The world of baseball is not just about the game; it's also about the gear. One of the most iconic pieces of equipment in Major League Baseball (MLB) is the official hat. This article delves into the history, design, and significance of the official MLB hat.
The 59Fifty: The Official Hat of MLB
The 59Fifty, produced by the New Era Cap Company, holds the prestigious title of being the official on-field cap of the MLB. This classic-style cap, made of wool or polyester, features the team's logo and colors embroidered into the fabric. The 59Fifty became the official on-field cap in 1993, and since then, it has been a staple in every MLB game.
Design and Variations
The 59Fifty is a fitted cap, meaning it does not have an adjustment strap like many other designs, such as the snapback. It is characterized by its straight bill, which is popular among teens. However, there are other variations like the 39thirty, which are more traditional looking ball caps with a bendable bill.
Another variation is the low profile cap, which differs from traditional baseball caps by having a shorter crown height of around two to three inches and a flatter bill. This design helps keep the cap snug on your head, making it ideal for activities like running or hiking.
The Significance of the Official Hat in MLB
The official MLB hat serves more than just a fashion statement. It was introduced to keep the sun out of players' eyes during games. Over time, it has evolved into a symbol of team identity and unity. In fact, teams sometimes wear commemorative caps to show collective support for causes, such as Armed Forces Day.
The Evolution of the MLB Hat
The first baseball hats were introduced by the New York Knickerbockers in 1849 and were made out of straw. Over the years, the design has evolved significantly. In 1993, the MLB logo was added to the back of every cap, and in 1996, the World Series logo was added to the right side of the hat.
In 2007, New Era swapped out wool for the current polyester blend they use today, turning the cap into an actual piece of performance fabric. This also saw the end of the green and gray underbill, which was replaced with black, proven to be the best at keeping the sun out of a ballplayer's eyes.