All-Time Favorite Baseball Teams that Weren't Your Team

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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What I mean by this is that most of us are Red Sox fans, so if I ask "What is your favorite team", most people here will say the 2004 Sox or maybe the 2018 Sox and a few would say the 2003 or 1986 or 2013 or 2007 teams. There's a lot to choose from, but it's still pretty boring topic that has been done to death.

The question I have, is what is your favorite team that isn't the team you root for?

For me, it's the 1990 Oakland Athletics and I'm not sure any other team comes close: McGwire at first, Randolph at second, Weiss and Lansford rounding out the infield. In the outfield you had prime Rickey in left, Hendu and 1990 NL batting champ Willie McGee splitting center and Canseco (or it may have been his twin Ozzie) in right, and rounding out the DH is Harold Baines (with Seinfeld favorite Ken Phelps in the mix!) Starting pitchers were great: Stewart, Welch, Sanderson, Moore (he sorta sucked TBH) but that staff (and Curty Young) made 159 out of 162 starts that year. The bullpen may have been better with Eck leading the charge. According to BBref, no one in the bullpen had an ERA north of 3.00.

I still can't believe that they lost to the Reds that year.
 

Kliq

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2001 Diamondbacks; honestly the first baseball team I can remember following. Johnson and Schilling, plus Luis Gonzalez (7 year old Kliq knew nothing about steroids) and B.K. Kim, who was the first submarine pitcher I ever saw and influenced me to the point that I was trying to do it in my little league games. The fact that they got to Rivera and beat the MFY in a great world series was just icing on the cake. Plus, those pinstripe and purple uniforms with a touch of teal were amazing.
 

Danny_Darwin

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Maybe not a specific year, but the 1990s Mariners of Griffey, Randy Johnson, A-Rod “before,” Edgar, Buhner, etc. Also the 1990s Cleveland teams were pretty fun. Both deserved a better fate.
 

DJnVa

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Dec 16, 2010
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Maybe not a specific year, but the 1990s Mariners of Griffey, Randy Johnson, A-Rod “before,” Edgar, Buhner, etc.
I'd go here too.

Other teams I enjoyed were the late-80s Reds with Eric Davis, who I loved. And before I learned to hate them, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry were fun. As a kid Mets games were on my cable system all the time.

Honorable Mention to any Cubs team with Harry Karay broadcasting. "Heyyyyyyy!!!! Lemme herrrrrrr ya!!!!!!" and then a half in the bag rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame.
 

thehitcat

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The 1985 Royals. Sure people will say of course Brett, Wilson(who I loved and feared in equal measure when the Sox went there), White, McRae, Balboni, Saberhagen and nobody could solve the Quis...but I loved that team because of Buddy Biancalana. The man who made me say, hey you know what maybe I could do that. He was a backup most of the year to Onix Concepcion but then the playoffs rolled around (and Concepcion got dinged up) and suddenly Buddy was the starter. He played flawlessly in the field, like a vacuum on the left side of the infield while Brett was making errors all over the place. He hit .278 in the series including the single to right that brought in Sundberg in Game 5 on the road and gave the Royals the lead in the game that turned the series. That was a hell of a team and a player who played his best baseball at the biggest time.
 

thehitcat

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Other teams I enjoyed were the late-80s Reds with Eric Davis, who I loved.
I loved Eric the Red too! He was such a fluid player in all phases. He hit huge shots, ran like a gazelle and made all sorts of circus catches. Sad he faded so quickly.
 

Jim Ed Rice in HOF

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The 1982 Brewers. First off, they had a great nickname which was key when I was 13 - Harvey's Wallbangers, based on their manager Harvey Kuenn and the fact that they were the league leading offense. They had some homeless looking characters - Vukovich Gorman Thomas who were the top pitcher and hitter. They had a Sox connection with Cecil Cooper and the also had Yount and Molitor in their young days. Bonus points - their manager had a fake leg.
 

Nator

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1993 Phillies.

They looked like the guys from the construction company that played in your beer league softball team; Darren Dalton, John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, Curt Schilling, Mariano Duncan, Pete Incaviglia, Jim Eisenreich, Mitch "wild thing" Williams and Mickey MOR-AN-DEE-NEEEEEEE (Pour one out for Harry Kalas).
 

InstaFace

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1999 Indians. They were like a super-sized version of the 2003 Red Sox for me, had the hitting to win any game and the pitching to lose it, just a roller coaster of power and surprises. Seriously, look at this fucking lineup. And of course, their ultimate demise came in a moment that would become famous, their irresistible force running into an immovable legend. I'm convinced they would have beaten the MFY, too - but there was one guy they had to beat first, and they didn't.

