Do I want one of these new Ebbets Field Flannels satin warmup jackets a little too much?
Let’s call it a hangover from my burning childhood desire for one of these.
Ebbets Field Flannels’ new round of caps includes this one, for the House of David, a legendary Jewish-themed barnstorming team from the first half of the 20th century. The club was famous for its long hair and full beards. The 1934 hat, reproduced here, is what’s called a “Cincinnati” style cap - with contrasting trim on the base of the cap and bill. Pretty neat, if you ask me. What’s more, it’s on sale.
It’s On Sale: Ebbets Field Flannels
Anyone who reads the eBay Roundups regularly has probably already surmised that I’m fond of Cooperstown Ballcap, a company (now defunct) that hand-made baseball caps in a broad variety of vintage styles. We’re left to trawl eBay for those gems, but at least we still have Ebbets Field Flannels.
Ebbets Field Flannels caps have a slightly more modern form - they have higher, stiffer crowns and fabric rather than leather headbands. Still, they’re quite beautiful, and have some wonderful details like green satin underbills. They’re also very reasonably priced, at $40 each.
Of course, when they’re on sale for 25% off, just in time for the All-Star Game, it’s downright unamerican not to buy one. They’re the perfect accessory for a summer afternoon in a t-shirt and jeans.
(Above: the 1955 San Francisco Seals)
You might not have guessed it from reading this blog, but I love baseball caps. That said, I’m pretty picky about them. The hard-crown, made-in-China version that passes for pro wear today won’t cut it for me. I used to be a partisan of Cooperstown Ballcaps, but they recently shut down. I was pretty bummed about that, and you’ll still find Cooperstown caps in eBay roundups from time to time, but my wife has renewed my faith in what I’d consider the single most distinctively American garment.
She recently gave me a San Francisco Missions hat by Ebbets Field Flannels. It doesn’t have a few of the features I loved about Cooperstown Ballcaps - leather sweatbands and low crowns among them - but it’s really a very good-looking piece. It’s made in the USA, has a bill with a green satin underside, and has a nice soft crown.
I was quite the baseball nerd in my youth, and even went to a few Society for American Baseball Research conferences as a teenager, but I didn’t know the history of the Missions. They were also known as the Monks or the Mission Reds, and played as a second San Francisco team (after the Seals) from 1926-1937.
What genuinely blew my mind is that while starting in 1931 they shared Seals Stadium (which was in Potrero Hill, where the San Francisco Autocenter used to be, and where there’s now a Ross, a Lane Bryant and a Boston Market, among other shitty businesses) with the Seals, they also played in a stadium called Recreation Park. It occupied the site of what’s now the housing project Valencia Gardens, right in the heart of the Mission.
Not only did I grow up in the Mission, but I grew up half a block from where the ballpark once was. Of course, I knew the block as the site of various childhood traumas (an assault or two, a lot of crack-selling, gunshots at night). It’s kind of magical for me to imagine that place transformed into a ballpark for a team named after my home neighborhood. An added advantage is that I can wear it to rep my home town here in LA without getting beaten into a coma.