Wonderful discovery of the green Band Box fastpitch jacket

Written by Bob on September 21st, 2017

Over the 53 years I’ve been involved with fastpitch softball as a player, writer and photographer, I’ve collected a sizeable number of jackets. These are my favorites. From left, the photographer jacket the ISC issued me in 1996; the St. James, Minn. Band Box jacket I received in 1976 when I pitched for the team; the 1996 ISC commissioner’s jacket, my Yucaipa jacket of 1983, and I’m wearing my NAFA apparel from the 2017 World Series. But the green Band Box jacket is my prized fastpitch possession. Photo By NANETTE OTTO

YUCAIPA, Calif. – My wife has been on a cleaning binge of late. She’s pulling boxes off shelves, inspecting the contents, and more often than not tossing most of the things on the pile designated “yard sale stuff.”

Yesterday, she asked me to haul down from the rafters in the garage a large, heavy, blue toter. I followed her orders without complaint. As long as I’m free of decision making, I’m OK with her mission to unclutter our lives.

So I did as I was ordered and set the toter on the garage floor. I didn’t bother to open it. My job was finished.

Well, later in the day after she had opened the toter, she came back into the house and said:

“Bob, you better come and look at this stuff.”

So I went to the garage, looked in the toter, and much like an excited little boy on Christmas morning, I eagerly started digging in and pulling out one thing after another.

For the toter was packed with an array of fastpitch apparel that goes back over 40 years. In it were ISC sweatshirts, T-shirts and jackets from my time as the ISC World Tournament photographer.

There was even a Farm Tavern T-shirt, a Broken Bow (Neb.) jersey, a Long Beach Painters sweatshirt, and a Happy Chef T-shirt.

But I kept on digging. And I hit pay dirt.

Near the bottom was a green softball jacket. I pulled it out, spread it open, and on the back in big, bold gold lettering was printed, “Band Box, St. James.”

It was the jacket I wore in 1976 when I pitched for the Band Box, a tavern in the small town of St. James just 25 miles south of Mankato.

The jacket was also the last remnant of a Minnesota fastpitch uniform that I ever wore. Because in 1977 I moved to California.

The 41-year-old jacket was still in surprisingly good condition. I admit, I got a little misty eyed as I slipped the jacket on. It fit good, felt good, and brought back some fond memories of my final year playing fastpitch in Minnesota.

Of course, I was happy to find the ISC jackets and sweatshirts. But the Band Box jacket was the grand prize.

As I’ve grown older, I have wished that I had kept something – anything – as a remembrance of those wonderful years playing fastpitch in my home state.

Now I have it, my green Band Box jacket. And my wife will not be tossing it on the yard sale pile.

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