That was kinda the year I started even vaguely following baseball, so in the years since then I'd have to say the 2016 Indians. The 2008 Phillies were a lot of fun too, particularly in their epic September run to even make the playoffs.
 

Ramon AC

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The mid-80s Cardinals with Coleman, Tudor, McGee, et al. Great foils for the despicable Mets.

The 88 Dodgers: Hershiser, Gibson, but particularly Hatcher, who is the cousin of a kid in my class that year. His WS homers felt like a personal victory.
 

EvilEmpire

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90's Mariners for me too. I was stationed at Ft Lewis and got to see them play a bit.

But not 1995. I still remember listening to game 5 of the ALDS on the radio while in the field at Yakima. They can go fuck themselves for that. But otherwise, fun team.
 

Spacemans Bong

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I've had to rule out a lot of teams. No Red Sox, no Giants, no A's (proximity) and no Mets (my favorite aunt and uncle root for them, plus they had Pedro in 2005-06).

Honestly, I was pretty big on the 2017 Astros until Luhnow turned out to be a fucking ghoul. In a similar vein, the 2006 Tigers were a lot of fun for being so, so, so bad a few years before. The 2008 Brewers. The 1995 Mariners for sure. I'm definitely up for rooting for teams that have eaten shit for years and years and finally get good.
 

SeanBerry

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Jan 23, 2003
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I don't know if I have a team anymore.

I was a Red Sox fan until I moved to NYC in 2012 and became a full season ticket holder for the Mets. It was long time dream of mine to be a STH of a baseball team and I kept the tickets until I moved in 2016. I didn't abandon the Red Sox but it was hard to watch as many Red Sox games as I did when I was going to so many Mets games. It was a frustrating but very fun team to root for from 2012-16. You could see them put the pieces together of a good team and it call came together for them in 2015.

So my pick is the 2015 Mets. Watching the pitching staff develop was awesome and Peak Harvey was an event.

I don't know where I sit with baseball teams now. I don't watch much sports anymore and I don't feel connected to the Mets or the Red Sox since I moved back to NH in late 2016.I think the next expansion team to come along is going to have my support. That would be fun. Root for a team since Day 1. It would be cool if Montreal or Vegas got a team.
 

deanx0

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Richie Hebner was a friend of my dads and use to come into the bar he tended at (the Irish Heaven in Norwood, MA) during the off season, so I would always root for his teams after the Sox (the Pirates in the 70s, the Phillies in the 80s). I was also a fan of Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton, so I was a big Phillies fan in 1980.
 

HurstSoGood

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Good looks here. Agreed on some of the older (80's) Cardinal and early 90's Seattle teams.

My one non-Sox stand-out team was probably the '97 Marlins, specifically because of all the former Portland Sea Dogs: Charles Johnson, Louis Castillo, Mark Kotsay, Edgar Renteria, Antonio Alfonseca, etc.. Plus Kevin Brown and a 22-year old Livan Frickin Hernandez.
 

moretsyndrome

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1994 Expos. Shoulda. Woulda. Definitely coulda. Not that I was able to watch them much outside of highlights, but I was really amped when they picked up Pedro.

Also, I spent most of the summer of '73 in NYC with my grandfather. Went to a couple of games at Shea and fell in love with that Mets squad. Great pitching. Seaver, McGraw, Koosman, etc. It was fun while it lasted, but I came right back to the Sox the next year.
 

Mooch

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The "We Are Family" 1979 Pirates. Willie Stargell as the father-figure leader, Kent Tekulve's near underhanded relief work. Dave Parker's all-around greatness that season, Omar Moreno's blazing speed, Candyman and Blyleven leading the staff. That was a fun team.
 

Cumberland Blues

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Honorable mention to the '79 "We Are Family" Pirates...but 5yr old me fell in love with baseball watching Catfish and the '72 A's. Was not a Sox fan until we got WSBK on cable in '77.
 

Saints Rest

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Add me to the mid-80's era Cardinals. One of my best friends in college was a big Mets fan so we listened to a lot of Mets games on the radio. Tudor/Gooden in that 85-86 run were always awesome matchups. For some reason, my roommate had a Cardinals sweatshirt that he ended up giving to me as I wore it more often than he did. It was a great sweatshirt, with pseudo-torn outer sleeves over 3/4 length under-sleeves, (Belichick would have loved this hoodie).

