Vintage Vantage: History and Hats

Friday, April 11, 2008

Vintage Vantage: History and Hats

. Friday, April 11, 2008

Blogger contemplates hats, meaning of life, and the choice between nachos and a hot dog.

What you wear says a lot about you. For instance, I often wear hats to disguise the fact that my XL-sized head (no joke, that's the size I buy) results in my being worshiped as a big-head diety by certain island folk on the islands of the Pacific rim. I've come to terms with this. Now, I will attempt to tell the history of the team through their hats. The made up history.

1907-10 - The Dead Hat Era The side from Chicago was the greatest team in baseball. Everyone in the city of Detroit could go screw themselves - the Cubs had beaten the Tigers in 5 games, and he could feel a dynasty beginning. 1908 was the beginning of an empire - a Cubs empire.
Soon, however, the honeymoon was over and the city hit rough times. The team could no longer afford the payments on the pinstripes, and the bank repossessed them like a farm with a delinquent mortgage. The white hats expressed to the world their hopelessness and shame. "We give up!" they cried. And so they did.

1914 El Oso Excremento

We now introduce you to the pooping bear logo. This was the team's logo on and off from 1908 through 1936. Great hat - it's personally the one that I rock most often. The logo disappeared after 1914, and Prohibition reared its ugly head soon after. By 1927, the logo was back, and a mere six years later, the government closed down its foolish temperance experiment. What do these non-matching timelines have to do with each other? Not a damn thing.
On another note, they should outlaw wearing this one backwards. People who do look like a history buff version of celebrity douchebag Fred Durst.

1926 - Navy is the New Black!
Young Bobby McGee of 1926 would often ask his father, "why is my Cubs cap so plain? It's just blue with a C on it. Can't they come up with anything better?" The father would respond "Isn't it about time for you to begin your shift down at the coal plant? You're 9, you'll be man of the house soon - gotta learn responsibility. Get me a Schlitz out of the fridge before you go." The son would then hack up two or three mushy black globs that looked startlingly lung-like, and comply.
Young Bobby would get his wish soon, however, when the Cubs designed a flashy new hat that embodied the spirit of the roaring twenties.

"This sucks," he thought, as he wheezed his final breaths before painfully succumbing to black lung in February of 1927.

1931 - Looking Kinda Fabulous Little known fact, for a brief period between 1931-1933, our beloved Cubs were briefly known as the Gubs. Some say that puzzling incident was precipitated by this peculiar logo design, which both manages to screw up the letter C and look just a tad fruity. Don't worry, middle America, we still haven't deviated from the black/white/navy palette that you love so much. We are in the middle of a depression, after all.

1934 - Glorious Color!!!
As Franklin Delano Roosevelt galvanized the nation, the Cubs organization believed so much in his policies and the direction he was taking the country in that they celebrated with this kicky red C - the first of its kind in my exhaustive "old Cubs hats" Google search bar research. Unfortunately, those seen wearing colors other than black, brown, navy, or despair were often called witches and stoned in the streets during this era.

1937 - Psychological Warfare
As the years since the last World Series Champion Cubs team grew, the fans became restless. "This is poppycock!" they grumbled. "At this rate, we might not win another series until, hahaha, 2001! And by then we'll have moon colonies and no one will care a whit about the game of baseball. Something must be done immediately!"
And so management, hearing their cries, decided to use this new fangled concept of psychology to gain the edge. They targeted the league rival Cincinnati Reds, making their uniforms into a grotesque Bizarro World version of the Ohioans. "Egads!" the Reds said. "Our evil clones have come to destroy us." They would then defecate on the spot, and as this was the era before teams could afford two sets on uniforms, the forfeit would go to the Cubs.
Didn't work so well on the New York Giants - the Cubs finished 3 games back that year. Yet another reason to hate New York.

1957 - Sharp!
The prevailing school of thought in 1957 was that anything good can be improved with snazzy futuristic racing stripes. Fans of the era would look proudly upon this most grand of headwear and think "it's amazing what an age we live in. The future is here!"
They would then go back to their health regimen of a pack of Marlboros between every meal and resume ratting out neighbors they suspected to be godless Commies.

1968 - The Colors, Man!

Perhaps there was an increase in bear cub maulings during this year, perhaps instead hippies demanded a more nonthreatening mascot. Normally, this would hurt a team's public image, but really, who was going to make fun of the Cubs? Would it be the Angels? The Senators? Or perhaps the ever-popular Albany Fluffy Bunnies? Either way, you've got to admire the fact that Cubs management tried to bring in something that would appeal to fans even more after seven or eight monstrous bong hits.

1984: Let's Go ... Owls?

1984 was a great year. It gave Cubs fans hope, and a reason to hate those smug bastards who live in San Diego. One good thing that came of it was that after a long period of sucking and being ignored, the Cubs galvanized the city behind them. A Cy Young award winner and a league MVP led the march toward the World Series and established the Cubs as favorites to break a streak of pennantless that obviously couldn't go on much longer ... could it? The Cubs being the Cubs, we blew it to the Padres. Still, I credit this game with keeping my dad and grandfather rallying around the Cubs ... until they decided that they weren't making enough money and went on strike a decade later. That kinda killed most of my family's love for baseball, but I had already become a Cubs fan. Good thing, too. I'm set to see them break a 100 year title drought. There's no way it could possibly go on much longer ... could it?
Oh, and that thing on the hat reminds me of everything but a cub.