Thursday, January 31, 2013

Latest Acquisition: Sometimes You Just Get Lucky

The story of Major League Baseball's unusual 1999 "Turn Ahead The Clock" promotion is well documented, so I won't get into to much detail into. If you want to use your internet provider of choice to search for it, by all means. What I have learned is that it was the Seattle Mariners in 1998 who had a successful implementation of this promotion for a game set in the year 2027 (their 50th anniversary) only to be ruined a year later as MLB allowed Century 21 to sponsor it and change the date to 2021 (get it?) And it was all downhill from there.

So my personal recollection of the promotion as it happened is as follows:

None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

In 1998 (and 1999 for that matter) I was living in my first apartment with local cable and America Online. So basically I had no connection to the outside sports world. My lifeline was the subscription I had to the Los Angeles Times. My 2400 baud dial-up modem was not very conducive to getting rapid fire info on my favorite teams, let alone tell me anything about these cool promotions that were going on.

My cap collecting, however, had begun in earnest. And it was during a relatively routine search for Colorado Rockies caps that I came across this one:

Metallic silver visor. Very futuristic!
Yes, the Rockies had apparently participated in this event, so naturally I had to get the cap. To this day this is my favorite Rockies cap. I so wish I had gotten a second one. I actually found one on eBay a few years ago and bought it. The next day I got a message from the seller saying that the listing was made in error and he didn't actually have the cap. I have not seen one since.

But I digress. I remember looking at's site that day and seeing all the other caps that were available from that promotion to purchase. I browsed them, but not having the sense of future (no pun intended) urgency that I have now I passed on some of the unique styles. In hindsight, the Seattle Mariners cap would be one I'd like to have. Most notably, the New York Mets, who that night went with the moniker of "Mercury Mets" and had a cap that was nothing like the Mets logo we all know and love. It was easily the most unique of the promotion, and I've always kept the occasional eye on eBay for any type of merchandise related to this promotion, just in case something came up.

Last week, it did. An auction for a genuine Turn Ahead The Clock New Era cap size 7 3/8 came up and I pounced. Today it arrived. Behold:

Holy crap! I now actually own a Mercury Mets cap!

So one of the premium items on my wish list can now be scratched off. Here's the funny thing about why I didn't hesitate at grabbing this listing. My Rockies TATC cap is a 7 1/4, which is my usual size. For some reason that cap fits a size small. (Fortunately with the New Era wooden block this is not a problem) With this cap being listed a size larger, I took a shot that it would fit like my size. And it does! It is a perfect fit!

Front view. New Era should totally make a line of planet caps.

For those puzzled by the logo, this is the astronomical symbol for the planet Mercury. Although the subject of much ridicule, you have to admit it is very creative. I know there are collectors (and some Mets fans) who would love to have one of these. I just got lucky.

Just in case anyone was totally confused.

If you've never seen the Turn Ahead The Clock jerseys, check to see your favorite team. They range from slightly cool and unique to absolutely hideous and unimaginative. Here is the Mercury Mets jersey. You be the judge:

Recently sold on eBay for $223

I actually did acquire the Rockies version of this jersey some time ago. I never wear it. It looks silly on me. Still, I'm glad I own it.

Ahead of its time, so to speak.

And though introduced in 1999 representing the year 2021, this logo actually appears on the new 2013 Rockies batting practice caps.

So since it appeared on a jersey 14 years ago, but won't actually debut for 8 more years, it's sort of back to the future, right?

And here are the two Turn Ahead The Clock caps I own, side by side.

Mercury Mets and Colorado Rockies - Turn Ahead The Clock 1999

I'm actually very pleased that this cap will now sit in my collection. I would say it could possibly be the rarest cap in my collection, though that is subjective to what makes a cap rare. Based on the interest I know this particular cap has I'd say it has a good shot at holding that title. For the sake of those that would like to own a piece of that unique promotion I hope that New Era might someday soon remake some of these caps.

Maybe then I'd buy a second one. Just in case.

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