Your Major League Baseball Hat Starting Lineup!
We started off in the Minors, but now we're moving on up to the Big Leagu!. Grab a cup of coffee and dive on in!
DH - Seattle Mariners
When I was growing up, there was only one player who was the epitome of cool on the diamond. That one player had the sweetest swing I have ever seen and made the game look easy. Ken Griffey, Jr. was the Michael Jordan of the MLB. Griffey was cool, calm, collected at the plate and had power to spare. Ken Griffey, Jr was the epitome of cool.
Griffey made the Mariners hat cool. He gave it power, he gave it a freshness that was difficult to find in the MLB at the time. Your standard Mariners hat with it's navy blue and teal base is one of the most 1990's things I've ever seen. It's hip without being overbearing, and it's current without feeling dated.
What I love most about this hat is that it perfectly sums up the Pacific Northwest in color scheme and color usage. The deep navy blue not only mirrors the banks of the Pacific Ocean, but also reflects the lush forrest and rough terrain of the area. Seattle is surrounded by water on both sides, and I love that on his hat you can be sitting in the middle of a deep dark blue, but there's silver and teal in there, bringing forth life and joy.
9 - Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates find themselves on this list due to their versatility. Can you wear this hat to a Pittsburgh Penguins game? YES. Can you wear it to a Pittsburgh Steelers game? Yes. Can you wear it to a Pittsburgh River Dogs game? YES. Can you wear it to a Pittsburgh Sledgehammers game? YES. If you go to a professional sporting event in Pittsburgh a Pirates hat has you covered. That's why it lands in the Top 10. You wear a Pirates hat and people know where your fandom lies. Not just with a team, but with a city.
8 - Houston Astros
So here's the thing. The Astros have had some interesting uniforms over the past 20 years, especially from 1994 to 2012. The deviation from the Orange based color scheme wasn't so much a misstep, but more of a well meaning wrong turn. However, the new uniforms are a clash of the old and the new, which means that we've got modern throwback hats.
The Astros now sport a simple "H" on an Orange star which rests in the center of their navy blue caps, something that debuted in 1965 when the team shifted from the Colt .45s to the Astros. The logo is classic. It's effortless.
7 - Baltimore Orioles
First off, I love that the Orioles are more of less treating their hats like a minor league club. I love it. I need more of it. What started off as a strong departure from the norm, the Cartoon Bird was brought onto the scene in 1966. This guy is goofy, but I love it. It's whimsical, it's fun, it's baseball! Also worth mentioning is that this logo saw seven ALCS trips, six AL Pennants and three World Series Championships. While wearing this logo, the Baltimore Orioles won more games than any other team during that that period of time.
Look at that dopey bird! COME ON! HOW FUNNY IS THAT GUY! I love it. It's fun. IT'S FUN. Manny Machado could be storming the mound after getting beaned, which he is want to do, and I would still smile at this dopey looking bird. I also love that the Alternate jerseys come with a black and orange hat that just says "O's." COME ON! IT'S TOO GOOD! Let's have fun!
Another thing to tip the cap to it the Old School panelling on their Home hats. A throw back to the 70s-80s, the white panel which hold the logo draws the eye in and give our bird friend a nice and comfortable home. There's nothing bad about this hat!
6 - Detroit Tigers
So far we've had a lot of modern throwbacks like the Astros, Orioles and even the Twins, but I want to give credit to the Detroit Tigers for not changing a goddamn thing on their Home Whites for over 50 years. Round of Applause, please! I love the simplicity here. Just an old school "D." BOOM. Nothing more. I once had a coach say to us, "It's not the jersey that wins games, it's the guys wearing them." Not to say that Detroit doesn't win games, but I love the idea that the jersey stays the same, but the reason you put it on everyday doesn't change. The Tigers are a hard-nosed ball club, they're grinders. Tyler Collins, their backup Centerfielder, flipped off the crowd in Detroit this year. They don't care about nothing. These guys are cut from the same cloth as Hank Greenberg and Ty Cobb. Hard-nosed, no nonsense bullshit. Give us a "D" and let's play some baseball. That's what this Detroit hat means to me. It's tough and it always has been.
