Cooperstown Ball Cap Co. print catalog covers (1994, 1999)
Sometimes I get so fixated on the past that I forget to mail order from the present. A quick web check on one of my favorite contemporary brands, Cooperstown Ball Cap Co., produced this depressing news:
Regrettably, after twenty-three years of making fine historic replica ball caps, Cooperstown Ball Cap Company has discontinued operations. Commercial, financial and legal difficulties; and the complexity of sewing one-of-a-kind caps in the U.S, make this decision inevitable. We thank all our customers for whom, over the years, we have been pleased to make a true vintage ball cap.
For reference, Cooperstown Ball Cap Co. manufactured custom caps for historical teams and individuals. One could order a cap in any historical style or in any combination of styles, logos or colors. The illustrated Cooperstown catalogs featured examples of nearly every known historical baseball team including company teams, military teams and even a hat from the Eastern Washington Hospital for the Mentally Insane. All caps were handmade from 13 oz. athletic flannel, horsehide leather bands and highest grade peak stiffeners. Whenever possible, caps were sewn on original machines in Cooperstown, NY.
Historical styles that influenced the modern baseball cap
For reference, I’m reprinting a few pages from two of my 1990s era catalogs. At some point, the company moved to an online ordering format. But I always loved the colorful illustrations, hand scripted captions, arcane keycode system and personal notations of these early catalogs.
Until the 1940s, caps lacked stiffening crowns. Most of the cap styles in the Cooperstown catalog were designed to be worn close to the head (a look I prefer to the current trend towards fully stiffened, high crown caps).
Choose your Brooklyn style cap: standard, pinstripe, peak band, cap band, 3 color braid or soutache?
Small sampling of minor league caps
Shopping from A League of Their Own
Each year, Cooperstown reissued newly discovered styles from lesser known or non-professional teams. These were special edition options from 1994.
A few special edition and “fictional” team caps including one for the New York Knights
International models (I always wanted a Yomoyuri Giants cap)
Regretting that I never mailed out my order for one of the cricket caps (see 1999 cover)
New discoveries for 1999
Caps could be ordered in any combination of colors or historical styles
Custom sizing options (I always requested a shallow crown w/a short cut)
Branch Rickey, St. Louis AL