Truman’s Raincoat Reminds Me of Jacket Day at the Ballpark
Look at this cool rain jacket that is part of the Truman collection.
The Kansas City Chiefs / Kansas City Kings promotional item was found in the Truman Home and the National Parks Service speculates it's a promotional item that was probably gifted to the family at some point. Besides looking pretty cool, it took me down memory lane to jacket day at the old ballpark.
Since the Chiefs were playing in a big game Sunday the Truman Historic Site shared this wonderful artifact on Facebook. What's interesting to me is it's a promotional item promoting two teams, the Chiefs and the Kings. That's not something you see very often these days. It also looked to me like one of those jackets Major League Baseball teams would give away in the late '70s and '80s. KInda like the Royals one below from eBay.
I know the Royals probably held a jacket day where they gave out these plastic jackets, that smelled somewhat similar to the smell of a new car. Yeah, to think we would actually wear these uncomfortable plastic jackets, at least a little bit... which were off-gassing as part of the production process. What the heck were we thinking?
I never wound up at Royals Stadium on jacket day. There never seemed to be a date in late August, when my family would head to Kansas City for one last summer vacation, where anything good was being given out. I asked my buddy Chuck if he remembered jacket day. And he did, but he never seemed to wind up at Royals Stadium on the good giveaway days either.
That said, I wound up with one of them from the Phillies, one from the White Sox, and one which I think was a rain poncho, from the Cubs. We never seemed to hit the Royals for a game with a good giveaway. But back home, we occasionally had tickets on giveaway days like hat day, jersey day, baseball glove day, or jacket day.
English Leather, a men's fragrance, was always the sponsor. This seems odd to me for an item that I believe was geared for kids. But, it might have been an all-ages thing. And I could never picture an actual adult wearing these plastic, un-breathable, seemingly tears very easily jackets anywhere. They weren't very fashionable, even in the early '80s.
In the summer they just would make you sweat, and then the plastic would start to stick to your skin and before you know it you'd start to dehydrate. And if it was actually chilly, this jacket wasn't going to act as a windbreaker or keep you from getting chilly. That said, it was a fun part of the uniform for backyard whiffle ball as long as you didn't have to wear it for more than five minutes.
I don't think outside of the actual giveaway day, I ever saw many people wear them. It just became a jacket that sat in the coat closet until my Mom decided it was time to give it away or throw it away. In my mind, the souvenir batting helmet which protected you from nothing was much more practical. At least that, you could flip off your head while running around second base like a major leaguer.