Ebbets Field Flannels
Pigtown was a garbage dump. Pigs roamed its stinky confines, found hearty meals, and a place to call home. Charles Ebbets, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, had been buying land in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. This included Pigtown. Charles, the new pig landlord was about to evict the tasty swine. Why would Mr. Ebbets want to remove such appreciative tenants? Because it was time to build a baseball field.
On March 4, 1912, Ebbets broke ground on what would become Ebbets Field. A year later, on April 5, 1913, the Dodgers played their first game at the newly constructed stadium. It was an exhibition game against their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees (who were actually called the Highlanders at the time). The Dodgers beat the Yankees 3-2 on an inside the park home run. This was just the beginning of over 50 years of baseball drama that would keep a community of fans enthralled with their boys in blue.
Ebbets Field + Flannels
So what happens when you take all of that history and add flannels to it? You get Ebbets Field Flannels (EFF), a company that is dedicated to keeping the rich history of lesser-known baseball teams alive through beautifully crafted apparel.
Ebbets Field Flannels is located in Seattle, Washington, so naturally, calling it Ebbets Field makes sense.
Wait a second? No, it doesn’t.
The answer lies in youthful fixations as most of our obsessions tend to. Jerry Cohen, the owner and founder of EFF was raised in Brooklyn near Pigtown, where Ebbets Field had once towered over the neighborhood like a cathedral. He grew up hearing his father tell stories of the iconic players of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Including the stories about the Dodgers, Jerry also became enthralled with uniforms and their various colors and styles.
From Budding Rock Star to Fashion Designer
This materialistic enchantment developed over the years and so did Jerry’s love of music. He decided to follow his passion for music and eventually landed in Seattle as a struggling rock musician pre-grunge explosion in 1987. Just as Soundgarden and Nirvana were forming and getting to know each other in damp garages around the greater Seattle area, Jerry was on the hunt for a jersey that he could wear while performing. Nothing looked like the jerseys that he had grown up staring at on the many baseball cards that he’d had as a kid. The polyester jerseys of the 80s just did not do it for him. But where could he find those classic wool jerseys of yore?
Well, he could have them made, but first, he needed to find the material. In comes flannel. And if you have ever lived in the Pacific Northwest, or are old enough to remember the Seattle music takeover of the early 90s, you would know that flannel is worn in abundance in the rainy, cold climate of Cascadia. Luckily for Jerry, he was able to come across some old wool baseball flannel and have a few shirts made for the stage.
Jerry wore the shirts, people loved them, asked where they could buy them, and the rest is EFF history; rock career done, baseball fashionista born.
Jerry decided to focus on the old Pacific Coast League, the Negro Leagues, the Federal League, and other lesser known professional baseball leagues. By focusing on these leagues, Jerry cornered a market that didn’t exist. But it wasn’t only the content, it was (and still is) the quality of the materials being used and the craftsmanship. All of their products are handmade and composed of historical fabrics. When you wear an EFF hat or Jersey you are literally putting on material from a different time.
Baseball Is More Than Just a Game
To own a cap, jersey, or a shirt from EFF is to own a part of baseball history. Since their humble beginnings in 1988, they have expanded from just baseball to other sports as well, such as football, soccer, and hockey. But baseball remains their flagship sport. More than thirty years later their products have been worn by the likes of David Letterman, Whitey Ford, and Yogi Berra. Major League Baseball teams also wear their jerseys in “Turn Back the Clock” games.
We all know that at its core baseball is a game. But, it is a game that is rooted deeply in our history as a people. And it is the uniforms worn by the players that evoke images of that long tradition. Ebbets Field Flannels is not only a company, it is a living, breathing museum of baseball history that you can own a part of.
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