There are some collectibles that are fascinating and interesting, and there are others that are just too cool to properly describe, and this qualifies as one of them.
Winning five consecutive AL West championships, the Oakland A’s of the early 1970s were one of the game’s most electrifying and dominant teams. Their colorful nature was encouraged by owner Charles Finley, who adopted vivid green and gold uniforms, offered his players $300 bonuses to grow mustaches, nicknamed his star pitchers “Catfish” and “Blue Moon,” and introduced the flourescent orange baseball, which was tested in night games.
Legend has it that in the early 1970s, Finley had cowboy hats custom made for his players. This particular hat was made for the coolest of all the A’s players – pitcher Vida Blue.
Blue won the Cy Young and the MVP in 1971, posting a 24-8 record with a 1.82 earned run average. One of the greatest pitchers of his era, Blue was also one of the coolest, and is still active in promoting baseball to inner-city children. Which is cool.
The hat is a quality suede hat, featuring the A’s logo patch on the front, and a gold band with black and gold feathers. The brim is rimmed with gold. The liner of the hat is satin, the leather sweatband stamped with the Bandera Premier logo, and the telltale stamping “Made Especially For VIDA BLUE” stamped in gold leaf along the right of the sweatband.
We have not seen anything else like this. What could be cooler – perhaps Tito Fuentes’ sunglasses? Dock Ellis’ curlers? Joe Pepitone’s hair dryer? We’re not sure, but for now, this custom-made cowboy hat, gifted by one of the era’s most colorful owners to one of its most colorful players, is the epitome of 1970s baseball cool.