NBA point guard and Tacoma native Isaiah Thomas signs autographs at Cheney Stadium earlier this year. Red Williamson Courtesy Tacoma Rainiers
NBA point guard and Tacoma native Isaiah Thomas signs autographs at Cheney Stadium earlier this year. Red Williamson Courtesy Tacoma Rainiers

Tacoma Rainiers

The ‘R’ stands for celebrity royalty

July 21, 2017 9:00 AM

There’s just something about that capital letter ‘R’ that says home in Tacoma.

Even when you are a well-known sports celebrity on the road.

Many of the area’s most popular professional athletes have come in for a Rainiers game and thrown out the first pitch.

Most of them left the ballpark with one purchase – an ‘R’ baseball cap.

“It’s a nice logo — better than the last one they had,” NBA point guard Isaiah Thomas said.

Because he has now made two All-Star Game appearances with Boston, Thomas is probably the highest-profile athlete who likes to sport the Rainiers hat. His favorite one is an all-red cap.

“A lot of people ask me, ‘What is that?’” said Thomas, a Curtis High School product. “I let them know where they can get it. And I have started to see more and more of those hats around.”

PGA Tour golfer Ryan Moore, who played golf at Puyallup High School but graduated from Cascade Christian, is contractually obligated to wear “Mutual of Omaha” sponsored hats while on the course during tournaments.

A lot of people ask me, ‘What is that?’ I let them know where they can get it. And I have started to see more and more of those hats around.

Isaiah Thomas

But last year during the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Moore was spotted leaving the final-hole green with that hat on. As soon as he walked 500 yards to the media interview area, he was wearing another cap – a midnight blue Rainiers hat with white lettering.

“My name is Ryan, and it is a ‘R’ hat, so I joke it is my special-edition Ryan Moore hat,” Moore said.

“It is an iconic Northwest logo in a lot of ways. I don’t get to be there very much, but that area is part of me.”

Then there are the NFL-playing Trufant brothers out of Wilson High School — Marcus, Isaiah and Desmond — who have been spotted a few times in the merchandise shop at Cheney Stadium for new gear.

“It’s the city, man,” said Desmond Trufant, who stars for the Atlanta Falcons while his other two brothers are retired. “That’s just a trademark in my family. We always have those hats. Anything that says, ‘Tacoma,’ we are going to wear it.”

Other local athletes who have been seen wearing the Rainiers’ hat include golfers Michael Putnam and Andres Gonzales; NFL running back Jonathan Stewart; and swimmer Amanda Beard.

Even Governor Jay Inslee bragged he bought a new Rainiers hat back in 2014.

Actor Chris Pratt and hip-hop disc jockey Ryan Lewis have also been recognized with Rainiers hats on during appearances in Seattle.

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