Above, clockwise from left: Ontario Orioles, Illinois State University (Normal) Redbirds Wichita Falls Spudders and Denver Bears.
I’d never heard of the Ontario Orioles, but the minor league team dated to the days before the West Coast had a major league ballclub. The Orioles, in the Sunset League, lasted all of one season, 1947, compiling an unimpressive 66-73 record, according to baseball-reference.com, which has a full roster and stats for the team. (The Internet, man. Whew.) The Orioles played in Ontario Baseball Park, now known as Jay Littleton Field.
This comes up because reader Don J. alerted me to the existence of Ebbets Field Flannels, a Seattle company that produces authentic reproductions of uniforms, caps and jackets for vanished baseball, hockey and football teams. According to its website, you can currently get caps for such teams as the 1951 Kansas City Blues, the 1933 San Francisco Seals and the 1947 New York Cubans, generally for $40 each.
And according to its Facebook page, you can now buy a cap for the 1947 Ontario Orioles. In the photo above, it’s the cap at far left. For whatever reason, the cap doesn’t seem to be on the company’s website yet, but they say they’re selling it.
Just think, you could own a hand-crafted (and made in America) Ontario baseball cap! You could even outfit a whole team in them! As long as you had $360. Seems like the ultimate niche product, but cool that there are enough baseball nerds to support something as out there as this.
Just like a real Ontario Oriole, you could wear your cap to Littleton Field. The all-wood stadium itself is considered so vintage-looking that an “X-Files” episode, “The Unnatural,” set in the 1940s was filmed there in 1999.