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Baseball Caps – Essential Facts

By Taylor James


Updated on

Fashion trends come and go. However, there’s perhaps no hat more “American” than the traditional baseball hat.

Baseball caps, once called “Brooklyn style” hats in the 1860s, were a uniform piece for the Brooklyn Excelsiors.

Before baseball caps took over, the New York Knickerbockers donned straw hats that were both comfortable and fashionable. Today, the flat-brim style is popular in the MLB.

This article will dive into the little-known world of baseball caps. Read more about this cap’s impressive history and intriguing facts.

A baseball cap and baseball

The History of Baseball Caps

Though it is difficult to say who created the first-ever baseball caps, the Brooklyn Excelsiors baseball team first publicly sported this hat. That’s why, in the 1860s, the baseball cap earned the name “Brooklyn style” hat, designed to shield the wearer’s eyes from direct sunlight.

Variations of the baseball cap became popular by the 1980s, later spreading across the globe.

Discover more about why baseball caps were invented here.

Baseball Hats Replaced Straw Hats on the Diamond

Though the Brooklyn Excelsiors were the first baseball team to compete in an early version of the baseball hat, players once took the diamond with a very different hat on their heads.

In 1849, the New York Knickerbockers sported the original baseball uniform, which included a straw hat. Today, baseball players at all levels enjoy the comfortable and fashionable fitted baseball cap as a key part of their uniforms.

While the Knickerbockers no longer play today the Yankees still wear baseball hats inspired by them. ""” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>Check out the official MLB hats on Amazon.

Baseball Caps Take 22 Steps To Create

Intriguingly, constructing a baseball cap such as the New Era 59FIFTY is a long 22-step process, with fitted hats requiring a unique six-panel construction process. Before 1938, baseball caps had eight panels. Every stitch sewn into the hat is carefully planned to ensure a tight, comfortable fit.

Some Baseball Players Flatten the Bill of Their Hat

Many athletes have their particularities and superstitions within their game. The hat is among the most essential gear for baseball players, shielding their eyes from the sun (especially in the outfield). Some players take the creative liberty to flatten their hat’s bill for stylistic reasons.

The snapback style is worn with a flat brim and became very popular in the 1990s. The New Era 9FIFTY is the classic snapback (Amazon).

Some Police Wear Baseball Caps in Uniform

More and more police forces are ditching traditional hats for the cap. For police on motorcycles, the baseball cap is often worn whenever they remove their helmets.

Despite the practical nature of the hat the move has not been universally welcomed with some claiming that it makes officers look like Burger King workers.

The hats worn by police are often bump hats, padded versions of the baseball cap. They are constructed with high-density polyethylene interiors. Check out this example on amazon.

Some Military Personnel Wear Baseball Caps in Uniform

The uniform includes the classic baseball cap for numerous armed forces, with the United States Coast Guard and Navy being a few examples. In the United States Army, red baseball caps are worn by parachute riggers while their instructors wear black baseball caps.

There Are Several Variations of the Baseball Cap

You know about the traditional baseball cap worn by your favorite Yankees, Red Sox, or Mets players. But did you know there are three popular types that you might find at Lids?

Here’s how you can tell the difference:

  • Snapback: The snapback is a baseball cap with an adjustable plastic piece on the back, complete with a boxy structure and a flat brim. Find out more about the differences here.
  • Fitted: The fitted baseball hat is perhaps the most easily recognized, sporting a curved brim, adjustable back, and a logo on the front.
  • Adjustable: The adjustable baseball hat is what the name suggests. Typically, this hat’s style would have a velcro strap or buckle on the back that can be loosened or tightened to the wearer’s liking. Such as this popular hat on Amazon.

Final thoughts

Discover why baseball caps are so popular here. Fashion trends have come and gone as time has progressed, but the baseball cap is one of the few accessories that has withstood the test of time.

Due to its versatility and functionality, the baseball cap has become popular amongst baseball players, military members, and police officers.

Ever wondered why some people wear baseball caps backward? Find out in this article.

About Taylor James

As Philip Treacy once said, “How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” And on that note, I hope you enjoy your hats and find the site useful. Learn more about Hat Realm's Editorial Process.