In 2018, more than 25 million American kids played baseball or softball. Of those, nearly 15 million were "core" players meaning they played 13 or more times in a year.
As the participation rate for softball and baseball continues to rise, so does the demand for USSSA pins. So if you're wondering what USSSA pins are, you'll want to keep reading.
In this article, you'll learn all about these pins and the impact they have on youth sports.
The United States Speciality Sports Association (USSSA) is a nonprofit organization based in Viera, Florida. The organization's original name was the United States Slowpitch Softball Association. But, in 1998, they changed their name so the organization could expand to more sports.
The organization currently governs 13 sports, including:
Although USSSA now encompasses many sports, collecting trading pins is most popular with baseball and softball teams.
Trading pins started in 1896 with the first modern Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Athletes and officials wore and traded little cardboard markers.
These markers were colorful and helped to identify each team. In addition, athletes traded pins as an act of good sportsmanship.
In 1908, the Olympic games in Paris spurred pin trading. Now pins represented different groups like:
Later, in 1912, there were pins for spectators too. Pin trading was a tradition by the 1924 Olympic games, again in Paris. At this time, the Olympic Village opened, which encouraged athletes to trade pins as a sign of goodwill.
In the 1980s, corporations started to sponsor and sell their pins too. Around this time, the first official pin for the Little League Series was also made.
As mentioned, pin trading is most common amongst baseball and softball teams. Each team trades pins with other teams and with fans.
Most pin creators also create special pins, like Little League World Series pins. This is because it's exciting for kids to celebrate their team's accomplishments when they make it into big tournaments, such as the World Series.
There are several different styles of USSSA pins that are popular. Let's check a few of them out.
One of the most popular types of softball and baseball trading pins is embossed or custom soft enamel pins. These pins start as an iron base. Then, they are die-struck to create recessed areas.
The areas are filled with color or soft enamel paint. The color sits lower than the raised metal lines. This gives the pins a textured look and feel.
The colors harden when fired at low heat. With soft enamel pins, there are endless options. Some include:
Embossed pins are great for simple and moderately complex designs. They offer a high-quality finish and appearance. In addition, you can have several colors on the pins, including PMS (Pantone) color matching, bright, vivid, or neon colors.
However, there is a limit on the number of colors you can choose. Further, because they are hand-colored, they take longer to make and are priced higher than other pin types.
Another popular option for USSSA pins is photo screen pins (screenprint, silkscreen, or offset print). These pins are very versatile. They are excellent for detailed designs with complex coloring since they can recreate designs down to the smallest detail.
This includes gradient or gradual color changes. They also offer a smooth look without the thin metal lines separating colors.
If you want to transfer an existing logo or design, it's easy to do so.
Your artwork goes onto a vinyl layer atop iron sheet metal to make these pins. Next, the sheet is printed, and custom dye punches out your pin. Finally, each pin gets a coat of clear epoxy dome. The dome seals the image but also gives a nice slick look.
Offset print pins offer a lower price with that full-color appearance. They are also faster to make than soft enamel pins.
Yet, these pins still feel lighter and therefore are not as durable. The backs can break with rough handling. Compared with soft enamel pins, the colors may not be as vibrant or bright.
Because of this, some teams view photo screen pins as cheap.
Quick pins are the way to go for teams that don't have much time. Quick pins come in limited designs and styles because are ready to ship in just a few days. However, if you want a fully customizable pin, it's important to order pins early.
Stocks pins are always in stock. Teams can have them in as little as one day if necessary. However, they are not customizable. There are generic and exclusive options to choose from, but they will not have your team name.
Design and quality are essential because they add value to the pin. The more creative the design, the more in-demand the pin will be. Consider adding enhancements or modifications to take your team baseball pins to the next level.
Some of these enhancements include:
Of course, each added modification will cost an extra fee. But, they are a sure way to make your team and pin stand out amongst the crowd.
Baseball and softball USSSA pins continue to grow in popularity thanks to their long history and full-spirited meaning. As more kids get involved in these sports, pins will remain an excellent way to install good sportsmanship and teamwork.
