Last year, I made mention in this space about the Orioles base coaches wearing the old cartoon bird helmets during spring training. I wondered if it was a precursor to the old bird making a comeback. You know, the one that adorned the hat when they played in six World Series (winning three) from 1966-1983. That’s right kids. The Orioles were good, very good, for a long stretch of time. Six appearances in 18 seasons is like one out of every three years or something.
Well, over the “winter”, word came that the Orioles would indeed bring back the Bird…a little more moderninzed version of the classic bird from the glory years. You’ve seen it on the news and around town maybe. Am I gonna nit pik the new bird and its slight change against the old version? I don’t see how I could. It certainly is better than the once-orinthologically correct bird used over the last 23 seasons.
This new logo has an “O’s” on the birds cap. It also has a real discernable hat on the bird. Its eyes are a bit rounder and looking a tad different direction than the old one. One thing i havent figured out is whats the purpose of the black stitching on the white paneled hat? It was never there before. Luckily, the black cap doesn’t use white stitching but thats neither here nor there.
The real question is should I purchase this new version of the cap I grew up with? I already have old versions of the white panel and all black cap with the orange bill that most baseball people would view as THE CAP of the Baltimore Orioles.
My black cap is a store-bought “1966 Cooperstown Throwback“. I think its a can’t miss, irreplacable hat in the collection. Its THE ORIOLES CAP! I dont see shelling out $25+ for the updated version.
My white paneled hat looks alot like the 1983 model linked to above. Actually, my white panel IS a 1983 model. I know because I took it out of the Orioles clubhouse the night of October 16,1983…the night the Orioles won their last World Series game to win the series over the Phillies four games to one. I have it on right now!
My uber-cool uncle did some work around Memorial Stadium back then. After the O’s won that evening, he needed some help moving some player’s cars from a nearby lot back to the stadium. They were originally moved because the Colts were playing the Bills that earlier that day and needed the spaces. Yes, kids, back in the day, both teams played at the same ballpark. I didn’t drive yet, but my older brother and dad helped him. We were just down the street at my Grandmother’s house having our usual post-Colts-loss Italian dinner so we got over there quickly.
Once the cars were moved, attention turned to the locker room where it needed to be re-outfitted for the Champions steaming down 95-South from Phiadelphia and the inevitable invasion of media. With most of the Colts stuff packed up (stuff that would be packed up for good six months later), it was time to move in the Orioles stuff. Helmets, wrist bands, chewing tobacco, batting gloves, sunflower seeds. Boxes were rolling in from everywhere. Somehow, things started falling into my sweats. Same with my brother. After an hour or so (and before the actual uniforms were hung up), we had to leave. It WAS a school night and we had a 45 minute ride back to Jarrettsville – that didn’t count getting through growing crowd assembling around the stadium.
Luckily, before getting out of there, my uncle said “if you guys want some of this stuff, go ahead. Most of it will be tossed out.” Whew! Thank goodness i could go home with a clear conscience…and garbage bag full of Orioles garb…including my ’83 white paneled O’s cap!
Now, nearly 30 years later (wow, I just typed that??) that hat has a crinkled beak but luckily fits my big head perfectly. I even got a small one, a batboy’s maybe, that now fits my son (for the time being). Could I shelve it like the Wheezy the Penguin in Toy Story 2? Not bloody likely.
So nice marketing try O’s. I’m sure you’ll get your due, but not from this guy. I’ll stick with my tried and true oldies but goodies. Now if I could snake the O’s helmet my brother got and bring back the nifty Mike Boddiker t-shirts we wore til the threads gave out, I’d be good to go! Well maybe some won-loss records from back then would be nice too.
(special thanks to the guys doing the work putting up the pics)