Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Collecting the Sox: Hats

Hats are yet another great Red Sox collectable. Every time an announcer mentions that an outfielder caught a ball “bill of the cap high” you’re reminded of have integral hats are to the game of baseball. As with any piece of merchandise in the last few years, the variety of hats has exploded, making it a great collectable to pursue.

As with any quality collectable, hats present a great variety. You can divide a hat collection into many different categories. One of the most obvious segments would be the official hats. This is one specific segment that has seen great growth in the last few years. These are hats like the players actually wear in a game. For years, that meant the navy blue hat with the red “B” on the front. For a while in the seventies, that color scheme was reversed. Those were really your only two choices. These days, with the introduction of the alternate hat, and the special hats, there are a lot more options. The Red Sox of recent years have worn red hats, or white hats. Hats with a “B.” Hats with the “hanging Sox.” They wore special hats during the World Series in ’04 and ’07. They also wore special hats on the Opening Days the following seasons. Players in the All-Star Game have yet another special hat. That’s a good five or ten different “official” hats out there for collecting. It’s also possible to find game used versions of these hats. That adds a special rarity to any collection.

Another segment is the commemorative hats. These hats aren’t worn in a game, but they celebrate a game or achievement. There are generally hats made for any playoff series. Those are basic hats, showing the teams involved and information about the series. If the Sox win a playoff series, or clinch a playoff spot, they also issue official championship hats. While these could be included in the previous category, they weren’t from a game. They were from the party after a game. These celebrate the clinching, usually in a flashy style. Opening Day is sometimes celebrated on a hat, as well as any special events. These are nice because they remind you of a special moment in a Red Sox season.

The last segment is the novelty hat. These are the ones you see at your local mall, or department store. They have the Red Sox logo on there somewhere, but the rest of the design can be anything. They could be black hats, or pink hats, or green hats, or striped and spotted hats. You name it. This segment allows for the most personal expression, as you can find a hat to fit just about anyone’s tastes.

I was a hat collector for a bit. When there was an important event, like the All-Star game, I’d grab a hat to remember it. I stopped, though, for a couple reasons. I wasn’t wearing the hats. For one thing, they’d get ruined. For another, I didn’t have the chance to wear a lot of hats. I found that I’d just stick to the classic blue. The hats started getting hard to store properly. They’re bigger than a baseball, and can’t really be stacked easily. So, I moved away from hats. I still like them, though. They look nice autographed, especially with multiple players on it. They look nice on a shelf, and add a splash of color to a room.

Anyone have a favorite Red Sox hat?

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