From the Alan O'Connor Collection

Solons '60 Cap Back in Sac

by Alan O'Connor, 1/9/14



Pictured at right is a 1960 Sacramento Solons “game-used” baseball hat. It just came back to Sacramento after spending 53 years in Salt Lake City, Utah. The hat’s journey is an interesting story.

On September 8, 1960 the Pacific Coast League (PCL) Solons were playing the final game of a road series against the Salt Lake City Bees at old Derks Field. Solons’ right fielder Jim Bolger had just caught a fly ball for the third out of the bottom of the 8th inning and started running toward the visitor’s dugout on the first base side of the field. A young Bees fan, John Sillito, leaned over the railing and asked Bolger for the ball. The outfielder declined, but to the delight of young Sillito, Bolger handed him his baseball cap.


Sillito immediately began wearing his prize. Later that day, he wrote his name in the cap and used it to play sandlot baseball for a couple of years before relegating it to the back of the closet.



Fast forward to August 2013. The now older Bees fan attended a Pacific Coast League (PCL) player reunion in San Leandro, California. There he met another reunion attendee who had been a young Solons fan (myself) back in the 1950s and in 1960. A discussion ensued and the Solons hat was traded to the Solons fan in exchange for some 1958 Bees player photos. The Bees photos are back in Salt Lake City and the Solons cap has returned to Sacramento.
The Solons lost to the Bees that day, 5-2, finished sixth in the PCL at 73-81 and became the Hawaii Islanders in 1961. The Bees finished third at 81-73. Bolger went 0-4 in that game, but finished the season with a .279 batting average. Bolger had a 13 year professional baseball career including stints with Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies.