The New York Knickerbockers (now the moniker of Manhattan’s NBA basketball team, the ‘Knicks’) were the first baseball team to don baseball caps, in 1849. Since then the world is crazy for this invasive style, supplanting almost all others including the historic designs of most of the world’s military, police and even overgrowing the US Navy’s white cotton Gob caps.
For any group that wants to convey a team or military “all for one and one for all” motif, baseball caps are rigueur.
You can buy online for bupkis but you must select from tiny images that tell you nothing about the feel of fabric, fit or true color.
Or, you can stroll 125th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, in Harlem, until you reach Diallo where you can hold, feel and actually try on caps from among many hundreds of examples. Maybe thousands.
I remember the way hats used to be — 6 panel wool, sewn crown eyelets, leather or pure cotton sweat bands, and a felt logo stitched on.
Now, they come with a big gold sticker on the top side of the peak proclaiming something or other and a square tag dangling from somewhere around the backside.
Do not remove these labels — they are part of the style.
What to do when you really need a St Louis Cardinal bright red wool cap and this is your last trip to the USA? Go the land of a thousand caps up on 125th Street.
It is not a chain.