Skip to main content

1986 San Jose Bees (Ebbets Field Flannels retro)

It feels like it’s been more than a week since my last post but maybe that’s because so much has happened in between now and then in regards to baseball happenings as well as :::gestures broadly::: everything else going on in the world.

I'll discuss the developing flurry of baseball activity in future posts but this week I want take a moment to bring attention to the terror Russia is unleashing in Ukraine. I’m not sure if I’ve ever noticed any traffic for this site coming from Ukraine but if I do have any readers either living in or from there, my heart and prayers go out to you.

And since I’ve got prayers on the mind, it only seems right to call upon this 1986 San Jose Bees retro cap for this week's Fresh Fitted Friday post as Saint Joseph’s Feast (or, Fallas de San José as it is known in Spanish) is tomorrow, March 19.

And on a lighter note, I want to bring up that National Sloppy Joe Day is celebrated on March 18 every year so today is happens to be the perfect time to peddle a conspiracy that the SJ on this week's hat also stands for Sloppy Joe!

This logo was worn during the 1986 and 1987 seasons before getting retired the following year in favor of the current design that the San Jose Giants still wear to this day! 

The Made In U.S.A. quality from Ebbets remains unrivaled. I hope that aspect of their caps never changes

You get a great view of the kelly green undervisor here which is a made from cotton fabric as opposed to the smooth satin material normally featured on their caps.

If the name "San Jose Bees" rolls off the tongue easily that might be because the history of teams known as such go all the way back to 1962 when the expansion Los Angeles Angels set up shop with a team by that name as their first ever California League affiliate.

I have a 1964 San Jose Bees cap released by Ebbets Field Flannels that I'm going to write about at some point but I decided to feature this 1986 version first because my friend Paul Carr commissioned Ebbets to produce it back in early 2021. For those unaware, Paul's site is The Ballcap Blog, which is my greatest inspiration for starting this blog.

I was initially intrigued as to why he chose this particular design but after clicking around a bit I came across Sports Illustrated's write-up on the 1986 San Jose Bees which provides a colorful background on the team which became an unaffiliated team that season and was thus composed of MLB castaways as well as players from Nippon Professional Baseball.

Their story is reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest League's Portland Mavericks, whose cap I wrote about just last month but the difference between the two teams was about a decade's time in between in addition to a narrative painting the Bees as a more drug-addled gang of misfits as opposed to their more seemingly "good-natured" counterparts up north.

No matter how rough around the edges they can be, independent baseball teams will almost always provide a more fun and quirky experience but sadly that oftentimes doesn't seem to be enough to maintain enough fan attention to be sustainable.

I'm not a big fan of other sports so I can't speak to the demanding nature of their fans but I know baseball well enough and I can state with confidence that our fans can be very nit-picky and express displeasure at the slightest hint of anything we deem to be a transgression of the rules, written and unwritten.

Of course I'm speaking in general terms but the sentiment rings true even if the degree to which it varies depends on your personal perspective. Baseball is the greatest distraction in my life yet at the same time it seems to consume an extraordinary amount of my time! I suppose it's not out of the ordinary to have high standards in that case.

It's important to remember that baseball is a game and having fun is paramount to the overall experience, whether you are a spectator in the stands, a player on the field or someone working a job at the ballpark. And just because a team doesn't have the financial backing of an MLB club doesn't necessarily mean it takes itself less seriously than it should.

I wasn't around to witness the Mavericks in the 1970s and the Bees in 1986 but that shouldn't stop me from attending some independent baseball this year to get a taste for myself. To that point, I'm making it a goal to catch at least one Long Island Ducks game this season and I'll make sure to let folks reading along know once I've accomplished the task!

Earlier in the post I brought up that today is National Sloppy Joe day. If you aren't already familiar, I urge you to read up on the history of this distinctive sandwich whose roots (in the United States, at least) can be traced back to Town Hall Delicatessen in South Orange, NJ.

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