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1940 San Francisco Seals (Ebbets Field Flannels)

While writing this week's Fresh Fitted Friday post, I am also watching the telecast of this year's special "MLB at Rickwood Field: A Tribute to the Negro Leagues" with the St. Louis Cardinals (as they wear the uniforms of the St. Louis Stars) playing my San Francisco Giants (wearing uniforms of the San Francisco Sea Lions) at the oldest professional ballpark in the United States in Birmingham, AL.

The Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Leagues called Rickwood Field home as did Willie Mays when the Alabama-native got his first professional baseball assignment playing for the Black Barons as a 17 year old in 1948. All three scheduled events were set to honor Mays who was the last living member of the Black Barons but died two nights before Thursday's finale.

There were so many tributes (both large and small) to Mays when news of his passing arrived during Tuesday night's MILB showcase in which the Birmingham Barons (playing as the Black Barons) hosted the Montgomery Biscuits (playing as the Gray Sox). One thing that is certain is the phrase "there's no crying in baseball" definitely did not apply that night!

But if i had to analyze the tears, I would say there were more tears of joy than sadness. While it is out of our control when we live and die, I am in awe of how the timing of Mays' passing at the beginning of the festivities allowed folks to grieve collectively so that everyone could be hugs and smiles by the culmination of the series on the third and final night.

Fans watching at home were treated much archival video of Mays while fans at home and at the ballpark were all viewed still shots of the iconic number 24 which he wore as a member of the New York (and later San Francisco) Giants. That imagery plus the reminder of Mays' 24 All-Star Game appearances only emphasised the poetry of his departure for the heavens in '24.

From a cap collector standpoint, I enjoyed seeing the Ebbets Field Flannels logo embroidered on the "Vintage Inspired" caps worn by the many former Negro Leagues players assembled for pregame festivities on-field ahead of the Rickwood Classic. And since Ebbets did not get the nod to produce the caps worn in-game, I am featuring their 1940 San Francisco Seals cap today.

I am normally more of an "embroidered logo guy" but I will gladly make an exception to pick up the felt patch logo cap featuring this classic San Francisco design. This is also the closest thing I have to the Sea Lions of the short-lived West Coast Negro Baseball League which only operated for part of the 1946 season.

As is the case with all Ebbets caps, I am very much looking forward to the wool fading and the dulling of the sheen on the satin undervisor as the cap ages with me.

I have had this cap for years and somehow not popped the tags on it but that changes now!

It has been about four months since Ebbets last dropped a "Vintage Authentic" set on us but I am not giving up hope just yet. The last collection was Negro League caps so hopefully we get more of those again soon as I think the Rickwood Classic has turned some more folks onto the history of these incredible teams.

I would also be happy with any MILB from the 1960s through the early 2000s but I have a feeling my chances are better on the earlier end of that range. Can't blame me for trying though! And while I am still not totally sold on the side patch embroidery on the "Vintage Inspired" caps, I do think it is a good way to get those caps from the last 40 years out there.

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. If you'd like to discuss a trade or simply just chat about hats, please feel free to connect via the following social sites:

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