I started this blog for two reasons. First, I find MiLB to be way more interesting (not from a playing performance level) than MLB-how many MLB teams have you seen wear a Rugrats Jersey? Yeah, me neither. Secondly, the history of the teams fascinates me, not to mention you have tons of guys out there grinding through the Minors hoping to not be the next Crash Davis (well some want to be him). Either way, MiLB fascinates me from an aesthetic level way more than the MLB does (just compare the mascots and you’ll see why).
As of late I’ve been going from website to website, through kindle books, surfing Wikipedia, and scouring the web for different logos, insignias, and jerseys for MilB teams. I’ve been saving them, jotting them down, and hoping that there is a picture resource for each and everyone.
Last night I happened to find one cap in particular that intrigued me:
It was this Oakland Oaks cap from 1940. It intrigued me for a couple reasons. The first was that there was a team called the Oakland Oaks!??!?! Secondly, the cap just looks cool. The grey and green mesh perfectly and it finds a way to make an acorn look cool. I couldn’t find anything special about the ’40 Oakland Oats, baseball-reference doesn’t have any records for that year, and a good search doesn’t yield anything special on the team, so a quick team history will have to do.
The Oakland Oaks were a founding member of the Pacific Coast League in 1903 along with the Los Angeles Angels, Portland Beavers, Sacramento Solons, San Fransico Seals and Seattle Indians. They Oaks played their home games at Freeman’s Park in San Fransico until after the 1912 season when they opened their new stadium named Oakland Ball Park in Emeryville. They also won the PCL Pennant in 1912, after spending the majority of their existence in last or near the last place in the division.
The Oaks also made history by breaking the color barrier in 1916 when Jimmy Claxton pitched in a doubleheader on May 28, 1916. The Oaks thought that he was Native American and when they discovered that he had African Ancestry they promptly fired him (not exactly the best thing to happen). The Oaks would again spend the better part of the next decade at the bottom of their division until 1927 when they again won the pennant, finishing 14 1/2 games ahead of the SF Seals.
The Oaks were often referred to as “The Acorns” and their team logo looked like this:
Another notable season for the Oaks was 1948 when they were nicknamed “the Nine Old Men” as their team featured notable older veterans of MLB including Catfish Metkovich. For those who don’t know who Catfish is, he was an outfielder and first baseman for the Red Sox(’43-’46), the Indians (’47), White Sox (’49), Pirates (’51-’53), Cubs (’53), and the Milwaukee Braves (’54). The nickname Catfish came from Metkovich stepping on a catfish during a fishing trip, resulting in a cut food that led to an infection and caused Metkovich to miss a couple games.
Catfish helped the ’46 Red Sox win the AL Pennant, played in 152 games in ’52 with 373 At bats, 41 runs, 101 hits, 3 triples, 7 home runs, 41 RBIs, 5 stolen bases, 32 walks, .271 BA, .335 OBP, and a .391 slugging percentage. In 10 MLB seasons, he played 1,055 games, batting .261 with 934 hits, 47 dingers, and 373 RBIs.
The Oaks would go on to win the PCL Pennant in ’50. The team experienced success from ’48-’50 with first Casey Stengel at the helm as the manager (he’d go on to manage the Yankees) and then Chuck Dressen (who would lead the Oaks to their pennant in ’50 and then go on to manage the Dodgers). Following that Oaks experienced a number of years at the bottom of the division. Poor seasons combined with attendance records in the bottom of the division led the owners to move the Oaks in ’56 to Vancouver to become the Vancouver Mounties.