Definitions

gimme-cap

Baseball cap

A baseball cap is a type of soft cap with a long, stiffened and curved bill. The back of the cap may have a plastic, Velcro, or elastic adjuster so that it can be quickly adjusted to fit different wearers. While the baseball cap is specifically associated with those who play the game of baseball, it is often worn as a fashion statement as well as practical headgear. It is very popular in the United States and Japan. Traditionally, the bill is worn forward, shielding the eyes from the sun, but it is also often worn backwards or at other angles. People with long hair in a ponytail may pull it through the gap in the cap above the adjustor.

History

In 1860, the Brooklyn Excelsiors wore the ancestor of the modern, rounded-top baseball cap, 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 "bill" or "brim" was designed to protect a player's eyes from the sun. Typically, the brim 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 to identify a team by. 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.

Design

Fitted baseball caps, suited to a particular headsize, lack an adjuster. The cap is normally sewn in six sections, and may be topped with a matching fabric-covered button on the crown. Metal grommets or fabric eyelets are often sewn or attached near the top of each of the six sections of fabric to provide ventilation. In some cases, the rear sections of the crown are made of net-like mesh material for extra ventilation. The bill is typically stiffened by a sewn in piece of paperboard.

Baseball caps are made of all types of material and shaped in various styles for different purposes. Major league baseball players wear classic-style caps made of wool (or, more recently, polyester) with their team's simple logo and colors; the logo is usually embroidered into the fabric. Caps used by players may sometimes have sunglasses attached to the peak that can be flipped down when the player must look into the sky, but kept flipped up at other times.

Athletic use

Formerly, baseball caps came in standard hat sizes. Since 1980, they have commonly come in a one-size-fits-all form, with an adjustment strap in the back. This simplifies marketing, but it reduces sun protection for bald men. More recently, advances in textiles have led to the "stretch-fit" hat, which uses Lycra or rubber to allow a hat to have a fitted style while still being "adjustable" within sizes.

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 and are quite popular. Other caps may simply have a company's logo, such as Reebok, Nike or Carhartt; these hats are often made of brushed cotton. Golfers tend to prefer the visor form of cap which does not cover the head but keeps the sun out of their eyes; women also traditionally have worn visors casually but a trend towards certain youth subcultures see an increase in visor popularity among both sexes.

Professional use

The military also uses baseball caps as part of the uniform, especially the United States Navy. Used mostly with the utility uniform and coveralls, the baseball cap usually has a command logo on the front to denote command affiliation. Also baseball caps of a particular color are worn to denote a specific function of a person or particular job. Two examples are in the United States submarine force, red baseball hats are worn by drill monitors who facilitate and critique members of the boat's crew during drills. Also in the United States Army, parachute riggers wear red baseball caps and parachute instructors wear black baseball caps as part of their uniform. In Slovenia, policemen on motorcycles wear baseball caps as a part of their uniform, when they remove the helmet.

Many armed police units around the world, notably SWAT in the United States and Scotland Yard's Specialist Firearms Command in Great Britain, often wear baseball caps to shield their eyes from the sun where a full helmet and facemask would be excessive.

Use in advertising

Another version of the baseball cap is a plastic mesh cap with a foam front imprinted with a company logo. This style of baseball cap is sometimes called a trucker cap or a "gimme cap" because it is given away for free as an advertising pitch.

Wearing a baseball cap with the peak facing in a certain direction may denote membership in a gang. For this reason, some public schools ban baseball caps. The idea of wearing the cap backwards is commonly attributed to catchers in baseball, as when they began using facemasks, they had to turn the cap around to fit the mask on. It can also be found in professional tennis. Another profession associated with the wearing of a baseball cap backwards is that of photographer, notably paparazzi - for the reason that an SLR camera cannot be held vertically to the eye whilst wearing a baseball cap with the peak forwards.

Fashion statement

Beginning in the 1980s, the baseball cap came to be associated with film directors, especially Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, and Michael Moore, replacing the beret. Baseball caps can be a fashion statement when decorated with embroidery, felt applique, patches, metal eyelets, sequins and so on.

See also

External links

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