Hats Off for Spring Baseball Apparel


The blossoming spring means more than just the fact that you’ll be able to wear white pants soon—it means another important fashion accessory is in season, literally. Baseball fans across the country celebrated Opening Day on March 31 and April 1, and though there are no rules against wearing baseball caps in the off-season, it certainly makes more sense to be reppin’ your team when they’re actually on the field. That said, the cap you sport says a lot about you, believe it or not. There are different style, size and color choices, and, of course, the team affiliation.

According to New Era, the New York Yankees caps are the number one choice for MLB fans. (David Pokress/Newsday/MCT)

New Era, the official provider of caps to Major League Baseball, produces 30 million caps each year (about seven every minute), which it distributes to 40 countries around the world. Of all those millions, the most popular team logo sold according to its website remains the reigning Yankees, also dubbed “America’s Favorite Baseball Team” for the eighth year running by Harris Interactive. That said, it’s no surprise that navy and white are the most popular colors of cap and embroidery thread, respectively: the navy-and-white, pinstripe-clad Yanks have become an icon of baseball across the country and around the world, not just here in New York City.

Some of their best-selling caps, like that of the Yankees, make sense based on the team’s popularity, success and fan base. Others seem completely off -the-mark, especially when compared with the results of Harris Interative’s survey of over 2,000 people during the heat of last year’s baseball season. Here is a look at five of the best-selling authentic caps, straight from New Era, and what wearing one means.

New York Yankees

Everybody owns a Yankees hat—and a Derek Jeter jersey, apparently: the Yankee captain’s garb was the best-selling jersey last baseball season, according to a press release by the MLB. (His teammate, A-Rod, came in at nine.) Sure, the Yankees are a wealthy, successful team with a strong following. After all, it’s not difficult to be a fan of a team with a long history of winning. But how many of you wearing the best-selling, navy-and-white Yankees caps are just posing to fill out the ranks of Jay-Z, who “made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can?” You just can’t be a trendsetter in a Yankees cap. Be a little more original.

Boston Red Sox

How much of the Red Sox’s popularity, as the number two best-loved team, stems solely from their century-long rivalry with the aforementioned powerhouse Yankees? A lot of it, undoubtedly. But they’re all right, because they were the underdogs for so long. The traditional navy cap, like that of the Yankees, is unsurprisingly New Era’s best-selling cap color but embroidered with red thread instead. If you want to support the popular team with a little original flare, go for the authentic on-field alternate version of the team’s hat, featuring just the red socks in place of the iconic red “B” for Boston.

Atlanta Braves

The Braves are another well-loved team, according to the Harris survey, that also ranks in the top five of cap sales from New Era. Rocked by southern rappers including T.I., the home variation of this hat is no less iconic than the American League northeast rivalry, with its navy top and solid red brim. Up in these here parts, there’s nothing too cliché about a classic Braves hat, so go for it. Just don’t try to be ironic and sport their away variation, stitched in the same color scheme as the Yankees’ only official cap.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Who are you, Snoop Dogg? Even the Black-and-Yellow-rapping, Pittsburgh-repping Wiz Khalifa is more often seen sporting a Nationals hat—though, I suspect, that probably has more to do with the initial “W” than an affinity for the D.C.-based team. The bottom line about Pirates hats is they have to be popular simply for their clean black with a crisp, golden “P,” because the Pirates themselves are about as popular as they are good—which is to say, not very. Ranking in the bottom five on the Harris survey, they weren’t even as lucky in last season’s league standings, coming in dead last with only 57 wins and 105 losses. If you want to support a lovable underdog, wear a Cubs hat. If you’re just looking to be stylish, go with the equally highly-selling (and somewhat more well-loved) Chicago White Sox, who rock clean black and white. And if you’re simply wearing the Pirates cap because you’re a fan… I’m sorry for your loss.

San Francisco Giants

Despite the fact that the Giants are among the top 10 best-loved teams, if you’re caught in this iconic black-and-orange “SF” cap, you’d better be from the West Coast. Otherwise, there’s no excuse but the bandwagon to sport the faraway team’s cap in the wake of its World Series victory last fall. Unless you’re just really partial to orange (though you could also rock the Orioles cap) or interlocking block letters (in which case you’re limited mostly to California teams, or, at closest, the St. Louis Cardinals), but that just seems like a silly reason to affiliate. So admit it. Unless you’re from the Bay Area, or have an awkward affinity for Tim “The Freak” Lincecum, you’re only wearing that hat because the Giants beat the team that knocked the Yankees out of the running for the World Series last year.