In previous columns I have extolled the delicate aesthetics of some baseball pinback buttons, particularly from the early years of the 20th century. The ability to make pinbacks at that time was limited to companies that could afford the manufacturing technology required to do so. By the end of the 20th century the technology used to make pinbacks had became more affordable. It became possible for small companies specializing in creating merchandising products (e.g., fliers, banners, signs, etc.) to also make pinbacks. Today individuals can purchase the technology and all the component parts required to produce pins.
With the greater ease of production came a concomitant decline in the overall quality of pinbacks, both in terms of design aesthetics and production standards. Society also became more permissive in what messages were deemed acceptable for public expression, including pinbacks designed to be worn on clothing. This column is devoted to baseball pinback buttons that contain words or images that never would have been approved for production decades earlier. These pinbacks also reflect a shift in social preference away from supporting one team (as with a booster pin) to denigrating an opponent team. I present these pins because they occupy a place in the spectrum of baseball pinbacks, not because they are the highwater mark of the hobby. From a construction standpoint, many are poorly made. Most of these pinbacks do not use a straight pin (as found in almost all of the pins from the early years of pinmaking), but instead use the clutchback type of pin. In several of these pins the clutchback was mounted upside down in its production, suggesting the pinmaker was not familiar with how pinbacks are properly made (i.e., they are most likely “homemade” pinbacks). I will limit my narrative comments for the most part, and let the pins speak for themselves.
This baseball pinback is one of the first to use profanity. It is tame compared to the pins that follow. Reader discretion is advised.
Sucking is a popular epithet in baseball pinback buttons.
American Leagues team do it.
National League teams do it.
Teams that switch leagues do it.
Even owners do it.
There was discussion of Major League Baseball contracting. Teams that were not very profitable, as the Minnesota Twins, were the most frequent targets of proposed contraction. One Twins fan did not support the idea.
After the Twins won the 1991 World Series, contraction talk involving the Twins abated.
A “spoonerism” is a phonetic reversal of two consonants in a phrase. This pin reflects a spoonerism.
This pin also reflects a spoonerism.
This pin does not reflect a spoonerism.
Cub fans have been taking rebuke for over a century. One Cub fan was not reluctant to return it.
I wonder if any collector has the complete set?
I thought adding the (infield?) flies was a nice touch.
Finally, I got this pin off of eBay. I recall the seller being from the Boston area.
Next Up: Baseball Pins Worn by Stadium Employees