Ichiro’s Hat: A Study

Baseball allows for more expression of individual style than many team sports. A player can wear high socks or baggy pants that cover his shoes; he can have all manner of hair hanging out of his helmets/hat; he can (if he doesn’t play for the Yankees) rock some pretty awesome facial hair. There’s lots of time to be silly in the dugout, bullpen, and clubhouse and build a reputation for being a “character.”

Ichiro Suzuki has a unique style, that’s for sure. But as far as I can tell, Ichiro is the only player to wear a non-standard fielder’s cap. Consider this image, which is from Game 1 of the ALCS:

You see how it’s spherical, right? Form-fitting? Let’s compare Ichiro’s cap to some of his former Mariners teammates.

Here we see Ichiro flanked by Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley, whose hats don’t look exactly similar to each other, but have more in common with each other than they do with Ichiro’s — namely, they appear more rigid. They project up from the sides of the players’ head in a more vertical fashion, and are more angular.

The same is true of Ichiro’s new teammates on the Yankees:

Have another look at Ichiro in a Yankees cap — if for no other reason than he’s so damn handsome:

That’s simply a hat of a different structure. The way hat looks on a player’s head will be affected by hat size, the shape of a player’s head, his hair, how he bends the hat, etc. But, aside from Ichiro’s, it seams all the hats are of the same consistency and initial shape.

Why does Ichiro don a different style of hat than everyone else? He’s almost certainly requesting it (as opposed to just having it issued to him), which leads me to believe that he’s the only one who really cares about it.

If any of you know of any current (or very recent) players that seems to wear a completely different kind of hat in the field, please let me know. I would like to do further studies in hats! Until then, here’s to Ichiro, a man of sartorial clout!

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25 Responses to “Ichiro’s Hat: A Study”

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  1. steex says:

    John Olerud. Hey-o!

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  2. Graeme says:

    I think Ichiro wears the NewEra Low-Crown cap. They aren’t easy to spot online or on-field. I have an old Jays one and it definitely does reduce the vertical trucker-style that most of the regular on-field hats have.

    Here’s a good image that shows the difference.


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    • Choo says:

      I always thought Ichiro had his hats tailored. Now I’m not sure how I feel. On one hand, it’s cool that low-crown caps are available. On the other hand, dissolved is the imagine of Ichiro and a box of too-tall caps making his annual, desperate midnight visit to his Japanese back-alley tailor on the eve of Opening Day.

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      • Tim says:

        Whereas I suspected he might be stealing them from Lou Gehrig’s grave, so I’m somewhat relieved to find out about commercial availability.

        (Though I suppose the Mariners never wore round hats, so the theory is problematic.)

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  3. Graeme says:

    Looks like Derek Lowe reps a low(e)-crown hat too. Derek shows it off with class here: http://i420.photobucket.com/albums/pp285/tvivlives/DerekLoweCussing.gif

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  4. New Era’s 39Thirty (what they use for BP & ST caps) has the same low-crown profile, though made from a different material. E.g. – http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3875092

    Anyone know where one can purchase the low-crown 59fifty? I saw minorleagues.com, but their web design doesn’t exactly inspire confidence of them being reputable.

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  5. Dan says:

    Here’s Ichiro in Japan, wearing a cap with high crown: http://blog-imgs-18.fc2.com/s/i/l/silee/2006.04.05.jpg

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  6. Dan says:

    Chris Carpenter seems to have switched to low-crown as well. http://a.espncdn.com/combiner/i?img=/i/headshots/mlb/players/full/3610.png&w=350&h=254

    Now this pisses me off. I spent $75 on Nationals and Yankees 59Fifty caps that don’t even fit me.

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  7. Ty says:

    I used to tear the front webbing out of the hat, back in the late 90’s. The webbing is what holds the hat true to form and keeps it up right, giving it a more boxy feel. Once that is gone, the hat fits more to your head, and spherical, much like the way it looks on Ichiro. Maybe there’s something to that, maybe not. If it is true, I can’t imagine Ichiro does it himself. Haha. New era probably just leaves the webbing out for him or something.

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    • davef says:

      agree with this. use a razor blade and scissors to cut the webbing/netting and it fits way more comfortably. this is also from the era where dirty and ripped bills were somewhat vogue

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  8. The more I see it, the more I like the spherical shape of the low crown versus the normal 59FIFTY caps. Shoot…. I purchased 20 stadium hats (from their team’s respective stadium) and now I wish I could have a different fit.

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  9. Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown says:

    This is exactly what I expect from the pages of Notgraphs. This information is pointless…and priceless.

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  10. Kevin says:

    Max Scherzer of the Tigers has worn a low crown for a while. They can be found on the New Era website’s store.

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  11. Bryan says:

    I have no opinion on Ichiro’s hat because I’m still lost in Dustin Ackley’s eyes.

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  12. Bouj says:

    Some teams carry the low crown caps in their team shops. The Astros sell the orange 1970’s throwback hat in low crown at Minute Maid Park.

    There was a discussion on Chris Creamer’s uniforms message board a while back about this. I think there are a dozen or so MLB players who wear the low crown hats or customize their hats to appear low crown. And Kenny Rogers allegedly wore a custom 3930 wool hat, and not a 5950 low crown, back when he played for the Tigers.

    And minorleagues.com & New Era sell the low crowns regularly. Minorleagues is legit: I’ve actually been to their shop. They are in a strip shopping center in the shadow of Angels Stadium in Anaheim.

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  13. Anna Karina says:

    “Seams,” madam? Nay, it is; I know not “seams.”

    Ichiro, Prince of Denmark, 1.2.78

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  14. brandon says:

    Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals wore a low crown cap.

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