How Did Baseball Caps Become So Iconic?

Posted on November 05 2019

In many parts of the world, including the United States, for more than 100 years, baseball has been played and remains a popular sport. As early as 1849, baseball caps started being worn by players. That didn't make baseball caps fashionable, however. Finally, somewhere in the early 1970s, the wearing of a baseball cap became the norm.

The way people view baseball caps today is a far cry from the way they were regarded back in the day. What is today's perfect fashion accessory was yesterday's odd headwear. How did that happen?

Let's take a closer look at the evolution of the baseball cap.

How Did Baseball Caps Become So Iconic?

My, How Things Do Change!

Want to make your outfit stand out and put the finishing touches on it? A well-made baseball cap could accomplish just such a task. Since the early 1950s, baseball players have been wearing caps made by some of today's biggest and most well-known manufacturers. When the iconic 59fifty model came out, people began looking at baseball caps in a different way. The cap is still worn by professionals and nonprofessionals alike.

In 1979, you could purchase one of these caps through the mail courtesy of New Era. Numerous popular sports publications carried their ads.

Spike Lee and the Yankees

In the popularization of the baseball cap, an important role was played by Yankees’ director Spike Lee. He wanted a red Yankees cap from New Era in 1996. He got it. From that point on, the manufacture and sale of baseball caps in multiple styles and colors skyrocketed.

 Lights… Camera… Got Your Cap?

Once the 1980s hit, baseball caps became mainstream. Everyone from Hollywood actors to music celebrities, wore one. One of those actors was Ron Howard, but there were many more. Movie directors, back in the day, frequently wore baseball caps on set. They were particularly handy, if they were filming out-of-doors, to keep the sun off their head.

Television Stars Wear Caps

The movies weren't the only place baseball caps were seen. A Detroit Tigers cap was worn by “Magnum PI” star Tom Selleck. Eventually, the sale of on-field caps by New Era was prompted, possibly as a result of TV fans wanting to dress like their favorite TV characters.

The 1980s

In the Early 1980s and 1990s, baseball caps were seen on the heads of hip-hop stars. MTV was introducing a new form of expression with Queen Latifah, N.W.A., and 2Pac (Tupac). In videos and during live shows, hip-hop stars were wearing baseball caps. They became a representation of something deeper than just a sport, brand, or team. They now were a sign of a group, affirmation, attitude, or an identity.

Example: A beat up cap says, “I have done some serious living and this cap has been with me the entire way.”

New Era

Today, some 40 million non-licensed and licensed caps per year are manufactured by New Era. These caps are available through retailers such as Hat Heaven, Dick’s, Aeon (in Japan), and many more. In the entire world, New Era is possibly the best known company for the manufacture of hats.

One of the most attractive things about baseball caps is the fact that they are affordable and have been for some time. At Hat Heaven, we stock a wide array of affordable, stylish, colorful, team or non-team-oriented baseball caps in different styles. Check out what we have to offer and purchase what will undoubtedly become your new favorite hat.


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