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Ranking the Stars and Stripes Series Baseball Caps


A History of Hats

Major League Baseball’s Stars and Stripes Series hats have come a long way since their inception. MLB and New Era have collaborated to produce a wide array of hats for various holidays and team rebrands, such as City Connect, Mother’s Day, Spring Training, and Armed Forces Day. But, since baseball is often considered America’s favorite sport, Independence Day creates a particularly lucrative opportunity  for selling patriotic merchandise. 


The tradition of honoring the Fourth of July on baseball caps started on July 4, 2002, when MLB teams wore a small American flag patch on their caps to honor their country. This practice continued for six more seasons until MLB and New Era recognized the potential for increased profits.


A collection of 2002’s Stars and Stripes hats. / Courtesy of @UniWatch on X


In 2008, the Stars and Stripes hats as we know them were introduced. Instead of keeping their team’s colors as done from 2002-2007, New Era outfitted teams with navy blue hats and star-spangled logos. Since then, New Era has rotated through various red, white, and blue designs to vary the hats—and to keep customers buying their latest merchandise. 


With 16 seasons worth of the Stars and Stripes Series, let's take a look at the designs (courtesy of sportslogos.net).


#11 - 2022


The distressed American flag print in the background is a bit much for me, honestly. The seeping red and blue distracts from the team logos, and it makes the hats look way too busy. These are not my favorites. 



#10 - 2015

Courtesy of Sports Logos.


For a similar reason to the 2022s, I don’t like these caps very much either. While they’re not as busy as the 2022 design, the faded flags in the back still feel too busy for me to like. I think I’d enjoy these hats more if a Little League or travel team wore them—but they look too unsophisticated for the MLB.



#9 - 2016

Courtesy of Hatland.


Call me boring, but I don't like when there’s a background design that interrupts the team logo. It looks messy, but these are considerably less messy than the previous two hats. 



#8 - 2021

Courtesy of Sports Logos.


No remarks. They’re just a bit boring. Clean, but boring. They just don’t make me think of Independence Day—the blue isn’t very blue



#7 - 2018, 2019, and 2023

2018, 2019, and 2023 (left to right). /Courtesy of Sports Logos.


New Era thought they could pull off nearly the same design three times and no one would notice. I did! I noticed! They’re nice and clean-looking–but they lack creativity. The gold outline on the logos makes them really stand out, but there’s nothing super special about them. 



#6 - 2011

Courtesy of Hatland


These hats are nice, but they have a very similar design to the 2010 hats (which are much better–stay tuned). I don’t dislike them, though.



#5 - 2012 and 2014

2012 (top) and 2014 (bottom) / Courtesy of Hatland.


Are the Stars and Stripes in the room with us? These hats resemble the Military Appreciation series more than the Stars and Stripes Series.. They’re cool hats, but they don’t fit the Independence Day theme.



#4 - 2017

Courtesy of Hatland.


I love the jean look to the blue material. It makes the hat feel a little old school while still keeping that modern flat brim. They’re clean and classy. 



#3 - 2013

Courtesy of Hatland.


These hats are a sportier-looking version of the 2010 series. I don’t dislike them, but (again) I prefer  the 2010s.



#2 - 2008 and 2009

Courtesy of Uni Watch


Not to be boring, but I really like the first two seasons of Stars and Stripes hats. They get the job done, they’re very patriotic, and they don’t try to do too much. New Era is running out of different ways to make these hats, and they can’t reinvent the wheel. Seeing these hats every season would be great for me—but not profitable for New Era and the MLB.



#1 - 2010 and 2024

2010 (left) and 2024 (right). / Courtesy of Uni Watch.


Not to be a hypocrite, but I don’t mind the reused design in 2010 and 2024. The logos really stand out on these hats, and they look impeccably clean. They’re not trying to do too much, they’re not screaming with color, and they get the job done. If I had $40+ to spend on this marketing scheme of baseball caps, I’d spend my money here. 



With more hats than anyone knows what to do with, which is your favorite?



 

Edited by Hadlea Lindstrom

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