Fashion trends come and go but baseball hats have woven themselves into the American identity like the braided crust atop an apple pie. Each year, more than 43 million baseball hats are sold in the US. Of those, only about 2,000 go to actual MLB players.
It’s obvious they aren’t going anywhere so it’s worth brushing up on your history. This is the working man’s guide to the ever expanding world of Baseball Hats – including a quick history, their evolution from on field necessity to off field fashion trend and how to properly size a hat for your noggin.
Way back in the mid-1800’s, when Baseball was in it’s infancy, the rules about head wear were non-existent (unlike today when it seems like there’s a rule or regulation for everything). Officials cared so little, the first official Baseball team, The Knickerbockers, wore straw hats, boating caps, jockey caps — whatever they wanted to block the sun.
But, as Baseball became more popular and the rules more refined, so did the uniforms. Around 1858, The Brooklyn Excelsiors introduced what would eventually evolve into the baseball cap we know today with the rounded top and short brim.
New Era, a then small Buffalo based hat company, created their own version of this design and introduced the 59Fifty which has since become the standard for Major League Baseball.
The 6 panel design has become the standard design for nearly all baseball hats produced, regardless of the brand. The front two panels are crafted with a stiff cotton material called buckram with a brim that juts out just short of 3’’.
Baseball Caps Become Fashion
Television did for 80’s fashion what the Internet has done for today’s. If it was on TV, it was cool. Until the 80’s, if you were caught wearing a baseball cap off the field you were considered low class or childish. It wasn’t until about 1980 when Tom Selleck was seen on every TV screen during Magnum P.I. The connection was simple, Thomas Magnum was cool, so were baseball caps. After this, it slowly seeped into other aspects of popular culture, and soon became part of everyday wear for most Americans.
In 1996, Director Spike Lee requested a red Yankees cap, instead of the traditional blue, to match his red Yankees jacket. After been seen on TV by nearly all of America during the 1996 World Series, wearing his custom New Era baseball hat, a new frontier of sports merchandising was established. Today, New Era’s now VP, John DeWaal says that 60% of New Era’s sales go to non-athletes.
Now that baseball caps are a staple in nearly every wardrobe, it stands to reason that there are just as many styles to choose from. These are the three most popular MLB Style Baseball Caps:
The Snapback [Yupoong Pro-Style Snapback]- The snap in the back allows you to adjust the fit and has become a popular design element for streetwear brands. This snapback also has available print and embroidery area available in the back, over the half moon shape — perfect for personalizing with last names or team names. The 6 panel design features a seam going through the middle for a classic and less stylized look. This is your basic, no frills baseball cap.
New Era [New Era Flat Bill Snapback] – The creators of the baseball hat are still one of it’s most popular producers. On and off the field, this the one of the most popular brands available. They’ve finally come out with a customizable version (available for custom embroidery at Jakprints) and it does not disappoint! This baseball cap is 100% cotton and is always a crowd favorite. If you’re looking to create your own baseball hats and trying to come as close to possible as the real deal, this is your #1 choice.
Fitted [Pro- Style Flex Fit] – These refer to caps that don’t have a snap or adjustable strap in the back and fit snug to your head. Because this hat doesn’t have a cut out like the snapback, the entire back of the cap is available for embroidery. Some of these styles like the Pro- Style Flex Fit feature an elastic Flexfit band creating a custom, snug fit to prevent it from sliding off. Unlike the snap back, this hat doesn’t have an adjustable snap but the cotton does have a bit of give and the flex fit is perfect for people with in between hat sizes because of the elastic band.
All of these styles are modeled after the 6-panel, flat brim design of MLB hats but each with something slightly different.
For more information about custom embroidery for these styles, check out our blog that walks you through the ins and outs of personalized embroidery: [How to get the most out of custom embroidery blog]
Now that you’re all excited about baseball caps, it’s time to find your perfect fit.
Small: 6 ¾-6 ⅞’’ = 21 ⅛ ’’ – 21 ½ ”
Medium: 7-7 ⅛’’ = 21 ⅞- 22 ¼ ’’
Large: 7 ¼- 7 ⅜’’ = 22 ⅝ ’’ – 23
X-Large: 7 ½ – 7 ⅝’’ = 23 ½ – 23 ⅞ ’’
XX-Large: 7 ¾- 7 ⅞’’ = 24 ¼ ’’ – 24 ⅝ ”
It’s that simple! Another option is to go to a store and try on different sizes until you find one that fits just right. Hats are just like any other type of apparel, different brands can fit differently, so keep that in mind when shopping around.
If you have any questions or want to talk about our custom embroidery options with one of our professionals, give us a call at (1-877-246-3132) or contact us through Jakprints.com! We’re here to help and want you get exactly what you need!