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.