Baseball cap

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A New York Yankees baseball cap Basecap New York Yankees.jpg
A New York Yankees baseball cap

A baseball cap is a type of soft hat with a rounded crown and a stiff bill [1] projecting in front. [2]


The front of the hat 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 hat 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 hat 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. [2]


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. [3] The merino cap topped with a star-like pattern was made by the New York sporting goods company Peck & Snyder. [2]

In the late 1880s, a pillbox version of the cap became popular, which would morph into the modern six-paneled round cap; five teams revived the pillbox form in 1976 in celebration of the US Bicentennial. Team monograms first appeared in 1894 when the Boston Baseball Club (the Boston Braves) — now the Atlanta Braves — became the first team to wear letterforms when they added a monogram-style device to their caps, followed by three more teams in the next season. The Detroit Tigers of 1901 were the first major league team to have a mascot — a red tiger on a dark background — on their ballcap. It was replaced by the letter "D" in 1903, and their iconic Olde English-style letterform appeared a year later. [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. [2] 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.

Since 1993 the New Era Cap Company of Buffalo, N.Y. has been the exclusive baseball cap supplier for Major League Baseball. [2]

The basic shape, including curved peak, is similar to some styles of 19th-century sunbonnets. [4]


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

Fitted baseball hats — 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 hats are made of many types of material and shaped in various styles for different purposes. Major and minor league baseball players wear classic-style hats 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. [5]

Formerly, baseball hats 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 a fashion accessory, [6] as have team caps, popularized especially by rap and hip-hop musicians. [2] 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. [7]

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

There are 4 major types of baseball hats:

  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 or buckled strap 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

John Mabry wearing a baseball cap of the St. Louis Cardinals. John Mabry as coach.jpg
John Mabry wearing a baseball cap of the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 2014, the MLB began allowing pitchers to wear a special reinforced hat to protect their heads from line drives. [8]

Athletes in other sports wear hats with their team's logo and colors as "sideline" hats; both types are also sold as authentic team merchandise in retail stores. Other hats may simply have a maker's logo, such as Reebok, Nike or Carhartt; these hats are often made of brushed cotton. Golfers sometime wear a 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 hats. [ 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, usually with combat uniforms.

Those of the United States Armed Forces are worn mostly with utility uniforms and coveralls. They sometimes have a command logo on the front to denote command affiliation. Alternatively, the cap may have the wearer's rank on the front, if an officer. 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.

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


The Finnish Police uses a baseball cap, which has mostly replaced the traditional side cap. It is marked with the police emblem and "Police" in Finnish and Swedish.[ citation needed ]


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.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, 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. [9] However, the Northamptonshire force announced in November 2018 that their "Bump Caps" had proven scruffy and unpopular, and would be withdrawn from use. [10]

United States

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.

See also

Related Research Articles

A cap is a flat headgear, usually with a visor. Caps have crowns that fit very close to the head. They made their first appearance as early as 3200 BC. The origin of the word "cap" comes from the Old French word "chapeau" which means "head covering". Over time, the word has evolved and changed its meaning, but it still retains its association with headwear. 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Slouch hat</span> 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bonnet (headgear)</span> Large semicircular head covering framing the face; alternatively, a brimless hat or cap

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 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kepi</span> 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 from French: képi, itself a re-spelled version of the Alemannic German: Käppi, a diminutive form of Kappe, meaning "cap". In Europe, the kepi 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pith helmet</span> Lightweight cloth-covered helmet

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Side cap</span> 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; or in vulgar slang as a cunt cap. 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Uniforms of the Imperial Japanese Army</span> Uniforms worn by personnel of the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces

Imperial Japanese Army uniforms tended to reflect the uniforms of those countries who were the principal advisors to the Imperial Japanese Army at the time.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peaked cap</span> Form of uniform headgear with a short visor, crown, band, and insignia

A peaked cap, peaked hat, 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shako</span> 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 an ornamental plate or badge on the front, metallic or otherwise; and often has a feather, hackle, or pompom attached at the top.

