After years of diligent searching, I finally got my hands on an Orioles AJD cap!
Ok, so it’s a little dingy, and the logo’s outline is slightly faded, but I just had to get one of these in my hands for once!
This was the Orioles first white panel cap, which made it’s debut in 1975.
These caps were never sold at retail, so the only way someone would be able to obtain one back then was from the Orioles themselves.
Note the number 16 written on the under-brim. That narrows it down to belonging to two possible players — First baseman Tony Muser:
Muser played for the Orioles from 1975-1977, which are the exact years AJD supplied this cap to the Orioles.
The other player who wore the number 16 during this time period was Pitcher Scott McGregor:
McGregor joined the Orioles in 1976, but didn’t start wearing #16 until the 1978 season after Muser had left.
By 1978, most of the Orioles had ditched AJD and switched over to Roman Pro’s version of the white panel Cartoon Bird cap. However, there’s a possibility some leftover AJD’s could have made it up to 1978 Spring Training at least.
If I were forced to bet I’d say this was Muser’s cap, but who knows? I’ll have to do some more research and find out what size caps those guys wore.
My favorite detail about this cap is AJD’s version of the Cartoon Bird logo. The logo design is based on the logo first featured on the 1974 black-crowned Wilson caps:
According to the authoritative mlbcollectors.com, this logo was designed by Roman Art & Embroidery and manufactured by American Needle.
Initially, AJD would use this exact same logo patch from ’74 and slap it onto their white and alternate orange panel caps in ’75:
Soon after, AJD (Roman?) would tweak details of this design, as well as add a thick orange outline:
Big, bold, and proud. This logo totally embodies the mid ‘7o’s! I like to think of this as an enhanced version of the previous ’74 logo.
The AJD logo is a patch, as well. Take a look behind the front panels:
That thick, orange outline serves two purposes. One, it secures the patch to the cap, and two, it covers up the rough edges of the black material that the logo is embroidered upon.
Notice in the previous logo that the rough edges show, creating a thin, black outline.
Here’s a close-up of the tags:
Double knit Nylon… Only in the ’70’s, baby!
Here’s the faded size tag along side a readable example in near-mint condition:
Unfortunately this particular cap fits way too tight on me. My hat size is 7 1/4, so this one has to be at the most a 7 1/8, possibly even as small as a 7.
AJD Cap Corporation was located just a little over 2 hours down the road from Baltimore, Maryland, in Richmond, Virginia. The company was started by Irving Joel in 1960. The Orioles would be the only team they manufactured on-field Major League caps for. AJD supplied caps for the Orioles from 1975-1976, but as stated previously, they can be seen on players at least up to 1977.
Here are all four of the Orioles AJD cap variations:
The Orioles AJD cap has become somewhat of a holy grail for me. It’s great to finally own one and see it up close, but hopefully I’ll come across one that actually fits me someday!