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History of the Baseball Hat

Mar 25, 2015

The baseball hat has become more than just a piece of sports apparel. It is now a fashion  item, branding machine and symbol of how sports can cross over in to daily life so seamlessly that you don't even notice. Every person you know including yourself probably owns at least one baseball hat, and you might even be wearing one right now. But where did the baseball hat originate and how long has it been around for?

Detroit Tigers HatDetroit Tigers HatCourtesy of MLB


The Brooklyn Excelsior TeamThe Brooklyn Excelsior TeamCourtesy of wikipedia

There is some dispute about the first team to wear what we consider a baseball hat, but according to an article from Major League Baseball, the pioneers of the baseball hat were the Brooklyn Excelsior in about 1860. You can see the team pictured in the image above and one of the players holding his hat down at his side. The billed cap was ideal for shielding a player 's eyes from the sun and the material used was meant to draw sweat away from a player's face and eyes. This hat with the brim around the front became known as a Brooklyn-style hat. Other teams started wearing the hats as well and pretty soon all of professional baseball were wearing the brimmed caps. And they still do. The Detroit Tigers were the first team to have their logo plastered on the front of the cap. The hat pictured below is a New York Yankees hat from 1912 that more closely resembles the ones we wear today. 

Classic NY Yankees HatClassic NY Yankees HatCourtesy of MLB


That NY style Yankees hat is still the most popular baseball hat on the market today, selling millions of units per year, and outselling other teams by a 3-1 margin. Baseball hats are currently enjoying an age of unprecedented popularity. It's estimated that more than 40 million hats are sold each year in the United States, and that actually very few of those hats have anything to do with sports. New Era, the biggest hat manufacturer, makes 72,000 hats per week. This billion-dollar industry manufactures hats that are form-fitted to your head, snapbacks, flat brims, mesh backs and hats that feature leather adjustable straps. Everybody from your baby brother or sister, your favourite pop star and even the President of the United States wear baseball hats. They are the most popular sporting apparel item in the country, even more popular than jerseys. The only people it seems who don't like them are school teachers and principals, who still won't allow students to wear them in class.

President Omaba wearing a baseball hatPresident Obama wearing a baseball hatCourtesy of wikipedia


Aside from their use in sports and leisure wear, baseball style caps have also become part of official military uniforms and police enforcement attire. There was a huge surge in popularity of so-called trucker hats in the 2000's. Trucker hats are known for their mesh backing instead of regular material and slightly different shape. Each unique logo takes thousands of stitches to make. The iconic Yankees logo is actually one of the simplest, needing only 2,688 stitches to complete. The hardest? The classic Florida Marlins logo, with 10,966 stitches total in the fishy emblem.

The evolution of the Baseball HatThe evolution of the Baseball HatCourtesy of wikipedia
Have your say

How many hats do you have? Which logo is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section.