Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April 3- Cincinnati Reds

Despite all the things I do know about hats worn throughout the history of Major League Baseball and their ties with New Era, there are still a few things that I really have no clue about. This doesn’t happen often as I’m a pretty well-researched guy, but my brain does tend to slip on occasion. Take this cap for example…

I bought this particular Cincinnati Reds cap in downtown Manhattan at a Lids near Union Square. As it turned out, that specific location is one of the biggest in the company, let alone the largest of the dozen or so scattered throughout the island. I had been scouting around for hats at all of the Lids locations I could make myself available to during my time in New York City for the MLB Fan Cave. Due to the fact that we worked roughly 12-16 hours (9:30 AM- 2 AM) every single day, it made it difficult to have free time to check a lot of the old school Cooperstown Collection and Minor League caps in person. As much as I love to shop online, I still prefer to try hats on so there aren’t any issues upon arrival. This Reds hat was one that I had noticed on the Lids Web site and didn’t really give it a second thought when found on that fit. If I can remember correctly, I bought this hat and seven others that day, two of which, including this one, I should have done more research on.

For some strange reason this logo always looked very familiar to me and I assumed that it was a style/logo the Reds had worn in their past. The only problem is that I didn’t know which era it came from… but I obviously bought it anyway. The one thing I wasn’t expecting is that the Reds used this logo in 1869. This of course was about to cause several problems.

So far I’ve all ready written about four hats that are customs and I have a feeling that there will be a few more by the time the year is over. Now, the only thing about this hat that is accurate to the team back in 1869 is the logo. The old English style “C” was only used for this season which is actually the very first season in which anyone was actually paid to play professional baseball. 10 men were paid by Cincinnati businessman, and owner of the team Harry Wright. The team’s original name was the Red Stockings during this time, which led to the naming of the Boston Red Sox through the turn of the 20th century. The only accurate color from this cap is the wed and white as black was never part of the original team’s uniforms. Even at that the uniforms were all white with a little bit of red trim, red socks and a large red “C” logo on the chest of the jersey, not on the hat. The actual hat looked something more like a newsboy’s cap.

The marking on my cap goes in line with one of the more illustrious records in baseball history.

65-0: 1869 is the only known recorded season of a perfect record for a professional baseball team. At the time I imagine it was a huge deal; however, in retrospect it was essentially the equivalent of Mr. Burns on “The Simpsons” assembling as much Major League talent to fill his softball team to beat the Shelbyville Power Plant’s team repeatedly. The team went 65-0 as they traveled around the country (East Coast), playing other teams which had were comprised of their best players.

One thing that needs to be pointed out in all of this is that baseball had only been around for about 25 years, and it was still a game that was going through small changes. Without the aid of modern technology (and a time machine) there isn’t much of a way to know how these scrimmages went down. Not to mention, there aren’t exactly scorecards on file to even give a rough of idea of how bad the beatings were on these scrappy local ball teams the Red Stockings played.

Today is the first time I’ve ever worn this hat. I don’t know. I’m not really feeling it that much, which might have more to do with the Oakland Athletics sweater I’m wearing as well. It’s a pretty slick hat, and a decent piece to my collection, but I only have myself to blame for not doing my research beforehand.

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