CAN’T HIT LIKE TY COBB? YOU CAN STILL DRESS LIKE HIM.
Historic baseball artifacts are fun to collect but not to use. You would no more hit fungoes with a DiMaggio-signed bat than you would toss a first edition of Moby-Dick into your tote bag for beach reading. A happy medium between authenticity and utility is achieved by Seattle’s Ebbets Field Flannels (800-377-9777; www.ebbets.com ), which reproduces antique caps, jackets, and uniforms of such teams as the Toledo Mud Hens and Cuba’s Cienfuegos Elefantes, using old-fashioned materials (flannel, wool broadcloth, leather sweatbands) and historically accurate proportions and stitching methods. Another company that makes usable historic sporting goods is the Cooperstown Bat Company (888-547-2415; www.cooperstownbat.com ). The bulk of the company’s business is in imprinted modern bats, but it also sells wooden reproductions of bats that were used at the turn of the century and before, as well as old-style baseballs. Each bat comes with a copy of nineteenth-century baseball rules for those who wish to commune even more fully with the spirits of Hoss Radbourne and Candy Cummings.