It's a shame, really.
The year's best looking official on-field cap (by a huge margin) is probably going to be unworn, for the most part.
That's the thing about the Home Run Derby. The longball competition has evolved into a different beast nowadays, but most players who participate in the Derby eschew their caps. It's a real shame, because this cap is an absolute looker.
The Home Run Derby cap is a newer addition to Major League Baseball's growing list of special event caps. Making its debut in 2014 as a plain navy cap with a patch, the Home Run Derby cap seems to be switching roles with the All Star Game cap as far as motif goes: in 2014 and 2015, the All Star Game cap was a callback to a cap in the hosting team's history (the split-panel of the Twins, pillbox-like stripes of the Reds). The Home Run Derby cap was merely a cap made up of the hosting team's colorway with the colors alternating between the leagues. This year's ASG cap seems to be more generic in design while the Home Run Derby cap is all Padres:
White front panels with 1980-84 Padres script in brown, gold and orange
Friend to the program and fellow Padres cap collector Padres No Hitter provided the photography for this article. Check out the front of this cap. The theme is readily apparent to any Padres fan: the 1980-84 colorway is in full force for this cap. The novel thing is that every team gets a version of this cap with their name done up in the old-school lowercase Padres font. Check out the Cubs version if you're into cap trolling or the Doggers version if you'd like to gag.
Here's something else of note: this cap is a full poly cap, not a Diamond Era version like in years prior. There seems to be a departure from the use of Diamond Era in special events caps. The material has only seen on-field action in the usual Spring Training applications.
Why 1980-84, though? Well, I have a few theories.
- The design for the ASG/HR Derby is not handled by the team, but in-house by MLB. Since the Twins took the split-panel motif, we had to settle for something that was distinctly Padres. What better than brown?
- I'm guessing brown/gold was a bit plain. It probably helped that the team went to the World Series wearing this colorway, though their first All-Star Game in 1978 had the Padres wearing brown/gold. The second in 1992 had the Padres in navy/white/orange.
- Besides the split-panel, what else did we have? I made a guess that we could have seen a split-panel with piping, just like the 1980-84 cap. This is a pretty decent consolation prize.
On the wearer's right side (cap left) is the modern interlocking SD done up in gold and orange.
On the wearer's left (cap right) is the Chroma All-Star game patch in a brown and gold colorway. Honestly, the ASG logo looks much better in these colors. Don't you agree?
The MLB Batterman logo is done up in the classic brown and gold along with white.
The underbrim is a bit interesting; they've gone back to the black color for this application. Every special event cap so far has featured a fashion gray underbrim, so I'm unsure as to why the HR Derby cap went back to the on-field black.
Maybe it'll get the players to actually wear them during the Derby? One can hope.