The Little League® fans and supporters are by far the most prolific consumers when it comes to pins. Pins are issued by leagues and/or districts as commemorative tokens of yearly events/tournaments. Pins are issued as recognition of achievement or position held in a league or district. They may also be used for tournament play for trading with other leagues, districts, regions, and countries. Most trading occurs near the end of the Little League® season in late May to the end of August (dates vary by division).
The various Little Leagues have their end of the season tournament to decide who is the best team in the league. Participants in the league TOC may get a custom pin or stock pin to commemorate the event. After the TOC comes all-stars where the best players from each league are selected and will compete with the other all-stars from the leagues in their district. This group of all-stars representing their league can play together from June through August. Advancing from tournament to tournament starting with districts, sections, division/state, regional, and ultimately to the Little League Baseball® World Series. Along the way each player may receive tournament recognition pins for representing their league or district.
As part of the experience many of the various spectators, teams, umpires, and league or district officers have decided to design their own pin to represent either themselves, their state and/or the district to which they belong. Many pin trading participants are lifelong friends and Little League® colleagues that look forward to meeting annually, exchange pins, and catching up with one another. Traders find a place to congregate, open their pin bags and begin bartering for pins in each other’s collection. Often participating teams are unprepared for the pin trading experience, but they adapt into becoming pin traders themselves and enjoy the experience as much as the seasoned pin traders.
To an extent, pin Trading is based on the old barter system with both parties assigning a value to each of their pins and making the judgment of whether or not they want to make the trade. However the cost that each trader paid to make their pin is hardly ever part of the conversation. Instead the value is based on how rare the pin is to find, the design of the pin, the size of the pin, the enhancements used in the design, and how unique the design pushes the limits of the pin industry (something that no one has seen before). To an extent pin traders are always trying to be innovative with new designs and have the most coveted pins for trading. Although the baseball season ends at the end of August, pin traders have begun already contemplating their designs for the addition of fall ball and next year.