New Era's MLB Team Issued Caps: Inconsistency is The Only Consistency
Sorry for the lack of posts over the last year, I've been incredibly busy. I've been working on this article off and on since the last post. Please enjoy this analysis of the MLB team issued caps coming out of Florida.
After buying multiple team issued caps over the last few seasons, I have determined that there are multiple types of caps that New Era is producing from their Florida facility and sending out to the MLB teams. Below is the list of types that I've encountered.
This cap is made exactly like typical overseas-made New Era caps. These caps have a slightly-shorter visor and a very tall crown. They are the most common type of cap "assembled" in Florida.
This cap is made from components from Bangladesh. The dead giveaway is the visor stitching, which is much closer together on caps made in Bangladesh (observe the second photo). Rock-solid front panels and a squat, round crown are also signs of a cap made in Bangladesh.
The Onion Dome
When we think of the worst features of New Era caps made in China, these take the cake. These feature bulbous, onion-shaped crowns and smaller than usual visors. Fortunately, the 2019 Player's Weekend caps appear to be the only US-assembled caps with this shape.
With the spring training/batting practice and 4th of July retail caps being made in Laos, many noticed that the Laotian caps have a distinctly tall crown with a rounded top. Here they can be seen on these assembled-in-Florida team issued caps 4th of July using the Laotian components.
This cap is made similar to overseas caps but may have had more USA assembly than just the three components being stitched together. These have the same visor size and shape as caps that were made in Derby. However, I have only seen these with the 2020 team issued San Diego Padres standard cap, Sunday home alternate, and the never-worn 2020 St. Patrick's Day caps.
The Derby Clone
The Florida plant apparently does have the capability to cut & sew from scratch. These caps are made exactly like the caps made at New Era's former Derby, NY. plant. As you may recall, the Derby plant's cutting and sewing equipment was sold at auction a while ago. It's possible that the company New Era contracts with to assemble team issued caps in Florida purchased this equipment and is now using it, or New Era simply held on to some of the machinery. I'd be willing to bet that the Covid-19 pandemic and supply chain issues have made a US-based cutting and sewing operation a necessity. Fortunately, these are becoming more and more common.