Baseball cap

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A simple baseball cap Baseball cap.jpg
A simple baseball cap

A baseball cap is a type of soft cap with a rounded crown and a stiff bill [1] projecting in front.


The front of the cap typically displays a design or a logo (historically, usually only a sports team, namely a baseball team, or names of relevant companies, when used as a commercial marketing technique). The cap may be "fitted" to the wearer's head or the back may have elastic, a plastic prong-in-a-hole (multiple holes with one prong that can be inserted), Velcro, a zipper, or a tri-glide slide so that it can be quickly adjusted to fit different wearers' heads. The baseball cap is a part of the traditional baseball uniform worn by players, with the brim pointing forward to shield the eyes from the sun. Since the 1980s, varieties of the hat have become prevalent in the United States and many other nations, both for utilitarian (protecting the eyes from the sun) and fashion accessory purposes.


Harry Wright wearing a baseball cap, circa 1863. 1863 Harry Wright.png
Harry Wright wearing a baseball cap, circa 1863.

In 1860, the Brooklyn Excelsiors wore the ancestor of the modern rounded-top baseball cap, which featured a long peak and a button on top, and by 1900, the "Brooklyn style" cap became popular. [2] During the 1940s, latex rubber became the stiffening material inside the hat and the modern baseball cap was born. The peak, also known in certain areas as the "bill" or "brim", was designed to protect a player's eyes from the sun. Typically, the peak was much shorter in the earlier days of the baseball hat. Also, the hat has become more structured, versus the overall "floppy" cap of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The baseball cap was and still is an important means by which to identify a team. Often the logo, mascot, or team's initial was placed on the cap. Usually, the cap was also fashioned in the official colors of a particular team.

The basic shape, including curved peak, is similar to some styles of 19th-century sunbonnets. [3]


Fitted baseball caps — those without an adjuster — are normally sewn in six sections, and may be topped with a matching fabric-covered button (also called a squatchee) on the crown. Metal grommets or fabric eyelets are often sewn or attached near the top of each of the six sections of fabric to provide ventilation. In some cases, the rear sections of the crown are made of net-like mesh material for extra ventilation. The peak is typically stiffened by a sewn-in piece of paperboard or stiff plastic.


Baseball caps are made of many types of material and shaped in various styles for different purposes. Major and minor league baseball players wear classic-style caps made of wool (or, more recently, polyester) with their team's simple logo and colors; the logo is usually embroidered into the fabric. More recently there are brands that are using uncommon materials for snapback hats as for example wood brims. [4]

Formerly, baseball caps only came in standard hat sizes. Since the early 1970s, they have also been available in a one-size-fits-all form, with an adjustment strap in the back. The style, commonly called snapback, has become increasingly popular as fashion accessories. [5] Advances in textiles have led to the "stretch-fit" hat, which uses Lycra or rubber to allow a hat to have a fitted style while still being "adjustable" within sizes.

The front may be soft, or may be stiffened by buckram to display a logo more clearly. [6]

Another version of the baseball cap is a plastic mesh cap with a foam front imprinted with a company logo. This style is sometimes called a trucker cap or a "gimme cap" because it is given away for free as a promotional item.

Dad hats are unstructured caps with a low profile, curved brim, and stripe on the back.

There are 4 major types of baseball caps:

  1. Snapback hat - (hat with a snap closure in the rear) with flat brim, high profile, adjustable.
  2. Adjustable hat - (hat with a velcro closure in the rear) unstructured, low profile, curved brim, adjustable.
  3. "Flexfit" hat - curved or flat brim, structured cap, high profile, adjustable by the use of elastic materials.
  4. Fitted hat - curved or flat brim, structured cap, high profile, unadjustable.
Baseball cap styles and variations
Pohled zezadu (snapback cepice).jpg
Snapback baseball cap
SF Giants Baseball Hat 4 2019-05-06 (cropped).jpg
Flexfit-style baseball cap
Montreal Expos hat (32297579965).jpg
Fitted baseball cap

Athletic use

Beginning with the 2014 season, MLB Pitchers are permitted to wear a special reinforced cap to protect their heads from line drives. [7]

Athletes in other sports wear caps with their team's logo and colors as "sideline" caps; both types are also sold as authentic team merchandise in retail stores. Other caps may simply have a maker's logo, such as Reebok, Nike or Carhartt; these hats are often made of brushed cotton. Golfers tend to prefer the sports visor form which does not cover the head but keeps the sun out of their eyes; women also traditionally have worn visors casually but a trend in certain youth subcultures sees an increase in feminine use of full caps. [ citation needed ]

Professional use


Baseball caps worn by naval officers from the US, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines US Navy 040527-N-4104L-001 Guided missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59), Commanding Officer, Cmdr. William Kearns III, communicates with his combat information center.jpg
Baseball caps worn by naval officers from the US, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines

