The History Of The Baseball Cap
Baseball caps are an American past-time all in its own right. People have their favorite daily wear hat, others have expensive collections of baseball caps. However you chose to wear your baseball cap, they have become a staple to most.
Whether it’s a traditional baseball cap or a vintage knickerbocker. From Camo baseball caps to a favorite singer, there are endless styles, colors, and brands available.
So, where did baseball caps come from anyways?
The first club to wear hats at a baseball game was in 1849. The Knickerbocker Baseball Club of New York would wear straw hats during their games. This group was made up of mostly working-class men, so the hats they wore were made of straw.
The amateur club, Brooklyn Excelsiors, were the first team to wear the snapbacks, back in the 1860s. Snapbacks are a 6-panel cap with a wide flat brim, the traditional style we see today. The great thing about snapback caps was they were one-size-fits-all because they had an adjustable snap on the back of the hat. The Brooklyn Excelsiors would later become the World Series Champion team, the Brooklyn Dodgers.
In the 1890s the pillbox shape hat became a regular piece of the uniform for teams like the Oakland Athletics and the Chicago Cubs. This small hat got its name from the small cylindrical cases that pills used to be sold in because the hat resembled these boxes.
1903 brought us the Spalding hat, with it’s stitched visor. Spalding was already, at this point, a name that baseball players were used to, as they are the leading manufacturer of baseball bats. So their hats quickly grew in popularity.
As the baseball craze was in full swing in the United States in the 1920s. Every MLB team was now wearing their logo on their hats. This started to trickle down to the amateur leagues.
Baseball was America’s past time but the 1940s. Little league and community teams were popping up everywhere. Everyone wanted to be on a baseball team, which inspired local businesses to create them. These small teams wore baseball hats made of latex rubber.
Even during the war hats were very popular. In 1943 the Black Sheep Squadron, a group of WW2 pilots. Promised to shoot down one enemy for every hat MLB gave them.
With the rise of screen-printing in the 1950s, there was a rush of advertising on baseball caps. Big-name companies like Coca-cola and Pepsi jumped on the baseball cap wagon and started giving away hats, to help promote their products.
1954 brought the 59Fifty for the New Era Cap Company. This brand became the official supplier of the MLB 40 years later.
the St. Louis Cardinals wore a pillbox style hat in 1976, trying to keep the tradition, even though modern hats were readily available.
The 1980s saw a huge boost in visors, used mostly by volleyball players, golfers, and tennis stars.
1987 brought with it the Chicago White Sox baggy caps and uniforms. They reinvented the logo cap, but placing a curly cursive “C” on their caps, instead of their name or logo.
The baseball hat craze crossed over to hip-hop artists in the sense of promotional baseball caps, in 1990. This was the turning point for baseball caps when it became trendy to be seen in a snapback cap.
Regardless of how you like to wear your hat, with the ever-increasing use of technology, there are no limits to what hats will show up on the market next. So grab your camo baseball caps and go enjoy the day.