5 - Toronto Blue Jays
Here's a strange thing I learned: the Orioles and the Blue Jays are the only two teams who do not have letters as their primary logo! Cool! Toronto is on this list because of the details on the logo. Most notably is the detailed Blue Jay profile, with it's sleek beak and piercing eye. This bird looks ready to go. The second thing you'll notice is the Canadian Maple Leaf.
When the Montreal Expos were RUDELY swindled out of existence Canada was left with one baseball team. While this might seem like a non-issue to most Americans, losing half of your country's baseball teams because of Bud Selig is a punch to the gut and nuts at the same time. When the Blue Jays visited the Seattle Mariners this season, Safeco Field was PACKED with Blue Jays fans who came down from Vancouver, where the Jays Single-A Canadians plays. It was astounding how many Jays fans came down for the weekend series. I vividly remember watching most of these games, not because of the tiny playoff implication, but because of how INSANE it was to see so many visiting fans taking over a stadium. I had never seen anything like it. The small detail of the Maple Leaf signifies that this is not just a Canadian team, but it's now Canada's team. A hat that unites a nation easily gets a spot on the list.
4 - Oakland Athletics
Let us go back to a simpler time, when Studio 54 was the hottest cub in NYC, the USA had just landed on the moon and the Vietnam War was about to escalate. The Late 1960s and Early 70s were an interesting time for America and the Oakland A's were just getting started. In 1968, the Oakland A's became the 2nd team to move to a third city, leaving an abysmal stint in Kansas City. When they arrived in Oakland the A's decided to switch up their uniforms, giving us one of the most jarring color changes of all time.
Oakland's colors went from Blue and White to the Green and Yellow, and one of the best hats in all of the MLB was born. There's a lot to love with this hat. The sharp contrast between the green and the yellow is eye catching to say the least. Your eye is drawn to the bright yellow brim, and then to the white logo brings the whole hat together. The "A" remains relatively unchanged from the original 1905 uniform. It's the ultimate mix of classic, with a touch of edge.
3 - Los Angeles Dodgers
This one is simple. Real simple. We've been talking a lot about classic logos in this blog and there's a good reason for that. Baseball is about as classic as you can get. It's our national pastime! The Los Angeles Dodgers hat a very classic hat, and it's also one that is attached to one of the best baseball movies of all time: The Sandlot.
Am I picking the Dodgers because of Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez? Maybe. MAYBE I DID. The Dodgers hat is a more laid back New York Yankees cap. Aside from wearing it in San Francisco or San Diego, a Dodgers hat simple and stylish. I mean, who doesn't want to feel like Sandy Koufax or Clayton Kershaw?
2 - Arizona Diamondbacks
I know! This sounds mental, but hear me out. Living in New York the most common hats I see are the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Why? I don't quite know. Part of me thinks it has to do with the bright teal they just introduced or the great logo they very smartly decided to return to.
After lightening up on the rust colored uniforms, the Diamondback embraced their older roots and partially went back to their former teal and purple colors. Replacing the purple is a nice maroon, which gives a rich desert clay feeling. Add some bright teal and BOOM! We've got a great looking lid. It's fun and funky without going overboard. The other thing to mention is that this is the first team to revamp their uniforms with significantly altered structuring within the uniform. But that's a topic for another time.
1 - New York Yankees
I hate this. One of the reasons I was trying to hold off doing a Starting Lineup about MLB hats was that I knew in my hear that the #1 spot would be the New York Yankees. The New York Yankees logo is the most recognizable sports logo in the entire world, which would make a Yankees hat the most well known piece of sports attire you can wear. Navy on white, no extra color anywhere else. It's perfect. I hate that I just said perfect.
But it really is. There's nothing else in the sporting world that has a simplistic design, but tells you everything you need to know about the team it represents. Aside from the Dallas Cowboys star, the Yankees logo is succinct and to the point. The hat doesn't try to make any bold assumptions, it doesn't scream 27 championships, instead it's a quiet reverence. It says tradition, hard work, elegance, history. It is an understated pride, full of honor. It's the hat that Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra, Larson, Maris, Mantle, Munson, Ford, Stengel, Jeter, Jackson, Rivera, and many more wore. As the late George Steinbrenner once said, "There are major leaguers and there are Yankees." It's the top of the list and will be for a very long time.