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!