If you follow @baseballmilquetoast on Instagram —if not, please do so immediately— you'll know that on MLK Day I posted a photo of my Birmingham Black Barons cap to commemorate Dr. King's legacy and more specifically, his "Letter From Birmingham Jail" which was an open letter written while Dr. King was unjustly incarcerated.
While that hat has much historical significance, I also have an emotional connection with the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League as I associate that team with Frank Thomas, who is my all-time favorite baseball player.
"The Big Hurt" made his major league debut with the Chicago White Sox on August 2, 1990 but until that late season call-up, he spent the entire year putting up big numbers for Chicago's Double-A affiliate in Birmingham. I haven't tracked down a version of the cap he's wearing in the photos above but this week's cap is one you'll definitely recognize.
|This card from 1990 shows Thomas wearing the Old English "B" cap logo lettering that the Barons had used since their reintroduction into the Southern League in 1981.|
|This is the photo used in Thomas' 1990 Best Card and I love that it's signed by the man himself. I don't collect autographs anymore but if I ever met Thomas I'd have to ask him for one.|
|The Chicago White Sox brought back the black cap with Old English logo lettering in 1991 but the Barons did not adopt this change until 1993.|
|The fact that this cap has an MILB batterman logo signals that the cap should be from 1994 or later but the older style sweatband tags below leads me to believe otherwise.|
|The New Era tag is from the pre-1994 days but they could possibly have been used if they ran out of the current tags. Also, that size tag is not one that I ever recall seeing on any other cap.|
|Was I correct earlier when I said that this cap is one that you would recognize? If so then maybe it's because you remember Michael Jordan wearing it during his stint with the Barons in 1994.|
|Since we're taking a stroll down memory lane, here's a Terry Francona card from 1993, which was his first season managing the team as well as when the new cap logo was introduced. |
Well, I hope you had fun reading about this cap that is so special to me. Unfortunately, this one is not for sale or trade however these fine caps are available for a trade if you're willing to part with any of the hats on my Wish List.