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




Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wolverine Country

Where does one start when discussing the feats and accomplishments of University of Michigan's athletic department? Possibly the successful football program, which owns records in total D1 victories and winning percentage. Perhaps the men's basketball program, which has produced one NCAA Tournament Title, 2 NIT Titles, and the "Fab 5" 1991 team. How about the hockey and baseball programs which have claimed 9 and 2 championships respectively. The only fair way to do this is to highlight each of the "big four" briefly, in all of their glory.


The Wolverines football program first took to the gridiron in the 1879 season. The team plays their home games at Michigan Stadium, affectionately known as "The Big House". The accurately dubbed structure has a seating capacity of 109,901 fans, which is officially the largest capacity for a stadium in the United States. The official record for most fans at a college football game was set at "The Big House" on September 10th of 2011, when 114,804 saw the Wolverines play Notre Dame in the first night game ever at the stadium. The team has an all-time record of 895-310-36, which is good for the highest winning percentage of all time at .736. Additionally, they have been national champions 11 times, and have had 3 Heisman Trophy winners call the Ann Arbor campus home.


The 1908-1909 academic year was the first in which the Wolverines took to the hard court. Success was hard to find throughout the early years of the program, resulting in the absence of a team from 1912-1917. Now, the program is used to finding itself in the win column. The team has competed in the big dance 22 times, been the runner up for the title 5 times, and even brought home the gold once following a remarkable 1989 campaign. One cannot mention the program without bringing up the "Fab 5" recruiting class of '91. The combination of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson resulted in perhaps the greatest recruiting class in NCAA Basketball history. Although eventually marred by controversy, they will go down as head turners and jaw droppers on the court during their tenure.


Michigan's first hockey program initially toe dragged across the ice in the 1920 academic year. The team went 6-0 in their first season, and seemed destined for greatness from the get-go. To this point, the team has made 34 NCAA Tournament appearances, 24 NCAA "Frozen Four" appearances, and has captured the National championship 9 times. In December of 2010 the Wolverines played in "The Big Chill", what is now officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the largest attendance for a hockey game. The crowd of 104,173 witnessed the Wolverines defeat rival Michigan State by a final of 5-0, at the universities outdoor football stadium.


The origins of baseball at Michigan trace all the way back to 1866. Although only competing in three contest that first season, the passion for base hits grew in Ann Arbor at quite a frequent pace. This interest quickly lead to tremendous accomplishments. The program has claimed 35 conference championships, made 21 NCAA Tournament appearances, has appeared in the College World Series 7 times, and has been crowned national champions 2 times. There have been four former Wolverines elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame: George Sisler, Charlie Gehringer, Branch Rickey, and most recently Barry Larkin; the Mount Rushmore of Wolverine baseball I suppose.

The cap featured above has a navy blue crown and brim, with the signature University of Michigan "M" front and center in yellow, a yellow New Era logo on the left side, and "MICHIGAN" spelled out in yellow in the back. A clean cap, which I found at the New Era Flagship Store in New York City. With all of the history mentioned in this post, how could one not be temped to buy it? If you hadn't known prior, hopefully now you recognize the greatness of the program.

Before and After

After making a few stops in West New York, New Jersey, Nanuet, New York, and Orlando, Florida, I have finally found all three; the authentic on field caps of the Marlins from the past and present. I never realized how difficult finding the dead stock Florida Marlins cap would be, but none the less I managed to track one down in 7 3/8. Let's hope, for the sake of the franchise, that the roster stays more consistent over the following seasons. No fan likes constantly questioning who's on the field for his favorite team.