Magic Blue thread mixes with Graphite Gray to give Major League Baseball its first-ever on-field Father’s Day cap. With a Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cap joining the ranks this season, expect special-edition caps from New Era to only grow in popularity.
“We had conversations with Major League Baseball around the best selling caps being the ones that are (for special occasions),” Tony DeSimone, New Era baseball director, tells SI.com. “Fans clearly like these caps.”
As do the players.
World Series champion Buster Posey, a catcher and first baseman for the San Francisco Giants, tells SI.com that players “enjoy the different special-event caps” and he sees the fans getting in on the variety too. “It’s always nice to see the special caps unveiled each season.”
Having a Father’s Day 59FIFTY selection for the first time—the gray base features a light “Magic Blue” thread through the panel stitching and fully creating each team’s logo—serves as a “tribute to all of the dads out there who have put in a lot of time with their kids, especially for those who are practicing baseball,” Posey says. “Hopefully my kids will feel the same way one day.”
As a father, Posey says playing baseball on Fathers Day gives him the opportunity to reflect and be grateful for the time his dad spent with him as a kid, plus show thankfulness for the “two wonderful children I have.”
DeSimone says that this year the special-event caps include Mother’s Day (and its Strawberry Pink thread on Graphite Gray) and Father’s Day, along with Memorial Day, Fourth of July and the All-Star Game, now in its third year and with a special San Diego-focused design that crosses into the fashion world. Each cap needs to bring with it a new meaning.
“You are really trying to resonate with the fan,” he says. “Let them know that baseball and the players themselves really do recognize the meaning of the event.” He really knows the events have caught on with players when he sees them going out of their way to add on, whether coordinating bats, gloves, cleats or wristbands to the event.
New Era works with MLB’s uniform provider, Majestic, to match colors for special-edition caps with all teams. “Sometimes you can find a look that looks great on one club and doesn’t always play up as well across all 30,” DeSimone says.
While New Era has upped its special-edition cap offerings, it has also bolstered variety in its authentic 59FIFTY style by pushing the relatively new low-profile version that sports a lower and smoother curve to the front of the cap for a more contoured and form-fitting look. This contrasts against the traditional 59FIFTY cap’s square front and flat bill with a 90-degree angle at the curve to the cap’s top button.
Either cap option is allowed during games, even if all players aren’t aware. DeSimone says as they noticed a consumer trend toward curved visors last year. They wanted to bring that option to players on the field too.
“It just took off,” DeSimone says of the popularity of the low-profile version that propelled to the top-selling cap being sold with the MLB license, a 116% increase from last year. As New Era started stocking the cap for consumers, they pushed it with players too, talking with equipment managers to make sure they were offering it to players.
“The funny thing about it,” DeSimone says, “players did not realize they actually could wear it on the field of play. During a photo shoot Buster Posey says ‘this is really cool, I wish I could wear it on the field.’ Now he does. We are starting to see more and more clubhouse managers carrying both sets.”
Posey says the traditional cut sat so high on his head he wanted something a little lower. “And I’m all about a curved visor,” he says. “The low-profile comes pre-curved, so that’s great for me.”
Posey, who wears the same cap all season and keeps the past ones with the hope of creating “some type of display, especially with my World Series Championships caps” signifies a growing trend among players moving to the low-profile version.
As consumer preferences in younger generations trend toward “dad caps” that have less structure and a curved visor, the low-profile 59FIFTY hasn’t followed a generation pattern in MLB. DeSimone says the trend isn’t based on age or any other demographic, simply style. “Guys that like to curve their visors [which can be done on the traditional style], this thing already comes pre-curved,” DeSimone says. “With a lower crown it is more of a fashion preference than anything else.”
Fashion choices—from special events to profile options—has New Era shaping the on-field look of MLB. From Strawberry Pink to Magic Blue thread.
Tim Newcomb covers sports aesthetics—stadiums to sneakers—and training for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.