MLB Power Rankings: Baseball's Caps Ranked from Worst to First
There really is nothing like a baseball cap. It provides fans with the easiest way of showing their allegiance to their team, and no other item of clothing has made the leap from sports apparel to fashion accessory quite as well.
Some caps are iconic, like the Yankees' interlocking "NY." Some are horrendous, such as the Angels' winged "A" from the late 1990s.
The Indians' is controversial, the Tigers' is beautiful and the less said about the Marlins', the better.
Here it is, then. A rundown of Major League Baseball's caps, from the worst to the best.
30. Toronto Blue Jays
Classic, iconic, fun, combining the sport, the team name and the nation of Canada, the Blue Jays sure do have a wonderful cap design.
Or at least they did, until they did away with it about a decade ago. Then, in 2004, the whole uniform underwent a redesign and we were left with this. It tries to be a Blue Jay, it tries to be the letter "J", and it ends up being neither.
29. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have never been the best-dressed team in baseball but at least the Devil Rays uniform had an identity. The new uni is nice enough but the caps are just dull.
Compared to the old green, turquoise, purple and black caps with the devil ray on the front, these are really lifeless. Perhaps it does not matter—most of Tampa Bay’s fans wear pink hats, anyway.
28. Florida Marlins
It is a fish hugging a giant "F". No. Just no.
27. Arizona Diamondbacks
The main problem here is similar to the Jays’. The D-Backs had an identity with the purple back in the days when they were winning the World Series.
The red and black are nice, but they are kind of uninspiring and now more closely associated with the team’s recent struggles, while their old design reminds us of their championship glory.
26. Houston Astros
The Astros have had some of the worst-ever uniforms but their caps have been largely inoffensive. The old H-on-a-star design was never great but neither is their current design.
There is nothing wrong with it; it just does not do much.
25. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers are in a similar situation to the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks. Their old logo—the famous "baseball glove" logo—is one of the greatest in the history of the game.
The current one is totally unexciting.
24. Cleveland Indians
The "C" hat has history and was worn from 1910 to 1942, when the team switched to a Cincinnati Reds/Chicago Bears style of "C". It returned in the late '70s and early '80s. Now it is back again. And boy, is it dull.
The Native American logo, which has appeared on Indians caps for over a quarter of a century, is happy and cute and is the most controversial in baseball.
23. Seattle Mariners
There is nothing wrong with the Mariners’ cap. It has been around for a fair while and is unquestionably the nicest cap any Seattle baseball franchise has worn.
However, it just has not aged as well and does not have the history and luster to bail it out.
22. Washington Nationals
When the Montreal Expos moved to Washington in 2005, they had three choices for their cap: a totally new design, the regular "W" of the original Washington Senators, or the curly "W" of the second Senators.
They made the right decision.
Their logo is definitely theirs, but means a little more to those who know their history, harking back to the '60s Senators franchise that later became the Texas Rangers.
21. San Diego Padres
The Padres have had some great players and they have all worn (almost) the same interlocking "SD" logo on their cap.
The problem San Diego has with it now is that its present incarnation is the least interesting, largely because of the plain coloration.
A few tweaks or a slight reimagining of the logo and it would be much higher on the list.
20. Colorado Rockies
Purple is always going to divide opinion. It did with the D-Backs and it has done with the Rockies. If you like the purple colour scheme, though, this is a nice cap.
It is also the only cap which has the initials of both city/state and nickname.
19. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Angels have gone through a lot of changes. They were Los Angeles, then California, then Anaheim and now the LA Angels of Anaheim. But their cap has remained pretty much the same.
The early years of the Anaheim Angels brought us some truly horrid caps which were amongst the worst in baseball, but they have reverted, thankfully, to the simple haloed "A".
18. Baltimore Orioles
Sure, it has history. But it just doesn’t look as cool as some of the ones above it. Orange is nice, though.
17. Texas Rangers
It is in no way original—a plain letter on a blue or red background—but there is something nice about it. It has been their cap since they moved from the capital in 1972 and it conjures up images of Nolan Ryan. And that is cool.
16. Kansas City Royals
The original KC franchise—now the Oakland Athletics—had an interlocking "KC" in the style of the Giants or Yankees' caps, but it looked clumsy. The Royals were smart and went with this design instead.
15. Minnesota Twins
The "TC" cap is quirky and if you did not know the story behind it, you could be totally confused as to which team the cap represented. It comes from the fact that the team was initially proposed to be named Twin Cities, so as not to alienate people from either St. Paul or Minneapolis.
The name did not stick; the cap insignia did.
