COVID-19 Reflected In Many 2020 Little League World Series Pin Designs

Even though the Little League World Series has been canceled this year, many local businesses and organizations in Williamsport and the surrounding areas made new pins for 2020.  Collectible lapel pins are very popular to buy/sell/trade when the Little League World Series is taking place.  Its one of the main attractions.

COVID-19 and the lack of Little League Baseball are truly reflected in some of the 2020 pin designs.  Many pins feature people, places, and things wearing masks.  Cool, yet kinda creepy.  This event in world history will forever be remembered on these pins.

Others take a more traditional route, and don’t mention COVID-19 at all.

Despite lots of places having pins, I’ve noticed each place didn’t order the quantity they usually do.  It makes perfect sense as to why.  No need to order as many if the Little League World Series isn’t happening.

Below is a list of places that I’ve compiled which have pins for 2020.  Some may have run out, and they’re ordering more.  Others may not order more.  I ran into others who’s pins haven’t even arrived yet.

  • Boy Scouts of America
  • The Clothier
  • ARC Heating and Service
  • Robert M. Sides Family Music Centers
  • BAM! Book Store
  • James V. Brown Library
  • K&W Tire
  • Tebbs Brothers Landscaping
  • Industrial Piping Systems
  • Plankenhorn Stationary
  • Williamsport Sun-Gazette
  • Farrington Place
  • Horizon Federal Credit Union
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Corter’s Flooring America
  • West Branch Valley Federal Credit Union
  • It’s My Party Store
  • Thomas T. Taber Museum
  • Mileto’s Sub Shop
  • D&W Disposal
  • WILQ 105.1 FM
  • Finn Pest Control
  • Arthaus Projects
  • UPMC Susquehanna
  • C.J. Mertes Plumbing & Heating
  • Wine & Design
  • DJ Cory
  • Billtown Welding & Fabricating
  • The Break Room of Williamsport
  • Susquehanna Community Bank
  • Valley View Rehab & Nursing Center
  • Kriger Fence Co.
  • Yoder Insurance Inc.
  • Daves Repair
  • Heltman’s Excavation
  • Lycoming County 911

Pin Highlight: Lawrence Taylor vs. Joe Theismann – Spring-Loaded Leg Break Pin

Monday Night Football.  November 18, 1985.  Redskins vs. Giants.  Football historians remember this game all because of one play.  Washington’s quarterback Joe Theismann was sacked by linebacker Lawrence Taylor.  While falling to the ground, Taylor’s knee drove right into Theismann’s lower right leg.  As you can imagine, Theismann’s leg snapped like a twig.  The compound fracture forced him to retire at age 36.  Even though Taylor has apologized numerous times, Theismann has never blamed him for the career ending injury.

Little to no officially licensed merchandise depicting this iconic injury can be found.  Its not uncommon for cards to feature both players.  Photos of the play are the main item you’ll find.

Many years ago I came across this pin on eBay.  There are no team names/logos, player names, or anything to officially connect the Giants, Redskins, Lawrence Taylor, or Joe Theismann to it.  But just looking at it we all know what’s going on.  The player who is suppose to be Joe Theismann even has a spring-loaded leg to recreate the classic break.

Who made this pin?  How many were made?  Who distributed them?  These are all great questions.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers.  This is the only one I’ve seen.

Pin Highlight: Nolan Ryan & Robin Ventura – Courage, Loyalty, Character – Brawl Pin

Nolan Ryan and Robin Ventura had very successful baseball careers.  Each has numerous awards next to their name.  Mention both in the same sentence though and one moment comes to mind – August 4, 1993.

Robin Ventura got an RBI single off of Ryan in the first-inning that day.  Later on, White Sox pitcher Alex Fernandez hit Juan Gonzalez.  When Ventura came up to bat again in the third, Ryan hit him in the upper arm.  Ventura took a few steps toward first and then charged the mound.  For some reason, Ventura decided to slow down as he got closer to Ryan.  That gave Nolan Ryan the extra time to get his glove off.  Despite being twenty years older than Robin Ventura, Nolan Ryan put up a great fight.

The image of Nolan Ryan holding Robin Ventura in a headlock is iconic.  Signed photos containing this image make for a fun conversation piece.

This pin comes from a Little League district in California.  The yin-yang symbol on Nolan Ryan’s arm indicates that.  You have to laugh at the irony of a pin that encourages courage, loyalty, and character while depicting two grown athletes fighting.

Pin Highlight: 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four Press Pin

Whether its pure laziness or just an effort to pinch pennies, pins handed out to the press for specific sporting events many times look quite similar to the ones you’d purchase at the souvenir stands.  This can result in mass-produced pins being sold as their much harder to come by press pin counterparts.  A good example of this can be seen when it comes to the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four pin.

Press pin

Mass-produced pin

At a quick glance you can see how someone might mistake one version for another.  The NCAA logo on the mass-produced pin has silver coloring around the letters “NCAA”.  The press pin does not have this, just white lettering.  A solid silver-colored ring also circles the entire blue NCAA logo on the mass-produced pin.  The silver-colored ring fades out near the top of the circle on the pin issued to the press.  Looking at the font used for “2015” and “INDIANAPOLIS” you’ll see some major differences.  The mass-produced pin’s is thicker and plain white whereas the press pin font is thinner and a shiny metal color.  Those spikes on the left-side are a bit sharper on the mass-produced pin as well.

When it comes to press pins its important to know what you’re buying.  The price difference can be significant.

