Hey everybody! If you've happened to wander into this post while browsing on a slow Monday, then I welcome you to the Friar's Hat Stash, a series based purely on everyone's favorite piece of baseball-related wardrobe: the baseball cap.
I hope to make this a somewhat weekly series on Padres caps and their many variations, of which I personally own a fair amount. Of course, I'd love to hear and read about your personal cap stories, preferences, and choices as well. I'll do my best to provide not only pictures and descriptions, but also some tips, tricks, history, and fun facts about the sewn-together pieces of fabric meant to shade our heads and eyes from the sun.
First, a little personal preface.
I grew up as a Padres fan, thanks to my father. My actual recollection of the Padres begins sometime when I was 5 years old, and watching the games on television once in a while. I remember really liking the colors the team wore at the time (navy, white, orange). I was born too late for the awesomeness of the brown, and got to witness the deterioration into the simple navy, white and sand we now have.
One of my fondest memories growing up was watching the greatness that was the 1998 team, and how I was plugged in front of the TV during the series, wanting our Pads to defeat the hated Yankees so badly. After that fated '98 season and the eventual retirement of the Gwynn, my knowledge of the team died down as my teenage years began.
I started collecting baseball caps sometime around 2008, when a close friend of mine (and fellow Padres fan) showed me his budding collection of baseball caps. I had little knowledge at the time of how many different colorways and styles there were, and that's where I got hooked. Years later, I'm still buying caps regularly and discovering new styles and variations of cap. The beginning of my collection also recaptured the fandom of the Padres I had sewn into me since youth, and I enjoy cheering them on today.
People wear caps for many different reasons, whether it be to represent their favorite team, or to add a fashionable flair to their outfits. There are many ways to classify a collector, which I'll get into in future issues.
I personally collect only one team (in general) and collect in colors and styles, all in fitted cap form. This team, of course, is the Padres.
This is your standard, official on-field Padres home cap. I imagine most, if not all you fine readers have this particular cap in your possession, or some variation thereof. This cap is, at my best guess (since it is not clearly stated) a 100% polyester blend with characteristics added by New Era especially for the on-field versions of baseball caps. These characteristics touted by New Era include improved moisture wicking, UV protection, and non-shrinking properties. The newer versions also include water repelling capability, if I recall correctly.
The underbill is the modern black color, with a black sweatband. The official on-field sticker (which is generally a rectangle, as opposed to a circle on non-field or fashion caps) is also shown here. The only slight personal gripe I have with this version of the home cap is the color: it's not quite true dark navy. It sits somewhere on the scale of blueish-purpleish to me. Again, not a major gripe, but I digress.
Pictured here is the (I think?) now-defunct road cap. I'm actually not sure if the Padres have really jettisoned this cap from their rotation, and if it is so, then I think it's a shame. I actually kinda dug that the Padres were one of the handful of teams that had a home and away cap. Not only that, the interlocking SD in gold is a nice touch. Outside of the SD being in gold with a white border, there isn't much difference between this cap and the home version.
These caps look great with your standard Padres jersey or shirt at the games, and function just as well in public as a fashion cap. While they aren't the most flashy of caps, they do indicate your fanhood in the most standard form: they are the hats the team wears on an almost nightly basis.
I thank you for taking a look into my new series, and I hope you'll stick around and wait for more! In the next episode, we'll take a look at the Padres alternates!
-Tim (The SD Hat Guy)