When Major League Baseball issued special All-Star hats for the 2014 game in Minnesota, they were a huge success. The 2014 designs were based off an old Twins batting helmet and resonated with fans of the game's history and New Era hat collectors, alike -- arguably pro baseball's two biggest niche consumers.
So what does MLB have planned for the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati? We won't know what New Era has come up with until late June or July, but I already know what I'd like to see -- the return of the "pillbox" hat.
Many teams throughout baseball's early history have worn pillbox hats, beginning in the late 1800s and sporadically up through the early 1900s when the style finally died out. The last time pillbox hats were regularly seen was back in 1976 when five teams wore the style to commemorate the National League's 100th anniversary. Of the five teams to wear the pillbox hats that year, one of which was the Cincinnati Reds, only the Pittsburgh Pirates continued to wear them regularly after that season, finally switching back to a normal hat after the 1986 season.
Although Reds teams of the past weren't exactly known for wearing the hat style more than most, the pillbox hat is now used heavily in Reds logos, uniforms, merchandise, and stadium imagery, largely as a tribute to the early days of baseball and to the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional baseball team formed in 1866. Another nod to that tradition was seen in this year's All-Star game logo, with a two-striped pillbox hat featured featured prominently atop the logo.
So, like the All-Star game logo, my designs are relatively simple and clean -- two team-colored stripes on white hats for the National League (this year's home team) to mimic Cincinnati's old pillbox hat, while the American League teams wear a striped version of their respective road cap.
Major League Baseball finally revealed the official 2015 All-Star caps and I'll be damned if they don't look familiar...