Baseball Cap

brooklyn style cap

new era

A baseball cap is a type of hat with a long, stiff brim, that is a part of the traditional baseball uniform worn by players, with the brim pointing forward to shield the eyes from the sun.

In 1860, the Brooklyn Excelsiors wore the ancestor of the modern rounded-top baseball cap, and by 1900, the ‘Brooklyn style’ cap became popular. During the 1940s, latex rubber became the stiffening material inside the hat and the modern baseball cap was born. The ‘bill’ or ‘brim’ was designed to protect a player’s eyes from the sun. Typically, the brim 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.

Some armed forces also use baseball caps as part of their uniforms, including the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard. Also baseball caps of a particular color are worn to denote a specific function of a person or particular job. Two examples are in the United States submarine force, red baseball hats are worn by drill monitors who facilitate and critique members of the boat’s crew during drills. Also in the United States Army, parachute riggers wear red baseball caps and parachute instructors wear black baseball caps as part of their uniform.

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. This is more true 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 Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Firearms Command in the United Kingdom, often wear baseball caps to shield their eyes from the sun where a full helmet and facemask would be excessive.

Wearing a baseball cap with the peak facing in a certain direction may denote membership in a gang. For this, and other reasons, some public schools ban baseball caps. The style of wearing the cap backwards is commonly attributed to catchers in baseball, as when they began using facemasks, they had to turn the cap around to fit the mask on. It can also be found in professional tennis. Another profession associated with the wearing of a baseball cap backwards is that of photographer, notably paparazzi – for the reason that an SLR camera cannot be held vertically to the eye whilst wearing a baseball cap with the peak forwards.

Beginning in the 1980s, the baseball cap came to be associated with film directors, especially Spike Lee and Steven Spielberg, replacing the beret.

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