum, that is impressive. People see my collection and say it looks like they're in a store. Cleanliness is also important. Gotta keep 'em looking good. Mine get dusty from time to time, so I always make sure to have my cleaning kit handy.

TFD: Is there any cap you still haven’t added to your collection in which you have had trouble finding?
JB: My Holy Grail is a fitted Riverside Pilots minor league cap. I have an adjustable (Snap-back) one, but I'd
kill for a fitted one. I remember being at a Pro Image store in 1996 and they had several. I noted it because Riverside had just relocated to LancasterCA so these were closeouts. I passed on it. I reflect on that moment to this day when I'm trying to decide between wanting a cap and needing a cap. Will I regret not purchasing this cap? That usually wins the argument.

TFD: Will you ever feel as though your collection is “complete”? 
JB: Never! It will always be a work in progress. 

That concludes the Q&A with John Beare. If you'd like to see more pictures of John's collection, get in touch with John, or simply drool over his extensive minor league cap collection visit his Interstate-19 facebook fan page HERE

Thank's to John and everyone who reads our articles. this was our 100th post, and we're still going strong. 20,000 views is just around the corner.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Collectors Corner with Angel Villegas Del Rosario

For those of you who have been readers from the beginning, pop your head in occasionally, or are just stopping by for the first time today,  it should be apparent at this point that I am an avid fitted cap collector; some may even call my little hobby an addiction. Fortunately, I'm not the only one. Today on TFD, we start a new periodic feature called "Collectors Corner." In "Collectors Corner" posts we will take a closer look at some of our readers impressive collections, which are sure to drop your jaws to the floor.

Today, we feature Angel Villegas Del Rosario of Las Vegas, Nevada. Angel reached out to me on Facebook, after reading the blog. Immediately, it had become apparent that he was the owner of one of the most epic fitted collection I have ever seen. After viewing panned out shots of his display, fittingly dubbed "The Great Wall", it had become apparent that the fitted cap community had to become familiarized with him. Angel mentioned to me that the demand for shelving was so great for "The Great Wall", that the local Home Depot actually ran out of wood  during the process of his first pick up; truly remarkable.

The following is a Q&A formatted interview with Angel, himself. Enjoy.

TFD: When did you first start your collection of fitted caps? 
AVDS: 1989 in NYC. I bought one cap a day for a whole year.

TFD: Are all of your caps New Era Brand Caps?
AVDS: No, I’ll say 80% are made by New Era

TFD: Do you remember your first fitted? 
AVDR: Yes, I bought two fitteds that day. One was a Texas A&M cap. (For some reason I like the T with the A and M on each side; it’s by De Long.)  The other was a Greensboro Hornets (who were a New York Yankees affiliated at the time) fitted by New Era. I still have them both.


1.      TFD: What size fitted do you wear? 
      AVDR: Normally I wear 7 3/8, but like jeans, no 2 caps ever fit identically. I have a 7 ¼ that fits me like a glove and sometimes I have to buy the 7 ½.

      TFD: Approximately how many caps would you say you buy a year? 
      AVDR: I stopped buying for a while and I left most of my old and original collection in New Jersey in 2003. I brought 247 of those with me when I moved to Las Vegas. My collection grew quickly when I got back into it in 2005. I’ve probably bought 140 a year the last seven years.

      TFD:What is your favorite sport to watch as a spectator? 
      AVDR: Football or Baseball; Though I’m a sports nut, I’ll watch cricket if it’s on TV. Hahahaha.

      TFD: What is your favorite cap in your collection? 
      AVDR: Tough One! They’re like my babies, so I would say each has its own story to tell. If I have to choose one? My Yankees Spike Lee Joint 27 World Series Fitted.

TFD: How many caps do you currently own? 
AVDR: On hand, not counting my caps in my storage unit, close to 1,100.

1.      TFD: Which was the most difficult cap to find in your collection? 
      AVDR: Right now, it’s The Latin Baseball Leagues (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba) and Israeli Baseball. Before it was the KBO, but since New Era started making their hats I’ve been able to find them. I also have the earlier ones made by their prior manufacturers, like my Nippon Baseball League collection.

      TFD: How much would you say you’ve spent of caps? 
      AVDR: A lot, since I have been buying hats for a long time! Hahaha. Easily over $30,000. I have a little more self discipline now, so to speak. I also look for hidden gems on the net, ask people around for good deal, etc. It has gotten expensive now, too. I remember when a fitted was like $20, but now on average they're $35-$40. 

      TFD: What was the most you have spent on a single cap?
      AVDR: $80-$100 on one cap.

      TFD: Would you consider your collection of caps the biggest you have seen around?
      AVDR: Maybe. I heard there’s a guy who has 36,000 hats. I just don’t know if it’s the caps like we like to buy (fitteds).  I would say my baseball caps collection (only teams from professional leagues) must be up there.

      TFD: What would you say makes a fitted collection a great one? 
      AVDR: I guess it’s not quantity as much as quality. Also, Identity and/or concept are great focal points. Like any collection, it has to have some kind of organization. For instance, my big wall. It’s all baseball. Then I have all NFL on a second wall, all NBA on a third wall, and all NHL on a fourth. I guess it’s like an archive of hats. You can just collect from one team, collect one cap from each era of play, which will end up being a great collection of whatever team that represents. Or, for example, you can collect based on just one color, and have a great collection of let’s say red caps or blue caps. I’m fascinated by history, that’s why I went with baseball. Every time I look at one cap, I like to think how it was in that specific era represented. I don’t see my collection as something to show off, it’s something I love, and it’s my passion. It gives me peace.

       TFD: Is there any cap you still haven’t added to your collection, in which you have had trouble finding? 
      AVDR: There are a few. I’m still 3 away from completing my Dominican Winter League, and 3 from the Venezuelan.

      TFD: Will you ever feel as though your collection is “complete”? 
      AVDR: This is a Great Question! Collecting caps is an addiction. Honestly, every time I see a young person starting to collect caps I’m happy, but at the same time sad; the reason being that I see myself in the ones they wear that I don’t have. Some nights, I will wake up because I’ve thought of a cap I don't have. I’ll then go online and start searching. There are times when you don’t have the money, and really should resist. Unfortunately, I’m so impatient, I strive terribly to get them all, resulting in me caving in. Once I complete the “cap history” of a club, I almost immediately begin collecting another set for another club. That all being said, I suppose the answer is a resounding NO! The collection will never be complete. Hahaha.

      I hope you enjoyed my interview with Angel Villegas Del Rosario as much as I did. He certainly has bragging rights in the cap game due to his unique collection. Until next time, keep collecting caps and wear them proudly! 

      If you'd like to see more of Angel's collection, or reach out to him check out his Facebook page HERE