Anyway, the Cards with all their running and fielding were like the opposite sort of team from the Sox of the 70s and 80s so I loved following a different style of baseball.

Coleman, McGee, Ozzie, Clark, Pendleton, Herr, Van Slyke. They had 7 guys with double-figure SBs and five with over 30.

Tudor, Andujar, Cox, the corpse of Bill "Soup" Campbell.
 

Yummy O'Leary

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The 1982 Atlanta Braves.

They had a backup catcher named Matt Sinatro, who was from my hometown, West Hartford, CT. Either his dad or his grandfather owned the building in West Hartford Center that had a dress shop that my grandmother worked in. So she knew the owner and would often tell him about her 13-year-old grandson who loved baseball.

One day a package got delivered to my house. It contained a Braves hat, a team yearbook and a ball signed by the entire team. Needless to say, I still have it.

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27253
 

Ale Xander

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Oct 31, 2013
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The 1982 Atlanta Braves.

They had a backup catcher named Matt Sinatro, who was from my hometown, West Hartford, CT. Either his dad or his grandfather owned the building in West Hartford Center that had a dress shop that my grandmother worked in. So she knew the owner and would often tell him about her 13-year-old grandson who loved baseball.

One day a package got delivered to my house. It contained a Braves hat, a team yearbook and a ball signed by the entire team. Needless to say, I still have it.

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He took the sweet spot himself instead of giving it to Murphy? WTF!
 

bigq

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I liked the Cubs of the early to mid 2000s. Moises Alou, Aramis Ramirez, Sosa and a pitching staff including Prior, Wood, Zambrano, and Clement. They seemed to have the talent to be a postseason team that could do some damage in the playoffs but habitually hovered slightly above or slightly below .500.
 

E5 Yaz

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1971 Pittsburgh Pirates

As a failed Little League catcher, I loved Manny Sanguillen. But that team had everything -- Clemente, Stargell, Dock Ellis, Blass, Moose and Veale, Hebner, Cash, Al Oliver, Bruce Kison's funky delivery. Even the role players on that team read like a list of That Guys.

And they beat the f'ing Orioles
 

Papo The Snow Tiger

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1969 Montreal Expos. The nine year old at the time me really liked the tri color hat and the idea that there was a team from outside the United States. I was still first and foremost a Red Sox fans, but every morning after I checked the Red Sox box score in the paper I'd check the Expos. I was well aware at the time that the Expos were an expansion team, and that they shouldn't be expected to win much, but following a team of castoffs was part of the allure. I also remember being super psyched late that summer when the high number baseball cards came out and the guys on the Expos were shown wearing a Montreal uniform. To this day Ron Brand's card from that year is my all time favorite non Red Sox baseball card, with Don Bosch's being a close second.
 

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tims4wins

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I enjoyed the early 90s Braves. Not because of the Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz-Avery staff so much. I liked Justice and Ron Gant and Fred McGriff and Terry Pendleton. Good lineup. Still surprising to me they only won one title. But damn them to eternity for blowing the 2-0 lead to the MFY in 1996 and launching the only true dynasty of the last 25 years.

I also enjoyed the Indians lineups, but since they ran into the Sox 3 times in 5 years it was hard to actually root for them. I was in awe of them though.

Echo the sentiments on the 95-01 or so Mariners. Fun teams.

The 06 Tigers were a good call, though that was pretty much entirely due to them beating the MFY. Ditto the DBacks and Marlins teams that beat the MFY.

I liked the championship Reds, partly because that was my little league team at the time - we won back to back titles in 90 and 91 which coincided with their title. I loved Eric the Red too.

Also enjoyed the Giants, as they were my little league team in 92-93. I really liked Will the Thrill Clark, and Matt Williamson at 3B. His 1994 was epic until the strike.

The Rangers were another fun team in the 90s, but their pitching really did them in. Awesome lineups though led by Juan Gone and Raffy.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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Bi-Coastal, for the time being
1973 San Francisco Giants
1B -- Willie McCovey
2B -- Tito Fuentes
SS -- Chris Speier
3B -- Dave Kingman
OF -- Gary Matthews, Garry Maddox, Bobby Bonds
C -- Dave Rader
Starters: Bryant, Bradley, Marichal, Barr
Relievers: Willoughby, Sosa, Moffitt

Also... 1976 Philadelphia Phillies
1B -- Dick Allen
2B -- Dave Cash
SS -- Larry Bowa
3B -- Mike Schmidt
OF -- Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Jay Johnstone
C -- Bob Boone
Starters: Carlton, Kaat, Lonborg, Christenson
Relievers: McGraw, Garber, Twitchell

Maybe I just really liked Garry Maddox

I also really liked the 2017 Astros before it wasn't cool to like them anymore.
 