If you're ready to place an order, get a free quote with us at Baseball Trading Pins. You can't beat our customizable pin prices!
Are you an obsessive collector of baseball pins?
Or perhaps you're just starting to build your own collection, and want to know more about what you should look out for.
If this sounds like you, then you need to keep on reading. In this post, we'll tell you everything you need to know about five of the most valuable baseball trading pins of all time.
We'll even let you know where you can find press pins and rare Copperstown pins for your favorite baseball player or fan!
One of the most valuable baseball trading pins of all time also serves as a reminder of the importance of diversity and inclusion.
On the fifteenth of April in 1947, famed baseball player Jackie Robison played his first ever game with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was the first ever black player to ever step on the field of a major league baseball game.
He was only 28 years old.
He weathered torrents of abuse and racial slurs while on the field, but was still named the Rookie of the Year, and then became the Most Valuable Player in 1949.
He would later command the highest salary of any of the other players on the Dodgers team.
He retired in 1956.
Getting your hands on Jackie's Rookie Pin from 1947 is difficult -- making it one of the most valuable pins out there today.
In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 and up for this pin.
If you're interested in press pins, then it's likely that you already know about the legendary 1912 press pin.
There are lots of different things that make this pin as special as it is.
First of all, 1912 was the year that Fenway Park came into existence.
Additionally, the Boston Red Sox and the Giants faced off in a Word Series that any true baseball fan wishes they'd been able to see. In the bottom of the tenth, the Red Sox were able to come back for an incredible win.
This epic victory makes this pin especially coveted by die-hard Boston Red Sox fans, as a reminder of what their team is capable of doing.
But unless you have some pretty deep pockets, be prepared to admire this pin from afar. In fact, it's so valuable, that the pin has sold for close to $60,000 at auctions in the past.
Especially if you have young children, it's difficult to imagine attending a baseball game that doesn't include everyone's favorite snack -- Cracker Jacks.
Cracker Jacks often included specialized collector's pins in their famous snack boxes. One of the most popular was Lou Gehrig's pin.
Though these pins aren't always in the best of shape when they come up for auction (after all, they were included as a prize inside of a snack box!) they're still one of the most valuable baseball trading pins.
This is due in no small part to the tragic passing of Lou Gehrig from ALS.
Another one of the most popular baseball pins that also honors Lou Gehrig?
His Memorial Pin, which was created in 1941, the same year that he sadly lost his battle with ALS.
Topps has long been heralded as one of the most successful baseball trading card companies of all time.
An aspect of the company's history that most people aren't aware of, however?
The fact that in the year 1956, the company actually stopped making their cards. Instead, they decided to see what would happen if they focused on making pins.
They made a total of 60 pins. Some of the most popular players included Jackie Robison and Willie Mayes.
While you could buy them for only about 5 cents in 1956, good luck being able to pay that low of a price for these pins today!
The entire set of 60 pins has been known to sell for well over ten thousand dollars.
After all, since 11 of the players on the pins later became Hall of Fame members, it's not hard to see why!
In this final entry on our list of the most valuable baseball pins comes one of the most coveted World Series Pins.
In this series, the New York Yankees took on the Pittsburg Pirates -- and the fame didn't exactly fall in the Pirates' favor.
In fact, the Yankees were able to completely sweep the Pirates, 4 to 0. This was the first ever sweep that an American League team made over a national one -- so it's certainly cemented in baseball history.
Another aspect of the game that makes this pin so popular?
Baseball legends Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth both played in this game.
In the past, this pin has fetched prices that come close to $6,000 -- so, it's certainly worth saving up for!
We hope that this post has helped to better educate you about five of the most valuable baseball trading pins on the market today.
Of course, we know that for true fans, the price point isn't really what matters. Instead, what's important is the history behind these iconic baseball pins.
Are you interested in adding to your current collection of baseball trading pins? Maybe you'd like to gift a few pins to your Little League Player?
Whatever the case, we're here to help you find the pins you've been looking for.
Be sure to check out our pins to learn more about what we have to offer. Finally, keep on checking back with our blog for even more baseball history tidbits!