Some armed forces use baseball caps as part of their uniforms, including the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard. Used mostly with the utility uniform and coveralls, the baseball cap usually has a command logo on the front to denote command affiliation. Baseball caps of a particular color are worn to denote a specific function of a person or particular job. For example, in the United States submarine force, red baseball caps are worn by drill monitors who facilitate and critique members of the boat's crew during drills. In the United States Army, parachute riggers wear red baseball caps and parachute instructors wear black baseball caps as part of their uniform. In various squadrons of the United States Air Force's civilian auxiliary, squadron-distinctive baseball caps have been issued as headgear (or "cover") for the Battle Dress Uniform, typically displaying squadron colors, squadron number, and/or squadron patch. Although the BDUs have their own cover, a patrol cap in M81 Woodland, some squadrons have opted for more distinctive covers.


There has been a marked trend in recent years among police forces and other uniformed bodies throughout the world to substitute inexpensive and comfortable baseball caps for peaked caps and other traditional headdresses. The baseball cap is also commonly used by private security companies as a cheap, practical piece of uniform headgear.

The Finnish Police uses a baseball cap (seen on the image at this link), which is considered an official identification device and cannot be worn, or even displayed by civilians, and has mostly replaced the traditional side cap. [8] [9]

A police baseball cap on display at the West Midlands Police Museum in the Sparkhill Police Station, Birmingham, England. WMP museum - Police baseball cap 01.jpg
A police baseball cap on display at the West Midlands Police Museum in the Sparkhill Police Station, Birmingham, England.

In Britain, the baseball cap has the additional advantage of being unisex and suitable for wear by both male and female officers. Throughout 2017, the Northamptonshire, Cheshire and Lancashire police forces adopted specially strengthened baseball caps known as "Bump Caps", to replace the helmets and bowler hats previously worn. [10] However, the Northamptonshire force announced in November 2018 that their "Bump Caps" had proven scruffy and unpopular, and would be withdrawn from use. [11]

In Slovenia, policemen on motorcycles wear baseball caps as a part of their uniform, when they remove the helmet.

Turkish police switched from peaked caps to baseball caps in the 1990s.

In many United States police forces, the baseball cap is worn as a more practical alternative to the traditional peaked cap or campaign hat, the latter of which is generally used by Sheriff's departments and state police forces. Baseball caps are more common on the West Coast, whereas in eastern states, the traditional peaked cap is more prominent. A notable exception is the San Francisco Police Department, where peaked caps are still worn regularly.

Many armed police units around the world, notably SWAT in the United States and the United Kingdom Metropolitan Police Specialist Firearms Command, often wear baseball caps to shield their eyes from the sun where a full helmet would be excessive.

See also

Related Research Articles

A cap is a kind of soft and flat headgear, usually with a visor. Caps have crowns that fit very close to the head. They made their first appearance as early as 3,200BC. Caps typically have a visor, or no brim at all. They are popular in casual and informal settings, and are seen in sports and fashion. They are typically designed for warmth, and often incorporate a visor to block sunlight from the eyes. They come in many shapes, sizes, and are of different brands. Baseball caps are one of the most common types of cap.

Hat Shaped head covering, having a brim and a crown, or one of these

A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safety, or as a fashion accessory.

Slouch hat Wide-brimmed soft felt or cloth hat most commonly worn as part of a military uniform

A slouch hat is a wide-brimmed felt or cloth hat most commonly worn as part of a military uniform, often, although not always, with a chinstrap. It has been worn by military personnel from many different nations including Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada, India, New Zealand, Southern Rhodesia, France, the United States, the Confederate States, Germany and many others. Australia and New Zealand have had various models of slouch hat as standard issue headwear since the late Victorian period.

Beanie (seamed cap) Small round skullcaps, often colorful

In the United States, a beanie is a head-hugging brimless cap, made from triangular panels of material joined by a button at the crown and seamed together around the sides. Commonly made of cloth or felt material, beanies may also be made from leather or silk. In some US regions and parts of Canada the term "beanie" refers to a knitted cap, alternately called a "stocking cap" or "toque".

Bonnet (headgear)

Bonnet has been used as the name for a wide variety of headgear for both sexes—more often female—from the Middle Ages to the present. As with "hat" and "cap", it is impossible to generalize as to the styles for which the word has been used, but there is for both sexes a tendency to use the word for pop styles in soft material and lacking a brim, or at least one all the way round, rather than just at the front. Yet the term has also been used, for example, for steel helmets. This was from Scotland, where the term has long been especially popular.

