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Baseball cap facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Baseball-Cap-c
A Texas A&M Aggies baseball cap

A baseball cap is a type of soft cap with a rounded crown and a stiff bill projecting in front.

The front of the cap typically displays a design or a logo (historically, usually only a sports team, namely a baseball team, or names of relevant companies, when used as a commercial marketing technique).

The cap may be "fitted" to the wearer's head or the back may have elastic, a plastic prong-in-a-hole (multiple holes with one prong that can be inserted), Velcro, a zipper, or a tri-glide slide so that it can be quickly adjusted to fit different wearers' heads.

The baseball cap is a part of the traditional baseball uniform worn by players, with the brim pointing forward to shield the eyes from the sun.

Since the 1980s, varieties of the hat have become prevalent in the United States and many other nations, both for utilitarian (protecting the eyes from the sun) and fashion accessory purposes.

History

1863 Harry Wright
Harry Wright wearing a baseball cap, circa 1863.

In 1860, the Brooklyn Excelsiors wore the ancestor of the modern rounded-top baseball cap, which featured a long peak and a button on top, and by 1900, the "Brooklyn style" cap became popular.

During the 1940s, latex rubber became the stiffening material inside the hat and the modern baseball cap was born.

The peak, also known in certain areas as the "bill" or "brim", was designed to protect a player's eyes from the sun. Typically, the peak was much shorter in the earlier days of the baseball hat.

Also, the hat has become more structured, versus the overall "floppy" cap of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The baseball cap was and still is an important means by which to identify a team. Often the logo, mascot, or team's initial was placed on the cap. Usually, the cap was also fashioned in the official colors of a particular team.

The basic shape, including curved peak, is similar to some styles of 19th-century sunbonnets.

There are 4 major types of baseball caps:

  1. Snapback hat - (hat with a snap closure in the rear) with flat brim, high profile, adjustable.
  2. Adjustable hat - (hat with a velcro closure in the rear) unstructured, low profile, curved brim, adjustable.
  3. Fitted hat - curved or flat brim, structured cap, high profile, unadjustable.
  4. "Flexfit" hat - curved or flat brim, structured cap, high profile, adjustable by the use of elastic materials.
Baseball cap styles and variations
Snapback baseball cap
Trucker cap
Flexfit-style baseball cap
Fitted baseball cap

Athletic use

Beginning with the 2014 season, MLB pitchers are permitted to wear a special reinforced cap to protect their heads from line drives.

Athletes in other sports wear caps with their team's logo and colors as "sideline" caps; both types are also sold as authentic team merchandise in retail stores.

Other caps may simply have a maker's logo, such as Reebok, Nike or Carhartt; these hats are often made of brushed cotton.

Golfers tend to prefer the sports visor form which does not cover the head but keeps the sun out of their eyes; women also traditionally have worn visors casually but a trend in certain youth subcultures sees an increase in feminine use of full caps.

Professional use

Military

US Navy 040527-N-4104L-001 Guided missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59), Commanding Officer, Cmdr. William Kearns III, communicates with his combat information center
Baseball caps worn by naval officers from the US, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines

Some armed forces use baseball caps as part of their uniforms, including the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard.

Used mostly with the utility uniform and coveralls, the baseball cap usually has a command logo on the front to denote command affiliation.

Police

There has been a marked trend in recent years among police forces and other uniformed bodies throughout the world to substitute cheap and comfortable baseball caps for peaked caps and other traditional headdresses. The baseball cap is also commonly used by private security companies as a cheap, practical piece of uniform headgear.

WMP museum - Police baseball cap 01
A police baseball cap on display at the West Midlands Police Museum in the Sparkhill Police Station, Birmingham, England.

In Britain, the baseball cap has the additional advantage of being unisex and suitable for wear by both male and female officers.

In Slovenia, policemen on motorcycles wear baseball caps as a part of their uniform, when they remove the helmet.

Turkish police switched from peaked caps to baseball caps in the 1990s.

In many United States police forces, the baseball cap is worn as a more practical alternative to the traditional peaked cap or campaign hat, the latter of which is generally used by Sheriff's departments and state police forces.

Many armed police units around the world, notably SWAT in the United States and the United Kingdom Metropolitan Police Specialist Firearms Command, often wear baseball caps to shield their eyes from the sun where a full helmet would be excessive.

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