Early-1990s Pacific Coast League ball. This is a William S. Cutler Rawlings ball. Note the black ink, there aren’t many Rawlings balls from the ’90s with black ink. Also note “Haiti” stamped beneath the Rawlings logo, so this means this ball can be dated no later than 1990.
Mid-2000s California League ball. A standard Rawlings ball, prior to the change in the font used for the league stamp that occurred in the mid- to late-2000s.
Late-1990s Pioneer League ball. Note the absence of the circled-R in the Rawlings logo. That and the light-blue stamping date this ball to the late-1990s.
1950s (?) Eastern League ball. It’s tough to date this one with any precision. Thomas H. Richardson was league president from 1938-1960. It’s unknown exactly which years Wilson manufactured EL baseballs.
First, to the All-Star Games scheduled for this month: on the 12th there four games scheduled:
Atlantic League (hosted by the Somerset Patriots);
Eastern League, hosted by the New Hampshire Fisher Cats;
Frontier League, hosted by the Joliet Slammers;
Triple-A, hosted by the Tacoma Rainers.
I’m told the Atlantic League will use a special ball for the game, and the Frontier League will not. The Rainiers are selling Official ASG balls on their website while they last; there was also a unique ball used for the Home Run Derby, but those are not being sold to the public. The Eastern League will also use a special game ball. Keep an eye on the All-Star Game page in My Collection for updates.
Rounding out July, on the 25th the American Association and the Can-Am League will play a combined ASG, hosted by the Ottawa Champions. No word yet on a special game ball.
Finally, I’ve updated the Master List of Minor League Commemoratives with the 2017 baseballs (see the Information Warehouse page). As always, please let me know if you see anything in error.
If it’s mid-June, there’s a minor league All-Star game somewhere.
The Florida State League kicked off the parade this year on the 17th in Lakeland, Florida, home of the Flying Tigers. I’m still trying to figure out if they used a commemorative game ball.
On the 20th there are no fewer than five ASGs! Here’s a breakdown in terms of game ball availability:
The California League reportedly did not commission a game ball, and neither did the Midwest League. This is a missed opportunity for the Cali League, as 2017 is the first year they’ve not teamed with the Carolina League for the event since 1995.
The Columbia Fireflies are playing host to this year’s Sally League ASG, and they’ve made the game balls available in their online store. Kudos to the Fireflies!
Rounding out this busy Tuesday are the aforementioned Carolina League, hosted by the Salem Red Sox, and the Southern League, hosted by the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Availability of those balls (or even their existence) is pending confirmation.
Finally on June 27th the Texas League wraps up the month in Frisco, Texas, home of the RoughRiders. A special ASG ball will be used, but apparently will not be made available online, so call the store the day of the game.
Check back in a couple of weeks and I’ll have updates on the ASGs coming in July.
Today the independent Atlantic League unveiled its 20th Anniversary logo, to be used on all kinds of things in 2017. Read the full story over at Ballpark Digest.
What does that mean to us baseball collectors? This:
“The 20th Anniversary Season logo will be displayed as a patch on all team jerseys throughout 2017. In addition, every baseball used during each game this year will showcase the official logo. Fans will be able to purchase merchandise at team stores for all eight clubs featuring the 20th Anniversary Logo.”
Open up some shelf space, friends! The Atlantic League already features different game balls for its teams (see here), now we’ll have five more to get!
Collectors love mysteries, right? We find something that we can’t immediately identify, and the chase is on. Researching an item can be a lot of fun, and finding something ‘new’ is exciting.
I’ll occasionally post here about a couple of minor oddities in my collection, baseballs that required some research to identify.
The first installment of Mystery Ball is also my latest acquisition. It’s a 1997 Official American Association ball. On the south panel is a logo for the inaugural season of the New Orleans Zephyrs, fresh from their displacement from Denver by the MLB expansion Rockies.
The ball is leather, not vinyl
It’s stamped as an official American Association regular season ball
The logo on the south panel is multi-colored
The logo says “Inaugural Season”, but the inaugural game date is stamped beneath it
Balls produced for promotional giveaways are typically vinyl, as are most all team logo balls. They’re much cheaper to produce and retail for around $5 at the ballpark or online. When leather balls are produced for promotional giveaways or special events, they are usually limited in number. In addition, it is extremely rare to find a leather ball with multi-colored stamping.
I suspect this ball was either a very limited promo item, perhaps for season ticket holders, or (judging by the fact that the game date is on it) it was one of an even smaller number made for the ceremonial first pitch.
I’m continuing to research it. If anyone has any information on this ball, please contact me. I’ll post an update when I get one.
I’m in the process of updating most of the photos in the collection section. I rushed them initially just to get them out there, so I’m going back now and getting the best pics I can.
Also remember, the Information Warehouse is constantly being revised and improved upon as I come across new information. If you see anything amiss or missing, shoot me a message. Any and all feedback is welcome!
Welcome to minorleaguebaseballs.com, your one-stop repository of information on collecting official minor league baseballs.
Here you will find useful information on how to determine the date of your baseballs, including a comprehensive list of league president’s tenures, and a not-so-comprehensive list of manufacturers. All the research I’ve gathered in over 20 years of collecting can be found here. Speaking of which, you can also browse my collection by following the menu links.
Although still under construction, all comments are welcome. I always enjoy talking to others who are interested in this niche of the memorabilia collector’s marketplace. My focus is primarily on professional leagues, although you will find a few items from and about collegiate summer leagues here and there. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collecting and researching official minor league baseballs