Some of the most interesting hats to come across eBay (and summarily, my collection) are these two custom takes on Padres caps that…don’t quite hit the mark. Distinct differences between the two leave them both in a cap flux between the 1973-1979 and 1980-1984 designs.
Why do these exist, exactly? I’m not entirely sure; most hat designs are the literal embodiment of throwing something on the wall to see if it sticks. This particular set takes cues from both split-panel eras and makes two hats that feel like something you’d see on the Padres evolutionary chart between 1979 and 1980.
Let’s take a look at this version first:
Brown crown and brim
Yellow split-panel with orange piping
Orange squatcho and eyelets
Brown interlocking SD
The first look in this “evolutionary” set takes the standard 1980 look that Padres fans know well and…leaves off one important detail. I’m sure you see it, right?
Yep, the interlocking SD is missing its orange outline. This particular SD was used on the previous split-panel design from 1973-1979 when the caps lacked the added orange. It’s sort of strange to see the 1980-84 design without the SD outlined. It feels…incomplete.
The rear of the cap lacks an MLB logo. Also of note is the fact that the New Era flag is missing, though I don’t believe this cap has seen on-field wear like the “1978” version previously featured.
The underbrim is gray; not technically correct for either era. Collectors will note the New Era “blue” tags placing this cap at being made circa 2005-2007. If you’re a country of origin snob, this example is Chinese made.
The second cap in this set may prove to be the stranger looking of the two:
Brown crown, brim, squatcho, and New Era logo
Brown and orange interlocking SD
The second cap certainly feels more incomplete when compared to the first. Surely you know what’s missing here…
Though the interlocking SD is the correct 1984 version, the split-panel lacks the distinct orange piping. I honestly feel like this cap is the more visually jarring of the two, though I don’t blame you if you feel otherwise. The pair certainly are very interesting in their own right.
This cap does not lack the MLB Batterman logo; here it is in matching orange, brown, and yellow.
Somewhat strangely enough, this cap has the period-correct kelly green underbrim and sweatband alongside the scarcely-seen white panel taping. This particular cap is a later model than the previous by not by much; probably just a few years younger. In another dichotomy from the previous example this version is US made.
Cap Availability Status: Rare
I only designate these styles as rare since I’ve only seen them come across eBay. If you absolutely need to add either of these two to your collection, I suggest hitting the secondhand apps and sites on a regular basis.