The Twins changed it in 1987 to an "M", with the club sufficiently established that no one from St. Paul would think it stood for Minneapolis. And that was a shame.
As nice as the new cap is, it has no mystery or story behind it. The Twins have gone back to the "TC" in recent years and that is a good decision.
14. Chicago Cubs
Chicago took a while to reach the "C" design the team currently has—it was not until 1957 it was worn. Since then, it has become one of the nicest and best-selling caps in the Major Leagues.
13. Pittsburgh Pirates
There was a time when the Pirates had caps that were, let’s say, different.
There is no such craziness here. Instead, we have a plain design but a good one. The "P" logo is reminiscent of the days of Clemente and Stargell, while the yellow/black combination is classic Pittsburgh.
If only the team were as good as the caps they wear.
12. Atlanta Braves
Simple, clean, historic: The Braves cap is great. Factor in the success the Braves have had with it, and it makes it all the better.
Hank Aaron wore a similar design but by the time the current incarnation had become a feature on Braves caps, he was already in the Hall of Fame.
11. Boston Red Sox
Another cap which is simple and historic. It may have taken the Sox 33 years to put a logo on their cap but when they did, it was a good one, and it has remained the same ever since.
10. Chicago White Sox
Unusually, the White Sox’ caps remained blank as late as the 1930s. 1936 saw the team introduce a cap insignia for both their road and home uniforms and it would take them until 1951 to debut the current design.
The design is cool and the white-on-black makes it look angry and intimidating. That did not stop the Sox from changing it entirely, though. In the '70s they adopted the block capital "SOX" logo, then a curly "C" in the '80s before going back to the current insignia in the '90s.
It was a bad misstep which took them 20 years to correct, but we can be glad they did. This cap is cool. Even President Obama thinks so.
9. Philadelphia Phillies
The oldest franchise in baseball wears one of the oldest cap designs and one of the best.
The Phils’ cap feels fairly new but the design has been around since the 1930s. That’s a neat trick and it leaves us with a cap that is ageless.
8. Oakland Athletics
Would you ever go for a night out wearing a green and yellow ensemble? Almost certainly not. It is a horrible combination but somehow it works for the A’s.
The uniforms have calmed down since the team’s bright yellow days but the caps have not. They have been around as long as the Oakland team has been and are instantly associated with the likes of Dennis Eckersley and Rickie Henderson.
7. New York Mets
The Mets are kind of caught in the middle here. First of all, the "NY" design (and the fact it is orange) is a throwback to the New York Giants. The blue/orange color scheme will be unsightly to some but many will like it. Even if you hate it, you must admit it would be a travesty if they ever changed it.
But on the other hand, the black is positively ghastly.
6. Cincinnati Reds
Perhaps the most beautiful cap in the game.
The "C" made its first appearance on a Reds uniform in 1911 and has been a permanent feature since 1913. Cincinnati is not the only team to have used the design but now it is definitely their trademark image.
The cap, too, has remained unchanged for a long time. The major change came in 1967 when it became solid red. It has been that way for almost half a century now and is one of baseball’s most iconic caps.
5. San Francisco Giants
Once again, this is a fairly bad colour combination on the face of it. Black/orange could and perhaps should look hideous but here it absolutely works.
Add into the mix that the Giants are one of the oldest and proudest baseball franchises and you have a real winner here.
4. St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals basically have two designs and both of them are great.
The intertwined "STL" is slightly different to the one used in the team’s maiden season and worn by the likes of Rogers Hornsby, but it is one of the most ageless logos in baseball.
St Louis’ alternate cap, with the bird on the bat, does not have the same history; it’s just cool.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
With the exception of changing between "Dodgers" and "Los Angeles" on their road jerseys, the Dodgers’ uniforms have remained exactly the same since they moved from Brooklyn in 1958.
The caps similarly have a classic, timeless feel to them. And the colour is often referred to simply as "Dodger Blue."
2. Detroit Tigers
Originally the Tigers had, well, Tigers on their caps. That lasted two seasons. The famous Olde English "D" first appeared on their uniforms in 1904 and made it to the caps a season later.
Detroit has occasionally tinkered with it, going with a much more Denver Broncos-style letter in the late 1910s, but have always gone back to the classic "D".
That is what it is. It’s classic.
And the navy and orange is beautiful.
1. New York Yankees
The world’s most famous baseball cap, how could it be anything but first on this list?
Yes, Detroit had the "D" before New York had the "NY" (it was first worn in 1909; before that, Yankees caps were blank). Yes, many people around the world think the cap represents New York City rather than its most famous sports franchise.
But there is still no way this could be anything but first.