GARY | The American Association championship trophy was still on the bus to Gary when RailCats owner Pat Salvi received an email with a recommendation.
Andrew Collier, the general manager of the Winnipeg Goldeyes, the team that had won the 2012 AA title, congratulated the RailCats and recommended a company for the celebration rings.
"I don't even think it was the next day when Pat got an email from Andrew," said Pete Laven, RailCats general manager and president of Salvi Sports Enterprises. The company was Heavy Metal Designs out of Winnipeg, Canada. "We developed a great rapport with them. We talked to three or four other companies. We did our due diligence, and we worked with them."
Heavy Metal Designs, in conjunction with the RailCats, created a sterling silver ring that includes the team logo, has emeralds and diamonds on the front and each player's name on the side.
The cost per ring is not disclosed per an agreement with Heavy Metal Designs. The RailCats gave one away to a season ticket holder in a raffle earlier this month.
The RailCats front office personnel have been wearing their rings since Dec. 12, when they received them in time for the office Christmas party.
The rings took an adventurous trip to reach the RailCats' party, leaving Winnipeg and running into a customs confusion when they bypassed the Midwest and ended up in Memphis.
"The fact that we have these in December I think is the quickest that anyone has gotten rings turned around before," Laven said. "I was glad they were able to hand them out to the staff at the Christmas party. They got in that morning. They were held up a day because of a polishing cloth; they needed to know what country it was bought in. Every ring came with a separate polishing cloth. They got all the way to Memphis, and they said they couldn't ship them straight out, because they didn't know the origin of the polishing cloth."
The RailCats players will receive their rings at a ceremony before the home opener May 22 against the Wichita Wingnuts — the team the RailCats beat for the title in September. Laven said that the team plans to give away replica souvenirs of the rings before the game, and is in the midst of securing a sponsor.
The Salvi-owned Schaumburg Boomers won a Frontier League Championship just a week after the RailCats captured their first American Association title, and the Boomers' rings are slated to arrive in January.
"The Boomers might not be getting a polishing cloth," Laven said with a laugh.