If you think about it, baseball caps are among the few items that have remained fashionable for the longest time. Surprisingly, they have undergone very few changes; the last notable shift in the products’ design was in the 1940s when latex rubber became the primary stiffening material. Whether you prefer the snapback, adjustable, “flexit,” or fitted designs, you can hardly go wrong with them. Here are some fascinating baseball cap facts you probably didn’t know.
1. Ben Affleck, a Boston Red Sox Fan, Once Refused To Wear a New York Yankees Baseball Cap
Ben Affleck is a renowned filmmaker with global recognition for his works. However, he once hit the headlines for the “wrong reasons” after he refused to wear a New York Yankees baseball cap. A Boston Red Sox fan himself, the actor refused to film with the hat on, forcing the production of the film Gone Girl to stall for four days.
2. Brooklyn Excelsiors Were the First to Wear Baseball Caps
Formed in 1854, the Brooklyn Excelsiors were an upcoming baseball team that plied their trade in Brooklyn, New York City. In 1860, they became the first to wear the original version of the modern rounded-top baseball caps. By 1900, the caps with a button on top and a long peak were famously associated with the sport.
3. Baseball Caps Were Strictly for Sporting Purposes
Before the 1970s, baseball caps were never worn for fashion; they were strictly part of athletes’ uniforms. In fact, any individual seen wearing the cap outside the baseball diamond was heavily criticized.
4. The Button at the Top of A Baseball Cap Is Just A Button
There is a myth that the button at the top of a baseball cap is called a squatchee, but it’s not! Instead, squatcho (the word causing the confusion) was a joke from a Rich Hall book popular in the 80s. It became famous when a ball player either misspoke or remembered it wrong.
5. A Television Show Helped Popularize Baseball Caps
Outside sporting events, the Magnum P.I. television show helped popularize baseball caps. Thomas Shelleck, who played a private investigator in the series, wore a Detroit Tigers cap, making it look cool even for adults. This influenced more people to accept the 59FIFTY as fashionwear. By the 1990s, the hip-hop big boys Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, and Eazy-E had fully accepted and rocked the trend.
6. Baseball Caps Are Popular Among the Armed Forces
Not just in the United States, several countries allow their armed forces to wear baseball caps as part of their uniforms. In the United Kingdom, the hats are adored because they are unisex; both male and female officers rock them. Other countries where they are popular include Turkey, Slovenia, and Finland.
7. Flattening the Bill of a Baseball Cap Is Part of Players’ Superstitions
Like most athletes, some baseball players have superstitions about how they need to play, prepare, or dress for a game. The most common one is the flattening of the baseball cap bill. Others do it for stylistic reasons and comfort, though.
8. Mini Coupe’s Roof Design Was Inspired By a Baseball Cap
Mini Coupe was a two-seater sports car engineered and manufactured by Mini. The car, which has since been discontinued for poor sales, was famous for its floating roof. Apparently, the design was inspired by the sight of a teenager wearing his baseball cap backward.
9. Before Baseball Caps, There Were Straw Hats
Baseball players’ kits have always included some form of a hat. Before donning the iconic baseball caps, the Brooklyn Excelsiors wore straw hats.
10. The Notion That Wearing Baseball Caps Causes Baldness Is a Myth
So far, no conclusive study links wearing baseball caps to hair loss, making it a myth. To affect baldness, the cap has to be so tight on the wearer that it affects/destroys the hair roots, which is not practical.
11. Babe Ruth Placed Cabbage Leaves under His Baseball Cap to Keep Cool
Babe Ruth was a professional baseball player who pitched for the United States from 1914 to 1935, earning him the nickname “the Bambino.” Among many things, Ruth was famous for placing iced cabbage leaves under his baseball cap to cool his head as he played. He reportedly changed the leaves after every two innings. Talk about literally keeping a cool head.
12. It Is Against Baseball Rules to Catch a Baseball Using a Baseball Cap
In the past, there was a growing trend where fielders would throw their baseball caps at a ball, especially when it was too high. They would then collect the ball stuck in the cap and claim to have caught it themselves. To stop this, a rule was created that sees the opposing team awarded three bases if a player catches the baseball using their caps.
13. A BBC Reporter Once Used A Baseball Cap for Conflict Resolution
While reporting from Pyongyang, Korea, journalists were confined in a hotel and were not allowed to leave. A BBC reporter managed to sneak out, but one of the guards caught him on his way back. Even though the officer was furious, the two reconciled and parted on good terms. The reporter said the baseball cap he offered the guard might have had something to do with the peaceful conflict resolution.
14. The South Korean Baseball Players Were Banned from Placing Cabbages Under Their Caps
While the idea “worked wonders” for Babe Ruth, South Korean baseball players were banned from placing cabbage leaves under their caps. This followed an incident where the vegetable leaves fell from Park Myung-Hwan’s cap twice on live television. The players would only be allowed to continue the practice with an advance doctor’s recommendation.
15. Baseball Caps Are Not Mandatory for Players
While it’s hard to sport baseball players without baseball caps while playing, they don’t need to wear them. The Major League Baseball has never stated that the caps were a must-have or part of the uniform. Players only wear them out of respect for the long-standing tradition or to protect their eyes from sun rays.