Nostalgia is a magnet that pulls at the heartstrings. It has its own seductive powers, calling out for times when things were more simple and magical. In the not so distant past, America was home to a prosperous manufacturing industry. Domestically produced goods reflected a dedication to quality and craftsmanship.
Honoring that fine tradition, entrepreneur Walt Arlt set out to recreate pieces from of Baseball’s glory days. Inspired after a visit to the Cooperstown Baseball museum in 1985 , he set out to reproduce in authentic caps from the bygone eras. Using the same grade materials, like 12-13 ounce wool flannel and horsehide leather sweatbands, each cap was crafted to resurrect the past down to the fine details. At the company’s peak, their catalog of products contained over 1500 team logos from 1860 to 1995. The end result was closer to a work of art than just casual headwear.
"I had never seen the small brimmed soft baseball caps of the early days reproduced. Walter Johnson's 1926 cap at the Hall of Fame combining as it did the mysticism of baseball's obscure past and the integrity of the textiles of which it was composed set off a collector's instinct: to assemble what had never been attempted, a collection of forgotten baseball caps revived for wearing in the moment. When I choose the company name, Cooperstown Cap Company it said baseball without saying baseball and as we were 9 miles from town it seemed appropriate."- Walt Arlt
I recently ordered my first hat from Cooperstown Ball Cap Co. - a Chicago White Sox hat, 8 1/8 size. It fits perfectly and looks awesome -- thanks!! It is so nice to have a hat that fits properly, plus it looks great. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! - Springfield, IL
It was with great anticipation that I opened the shipment which contained my 1947 Cleveland Indians cap earlier today. I am extremely happy with the quality, craftsmanship, and fit. The vintage Chief Wahoo is perfectly embroidered and the feel of a wool cap with a leather headband takes me back to my childhood in the early to mid-70's when caps were made a little differently than they are today. Very well-done and (pardon the pun) "hat's off" to the staff at your company who worked on this cap. It's a really terrific cap!! - Columbus, OH
These definitely are your Grandfather’s baseball caps, period reproductions with low profile crowns that fit snug against your head. CBC offered a custom service, where individual caps within the archive could be ordered. This type of one-of-a-kind product is not common today, and shows what an impressive and ambitious operation the company ran. Each cap sold was sold with a 6 month customer satisfaction guarantee. CBC pledged to refund the purchase price or remake the cap if there were any production flaws. Not bad terms for a modest sized factory nestled in upstate New York.
CBC’s deep catalog of styles included major and minor league teams as well as lesser known and non-professional sports franchises. Caps from the Negro and Latin Leagues, Women’s Teams, and Prison clubs were on their production roster. Even their form of presentation was a nod to the old school. In contrast to today’s PDF order sheets with hi-res photographs, COOPERTOWN’s stock was showcased in paper catalogs with hand drawn illustrations. Shown here are several vintage catalog covers by the late dandy and baseball aficionado, Richard Merkin.
Unfortunately commercial, financial and legal difficulties brought the company to a close in 2010. With all the choices out there in the market, what is there to miss with one less player on the board? After twenty-three years of making fine historic replica ball caps, the Cooperstown Ball Cap Company, like so many of its licenses, have fallen into the past tense. In their absence, they leave a crowd of collectors with discriminating tastes for true vintage Americana. The few remaining pieces of CBC stock are being quickly and quietly snatched up by loyal fans of the brand as collector's items. Sure romanticizing the past is illogical, and highly sentimental but damn if it isn’t fun. Salute.