A Yankees hat gone but not forgotten

Kevin Wandra's picture

Everybody seemingly has at least one item that brings back fond memories of their childhood. It may be an old toy, a movie or a book.

I was passionate about a slew of hobbies as a kid; I collected football, baseball, hockey, basketball and Garbage Pail Kids cards; Starting Lineup, He-Man, G.I. Joe and Transformers action figures; and various sports magazines.

I also built an impressive collection of hats, mostly ones representing sports teams, both professional and college. The one hat that meant more than anything to me was the first one I ever wore — a cheap-looking New York Yankees lid that my parents bought for me.

The hat had the Yankees famous interlocking “NY” logo and an adjustable strap on the back. It was definitely a Wal-Mart special, a hat that a hobo would be proud to wear.

The hat obviously looked cheap, but that didn’t matter to me; I was simply elated to have a hat that represented my favorite baseball team, the Yankees.

I wore my Yankees hat everywhere, including on my Wiffle Ball field of dreams, my backyard. My hat, hung low and fit snug on my head, was the most important part of my Wiffle Ball-playing gear, which included Yankees wristbands and a wad of black licorice or Big League Chew.

As I emulated the batting stances and playing styles of my favorite Yankees — Rickey Henderson’s low crouch at the plate and on the base paths, Don Mattingly’s slick fielding and his crouch with the bat in his hands, Dave “Rags” Righetti’s pitching (my version was right-handed) — my hat was proudly on my head.

My Yankees hat also always was glued to my head while I watched and listened to legendary announcer Phil Rizzuto describe the sights and sounds, with that old Yankee pride, of Yankees games on Channel 11 in my home state of Jersey.

I continuously wore my Yankees hat, even once the stitching in interlocking “NY” logo began to unravel and thick sweat stains began to appear.

When I eventually reached high school, though, my Yankees hat was put to the side as my sports hat-wearing days started to wane.

One day my mother asked me if I had ever considered throwing out my extensive hat collection; they were not even being worn anymore.

I decided to clear up some space on my shelf in my room and throw out all my hats. I regret that decision to this day for one reason — the hats I discarded included my glorious, beaten-up Yankees hat that I once had cherished as much as my beloved family.

That Yankees hat would never fit my noggin now, plus I already own a wealth of Yankees hats, much to the dismay of many Bronx Bomber-hating Southerners I talk to when covering sporting events for The Citizen.

But I miss my first Yankees hat because of all the enjoyable childhood memories that were embedded in every inch of the fabric of which it was constructed.

I own certain items that I cannot live without due to sentimental value — my sterling silver crucifix and figaro chain from Italy, my vast book and CD collections, a Joe Namath autographed Jets mini helmet — but I still wish I had the Yankees hat that I regretfully tossed in the trash, a place that gem never belonged.

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Submitted by NinaLynn on Fri, 02/29/2008 - 8:20am.

Awww. What a sad story. Only consolation I can give you is you've got great memories of that hat! Also memories of the best team ever: GO YANKEES! You can take the girl off the island but can't take the island out of her heart!

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