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We’ve got the answer and it’s not a fashion faux pas
Why do people wear flat bill baseball hats? The title tells the secret, and it’s elementary when you stop to think about it. When the bill of a baseball hat is flat, the headpiece gains a vaulted moniker of “hat,” but when it’s curved, it’s no longer a “hat”; it’s a “cap.”
When it comes to sending a social status message, a flat bill baseball hat exudes a particular level of how you want to be perceived by all of your friends and associates. Think of it as an outward sign of an inward feeling. It’s your way of stylishly stating your choice of being posh versus campy, or that you’d rather hang with the cool kids than be president of the chess club.
Most of us have worn a baseball hat on occasion, but it’s safe to say the reasons for doing so vary as much as the style of hat we’re wearing and, in most cases, have nothing to do with baseball. In fact, very few of us think about when the baseball hat was created and why. To get the real answers, we need to go back to the day baseball hats were made and worn for the first time.
Back to the beginning
Step into our way back machine and get comfortable. We’re going to set the date for April 24th, 1849, and in a few split seconds, we’ll be taking a giant step closer to the answer.
And here we are.
You’re probably wondering about the baseball field you’re seeing. That’s Elysian Field, and it’s where the Knickerbockers played their games. From what we’ve learned, they’re the first professional baseball team to wear baseball hats.
Straw hats and baseball
There they are now, and we’re guessing you’ve noticed their hats are made of straw.
Keep in mind, the modern-day baseball cap won’t come along for another fifty years. See what they’re doing? They’re adjusting those straw hats to keep the sun out of their eyes.
In 1849, wearing a baseball hat with a straight brim wasn’t a social “cool zone” status statement. When the Knickerbockers were standing on Elysian field in the summertime, those straw baseball hats of theirs helped keep the sun out of their eyes, allowing them to play a better game.
That was the sole purpose for the creation of the baseball hat. Not necessarily a fashion statement, but if you stop to think about it, every one of those baseball players was wearing a baseball hat, not a baseball cap.
The Knickerbockers played in a time before sports sunglasses and flip-ups, and since the hats the Knickerbockers wore were straw, it’s highly unlikely any of the team members wanted to try and bend the bill into a curve like a lot of wearers do today. You’re probably wondering why they would even want to bend the bill of their hats.
Curved Versus Flat
While the Knickerbocker baseball team was the first baseball team to wear hats to protect them from the sun, the flatbill of the straw hat was only useful when the sun was directly overhead. As the game and the day wore on, the sun’s angle changed, and the players often were blinded as the sunlight passed beneath the bill into the player’s eyes.
Nowadays, a player will often curve the baseball hat’s bill to block the sunlight when the angle of light changes. Moreover, many of the folks in the sphere’s southern regions probably wear more curved baseball caps than baseball hats with flat bills. Yes, for many of them, it’s a cultural “southern flair” social statement.
We bet you have more questions, don’t you? As masters of the way back machine, we’re pretty sure if we don’t have an answer straight away, we can go find one for you.
Modern day baseball hats
If the first baseball hats were straw, when was the modern day baseball hat made?
The first “modern day” baseball hats were made in 1940 with the use of latex rubber as a stiffening material which allowed the makers to form the hat into the familiar shape you see today.
Military hats and caps
We’ve heard people in the military wear baseball hats. Can they bend their hat’s brim or bill into a curve?
Most military factions approve of baseball caps as long as the wearer follows each specific military duty code. Most military groups typically prohibit “defacing” equipment, which means more significant curving of the bill is generally frowned upon.
Ironing out those curves
We have several curved bill baseball hats that would look so cool with a straight bill. Is there a way to straighten it back to original condition?
It is possible to return the curved bill of a baseball hat to “near” original condition. Use an iron (don’t worry about steam), turn the hat upside down, and iron the curves out of the bill. It may take repeated passes, but eventually, you’ll flatten the brim of your hat sufficiently.
One of the original professional teams
We’ve never heard of the Knickerbockers. Were they a real team?
Yes. The New York Knickerbockers team was one of the first organized baseball teams formed in 1845 and played until the early 1870s. Founded by a gentleman named Alexander Cartwright the “Knickerbocker Base Ball Club” was one of the first professional teams that played the game using rules which are very similar to today’s baseball games.
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