I recently found information on the
web as to Laich Industries that stated that Walter Laich opened his plastics
company in 1965. The main facility was based out of Cleveland, Ohio,
and ran until its closure due to bankruptcy in 2005. The Sports
Products Corp. was a sub group of the larger Laich Industries and it made
sports souvenirs. Other parts of the company dealt with making items
ranging anywhere from furniture to kitchen products.
there really throws things into a loop as I go back to my Kansas City
Athletics helmet. Inside of it is stamped Bobbie Enterprises, so were
there two companies out there at the same time making souvenir batting
helmets? Did Sports Products make helmets at the same time as
Enterprises and was Sports Products a part of Laich Industries
at the time?
The jury is still out on that one as I look for more information regarding
both of these companies.
[I have recently been contacted by a man
named Peter Boyko. He has filled me in on information regarding the
Adjustrap and souvenir helmets in general. This is what he wrote:
The original promotional helmet was
made of styrene with foam strips.
In 1968 I designed an adjustable
strap to replace the foam strips and
changed the material from styrene to
polypropylene. [I did] all [of]
this while working under an
understanding I would be able to
acquire equal interest in sports
products. When the deal didn't
materialize I competed with Sports
products as the Seventy Corp also
Cleveland. This competition
forced Sports Products to sell its
company to Laich Plastic who at that
time was a small plastic molder who
was molding the helmets. The
original owner of Sports Products
was George Dickstein, a
concessionaire at the Cleveland
Indians' Stadium. I also
promoted the first helmet day and
from there came all of the wonderful
baseball promotional events.
You can find more of Peter Boyko's current day products by clicking
It should also be noted
that somewhere in the middle of the Laich/Sports Product Corp. run that
there were other helmets that appeared on the market with a marking stamped
U.S. Cap Company. Now, I don't know if this is a separate
company from Laich because the address is
in Cleveland for this company. You can find these helmets on my
website listed as "duck-billed" on various team pages (see helmet at right).
A change came after Laich
shutdown and a new helmet maker emerged named Fotoball.
Fotoball was not actually new to the field of marketing souvenirs because
the company was
actually founded in
1986. After the collapse of Laich, Fotoball acquired the rights to
take over marketing souvenir helmets for MLB teams.
Fotoball, however, had a
very short-lived life when it came to the souvenir batting helmet as
compared to Laich because K2 came along and bought out Fotoball in early
2004. K2 then made a separate group named
Products which is now the premier sports giant when it comes to
souvenirs for any sport. K2 also owns Rawlings (and you
will see Rawlings packaging and the company name stamped inside
helmets) which it purchased in a
stock swap in 2002. Besides Rawlings, K2 also controls 35 different
other brand names that it now markets sports products through.