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pedro1918

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The "We Are Family" 1979 Pirates. Willie Stargell as the father-figure leader, Kent Tekulve's near underhanded relief work. Dave Parker's all-around greatness that season, Omar Moreno's blazing speed, Candyman and Blyleven leading the staff. That was a fun team.
I loved this team. Bill Madlock, Phil Garner, Ed Ott, Jim Bibby.

Also, the 2003 Florida Marlins. I don't know how I would have handled it.
 

nvalvo

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This is fun.

I really liked the mid-2000s Cleveland Indians.

Grady Sizemore, Pronk, CC, Victor Martinez, Cliff Lee, a young Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, Coco Crisp, Franklin Gutierrez (who looked like a future star in 2006), Paul Byrd, Jhonny Peralta, "Fausto Carmona" — just a ton of compelling players on those teams, many of whom have gone on to have notable careers. Rafael Betancourt threw 79 innings of 1.50 ERA ball in a setup role in 2007, walking just 9.

The 2007 ALCS against Boston was an absolutely tremendous postseason series, and if Cleveland had won that, I don't think there's much chance the Rockies beat them.
 

jon abbey

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The 2014-2015 Royals were pretty fun, consecutive WS, losing the first and winning the second. And it all started when they were down 7-3 after 7 innings in the 2014 Wild Card game to Jon Lester and the A's (wow does that sound strange) but they came back to win 9-8 in 12 innings in a game where they stole seven bases (!) and then they won five out of six playoff series the next two years, seemingly untouchable relief from Herrera/Davis/Holland whenever they were ahead after six. I believe they carried both Dyson and Gore to pinch-run in big situations, pretty unusual and great team.
 

Marciano490

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Early 90s Braves. My dad’s from there and they were on TV more than the Sox. Avery, Glavine, Smoltz. Diesel Ron Gant. Terry Pendleton always looking 60 years old.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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JMOH, we have a future Boston Braves hat purchasee.
Nice! BTW, it took me years to find that hat. One day I emailed the 47 hat company and asked if they had any lying around in a warehouse that they could sell me. The customer rep told me that they were making more and that I should see some soon. I thought that he was just telling me what I want to hear, but he was right. Bought it back in October. I love that hat. :)
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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I was a fan of the late '80s Expos (Tim Raines was one of my first favorites) and the early '90s Braves (Ron Gant). I remember what teams I rooted for in all the playoff series back then, but I don't know that any single-season team stands out as a favorite... maybe the '87 Giants. Bob Brenly is from my area so I knew a couple of his relatives, and Jeffrey Leonard was a lot of fun... and as a kid how could you not root for a team that had guys in their lineup named Chili and Candy?
 

amRadio

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The 2008 Rays. They had a lot of things come together for them that year from every starting pitcher making 30+ starts, to David Price making the Majors the same year he was drafted. They were a really fun team. I wasn't root for them in the LCS that year, but the World Series was pretty disappointing for me.

Also, the 2014 Giants. I just really respect Posey, Bumgarner and Boche for that run and that World Series was a fun one.
 

Spacemans Bong

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Nice! BTW, it took me years to find that hat. One day I emailed the 47 hat company and asked if they had any lying around in a warehouse that they could sell me. The customer rep told me that they were making more and that I should see some soon. I thought that he was just telling me what I want to hear, but he was right. Bought it back in October. I love that hat. :)
I'm not surprised -- it's getting pretty hard lately to find real old-school Cooperstown hats besides the Brooklyn Dodgers. Most of the throwbacks are from the 80s or the 90s, it's even hard to find the 1970s red and blue Red Sox cap from Game 6, etc. I stupidly left my handmade NY Giants hat on a train last year and went insane for 9 months trying to find a semi-suitable replacement -- fortunately New Era did a reissue of an NY Giants hat in the UK, so I snapped up possibly the last hat in my size in the country.

I remember the Twins store on Jersey Street used to carry Braves hats and some throwbacks from other teams -- that's where I got my Braves hat years ago. I've still never been to Nickerson Field.

