Posted on November 05 2019
Are you a baseball fan? Do you own any MLB caps or uniforms? If you are a true fan, it's likely you own a baseball cap representing your favorite team. Do you know who manufactured that hat? What about the uniforms your team wears? Do you know who makes them? There are companies that have been manufacturing baseball caps and uniforms for decades, and some that are relative newcomers. Let's take a look at uniform manufacturers throughout history, where the MLB is concerned.
Here's a list of MLB uniform manufacturers. We won't discuss all of them below, but for those who want to know who's been putting out MLB uniforms over the years, here you go:
- Ideal Cap, Cooperstown Ball Cap
- Russell Athletic
- A. Goodman & Sons
- Mitchell and Ness
- ANNCO (American Needle and Novelty Company)
- Nike, Sports Specialists, and McGregor
- ‘47 Brand, Twins Enterprises
- Devon Professional Cap
- Roman Pro
- McAuliffe Uniform Corp. and Pro McAuliffe, Stall and Dean
- The Leslie Company and KM Pro
- MacGregor, MacGregor-GoldSmith, GoldSmith
- Harry Walker
- Horace Partridge
Now let's take a look at just a handful of those up close and personal.
Dating back to the 1880s, this is one of the earliest equipment makers. In the 1950s, they had a major share in the market. During that time, their hats were manufactured in Canada. Until around the 1950s, Spalding caps were distributed by Mitchell and Ness. Spalding's cap making business was acquired by the Leslie Company around 1950. In the early 1970s, Spalding supplied flannel wool jerseys. By 1973, however, they exited the MLB jersey market.
Since the 1880s, Rawlings has been making sporting and baseball equipment. Used into the early 1960s, several teams wore baseball caps by Rawlings. Teams made their own arrangements for suppliers up to 1987, but the first official jersey supplier to the MLB became Rawlings. They were therefore allowed to show, on MLB jerseys, their logo. However, during the Rawlings years, they were not the exclusive suppliers. Other manufacturers could be responsible for jerseys that teams wore. Rawlings was a considerable favorite, however.
In 1915, Wilson got into the athletic uniform business. In 1918, they supplied uniforms to the Cubs. During the 1950s, they became a dominant MLB Supplier. Under a private label, New Era (see below) made Wilson's caps for a while. However, American Needle partnered with Wilson in 1975 when New Era decided to phase out. After the 1970s, only a couple of teams still used Wilson caps. Rawlings’ 1987 MLB licensing arrangement pretty much phased out Wilson jerseys.
Established in 1920, New Era supplied caps to Cleveland’s MLB team in 1934. In 1954, they introduced the 5950 cap. Selling under the Wilson label, they quickly became a major cap manufacturer. They also sold under the label of Tim McAuliffe. In the early 1960s, New Era also had hats made by The Leslie Company. Appearing in 1981 were the "Official Licensee" tags. More special labels and licensing were to follow. Today, they are considered innovators and a major player in the manufacturing of baseball caps.
Mitchell and Ness
The sporting goods distributor M&N was founded in 1904. They distributed KM Pro caps and Spalding caps to MLB teams from the 40s to the 50s. In the early 50s, they supplied Pearson jerseys to the Philadelphia A's. The company went under, however, by 1983 and reduced its existence to one store. However, they got the idea to manufacture throwbacks in 1985. They acquired exclusive licensing in 1988 and established the "Cooperstown Collection" – throwback baseball caps.
Hat Heaven carries the baseball cap you need. We deal with KBEthos, Field Grade, 47 Brand, Mitchell and Ness, and New Era. Check out our impressive selection of caps today to find your team’s baseball cap.