The uniforms of the Canadian Armed Forces are the official dress worn by members of Canada's military while on duty.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Custodian helmet</span> Helmet from the United Kingdom

The custodian helmet is a type of helmet worn predominantly by male police officers in the United Kingdom and within certain other places around the world. First used by the Metropolitan Police in London in 1863, the BBC labelled the custodian helmet a "symbol of British law enforcement". They are worn by male constables and sergeants on foot patrol. A cultural icon, it has featured in films, TV series and other media involving British police.

Police uniforms and equipment in the United Kingdom vary enormously per force or service, and different uniforms and equipment is used for different situations. Both what is worn and what is carried have varied considerably from the inception of 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, so too were uniforms and equipment. 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-marked vehicles, to the present-day Airwave Solutions radios, electric vehicles and tasers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Boonie hat</span> Wide-brim hat commonly used by military forces in hot tropical climates

A boonie hat or booney hat is a type of wide-brim sun hat commonly used by military forces in hot tropical climates. Its design is similar to a bucket hat but with a stiffer brim.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Baseball uniform</span> Type of uniform worn by baseball players

A baseball uniform is a type of uniform worn by baseball players, coaches and managers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">59Fifty</span> Baseball cap model by New Era Cap Company

The 59FIFTY is a model of baseball cap made by the New Era Cap Company, a headwear company based in Buffalo, New York. The 59Fifty is the official on-field cap of Major League Baseball (MLB) and Minor League Baseball, and the official sideline cap of the National Football League and the National Basketball Association. It is also a fashion symbol, with the hip-hop community the first to adopt it in the 1980s and 1990s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Headgear</span> Any covering for the head; element of clothing which is worn on ones head

Headgear, headwear, or headdress is any element of clothing which is worn on one's head, including hats, helmets, turbans and many other types. Headgear is worn for many purposes, including protection against the elements, decoration, or for religious or cultural reasons, including social conventions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Uniforms of the New Zealand Army</span>

The New Zealand Army uniform has changed over the years from that of the original Armed Constabulary of the 1800s to the modern Army Combat Uniform style in use by the majority of world armies today. While British Army influence has always been strong, distinctive New Zealand features have gradually developed. From 2013 the New Zealand Army uniform underwent a complete redesign with a new and distinctive camouflage pattern unique to the NZDF.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Secrete (helmet)</span>

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Uniforms of the Italian Armed Forces</span>

The uniforms of the Italian Armed Forces include the official dress worn by members of the Italian Armed Forces while on duty. Each of the branches of the Italian Armed Forces, the Italian Army, the Italian Navy, the Italian Air Force, and the Carabinieri Corps, maintains its own style of dress. The Italian Armed Forces have an extensive history, during which they have undergone changes in the equipment they use, and the military uniforms they wear.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cap comforter</span> Form of woollen headgear

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


  1. "Definition of Bill by Merriam Webster". Merriam Webster. bill noun (1) definition 4. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Clair, Michael (9 May 2023). "The history of the baseball cap: The long, strange history of the baseball cap". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  3. "Baseball cap has endured generations as the all-American hat" . Retrieved 2014-04-26.
  4. BBC – Happy 59th, baseball caps 18 December 2008
  5. Dabrowiecki, Jamie (2016-11-07). "Want a wooden brim strap back? We've got you covered". Archived from the original on 2018-02-05. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  6. "Mens Fashion Trend: Snapback Caps". Archived from the original on 2014-04-27. Retrieved 2014-04-26.
  7. 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.
  8. "MLB approves protective cap for pitchers in time for 2014 season". New York Daily News . Retrieved 2014-04-26.
  9. Harley, Nicola (10 May 2017). "Police swap helmets for caps to attract more transgender officers" . United Kingdom: The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2022-01-12.
  10. Northamptonshire Chronicle & Echo, 15 November 2018