I Traded A Jar Of Peanut Butter For A Pin – 2019 Little League World Series Pin Pickups

The 2019 Little League World Series is in full swing.  Baseball fans from all over the world have found their way to South Williamsport.  Pin trading is bigger than ever.  Corporate sponsors and local businesses have pins for everyone.  Some you need to buy, while others are freebies.

This is the first year that I did not visit the Little League campus.  Obtaining pins from the corporate booths has really become an activity for kids.  Years ago pins were easily handed out for filling out a survey or lining up at a booth at a certain time.  Over the course of a few years mobile apps and registering electronic bracelets for the Family Fun Zone has become a requirement.  That’s not something I’m interested in doing.  Personally, I think it adds a bunch of unnecessary steps.  I suppose it keeps the kids busy though.

Just because I skipped the Little League complex doesn’t mean I missed out on adding some new pins to my collection.  Between Dunkin’, Dairy Queen, various businesses on 4th street, and Williamsport’s Golden Strip, I came home with (22) pins.  Between the Chamber of Commerce and Dick’s Sporting Goods, I was able to pickup the pins I would’ve purchased over at Little League anyway.  Some places which traditionally have pins like Pennsylvania College of Technology and The Crazy Tomato don’t have them this year.

I’m not going to show off all (22) pins.  But I will show you some of the pins I got which I haven’t seen popup online yet and/or I find unique.

Woodlands Bank – in order to get this pin I had to trade-in a jar of peanut butter.  Woodlands Bank will donate the peanut butter to the Central PA Food Bank and Firetree Place.

Bullfrog Brewery & Restaurant

Kinley Jewelers

Dolly’s Diner

River Valley Transit

Pin Highlight: Taber Museum – The Haunted Portrait Of Nellie Tallman – 2019 Little League Pin

The 2019 Little League World Series is right around the corner.  Its only a matter of time until visitors from all over the world flood Williamsport, PA and the surrounding areas.  Along with them will come tons and tons of Little League pins to buy, sell, and trade.

Little League’s official store has already begun selling pins for the 2019 games.  Even some of the pins made by the local businesses have started to surface.  Pins from Legal Insites, Tebbs Farms, and the Taber Museum have all been spotted.  Many more are on the way.

The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society showcases artifacts that pertain to the region’s local history.  Each time I attend a Williamsport Crosscutters game I drive past it.  You can’t miss it, because of the lumberjack statue standing outside.

Pins sold by the Taber Museum usually mix baseball with local history.  Their 2019 pin focuses on the haunted portrait of Nellie Tallman.  When Nellie Tallman was 3-1/2 years old her father, an artist, decided to paint a portrait of his daughter.  What should have been a nice father daughter moment quickly turned tragic.  Little Nellie fell out of her high chair, and broke her neck resulting in her death.

John Tallman completed the portrait.  Shortly thereafter something strange began to happen.  The framed piece kept falling off of the wall.  Eventually it was donated to the Taber Museum.  While there, it fell multiple times as well.  To this day Nellie Tallman’s portrait hangs in the Taber Museum across from a painting by her father’s teacher, Severin Roesen.  It seems to have found peace there… for now.  I wouldn’t move it.  Many believe her spirit is attached to that portrait.

Cool or creepy?  Possibly the scariest Little League pin ever made.

Pin Highlight: Philadelphia Phillies Bryce Harper WinCraft Player Jersey Pin

Out of stock.  This product is currently not available.  Nothing left.  Gone.  These are just some of the ways to describe the status of this new piece of Bryce Harper merchandise.

As an avid Phillies fan and pin collector, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to own one of these bad boys.  On the same day that I purchased a new Bryce Harper Phillies t-shirt, I got this WinCraft jersey pin.  The Phillies sold out of this pin very quickly.  Luckily, I was able to snag one.

WinCraft is known for making lots of neat pins.  Especially when it comes to special events.  As you can see, this one features a white Phillies jersey with red pinstripes.  Harper’s name, #3, and facsimile signature have been added.  Out of respect for former Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay, Bryce Harper didn’t want to continue wearing #34.  #7 was his second choice, but that’s already taken by Maikel Franco.  Bryce Harper wasn’t going to ask him to change his number just because he showed up.

The Phillies made tons of moves over the winter.  Fans can’t complain about them not trying anything.  I predict the Phillies will go 161-1 this season.  They’ll lose the first game, and win the rest.

Pin Highlight: Reggie Jackson – “I Must Kill… The Queen.”

Now this is an eye catcher.  Its a pin featuring baseball legend Reggie Jackson holding a handgun.  What on earth is going on here?

In 1988 a little comedy called The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! came out.  It stars comedy legend Leslie Nielsen, and became an instant hit.  Two sequels came to follow.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about the film for those who haven’t seen it yet.  But I will say this.  Leslie Nielsen plays Police Squad Lieutenant Frank Drebin.  Police Squad is put in charge of protecting Queen Elizabeth II while she visits Los Angeles.  During her visit, she attends a Seattle Mariners and California Angels game.  They learn an assassination attempt will take place during the seventh inning stretch, and one of the players will carry it out.  Using a beeper and hypnosis, the real assassin uses Reggie Jackson as an agent to fulfill his mission.  Things don’t go well for Mr. October though.  A large woman from the upper deck ends up falling on him before he gets his shot off.  Its a funny scene that you can watch here.  Lots of other sports stars are in this movie too – O.J. Simpson, Jay Johnstone, Jim Palmer, Dick Vitale, and Jesse Ventura.

Patti Lapel makes some really fun pins based on people, places, and things from pop culture.  One pin in particular is of Reggie Jackson under hypnosis, gun in hand, and preparing to take out the Queen.  Memorable scenes from movies is a big chunk of their pin business.

You don’t mess with Mr. October.