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Roberto Clemente’s Game-Used Cap, COA Former Pirates Assistant Equipment Manager

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Roberto Clemente’s Game-Used Cap, COA Former Pirates Assistant Equipment Manager

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SKU: 16567 Category:


In 1999 Howie Haak died of complications following a stroke. And shortly thereafter, his widow sold his professional artifacts. Haak wasn’t a collector, nor was he a professional athlete. For that matter, beyond those in the fraternity of his trade, his name doesn’t lift an eyebrow. But Howie Haak was a scout – a baseball scout for the Pirates – and his domain was Latin America. He probably knew about this kid, Roberto Clemente, but the Dodgers got to him first, and promptly assigned him to their AAA affiliate, Montreal. For Clemente, it wasn’t a rewarding experience, and at the close of the season, he simply returned to his native Puerto Rico. Howie Haak stormed the opportunity, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Among the deceased scout’s mementos was this offered Pirates cap, and with other sundry material and souvenirs, it was sold through an unknown channel. It has now resurfaced, and the opportunity is nigh to capture this trophy – one of immense magnitude. In 1970, as the Pirates opened Three Rivers Stadium, they adopted a new uniform style. The ensemble included the familiar gold-crown cap type, as is typified here. This one bears a New Era manufacturer’s label in the sweatband, and there’s also a small flag tag, but its information is no longer legible. The sweatband – especially at the forehead – is heavily stained, and the underside of the visor is likewise stained from perspiration. Externally however, the cap is perfectly acceptable for game use (or, of course, prominent display). It is clean with a perfectly symmetrical and undamaged visor. The stitched “P” logo and the button are likewise flawless.

Ultimately, this is a Clemente game-used cap. As is illustrated in our photo, the number “21” was placed against a panel in the interior crown. That in itself isn’t, and shouldn’t be, conclusive. However, the provenance of this cap has been confirmed by Chuck Cirelli. Mr. Cirelli was the long-time assistant equipment manager for the Pirates, and his tenure in the Pirate clubhouse traversed much of Clemente’s career. It was routinely the responsibility of the equipment manager (John Hallahan) or his assistant, Chuck Cirelli, to place these numerical identities in players’ caps. Mr. Cirelli still resides in Pittsburgh, and his recollections are often summoned to affirm the legitimacy of a piece such as this.

We’re delighted to report that this Pirate cap – with its undeniable evidence of protracted use – has been confirmed by Chuck Cirelli as having been provided for Roberto Clemente’s routine game use; that the handwritten number appearing in the cap was placed there by Chuck Cirelli, and that Mr. Cirelli’s letter of authenticity accompanies the cap.

100% Authentic Team

1999,Baseball,Cap,Equipment,Game-Used,Letter,Trophy,Uniform  Chuck Cirelli,Roberto Clemente

Auction End: 12-Mar-05  Post Views: 3355

Price; $0.00 – $1,000.00




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