While jerseys get the majority of attention when it comes to wearable sports apparel, you can't leave home without seeing someone wearing a New Era MLB hat in the world of the now (2011). Unlike the NFL and NHL, which also wear something over their heads, a baseball hat can be worn by anyone without looking crazy, drunk or drunk and crazy.
This got me to thinking, what are the best and worst hats in all of baseball? Below is one man's opinion of each team's official New Era on-field hats for the 2011 MLB season. There was no hidden formula that went into this list other than my thoughts, which tend to gravitate toward weird things.
After finishing the article, leave a comment with your Top 5 below or make a case for a hat to be moved up or down in a respectful manor and it will be taken into consideration, as I don't pretend to be as perfect as a fine wrist watch or Phil Jackson. At the bottom of the article are the hats that have seen some movement so far.
After checking out the list, be sure to check out some of our other great content, including our sections on baseball rookie cards, football rookie cards, basketball rookie cards, and hockey rookie cards, as well as our set database which features price comparisons on sports card hobby boxes, as well as checklists, set info and reviews, for well over 1,000 different sets.
1. New York Yankees - Love them or hate them, the Yankees hat is one of the most recognizable and iconic symbols of the modern sports world. It's simple, sticks to tradition and has names like Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle and Maris sewn into the fabric of each cap (figuratively).
2. Philadelphia Phillies- Simple in design, yet stands out in a crowd. The Phillies hat is corny in the best way possible thanks to the endless antics of the Philly Phanatic and the early 90's team that found a way to get pine tar and/or chew on everything they wore. It's also the oldest franchise in baseball.
3. Minnesota Twins- The Twins have two unique hats that open two different chapters in franchise history. The first being the "TC" (Twin Cities) version from the days of Killebrew, Oliva and Carew. The second being the "M" version that conjures memories of Puckett, Hrbek and Jack Morris. The Twins hat is that of the anti-Yankee (small market).
4. Baltimore Orioles- This hat defies all odds by making orange look cool. The hat(s) also strike the perfect balance between Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken. The re-introduction of the "O's" version was a great choice.
5. Chicago White Sox - Without a doubt the scariest and most intimidating hat in baseball, it instantly conjures memories of scary real life people like Skeletor from He-Man (Masters of the Universe) and Albert Belle.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers - One of the most recognizable hats in the world and the term "Dodger blue" is often used to describe the color in other walks of life. It reminds me of three things - Tommy Lasorda, Fernando Valenzuela and the 80's movie "Born in East L.A.", each of which are decent memories.
7. St. Louis Cardinals- From Stan Musial to Ozzie Smith to Albert Pujols, this hat (or similar variations) has stood the test of time and represents one of America's greatest baseball towns. The bird on the bat is the best one if you ask me.
8. Oakland A's - One of baseball's most distinguishable caps. It's stands out in a hat store. There are those who would say this hat "clashes" with clothing, to which I would explain that this isn't picking out drapes to match a davenport (sofa/couch), this is baseball.
9. Boston Red Sox- It's not the design that makes the Red Sox cap respectable, it's the history stitched into each "B" that makes them one of baseball's most enduring lids. I say that we all agree to name the next expansion team the ____ Sox, it's high time the National League had a Sox team, though that would make 17 NL teams, but if 16 isn't a problem, why would 17 be?
10. Pittsburgh Pirates- Though a far departure from their crazy caps of yesteryear, the "P" perfectly preserves Pirates history, at least the parts worth remembering like Clemente, Stargell, Leyland and who & what not.
11. Kansas City Royals- Imagine how cool these would be if the Royals were as was good as their hats were? We might not have to wait long for that to happen, as Mike Moustakas, Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer could redefine the definition of Royals baseball in coming years.
12. Atlanta Braves- From Hank Aaron to Greg Maddux to Jason Heyward, the Braves have had some of the coolest players in baseball history. A subtle refreshing to accompany what could be a dominant new dynasty led by J-Hey, Freddie Freeman, Tommy Hanson and Julio Teheran would be cool to see.
13. San Francisco Giants- Several years ago I was not a fan of this hat thanks to Barry Bonds, but now that it represents Brian Wilson and Buster Posey, it's cool in my book.
14. Cincinnati Reds- Crisp, clean and captures the essence of the Red Machine and Dibble v. Piniella. It would be awesome if they brought back the version featuring the guy with Baseball head (Mr. Red).
15. Milwaukee Brewers - One of the best combinations of old school and new school. What more can you ask for out of a two hat combo? The old school Brewers hat is worthy of induction into the Cooperstown of caps.
