One of the uses for pinback buttons is they serve as a form of identification. When used in such a manner they are more technically referred to as “badges” rather than “pinbacks.” This column is about pinbacks worn by stadium employees, typically ushers or concessionaires. I do not know when stadium employees started wearing these pinbacks. Perhaps some old photographs showing stadium ushers wearing them might give us some insights as to when they were first used. Only three of mine are dated. The first is from Wrigley Field, dated 1939.
The second dated pinback is from Dodger Stadium in 1966. It is not technically a pinback as a cord was used instead of a pinning mechanism. I do not know if it was worn by an usher or concessionaire.
I would estimate the date of most of these pinbacks as being from the 1950s or early 1960s. Most of them are numbered. The number is an employee identification number, not the section of the stadium where the employee worked. The first is a “window” badge where the employee’s name would be inserted into the clear plastic opening.
Some of these pinbacks are not particularly scarce. These two, from the Indians and Yankees, respectively, seem to turn up fairly often.
Other employee pinbacks are rarely seen, as these for the Boston Braves, Milwaukee Braves, and Chicago Cubs, respectively.
I got this Dodger pinback along with some other items from the early years of the Los Angeles Dodgers. I don’t know if it was used in the Los Angeles Coliseum or Dodger Stadium.
I believe this window pinback is from the early years at Metropolitan Stadium.
A large (3.00″) concessionaire pin worn at Shea Stadium in the 1960s.
In the early 1970s baseball stadiums began to present themselves as safe and enjoyable places for families, as evidenced by these pinbacks. They were worn by ushers in support of facilitating a courteous atmosphere at Shea Stadium, Municipal Stadium, and Comiskey Park (dated 1984), respectively.
Some pinbacks were made for very special occasions. The ushers at Dodger Stadium didn’t just promote Opening Day, but Opening Week.
The Philadelphia Phillies hosted an All-Star game at Veterans Stadium. This unusual pin (in the shape of a star) and ribbon were worn by ushers encouraging fans to vote for Phillies players on the All-Star game ballot.
This pinback is very unusual in that it was not worn by an employee of Three Rivers Stadium, but by the guest singer of the National Anthem. I don’t know how many times per year the Pirates did not use a recording, but it must have been often enough to warrant the making of this pinback.
Finally, relatively few baseball teams today issue pinback badges to their ushers and concessionaires, at least with a reference to the stadium or team. One notable exception is the Baltimore Orioles. Their employees often wear large badges with the distinctive orange color. This pinback thanked the fans for supporting the Orioles for 50 years.
Next up: A One-Day Event Pinback to Replace a Pinback of a Rained Out One-Day Event