Is Your Osenburg Soft? Mine Is.

July 23, 2007 at 1:57 am (Baseball, Family & Friends, Fantasy Baseball, New York Giants)

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Get your mind out of the gutter. The only obscene references you’re likely to find on this blog are categorized News & Politics.

Osenburg is the mesh lining found on the front inside panel of baseball caps. Chances are, yours is stiff and coarse. Not mine. The 1951 New York Giants cap, gifted to me by the Lovely and Provocative One, arrived this week from Cooperstown Ball Cap Company. It’s made of the finest wool [no synthetic, acrylic plastic blend crapola for me] and a soft leather sweat band. Best of all the logo is the same one that graced the caps of my first baseball heroes. Contrary to popular opinion, the Mets’ interlocked NY is not identical to that of the National League franchise they replaced, but didn’t. The difference is subtle but clear.

Wearing the cap evokes some of the happiest memories I have. My grandfather [my Pop], Phil Niss, took me to every opening day at the Polo Grounds from 1951 ’til they left [carpetbagged] to San Francisco after the ’57 season. He taught me the game by using the words of players and managers. “Hit ’em where they ain’t” [“Wee Willie” Keeler]. “Stick it in his ear” [Leo “The Lip” Durocher]. “Oh those base-on-balls” [“The Fordahm Flash,” Frankie Frisch].

He taught me that good things happen when your team puts the ball in play, gets the runner into scoring position, hits the cutoff man, keeps the double play in order and keeps the runner at first from getting a lead.

Conversely, bad things happen when your pitcher falls behind in the count, your team gives the opposition more than three outs, you’re not strong “up the middle,” and [most importantly] you eat more than two hot dogs.

I learned that a bloop knock looked like a line drive in the boxscore, the double play is the pitcher’s best friend, a walk was oft times as good as a hit, erasers on pencils were invented because some official scorers were full of crap, many umpires were blind, and that the nuns outside of the ballpark with collection plates weren’t penguins.

Thanks for the cap, Nancela… Thanks for the passion, Pop.

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3 Comments

  1. BobL said,

    Ralph

    Sounds like we shared a childhood. My first baseball memory was watching my older cousin Joe jumping around on one leg (he’d broken the other a week or so before) as Bobby Thomson rounded the bases on 10/3/51. All the action shown on a 12″ Admiral. My Dad took my brother and I to opening day 1952 at the PG. and there started a love affair that lasts ’till today. Thanks for sharing your memories and wearing the old NY Black and Orange.

    Bob

  2. Nick Antonicello said,

    Where can I get a fitted, NY Giants baseball cap?

    • Ralph Zig Tyko said,

      Cooperstown Ball Cap Company, Nick.

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