Kepi Flat circular cap with a visor

The kepi is a cap with a flat circular top and a peak, or visor. In English, the term is a loanword of French: képi, itself a re-spelled version of the Alemannic German: Käppi, a diminutive form of Kappe, meaning "cap". In Europe, this headgear is most commonly associated with French military and police uniforms, though versions of it were widely worn by other armies during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In North America, it is usually associated with the American Civil War, as it was worn by soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

Pith helmet Lightweight cloth-covered helmet

The pith helmet also known as the safari helmet, sun helmet, topee, sola topee, topi, or salacot, is a lightweight cloth-covered helmet made of sholapith. The pith helmet is an adaptation of the native salakot headgear of the Philippines.

Campaign hat Broad-brimmed felt or straw hat, with a high crown, pinched symmetrically at the four corners

A campaign hat, sometimes called campaign cover, is a broad-brimmed felt or straw hat, with a high crown, pinched symmetrically at the four corners.

Side cap Foldable military cap

A side cap is a military cap that can be folded flat when not being worn. It is also known as a garrison cap or flight cap in the United States, wedge cap in Canada, or field service cap in the United Kingdom. In form the side cap is comparable to the glengarry, a folding version of the Scottish military bonnet. It has been associated with various military forces since the middle of the 19th century, as well as various civilian organizations.

Peaked cap Form of uniform headgear with a short visor, crown, band, and insignia

The peaked cap, service cap, barracks cover or combination cap is a form of headgear worn by the armed forces of many nations, as well as many uniformed civilian organisations such as law enforcement agencies and fire departments. It derives its name from its short visor, or peak, which was historically made of polished leather but increasingly is made of a cheaper synthetic substitute.

Shako Tall, cylindrical military cap with a visor

A shako is a tall, cylindrical military cap, usually with a visor, and sometimes tapered at the top. It is usually adorned with some kind of ornamental plate or badge on the front, metallic or otherwise, and often has a feather, plume, or pompom attached at the top.

Equestrian helmet

An equestrian helmet is a form of protective headgear worn when riding horses. This type of helmet is specially designed to protect the rider’s head in the event of falls from a horse, especially from striking a hard object while falling or being accidentally struck in the head by a horse’s hoof.

Custodian helmet

The custodian helmet is the modern name applied to the helmet worn by male police officers in the United Kingdom, within England and Wales, and certain other places around the world.

Police uniforms and equipment in the United Kingdom have varied considerably from the inception of what were the earliest recognisable mainstream police services in the early 19th century. As various laws in the mid-19th century standardised policing in the United Kingdom, the uniforms and equipment become standardised. From a variety of home grown uniforms, bicycles, swords and pistols the British police force evolved in look and equipment through the long coats and top hat, to the recognisable modern uniform of a white shirt, black tie, reflective jackets, body armour, and the battenburg car, to the present-day Airwave Solutions radios, electric vehicles and tasers.

Boonie hat Wide-brimmed hat

A boonie hat or booney hat is a form of wide-brim hat commonly used by military forces in hot tropical climates.

Baseball uniform

A baseball uniform is a type of uniform worn by baseball players, coaches and managers. Most baseball uniforms have the names and uniform numbers of players who wear them, usually on the backs of the uniforms to distinguish players from each other. Baseball shirts (jerseys), pants, shoes, socks, caps, and gloves are parts of baseball uniforms. Most uniforms have different logos and colors to aid players, officials, and spectators in distinguishing the two teams from each other and the officials. They are made out of polyester instead of cotton, because washing shrinks the cotton fabric.

Headgear Any covering for the head; element of clothing which is worn on ones head

Headgear, headwear or headdress is the name given to any element of clothing which is worn on one's head.

Secrete (helmet)

The secrete or secret, a French term adopted into English usage, was a type of helmet designed to be concealed beneath a hat.

Cap comforter Form of woollen headgear

A cap comforter is a form of woollen military headgear originating in the British Army.


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  2. "Baseball cap has endured generations as the all-American hat" . Retrieved 2014-04-26.
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  5. "Mens Fashion Trend: Snapback Caps". Archived from the original on 2014-04-27. Retrieved 2014-04-26.
  6. Taxdahl, Jeff (2012-12-20). "What's the difference between a constructed and an unconstructed cap?". Archived from the original on 2017-01-07. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
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  8. "Poliisilippistä on laitonta pitää esillä" (in Finnish). Länsi-Uusimaa. Archived from the original on 2018-01-04. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  9. "Lakki on poliisille tärkeä turvallisuusvaruste". YLE Uutiset (in Finnish). YLE.
  10. Harley, Nicola (10 May 2017). "Police swap helmets for caps to attract more transgender officers". United Kingdom: The Telegraph.
  11. Northamptonshire Chronicle & Echo, 15 November 2018