The baseball cap that we know and proudly wear today hasn’t always been the same. Today there are many styles, designs and colours to choose from. The caps became popular when baseball stars themselves began to wear them during games, but how things have changed since then.
The Earliest Baseball Hats
Up until 1954 players would wear just about any type of hat when playing the game and they wore a hat solely to keep the sun from getting into their eyes. Earliest indications of the term baseball hat came about when player’s wore straw hats and one of the first official teams to wear this type of hat was the New York Knickerbockers in 1849. At this time the cap didn’t feature a peak.
Just a few years later design of the caps were changed and a visor was added onto the cap along with a crown. The visor of course helped even more in regards to keeping the sun of the eyes. This was actually the first prototype and led the way for the styles that are still being sold today and which everyone has come to know and love.
At this time people could get hold of caps for around a couple of dollars or cheaper and this depended on the grade of wool used in the making of the cap. An early design came from Peck & Synder and it was called the No 1 and amateur club teams wore it.
Rise In Popularity Sparked From Different Designs
Albert G. Spalding, the legendary player who founded the Spalding Baseball Guide in 1889 to 1939 included some of the first adverts of caps in the publications and he showed off some of the first designs for caps which saw a rise in popularity.
Designs for caps were then experimented with and one of the first was Jesse Burkett the Star outfielder in 1895 He designed a visor that was transparent and came with a tint of green so as to provide protection from the sun along with offering the player a range of vision that was full. This didn’t prove very successful though.
With the new century came more experimentation into the design and in 1901 the Detroit Tigers became the first team to display the teams emblem on the cap.
Spalding then came up with the idea for the stitching on the visor in 1903 and following this every single cap had stitching on the visor.
In 1905 the pillbox cap was introduced, however it didn’t rely gain any interest until 1909. It was then worn up until the next decade.
The St. Louis Browns were the first team to wear a cap with a two-toned bill. They wore the first from 1912 to 1915, only three seasons and then they were ditched.
One of the most famous brands of cap was the ones from New Era in 1954 with the 59Fifty cap, which still to this day is one of the most popular brands of baseball cap.