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Indianapolis Indians (1983-92 Hat Club retro)

I was thinking of taking this week off due to the holiday but a few days ago I was thinking a lot about the origin story that's usually told of Thanksgiving and came across an article from Smithsonian Magazine this past Tuesday (November 21, 2021) titled How to Tell the Thanksgiving Story on Its 400th Anniversary which offers new insights and perspectives.

From a baseball standpoint, I also thought about how Native American cultural depictions have historically figured into baseball as well as some changes I think are appropriate and might happen one day soon. That plus the Friday after Thanksgiving being officially known as Native American Heritage Day was another contributing factor in my desire to post this week.

The American Indian imagery the Atlanta Braves continue to disrespectfully incorporate into their branding of a people's culture into a mascot is a practice I believe needs to end. A worthwhile read on the topic is National Congress of American Indians Respond to Manfred on Atlanta's Name, Celebration, published in Sports Illustrated's site on October, 27, 2021.

Atlanta changing their team name might be a bit further off but thankfully 2022 is the inaugural season for the Cleveland Guardians. Perhaps down the road the focus will shift to the minor leagues as the two teams which use still use "Indians" as a team name are ones whose caps I've previously featured on this blog: the Indianapolis Indians and Spokane Indians.

Both teams depict Native American imagery in their team identities however I'm impressed with the approach taken in Spokane. This is one that features a meaningful dialogue between the team and the Spokane Tribe of Indians which I learned a good deal about in this valuable resource: The Spokane Indians Baseball Club: A Case Study in Tribe and Team Collaboration.

Regarding Indianapolis, there were two articles I read on the situation in the Indianapolis Star: Native American group hosting discussion about Indianapolis minor league baseball team name from July 2020 and its followup Carolina Castoreno-Santana won't stop fighting to change Indianapolis baseball team name which was published in October of that year.

In my cursory research of the Indianapolis Indians, I have a hard time coming up with a good reason why that team name has been in use since 1902 besides sheer convenience and a general lack of creativity from the team's marketing department.

It does not take much imagination to refer to the team that plays in Indianapolis as the "Indians" but that's still hurtful and ripe for change. Luckily the intercultural dynamic in Spokane seems to be very positive and the one good thing that can happen for Indianapolis is that they won't have to completely discard the distinctive "I" font that they've featured on caps over the years. 

The Indianapolis cap logo that resonates most with me is the one worn during their time as the top affiliate of the Montreal Expos from 1984 though 1992. The big league team's influence on this design is apparent and it's just another good reason why Hat Club's retro of this hat makes it an excellent choice for this week's Fresh Fitted Friday selection.

I picked this cap up around this time in 2019 and I am having trouble remembering if this one came with the red stitching along the bottom of the white portion of the crown. If it did, I clearly ripped it off and if it didn't then good on Hat Club for not including it. 

The pinwheel design is outrageous in comparison so if i'm looking to get lots of questions and comments about a cap that I'm wearing, any caps worn bythe former Montreal affiliates will garner just that right amount of attention.

The vintage Indianapolis Indians caps you'll find will have a grey undervisor and no MILB batterman or New Era flag however they are incredibly difficult to find. This is all the more reason to be satisfied with this retro release despite the lack of complete accuracy.

Most cap collectors eventually find one area in which they are conflicted in their hobby. In some cases, it could could be a Boston Red Sox fan having some sort of affinity for a unique piece of New York Yankees memorabilia. Another instance of this is my connection to some of the aforementioned hats in my collection that could be considered problematic.

I'm going to keep monitoring developments in Spokane and Indianapolis but if I had to guess if or when either team would change its name, the latter would be the most likely candidate. I also believe that transition could be smooth as long as on occasion, they commit to wearing tasteful retro uniforms featuring just the city's name and caps with the classic "I" font design.

This week's Fresh Fitted Friday selection is not going on the Trading Block however please don't hesitate to reach out if you want any other cap from that list and you are willing to part with any of the hats on my Wish List.

As always, thanks for coming back to read about baseball hat geekery. I've got comments disabled here so if you'd like to discuss a trade or simply just chat about hats, please feel free to connect via the following social sites:

Instagram: @baseballmilquetoast
Twitter: @FittedFriday