16. Detroit Tigers - Upon reflection and some decent points made by Tigers fans pertaining to the age of the Tigers, I decided to move the hat up. As it's history is undeniable and so is Magnum P.I. and Rob Deer.
17. Colorado Rockies - Not sure why I like these so much. In my opinion, they are the premier expansion hat of the last 20 years. The color scheme fits Colorado perfectly and I have no clue why, it just is what it is.
18. Texas Rangers- Bright colors, bright future, cool caps for a franchise that until last year had struggled to find it's niche in the baseball world ever since moving to the massive state south of the state shaped like a pan handle in the early 70's.
19. Washington Nationals- For a team that's been killed off several times now (Nationals/Senators), this cap pops and is one of the better redux hats in the game. The hat perfectly suites the R.Zimmerman-Strasburg-Harper administration. Be cautioned, at no point is this hat worth paying Jayson Werth money for (estimated $150-$200).
20. Tampa Bay Rays- I've always liked the extremely tacky and corny flair of Rays-wear. The Rays most recent hat means business, unlike the lovable sting ray-ed version worn during the franchise's early years.
21. Chicago Cubs - One of the best selling baseball hats of all-time, it's also the only hat that comes with a built in excuse. Was it really worth destroying a promising young man's life (Steve Bartman) because of Moises Alou's urine hardened hands and Alex S. Gonzalez? Ironically the only thing hardened from Alou's urine was the hearts of Cubs fans. (For the record, Alou did admit to peeing on his hands to help improve his bat grip.)
22. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - It feels like the Angels mess with their hat every few years. The latest hat seems to capture a bit more Angels history than others in recent memory.
23. Florida Marlins - Solid symbol, solid hat, a new stadium should make this hat feel like it represents something that isn't going to throw an estate sale at any second.
24. New York Mets - Bad color combo, yet it would be an absolute travesty for them to ever change it. The last thing baseball needs is another navy blue/red combo. Though I don't like these hats, I do respect the hell out of them.
25. Cleveland Indians- These hats are cool when the Indians are good or extremely bad, at least the ones without the pre-World War I logo. The "C' hats below are without a doubt the single ugliest hats in baseball, which is sort of good news for Padres fans.
26. Seattle Mariners- The symbol worked well once upon a time, but has gone stale in recent years. Why not try some sort of sea captain on the hat (Mariner)? Or maybe use a dash of Seahawks neon green. The only thing exciting about these hats is what Milton Bradley might or might not do while wearing one.
27. Toronto Blue Jays - This hat is sort of cool, but not nearly as cool as the ones that captured back-to-back World Series titles in the early 90's. Franchises are constantly searching for an identity, the Jays had one until they started tinkering with their uniforms.
28. Houston Astros- Who copied who between the Diamondbacks and 'Stros? It doesn't really matter, either way these hats are unbecoming of the Astros. I've never understood Houston, for instance why on earth did they go with Texans over Oilers when they got an NFL team again?! Also, what's the deal with the Rockets' jerseys? I get it, which is why I don't get it. These hats are far too passive aggressive for Texas.
29. Arizona Diamondbacks- These hats don't remind me of the Big Unit, Curt Schilling or Luis Gonzalez at all! Go back to the purple, these hats are trying too hard to fit into an entry way.
30. San Diego Padres- Even the great Tony Gwynn or not-great Sean Burroughs can save these hats from themselves. At the very least, go with the crazy hats that remind us that Ozzie Smith and Dave Winfield were indeed Padres once upon a time. This whole "experimental" fatigues stage is starting to get a little weird. At first I thought it was a sincere tribute to the armed forces, then it somehow found a spot in the permanent rotation. I'm assuming the middle cap is part of the Padres fatigues collection.
- Best Tradition: New York Yankees
- Best Post 90's Hat (Expansion/Relocation): Colorado Rockies
- Hat of the Front Runner: New York Yankees
- Hat of the Overachieving Underdog: Minnesota Twins
- Hat of the Underachieving Underdog: Chicago Cubs
- Best Old School/New School Combo: Milwaukee Brewers
- Most Intimidating Hat: Chicago White Sox
- Needs New Hat Badly: San Diego Padres
* = Hat ranking change due to reader(s) bringing up a good point or after sleeping on it. Hats that have been moved up or down so far.
- Detroit Tigers From #29 to #16
- Atlanta Braves From #23 to #12
- San Francisco Giants From #21 to #13
- Chicago White Sox From #10 to #5
- Milwaukee Brewers From #5 to #15
- Oakland A's From #13 to #9
- Pittsburgh Pirates From #12 to #10
- Colorado Rockies From #6 to #17
- Boston Red Sox from #13 to #9
- Cleveland Indians from #29 to #25
- Kansas City Royals from #6 to #11