If Al Busch ever decides to throw his hat in the ring, he’s going to have a dilemma.
Busch has some 1,600 baseball caps. That includes the first one he got at about age 13 but excludes 40 new acquisitions yet to be logged, bagged and displayed in the barn.
“We weren’t real wealthy people,” he said. “Having a baseball hat wasn’t on the priority list. But when you started to play baseball it was.”
“It kind of came with the uniform, didn’t it?” asked his wife of 43 years, Kate, a retired nurse.
Cap No. 1 is “over here in row number one. I played for a little community called St. Benedict and the St. Benedict Saints. I’m not a saint no more but that’s who I played for.”
Each cap is placed in a baggie “so they are protected,” said Al, who’s retired and mows part time for Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Course in Jordan, near their home. “If I want to wear one for some special occasion, I look it up. We have a ledger.”
Thanks to the help of his brothers Brad, Doug and Greg, his friend Rich Boumeester and the Busches’ world-traveling daughter Kristine, there are hats promoting everything, everywhere.
There’s one featuring the finger. We didn’t dust it off for a close-up because it probably shouldn’t be in my video. “Why didn’t you dust?” asked Kate. “Yeah, right,” Al said.
These two are constantly, gently ribbing each other. When asked how many “World’s Greatest Dad” hats he had, Al said, “Probably two because I have two kids.”
“Nothing about a husband, though,” quipped Kate.
I cannot believe I beat CBS’ Steve Hartman and KARE 11’s Boyd Huppert to this treasure trove of caps and comedy. There’s bonus video beyond the credit.
Q: When did you know this was getting out of hand?
A: It’s not out of hand.
Q: Kate, when did you know this was getting out of hand?
A: It started in the kennel and then the garage and finally out here in the barn. He needed more room.
Q: Did either of your kids get this gene, Al?
A: Not yet, but when they inherit this they will.
Q: So this is the inheritance?
A: Al: Mike [their married son] is going to be the inheritor. [Laughter] HE DOESN’T KNOW THAT YET! Kate: Aren’t they lucky. What every daughter-in-law wants.
Q: Do you collect anything else?
A: Al: We have approximately 1,800 hostas. Kate: You also have some beer steins, maybe about 40.
Q: I’ve seen you twice and you have not had on a baseball cap either time.
A: Al: We were enjoying a party at that time. Maybe I took my hat off for a second. Kate: He puts a hat on almost every time he leaves the house, unless we are going to church or someplace.
Q: How could you have a favorite hat?
A: I have a favorite hat in the house. That hat I’ll wear until I see there are too many sweat marks on it, then I’ll switch. When the Wild is playing that’s one of my favorites. The second one is the Minnesota Vikings. Go Vikes!
Q: Speaking of sweat marks, do you have one of those forms you put your hat in before you toss it in the washing machine?
A: I never wash hats because it takes away the integrity of the bill. Most hats are made out of cardboard. Cardboard ones take a nice shape. The new ones are made out of this plastic.
Q: My mother does not like to see caps worn in “the ignorant position.” Do you know what that means?
A: Yes. When you wear it backward. Guys, put your hat on right.
Q: The most expensive hat?
A: Probably the Minnesota Vikings World Champions. But we didn’t see that yet. I’m just kidding on that. I have the ’87 Twins, the ’91 Twins [World Series caps, which] might be worth something some day. Some are worth $1 and some are worth $30.
Q: How do you get up there to retrieve a hat?
A: I have three ladders — 6 foot, 20 foot and I have a 30 foot to get up way high. So that my wife can get me a hat. [They laughed] Kate: Not.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.