Personal Stories About Ballcaps: Antwerp Eagles

This series is inspired by the must-read book “All Caps, Stories That Justify an Outrageous Hat Collection” by Craig Colby. Craig wrote this book about the many caps he has and the stories behind it. Anyhow, this series will be about the caps I own and the stories behind them.

In today’s episode of “Personal Stories About Ballcaps,” we pay attention to the cap of Belgium’s oldest baseball club, Antwerp Eagles, founded in 1923.

The very first time I heard of this club was in 1989 when the slow pitch softball team of Amsterdam Pirates I played at, went to the club to play a friendly game. Before we went to their ballpark, we went to the main shopping street in Antwerp, De Keijserlei, to have a beer or two. Personally I had drank a bit too much. I wasn’t dead drunk but playing softball didn’t go very well. In a close game, with two outs in the bottom of the final inning, the ball was hit to me in the outfield but instead of fielding it properly, I let the ball slip between my legs, allowing the Antwerp Eagles to score the game-winning run.

After the game we were invited to a BBQ. We had some nice chats with members of the club and with the late Jacky Jacoba, who was playing with the club in those years. As a souvenir, I bought a pennant of the club.

For several years the Eagles played in the second and even third division of Belgian baseball but after a promotion to the second division, the Belgian Baseball Federation decided to merge the second division and the Division 1, so all of a sudden the club was in the Walhalla of Belgian baseball again. A reason for me to pay the club a visit in 2021. When I arrived at the club, everything still looked like I remembered it, except for the softball field. In the days, my team and I played that friendly match, it was located in right field, but now it was located in left field.

Unfortunately, the Eagles weren’t strong enough that 2021 season and got beaten up in quite some games. After the season, the head coach called it quits and the club wasn’t able to find a new one, which resulted in a lot of players leaving the club. As a result, the club was demoted to the fourth-tier league of Belgian baseball.

Even before the club got back in the Division 1, I had bought its cap at Belgium’s only baseball store, the Cage, just because the cap reminded me of the fun I had the one time I visited it in 1989.

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