Personal Stories About Ball Caps: Various Caps, Acquired During The First Wave of The COVID-19 Pandemic

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 Ball Caps,” we do not pay attention to just one cap. We pay attention to a variety of caps I bought or got as a gift during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It all started in February 2020, when my wife and I got into a divorce. In that month, I had to look for a house since I wanted my daughters to stay in the house they grew up at. Much to my chagrin, I never came up with the idea to subscribe to a housing corporation. So the only option in the Netherlands was to test the market. But privately rented houses are incredibly expensive. At one point, someone of the Dutch baseball community advised me to have a look in Belgium, since the houses over there are much more affordable. I followed her advice and within two weeks, I found a place for myself. I moved in on April 1st (no joke).

From there, the mourning process started. Even though I knew I had made a good decision, I felt miserable and was bothered by mood swings. If the divorce wasn’t bad enough, my employer decided to put me and my colleagues on temporary discharge due to COVID-19.
So there I sat, at home, not being allowed much. In Belgium, most shops and restaurants were closed. Only supermarkets, chemists, D.I.Y. shops, and tobacconists were allowed to stay open. But when visiting one of those stores, one had to wear a mask.


To kill the time, I wrote a lot of blog posts. But I also roamed baseball webshops to see if I could score a cap with some discount. That brings me to the first cap I bought during the COVID-19 pandemic: the San Antonio Missions digital camo cap, which was designed to honor the US armed forces. It was for sale with a huge discount. It only cost me $18,00. Perhaps it sounds weird, but when I received this cap, it gave me a feeling of joy.

In May, things started to loosen up a bit again. Shops were allowed to open their doors again, but shoppers needed to make an appointment and had to wear masks. I used the opportunity to visit Belgium’s only baseball store. I guess it won’t come as a surprise that I bought two caps there: The on-field cap of the Merchtem Cats with the beautiful old English M on the front, and the on-field cap of the Royal Greys from Merksem.

image-7        image-8

Later that month, I picked up a cap I ordered. It was the specialty cap of the Brasschaat Braves. Once every few years, a youth team of the club heads to the United States to play baseball, and this is the cap the team wears on those trips. The people of the baseball store were so kind to give me a cap that used to be worn by the Flemish baseball academy. 

image-9.      image-10

In July, we could attend baseball games again. So I used the opportunity to attend a game in Brasschaat. Since I didn’t have the on-field cap of the Brasschaat Braves yet, I decided to buy it at the club.  Just a few days later, the road cap of HSV Kinheim from Haarlem in the Netherlands arrived. I ordered it at a baseball store in the same city and they were so kind to send it to me in Belgium. 

Braves        Kinheim

Near the end of July, a friend of mine, who was the press officer of the The Hague Royals, a (now defunct) basketball club in the highest Dutch league, invited me to attend a game of the club. But only hours before we would head to the game, my friend was informed the game was cancelled due to COVID. But the trip to The Hague wasn’t all in vain. My friend gave me a couple of ball caps that he wanted to get rid off. So I could add the following caps to my collection: The on-field cap of the former Italian Serie A club Rimini Pirates, the official cap of the International Stars, the cap the Cuban national team wore during the Haarlem Baseball Week, and the on-field cap of the national team of Great Britain. 

image-12      image-15
image-14      image-13

That friend of mine had arranged another cap for me, the cap of the former Dutch hoofdklasse club Storks from The Hague. I also received a cap from the Berlin Flamingos, which was cap nr. 99 of my collection. 

Storks     Flamingos

In the meantime, I had ordered about three MiLB caps of clubs that were rumored to be cut by the greedy MLB owners. They were always on my wish list, but with the possibility these clubs would disappear, it was now or never. These caps arrived in early September. Later it became clear that of these three, only the Vermont LakeMonsters would be cut. The Daytona Tortugas were on the chopping block too, but their community did everything possible to save their club from being erased. 

Lookouts     Monsters     Tortugas    

About mid-September, my friend from the Hague and I went to Paderborn in Germany to attend two games of the local Untouchables Paderborn. It was great to attend this doubleheader, even though there were some rules we had to follow. First of all, on had to leave two seats between him/her and the next person in the stands. As long as you were seated you didn’t have to wear a mask, but when you wanted to walk around, you had to put it on. This friend was also press officer of Dutch hoofdklasse club Neptunus and he arranged the on-field cap of one of my two favorite clubs in the Dutch hoofdklasse: L&D Amsterdam Pirates. So when I picked him up, he brought this cap with him. It would be one of three caps I scored that day. Shortly after arriving in Paderborn, I bought the home cap of the team. Later that afternoon, my friend acquired the black road cap of the club, as a sign of appreciation that I picked him up and took him with me to Paderborn. 

Pirates    Untouch home    Untouch road

It may sound strange, but all these caps helped me get through a tough period in my life. A period in which an unknown disease killed many people. Every time one cap arrived, I experienced a lot of joy. Likely, I would have gotten myself through this period as well, but as the avid ballcap collector I am, the acquisition of these caps made it a lot easier. 

Irish American Baseball Society

Baseball from a Dutch point of view since 2014

Maritime Pro Ball

Blog advocating bringing minor league ball to the Maritime Provinces!

D-Backs Europe

Een kijk op de MLB met een vleugje Arizona Diamondbacks

Milujeme Baseball

Nejlepší český web o baseballu

Dutch Baseball Hangout

Baseball from a Dutch point of view since 2014


Follow my trip in the USA during the 2016 summer!

Honkbal Op Zolder

Blog over bijzaken in Major League Baseball

The Ball Caps Blog

Baseball caps and beyond

The Negro Leagues Up Close

A blog about a century of African-American baseball history

Baseball History Daily

Heroes, Villains, Oddities and Minutia--The Forgotten History of the National Pastime

The Midwest League Traveler

Traveling & writing about the Midwest League, past & present, since 2011

Ben's Biz Blog

The Greatest Minor League Baseball Blog of All Time

B3: Big, Bald and Beautiful

Your guide to all things prospect, courtesy of Jonathan Mayo

Universo Béisbol

Hagamos del béisbol un deporte más universal.

%d bloggers like this: