Skip to main content

Winnipeg Whips - Ebbets Field Flannels retro

The temperatures are finally starting to drop in New York City but it's still unlikely that we'll have a "White Christmas" here so to bring those winter vibes this week's Fresh Fitted Friday is a Winnipeg Whips retro from Ebbets Field Flannels. This hat also continues the theme of defunct Montreal Expos farm clubs that were located in Canada in the 1970s!

I'm convinced I'll love just about any minor league interpretation of the Montreal Expos pinwheel motif. That's even more likely when the team was only around for a short while as was the case with Winnipeg which only hosted the Whips from June 1970 through the 1971 season.

If you buy a cap from Ebbets, you can count on the satin green undervisor and that sturdy wool crown. It's doubtful I'll ever see a vintage Whips cap up close but even if the materials are a mismatch, I doubt the quality on it would be as strong as this cap.

The sweatband tags on an Ebbets cap are unrivaled. Seeing that "Made in U.S.A" emblazoned there makes me feel good. It also inspires hope in me that manufacturing in the States can one day return to its past glory. One cap at a time! 
Like last week's Carnavals capI had never heard of this week's retro hat before getting it but one thing that sets this team apart from the other is the hometown connection I share with this cap logo which was worn in 1971 when they hightailed it out of Winnipeg en route to Hampton, VA which was just a few miles from where I grew up and where the Tidewater Tides played.

Having two Triple-A teams in such close proximity to each other was probably the greatest detriment to the Peninsula Whips. In 1974, they assumed the identity of the Memphis Blues and remained the Expos top affiliate through 1975. Their next chapter as the Denver Bears is the most important to me because the cap they wore from 1982-83 is at the top of my Wish List.

Coincidentally, the hat that has my attention the most after that is the one the Peninsula Pilots wore from 1989-92. The team that played in Hampton in the year between the Whips and the Pilots were the Peninsula Pennants. Despite only learning about the them recently, I'm intrigued by their ephemeral nature and will continue to look for more information on the Pennants.

Thankfully, there are a few great articles out there from on the histories of the Memphis Blues, Peninsula Whips and Winnipeg Whips. All three are must-reads but the Winnipeg write-up offers great insight on the tragic tale of the Expos buying the Buffalo Bisons in 1970 only to relocate them 1400 miles away before the halfway point in the season.

There's no way a stone-cold move like that could happen in current day. Life is torturous enough for minor leaguers and the fans deserve better but the baseball gods are not always merciful. When the Whips left Winnipeg in 1972, the town was without a pro team until the Winnipeg Goldeneyes set up shop as part of the American Association of Professional Baseball in 1994.

The good folks in Buffalo endured a drought from the time the Bisons migrated to Winnipeg until 1979 when the Jersey City A's were bought with the intention of becoming the newest incarnation of the Buffalo Bisons franchise. Those nine years without baseball were the only ones Buffalo ever had to experience as the city continuously fielded a team since 1877.

Another common link between the Peninsula Whips/Pilots and the Buffalo Bisons is that both teams played in ballparks named War Memorial Stadium, yet each could not be more different than the other. The War Memorial in Buffalo could hold over 46,000 fans which was enough to host the Buffalo Bills while the seating capacity at Hampton's War Memorial was 3,750.

I'm about as surprised as you are that I was able to turn this post into one about Buffalo but since you're here, let me encourage you to root for the Buffalo Bills in this coming Sunday's matchup against the New England Patriots. If the Bills win, they're likely to be the AFC East champs which is good because it'll make me happy while I'm waiting for baseball to resume.

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