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Early 1990's Charleston Rainbows Cap - Fresh Fitted Friday!!!!

Longtime readers of the 'Toast (no one really calls it that, except for me just now) are fully aware that getting my hands on a vintage Charleston Rainbows cap has been a top priority of mine. In fact, it was almost a year ago that I was lamenting with friends on Twitter about how this hat was my holy grail and that any leads on finding one would be appreciated.

My pleading and research finally paid off when I learned that starting in 2014, the Charleston RiverDogs of the Class-A South Atlantic League have held a yearly Pride Night where the players would wear throwback Rainbows uniforms. 

I do have to admit that I'm a bit surprised that this year they changed the night's theme name from Pride Night to Rainbows Night. The team is however once again holding a jersey auction for the jerseys worn that night with the proceeds going to Charleston Pride. I'm sure that the intent of the name change was simply to be clear that they would be honoring the Rainbows rather than trying to sublimate the spirit of Pride.

I've urged the team to create a retro on-field cap and allthough the RiverDogs graciously heard my plea, this little request has not yet been granted. I continued on with the hunt and in September of last year a kind soul from the Twitterverse reached out to let me know that he had the gem I was looking for. I was originally hoping to find a New Era fitted but when it turned out DeLong was the producer, I was fine with that as well as the fact that the hat seemed like it had been worn a few times. Who knows, maybe it was even game used? 

I normally take these photos against a white background but the sun was really cranking today so this rainbow is going to do the same.

 Most of the DeLong caps made after 1993 have the Minor League Baseball sweatband tag but it's absent here which tells me this one is from 1992 or maybe earlier. 

The squarish brim looks strange when flat but I suppose that works itself out once it's bent, which I'll never do. Also of note: the Made In U.S.A. DeLong tag makes me a happy cappy collector!

That scenario might be unlikely but so were my initial chances of obtaining this beautiful relic of South Carolina's baseball history. Scoring this cap brought me great joy and finally wearing it is going to be even more amazing. While the Charleston Rainbows were originally named in reference to Rainbow Row in Charleston, South Carolina, the name now also conveys an even more powerful message. 

The fact that the first Charleston RiverDogs Pride Night appeared at the time the controversy over same-sex marriage in South Carolina reached full tilt is important. It speaks to baseball's ability to bring people together who are otherwise divided on issues of race, gender, wealth and whatever else.  

WARNING: The mood is about to get heavy here for a second. If you don't have any interest in reading about such things, I'm ok with that. Just come back next week for more hat photos. Thanks!

I decided to write about the Rainbows cap this week because I believe that this game really transcends all of mankind's differences and unites us in the trying moments of our lives. The shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida last week was horrifying in so many ways and my heart is aching for the families of the victims, the survivors and for all of my LGBT friends who want nothing but to celebrate life. While that massacre ended the lives of 50 people who were only guilty of dancing, today marks the one year anniversary of the racially-fueled Charleston Church Shooting in which 9 people were killed during a prayer service at Emanual African Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

There is no combination of words that can soothe our worried nerves right now but my suggestion is that everyone should have something positive they can turn to in dire times. Baseball has always been my rallying force so in the days leading up to and throughout NYC Pride, I will be rocking this Rainbows hat and this will likely be a yearly tradition during Pride Week going forward as well.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my newly acquired grail. Hopefully the last part wasn't too much of a bummer for you but I simply couldn't ignore the poignancy of these recent events and their connection with my love of baseball. Come back next week though to celebrate the return of my regularly scheduled musings of all things All-Star Game related!

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Twitter: @FittedFriday