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Baseball caps aren’t just for those people running around dirt diamonds and grassy outfields chasing little white balls. The hats-with-the-long-front-bill are popular for a variety of uses and styles, and something not quite explored in depth is, why do people wear baseball caps, exactly?
The reasons why people wear baseball caps are many, and vary depending on a person’s tastes or comfort. A great many people wear baseball caps to show support for their favorite teams, whether in baseball, or other sports. Others wear baseball caps decorated with something non-baseball related, as in a fashion statement. And still others wear baseball hats just for protection from the sun’s harmful rays.
There are other reasons, certainly, which we’ll try to list below. But in summary, people wear baseball hats because they: like baseball or a particular team; like a team in any sport displayed on a baseball cap; appreciate another entity displayed by a baseball hat, like a brand; like the look; or they want to block or shade the sun.
Wearing baseball caps to identify teams on the field is now but 1 of many reasons people wear the hats. Here’s our top 15 reasons, aside from use playing baseball, for wearing baseball caps:
- Shield eyes and face from sun’s rays and heat (on or off a ballfield)
- Indicate that the wearer is a fan of a particular sports team, or baseball in general
- Hide a bad hair day; or to be lazy and not have to clean or comb hair before going out
- The cap was a gift from someone you might run across soon
- Style: when people think they look better wearing a baseball cap
- To keep sweat from dripping into the eyes
- To match an outfit; as a fashion accessory
- To help as part of a disguise
- To keep long hair out of the eyes and face
- To hide bald spots
- To cover entirely bald heads (which get colder much faster than people with even just ⅛” of hair!)
- For a changed appearance/profile for the head/face area.
- As a pseudo shield from other people; an option to pull down over eyes if needed
- To cover the tops of ears (for people whose ears get really cold); must use caps or larger size for this
- To shade the back of the neck (wearing a cap backward)
Brim (def.): “the projecting edge at the bottom of a hat.”
The baseball cap as we know it today carries a slight resemblance to the original versions in the mid-19th Century, which surfaced just before Major League Baseball was born. They were designed to help protect the eyes and vision, ever important for a sport with a small hard ball that flies fast, requiring significant eye-hand coordination.
Baseball hats started as the simple round, soft hat around the head, either with no bill protruding forward, or a very short one, a la Civil War caps. Think about when Major League Baseball began: 1869, or not long after the end of the war between the states.
But in fact, introduction of the baseball caps as we know them now is credited to the 1860 Brooklyn Excelsiors, who showed off a cap with a button at the top, on a center point for sections that dropped downward from that point to connect with the sweatband at bottom. So the origins of today’s baseball caps barely precede the Civil War!
Some say they looked like mini versions of some types of sunbonnets in the 1800s.
It was called the “Brooklyn style” cap and by the turn of the century it was commonplace. Original versions were quite flimsy ~ note that in some old MLB photos, players have the “floppy” caps stuffed into back pockets!
But the addition of latex rubber around the head ~ in the sweatband ~ in the 1940s firmed up the caps and resulted in the cap designs we see today on ballfields.
It took many years for pro sports leagues and manufacturers to become keen on producing baseball caps adorned with anything other than baseball team logos (e.g. intertwined “NY” for the Yankees). Eventually they got around to using a team’s mascot, alternate logo, even company logos, on caps for sale.
Baseball caps carry that name only because that happens to be the style of hat worn by those playing the popular game. However, the cap is worn more off of baseball fields, for a great number of reasons.
Hats on top of the head, with a bill, were a way to cover the head for protection from the elements and sun, and try to keep sweat out of the eyes of baseball players. This was long before sweatbands and even cotton uniforms; and baseball players spend a lot of time idling under the sun.
Over time they became a common American piece of attire, to go along with tee shirts and jeans. Baseball caps are comfortable, stylish, practical, protective ~ and for the most part are affordable, easy-to-maintain headwear items.
Question: What are the little holes around the button at the top?
Answer: Called eyelets, these are installed on most ball caps for ventilation. They say a lot of heat leaves the body upward through the head, a reason why we wear hats in cold weather. Well, when it’s hot out, all that heat can get trapped up top, causing a lot of sweating. Hence addition of the eyelets.
Q.: Why do people leave the store stickers on the bills of caps in plain sight?
A.: Style, fashion, makes them feel cool. It started when some celebrities, namely hip-hop artists, began doing it. It’s especially popular to leave the big New Era 59FIFTY stickers on the bills, either proving that the cap is authentic, or showing off the investment as those caps are among the most-expensive
Q.: What are the parts of baseball caps called?
A.: The above-mentioned brim is also known as the bill, or visor. Above that, the main part that wraps around the head up to the button up top, is the crown. The inside, round part that touches the head is the sweatband. And we mentioned the little eyelets above.
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