This cap poster popped up on eBay a few years ago, and I pounced on it because I had been looking (and continue to look) for cap posters in five-year increments leading out from my 1998 Star Struck poster. I had no idea that this 2003 poster existed until it was listed, so that was certainly a moment of serendipity. The poster was produced by Minor League Baseball itself, and there’s even a URL for the MiLB website, which must have been very rough-looking in 2003. Probably because the league has unfettered access to the digital logo renderings, this cap poster is very sharp-looking and is closer in quality to the cap posters that came out in the following decade than those from the Nineties–despite being made only a few years into the new millennium. I have a 2013 cap poster, and it is very similar to this one.
One thing that I appreciate about this poster is that it is from an era where I paid no attention to the minors (or sports in generally, really) so for me, it’s a window into the unknown. The early aughts were a time of major changes in the minors, when each year would produce 6-11 defunct identities and the structure of the minors was becoming stricter. At each level from Class-A full season up to Triple-A, each MLB team now had only one affiliate. There are an even 160 teams on this poster, as there would be for the ensuing decades.
Despite my on-the-dull-side photos, this is a high-quality poster with bright colors printed on paper with a glossy finish. As you can see, the caps are turned slightly in a style that MiLB posters would continue for years afterward. It makes the caps look more like 3-D baseball caps, but since the logos are front facing, it give a slightly-off look to each image. Furthermore, the added space makes the caps crammed right in there–almost on top of each other. The clarity of the renderings does make up for these minor deficiencies.
I’ve selected 30 individual images from the poster to view in more detail. There isn’t any particular formula for these selections, but the best way to say it is that these are teams or cap designs that are specifically notable for the time period. I’ll give the same disclaimer that I give for most images of memorabilia in the MLG cave. The lighting isn’t always the best and I’m not exactly a professional photographer.