Pin Highlight: Original vs. Remake 1983 Little League World Series Hot Air Balloon Pins

The East Marietta National Little League team from Marietta, Georgia defeated the Liquito Hernandez Little League team of Barahona, Dominican Republic in the Championship Game of the 1983 Little League World Series.  It was the first time since 1976 that the Championship Game did not feature a team from Taiwan.  Guess what else was a first that year?  Little League released their first official pin.

Are there Little League pins that predate 1983?  Yes.  But none were officially made and released by Little League itself.  This Little League rookie pin is quite simple.  Its a multi-colored hot air balloon that says “Little League WORLD SERIES WILLIAMSPORT, PENNA. USA”.  The year isn’t even printed on it.  Back then this hot air balloon was a common sight in Williamsport when the Little League World Series was going on.  You can even find it on this Baseball Wit trivia game card.

Locating one of these pins for your collection isn’t easy.  When an example becomes available it will set you back about $50.  I can personally guarantee that in 1983 they didn’t cost anywhere near that much.

A word of WARNING.  Always check the back of the pin before buying.  In the 90’s, Little League remade this pin due to it’s popularity.  Little League continued selling these remakes well into the 2000’s.  The remake has the word “CHINA” printed on the back.  Original pins do not.  The backs of original pins are completely blank.  As you can imagine, the remakes don’t carry as much value.

Card of the Day: Nolan Ryan 1989 Best Western Little League 50th Anniversary

2018 Little League World Series Pin Pickups

All eyes are on Williamsport, PA for the next week as the Little League World Series takes place.  Baseball fans from all over the world have made their way to Williamsport.  Hotels are booked.  Restaurants are packed.  Parking lots are full.  And pins have become the next best thing to currency.  Pins are all over the place.  They’ve got commemorative pins made for everything.

While the Little League World Series is going on, I usually pick a day to go up and look around their campus.  There is always a lot happening.  I’m a big pin collector.  I’ve got lanyards full of them.  Over the last few years I’ve found it a bit more difficult to score free pins from the corporate sponsors.  This is mainly due to you having to register with an electronic bracelet, and use all types of cell phone apps.  Perhaps that stuff is all great for the kids, but for an older pin collector like myself I find it to be an inconvenience.  Luckily, I take a handful of my Sports Card Info pins with me and use them to barter with these sponsors in order to get around all of that.  In some cases it works, and others not.

Dunkin’ Donuts was my first stop.  Little League came next.  Following that was 4th Street downtown, Penn College, The Thomas T. Taber Museum, and then some more businesses on Williamsport’s Golden Strip.  Pins just popup everywhere.  I was able to get a lot more pins from the corporate sponsors setup at Little League than originally thought.  My Sports Card Info pins really helped out.

Pin collecting at Little League is like opening a pack of cards.  You don’t know what might happen.  A man walked over and randomly handed me a pin.  I didn’t catch his name, but I believe it was Troy Lare.  He had what looked like a Little League World Series ring on.  Judging by the pin, he is an umpire from Maine.  Very cool find, and not something you can just pickup anywhere.  I have very few umpire pins.

At the end of the day, I ended up with (24) new pins that filled up (3) lanyards.

The Phillies lost to the Mets 8-2 in this year’s MLB Little League Classic.  Next year’s MLB Little League Classic takes place on 8/18/19 between the Pirates and Cubs.

I’d really like to see Topps have a corporate booth at Little League.  It seems like a perfect fit.  Hopefully someday they can work something out.  Topps could have pins, special cards, make your own baseball card, and perhaps bring in a big league player to sign autographs.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Chick-fil-A

Pin Highlight: 2017 MLB Little League Classic – Cardinals vs. Pirates – Baseball Pin

There is no doubt that one of the major highlights during last year’s Little League World Series was the Major League game that took place at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.  In nine innings the Pirates defeated the Cardinals 6-3.  It even got it’s very own Topps Now card.

Three different pins were made to celebrate this inaugural event.  The first two are fairly simple to find.  One features the MLB Little League Classic name with logos from both teams.  A second has Fredbird and the Pirate Parrot on it.  The third pin is what you see pictured above.  As you can probably tell, it has the MLB Little League Classic name, team logos, and is in the shape of a baseball.  Unlike the other two though, this pin was not available for sale over at Little League.  A majority of them were given out to game attendees.  Only Little League players and their families, plus any Lycoming County residents lucky enough to win a lottery were allowed to attend the game.  Not much of the general public made it in.  All pins are made by WinCraft.

Sports Card Info has been known to get me into certain events for free, but this wasn’t one of them.  So how did I get one?  For a short time Fanatics had them for sale.  The day after I purchased mine, Fanatics pulled them off the market.  Why?  I don’t know.  The next thing I saw were them being handed out on T.V.

The 2018 Little League World Series takes place August 16-26.  Little League recently unveiled the official logo for the 2018 games.  The Phillies will take on the Mets August 19 in the second MLB Little League Classic.

Pin Highlight: 2017 Williamsport Sun-Gazette LLWS Gorilla Pin

Baseball season might be over.  The weather is getting colder.  Christmas music has begun to play.  But in my mind though its still the summer.  And that means the Little League World Series.  With that comes pins.  Lots and lots of pins!!!

The Williamsport Sun-Gazette was founded in 1801, and issued their first pin in 2004.  Since then, they have regularly sold pins while the Little League World Series takes place.  Every year its exciting to see what new designs they come up with.

Ten new pins were released this past August.  Each one is limited to only (125) pins.  In terms of pins, that isn’t many.  That’s probably why I haven’t seen any 2017 Sun-Gazette pins show up on the secondary market yet.  The Sun-Gazette never sells them online.  You have to purchase them in person.  Low quantity combined with in person only availability holds them back from surfacing.

Most of their pins are baseball themed.  Some aren’t.  The craziest pin they made for 2017 has nothing on it pertaining to baseball.  It measures 3″ and has a gorilla on top of the Sun-Gazette building.  They sold t-shirts with this image on them.  It reminds me a lot of King Kong or that arcade game Rampage.

Pin Highlight: Olive Garden 2017 Little League World Series Pin

Who doesn’t love the Olive Garden?  That list is fairly short.  Their pasta, soup, salad, and bread sticks are all delicious.  Its been almost two months since the Little League World Series came to an end, and there are still some pins that have yet to popup online.  One such pin comes from the Olive Garden.

During the 2016 Little League World Series the Olive Garden in Williamsport had pins.  A few of them have showed up for sale, but not recently.  This year’s pin has been seen even less.  You would think these would be all over the place given that the Olive Garden is a popular restaurant.  Especially when the world comes to Williamsport and people need to eat.  I think the price has a lot to do with it.  The Olive Garden charged $10 for one of these pins, or it was free with the purchase of a dessert.  Considering their pins are very small in size, that’s a lot of money.  Little was done to advertise them too.  It was basically word of mouth.  You know no advertising was done when you see a local fence company (Kriger Fence) have more pins show up on the secondary market compared to the Olive Garden.  Trust me, more people passed through the Olive Garden during the Little League World Series than Kriger Fence.

Most businesses in Williamsport don’t sell their Little League pins over the internet.  Almost all of them need to be acquired in person or on eBay.  Limited availability like this can drive up the demand for certain pins.  Which pins won’t end up surfacing that much is a total shot in the dark.  Fifty years from now we could learn that a pin was made for the ’17 LLWS and only be hearing about it for the first time.