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January 31, 2023

A Brief History of Baseball Trading Pins

January 31, 2023

Trading pins have a rich history dating back to the beginning of the modern Olympics in 1896. Tradeable souvenirs have been popular since sports and print became mainstream, but the 1896 Athens Olympics were a big jumping-off point. Large youth baseball tournaments - including uniforms and lodging are raised today using baseball trading pins.

A new version of such a historically significant global display of athletic ability brought fans out of all countries and pumped life into the industry of tradeable gear - namely pins. Thus began the history of trading pins. Baseball trading pins were an evolution of the market for these collectible sports pins.

They are also very flexible as fundraisers because many of the team members buy them themselves to trade with other players at tournaments or events. First, let's take a more detailed look at the history of trading pins.

Baseball Trading Pins - What Are They?

history of baseball trading pins
Baseball Trading Pins

In 1898, sponsored pins by companies hoping to market themselves to sports fans began to spring up with certain players featured on such pins. A prominent sports commentator published an outstanding review of the birth of baseball trading pins in 2012.

Today, sports pins are collectible for youth sports players and enthusiasts and can also be feasibly used as a fundraising item. Players and parents alike love to collect, trade, and display these pins as keepsakes for tournaments, teams, and accomplishments that they or their children have participated in or accomplished.

Baseball pins are tradeable and collectible little emblems that kids or parents collect or sell at events to commemorate an event or team. Typically, they come in the form of a traditional pin that can be attached to a bat bag, a hat, a shirt, or any other type of baseball-related gear.

Baseball pins officially started in the 1920s at a small business in upstate New York. They offered what they called "pin-back buttons" in packs of four for collections or for trading that featured profiles of local baseball players.

Trading Pins on a Global Scale

In 1924, pins gained a huge following with Olympic athletes in the first-ever "Olympic Village." Competitors from all over shared the same space for the duration of the games. Not only did camaraderie ensue, but trading pins also gained popularity in a big way - as sort of a goodwill offering from one country to another via their athletes.

history of baseball trading pins
Baseball Trading Pins

Once the audience of the Games noticed the trend, a market sprang up amongst them that was feverish in the least. As a result, officials made a concerted effort to cap the number of trading pins to maintain their value and exclusivity.

Trading Pins in the Modern Age

Fast forward to the late 20th century, when baseball trading cards began to enjoy a booming market with both children and adult baseball fans. Modern corporations started to notice the demand for exclusive and collectible items.

As a result, trading cards for every sport and subject known to Americans began to flood the market. Everything from baseball cards to cartoon Garbage Pail Kid cards could be found on the "impulse buy" shelves that lined checkout lanes.

Major conglomerates such as Disney and Coca-Cola have now entered the trading pin market. Coca-Cola's trading pin market became global news at the 1988 Olympics - people flocked to the Games to get their hands on the pins rather than to watch the events.

Another great example is Disney. Disney has possibly developed the world's most lucrative trading pin market. They were also the first non-sporting-related organization to introduce a trading pin program.

The Intrinsic Value of Baseball Trading Pins

Today's youth participate in a staggering amount of sports. If your child's chosen favorite is baseball, you're going to find yourself helping to fundraise for the team to save on equipment costs and league fees. You're also going to want to get something that your little slugger can keep to help remember the experience and to trade with their friends.

When your children have children, they can sit down and show them their keepsakes from all of the tough competitions and tournaments that they played in. This fosters a multi-generational legacy of discipline and sporting success. And let's face it - having some extra bling on their backpack for winning a tournament is bound to boost a kiddo's confidence.

Social Development and Baseball Trading Pins

Quite a bit of the experience of youth baseball is meeting new friends from different teams and regions. Baseball trading pins work as a great icebreaker for your children and kids that they might otherwise have not met. Experiences like that can help build their social skills and be more confident in situations involving children their age.

Why Baseball Trading Pins Stand the Test of Time

Like most collectibles, baseball trading pins provide a tangible item for the collector that signifies a significant experience in their life.

Collections give us a sense of community and commonality - some people collect stamps and find friends who are fellow enthusiasts. Geocachers are a modern iteration of trading pin collectors. They hunt out real-life treasures for collectible pins that they trade with other enthusiasts.

Other common collectibles include:

  • License plates
  • Coca-Cola merchandise
  • Harley-Davidson merchandise
  • Dolls
  • Action figures
  • Comics
  • Postcards
  • Sports trading cards
  • Coins

Help Your Kids Make Memories

By investing in baseball trading pins, you are not only opening up a possible fundraiser to help your child's team. In fact, you are giving them an opportunity to develop socially with like-minded children both locally and outside of your area.

Your team may not win a championship ring every year, but at the very least your young masher can come away with a bit of "jewelry" to adorn their backpack or favorite baseball cap. By the same token, they can spread the wealth to their fellow ballplayers by trading. Contact a quality pin maker to view your options and for pricing.

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