Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why Is Willie Mays Wearing a Yankee's Hat?

Today I’m researching the legalities involved in a compilation copyright and in the process made a confusing discovery - which derailed my original mission and ended up with a Willie Mays mystery.

My legal research was spurred by a disclaimer phrase in a book of photos and art depicting smiling faces compiled by my old friend, Cooper Edens.  Flipping thru the book, I paused on a photo of the amazing Willie Mays wearing what appeared to me to be a New York Yankee baseball cap.  I did a Google image search and found several more similar photos - even on baseball cards.

Why, I wondered, is Willie Mays (who never played for the Yankees) sporting a New York Yankees hat on these baseball cards and in my friend’s book? I asked Mean Eileen, Editing Queen who is rather keen on baseball players.  Not particularly the sport, just the players.   She didn't know either - her knowledge of NY baseball is cheerfully limited to the 2001 World Series.  About the time I’m going to call my cousin, Hank Greenwald (the Voice of the SF Giants for 16 years) and Eileen is trying to figure out which Willie Mays Facebook page is the one most likely to respond to such a question, a thought occurs.  
"The Catch" 
Willie Mays hauls in Vic Wertz'
drive at the warning track
in the '54 World Series

Since the Giants moved to California in the 50s, maybe it's an old New York Giants logo.  Wikipedia confirms that the N intersected with the Y was the logo of the newly named NY Giants in 1885 (previously the NY Gothams).  It doesn't really clarify when the Yankees absorbed it, adjusted the font a tiny bit and rebranded it as their own.

Not that any of this matters, but it does remind me that Spring Training games begin in just three weeks - and that it's time to draft a sympathetic-sounding script to recite to my friends in freezing climates while I revel in sunny, 75 degree luxury.

Spring weather in Scottsdale is why we willingly suffer with summer weather in Scottsdale.  Plus we get an extra month of baseball!

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