Up until 1954, it was up to individual baseball players to choose a hat to keep the sun out their eyes. Some went for straw boaters, others preferred jockey caps – some wore nothing, at least one wore a cowboy hat! In 1954, a hat company called New Era came up with the standard issue cap known as the ‘59Fifty’. This brought uniformity to the game and fifty years on, it’s still the official cap of Major League Baseball. What exactly is it based on? That’s a good question; some say it’s the English cricket cap, some the French army kepi – either way, the baseball cap has developed a distinctive style all its own. In the late 1970s, Americans began to buy and wear the caps worn by their favourite baseball team. The trend took hold and the baseball cap eventually made its way into every part of American society, including
Since the 1980s, the baseball cap has been associated with film directors, especially Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, and Michael Moore. Wearing the cap backwards began with catchers in baseball, because when they began using facemasks, they had to turn the cap around to fit the mask on.
Tiger Woods baseball cap photograph by mandj98, used under a creative commons attribution licence