There's a great book about the Red Sox and Braves in Boston that is worth reading by a guy named Charlie Bevis. It's more a history of Boston and the business affairs of each team than game recaps, but it shows what a weirdly fraught situation Boston having two teams was, and how each team (usually the Braves, but not always) went through stretches where they just couldn't draw flies and were one step away from bankruptcy. It did a good job in showing how Braves Field was actually kind of a lemon, the Candlestick Park of its time.
 

DanoooME

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Other teams I enjoyed were the late-80s Reds with Eric Davis, who I loved.
I loved Eric the Red too! He was such a fluid player in all phases. He hit huge shots, ran like a gazelle and made all sorts of circus catches. Sad he faded so quickly.
He was a great player who, sadly, had one of the greatest nicknames ever as well "Eventually Disabled".
Richie Hebner was a friend of my dads and use to come into the bar he tended at (the Irish Heaven in Norwood, MA) during the off season, so I would always root for his teams after the Sox (the Pirates in the 70s, the Phillies in the 80s). I was also a fan of Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton, so I was a big Phillies fan in 1980.
That 1980 team was pretty loaded, although it was pretty over the hill too. But Carlton and Schmidt carried that team.

1973 San Francisco Giants
1B -- Willie McCovey
2B -- Tito Fuentes
SS -- Chris Speier
3B -- Dave Kingman
OF -- Gary Matthews, Garry Maddox, Bobby Bonds
C -- Dave Rader
Starters: Bryant, Bradley, Marichal, Barr
Relievers: Willoughby, Sosa, Moffitt

Also... 1976 Philadelphia Phillies
1B -- Dick Allen
2B -- Dave Cash
SS -- Larry Bowa
3B -- Mike Schmidt
OF -- Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Jay Johnstone
C -- Bob Boone
Starters: Carlton, Kaat, Lonborg, Christenson
Relievers: McGraw, Garber, Twitchell

Maybe I just really liked Garry Maddox
That '73 Giants OF defense must have been incredible. Matthews was decent early in his career, Bonds was a CF playing RF and Maddox was otherwordly. So pretty much like the Sox' OF defense the past couple of years.

I used to love imitating Jay Johnstone's batting stance when playing wiffle ball, among others. There were a lot of great batting stances on that team - Schmidt with the closed stance and butt wiggle before the pitch came, Maddox' spreading his legs as wide as possible, Luzinski looking like Englebert from The Bad News Bears, Bowa with the choked up bat and crouch. I think Bobby Tolan was on that team too, with the bat pointed straight up in the air as high over his head as he could get it.

Wayne Twitchell had a really weird pitching style too. It was tough to describe. It's like a mix of Kenley Jansen and Tim Lincecum, but more herky-jerky.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I'm not surprised -- it's getting pretty hard lately to find real old-school Cooperstown hats besides the Brooklyn Dodgers. Most of the throwbacks are from the 80s or the 90s, it's even hard to find the 1970s red and blue Red Sox cap from Game 6, etc. I stupidly left my handmade NY Giants hat on a train last year and went insane for 9 months trying to find a semi-suitable replacement -- fortunately New Era did a reissue of an NY Giants hat in the UK, so I snapped up possibly the last hat in my size in the country.
That sucks about the Giants hat, I know how losing a nice can sting. I actually like the hats that are kind of broken in already and aren't the real thing, I think that 47 calls them the Franchise or something. The others ones sit on my dome too high. The Franchise caps sit right on my long head just fine.

The last fitted hat that I received was an A's kelly green hat from a friend of mine. It's boxy and sits way too high on my head, so I have to wear it backwards, which is not a great look for a 45-year-old. Also, with it being so long since I wore a fitted hat, I sized my dome incorrectly. I kind of look ridiculous in it, which is a shame because it's an awesome hat.
 

loshjott

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I was going to say the 1981 Dodgers because they beat the Yankees in the Series, including an epic game ending strikeout of Reggie Jackson by 21 yr old rookie Bob Welch. Then I looked it up and realized I'm conflating memories of 1978 and 81. The strike out occurred in 1978, game 2, and of course the Yankees won that series. Nonetheless, that is my favorite at bat ever that doesn't include the Red Sox or Nats.

The next day the Providence Journal printed a take off on Casey at the Bat "Reggie at the Bat" which of course concluded with "mighty Reggie has struck out." As a 13 yr old Sox fan still crushed by the playoff loss about a week before, I cut out that poem and kept it on my wall for months.

You can watch the at bat in its five minute glory here. Reggie Jackson was a one man pace of play problem back in those days. And funny to see #2 on first base for the Yanks and it is Willie Randolph rather than Jeter.