Trading States
March 21st, 2010 by slangon

I had mentioned in the past about wheeling and dealing on a site called Sports Card Fun in the past. I guess I hadn’t really been active on that site in quite a spell as most of the trading that I had been doing of late has either been through this site of through reading other peoples blogs. Someone from that site had contacted me about having some cards from the 2008 Ginter set which I’m so close yet still so far from finishing. I think I gave him a handful of ’08 or ’09 Upper Deck cards. I forget which. Anyway, in return he hooked me up with a few of the base cards and a couple of the U.S. State inserts, which I’m totally psyched about. The biggest thing I love about this set is seeing all the different state flags. I thought it might be interesting to delve into how each states flag came to be.

Here we have Alex Rios, from Coffee, Alabama. First off, that Alabama flag is pretty rad looking. After the “War of Northern Aggression” as my friend Ben from Texas likes to refer to The War Between the States, the State of Alabama did not have a state flag of it’s own. It only flew the Stars and Bars of the United States. In 1895 the state legislature declared:

The flag of the State of Alabama shall be a crimson cross of St. Andrew on a field of white. The bars forming the cross shall be not less than six inches broad, and must extend diagonally across the flag from side to side.”

It is often thought though that rather than actually refering to the Cross of St. Andrew, it was based on the Confederate Battle Flag. Apparently the Battle Flag was a perfect square, so Alabama’s flag is often depicted as a square rather than a rectangle, as it is on the card above. The legislation did not specify the shape of the flag. Every time I look at it though, I keep thinking an image didn’t load on my card.

First off, I had no idea that Curt Schilling was from the Last Frontier. Secondly, you got to love the minimalist approach to this flag. As you can see it is comprised of a blue field with 8 yellow stars, 7 smaller stars which represent the Big Dipper and 1 larger star that represents the North Star. Apparently Alaska held a contest back in 1927, when it was still just a territory, seeking submissions for the territorial flag. A 13 year-old Alaskan native by the name of Benny Benson won the contest with this entry. For his troubles, he won $1,000 and a watch.

California’s state flag is based on a flag flown by a group of American settlers who were revolting against Mexican rule in 1846. It was officially adopted in 1911 thanks to a statute signed into law by then governor Hiram Johnson. He decreed:

The bear flag is hereby selected and adopted as the state flag of California. … The said bear flag shall consist of a flag of a length equal to one and one-half the width thereof; the upper five-sixths of the width thereof to be a white field, and the lower sixth of the width thereof to be a red stripe; there shall appear in the white field in the upper left-hand corner a single red star, and at the bottom of the white field the words ‘California Republic,’ and in the center of the white field a California grizzly bear upon a grass plat, in the position of walking toward the left of the said field; said bear shall be dark brown in color and in length, equal to one-third of the length of said flag.

As you can see, this statute is much more detailed than the instructions for the Alabama state flag. The bear on the flag was actually modeled after the last wild Californian Grizzly Bear held in captivity, named Monarch. He dies in 1911 and was stuffed and mounted and now resides at the Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park.

Finally we have Brad Ausmus from the Constitution State. The flag consists of a stylized white shield on a blue background. The shield has 3 grapevines, each bearing 3 bunches of grapes. Below is a banner bearing the words “Qui Transtulit Sustinet”, which in Latin means “He who transplanted still sustains”. The 3 bunches of grapes are thought to represent the three oldest settlements of Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford.

So there we have a bit of history of the state flags of Alabama, Alaska, California and Connecticut. Don’t you love learning things from baseball cards?

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