July 31, 2012
(Editor’s Note: Besides being the Buyer/Manager for 20 years at the "Original" Mitchell & Ness Sporting Goods, Ray Jannelli (President of PLA) , designed the Official Tri-State Wrestling Alliance Logo and apparel line for the first extreme professional wrestling organization in North America, in 1989.
Ray also writes frequently for Authentically Speaking, and this week shares his thoughts on the product offerings of the great, perhaps late, AJD Cap Company.)
By Ray Jannelli
The AJD Cap Company in Virginia was always a forward thinking company, and did it in an ethical and elegant way. Nice people to deal with. AJD was always on the periphery, but when its cap product hit it right they were unstoppable.
The classic AJD Cap that we all recall (part of the collective unconscious) is the SuperStripe, circa 1978, probably a college cap and mostly a southern school. "Classic Trucker cap" comes to mind when AJD is mentioned at Sport Cap Conferences and Cap Think Tanks like PLA, where we really do put on our thinking caps.
I first started purchasing from AJD in 1986-87 when Philadelphia Eagles Coach Buddy Ryan selected and began sporting the all Kelly green AJD nylon w/mesh plastic adjustable Eagles cap (please forgive me if I don't use the word SNAPBACK, just too trendy).
This extremely heavyweight nylon cap had an embroidered flying eagle crest on the 2 front panels. Quality cap and our best seller at the "Original" Mitchell & Ness.
Retail price $12.00. Every day for 16 weeks.
"Ray, do you have any Buddy Ryan hats left?"
In 1990-91 AJD really hit it big with the NFL ZUBAZ Striped caps. The AJD ZUBAZ caps were the most popular and best selling NFL caps nationwide. I would venture to guess that there was more fanfare for the NFL ZUBAZ cap style in '90-'91than any subsequent NFL cap collection/offering since that time.
In my 25 years in the sports apparel business I never saw anything like it. Good for AJD. The ZUBAZ caps were certainly original and was the impetus for Logo Athletic to manufacture the “Sharktooth" and "Paint Splash" styles. Yes, "SnapBack”, youngsters those caps you think are new are really 20 years old (nothing wrong with a 1992 Buick Reatta).
Throughout the nineties AJD had continued success. The Virginia-based cap company secured a NASCAR Winston Cup license for driver and team caps, and obtained the World League of American Football cap manufacturing agreement.
Two years ago when doing research for PLA , I tried contacting AJD to see what cap offerings/range was available. No answer. Unless somebody knows better, I think AJD is no longer operating.
I'm not too sure though, I might just take a nice drive down to Virginia Beach, then stop by the old AJD factory and see if they have any Barcelona Dragons caps left.
Authentically Speaking Trivia Time: We previously asked which NFL team is the only one to never wear its white jersey at home (Seattle). Three teams have only worn white at home twice in team history, name those three teams and the years in which they wore white jerseys at home. Answer on Wednesday.
Monday’s answer: The Kansas City Scouts. K.C. played only two seasons in the NHL in 1974-75 and ’75-’76 before moving to Denver and begin renamed the Colorado Rockies in 1976, Six years later in 1982, the Rockies became the New Jersey Devils.