BY STEVE KRAH
A story for every cap.
Dan Hill is taking his love of baseball and fondness for collecting hats and turning it into a quest to gather an official lid for every Indiana High School Athletic Association-sanctioned program.
That’s more than 400 teams.
Along the way, he is enjoying meeting coaches, athletic directors and fans and hearing their stories.
Hill’s hobby has him traveling around the state on his free time to gather caps and stories.
“I get to see every side of the spectrum,” says Hill, who has been to schools with the best of everything and enough players to fill three full squads to those getting by with little and having around a dozen in the program.
“I’m a guy who loves baseball and has a chronic hat habit,” says Hill.
He is not looking for a hand-out. Hill appreciates donations, but he is willing to pay for every cap.
The first hat came courtesy of Dave Clark, a disabled Vietnam War veteran from Rochester.
When Hill offered to pay for the cap, Clark’s reply was “Do two good deeds for somebody and we’re square.”
“Coaches in the Region reaching out to me is really cool,” says Hill.
With help in gathering the head covers, Hill says he might be able to get all the caps and display them at the 2019 IHSAA State Finals June 17-18 at Victory Field in Indianapolis.
At last count, he had 72 IHSAA caps. He hopes that number will swell this week with a trip to gather hats in the Region.
Hill grew up in Clinton, Ind., and played baseball for head coach Tim Terry at South Vermillion High School, graduating in 1992. He now calls Brownsburg, Ind., home.
His day job takes him to Monument Circle in Indianapolis as a computer systems administrator.
The hat that started it all was from his youth league days playing for a team called Push.
That team also sported red jackets and was a salute to Old Push, a “local nine” from the earlier part of the 20th Century.
Even as a kid, Hill enjoyed that tie to history.
“I always joke I was born in the wrong generation,” says Hill.
Ever the optimist, Hill carries a little yellow calling card.
On one side it says “I’m not selling anything, but I’ll buy your hat” with his contact information.
On the flag side is a message he shared while coaching youngsters:
THERE IS ALWAYS THE NEXT PITCH
That Bible passage says: I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
“Everything is forward,” says Hill. “The only thing that matters is what is next.”
So what’s next?
After Hill finishes his current IHSAA collection — whenever that happens — he is considering going after hats of former Indiana high schools.
Anybody seen a cap for the Montezuma Aztecs or Rosedale Hots Hots? Here’s a hint: They both were consolidated into Riverton Parke. Montezuma’s school colors are purple and gray and Rosedale black and gold.
Dan Hill aka “Hardy The Hat Guy” is on a quest to collect every IHSAA baseball school’s cap. That’s more than 400. He is well on his way. (Hardy The Hat Guy Photos)