New Era shut down their long-time US factory in Derby, NY in June of 2019. Since MLB requires the actual caps that the players wear on the field to be at least "assembled" in the US, New Era now hires contractors in the Miami, FL area (Hialeah) to assemble MLB team issued caps. These caps are not made for retail, but it's possible to acquire MLB team issued caps directly from teams via "Authentics" programs, MLB Auctions, and fan fest sales. It also appears that occasionally, some actually do make it out to retail. In this post we will examine the differences between New Era caps made at the now-closed Derby, NY plant vs. the caps "assembled" in Hialeah, FL. Team-issued 2020 San Diego Padres caps will be used for most of the comparison photos (yes, the Derby plant was able to make some before it closed). They quite possibly may have been the very last caps ever made there. A 2020 San Diego Padres cap made in Derby, NY. Many were disappointed to lear
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2020 has been an interesting year to say the least. For those of us that still prefer to buy made in USA MLB on-field player's caps, the pandemic has made buying them a bit more complicated. With the closure of New Era's plant in Derby, NY in June of 2019, you can no longer purchase "what the pros wear" in stores other than what was remaining in stock. My plan from here on out is to purchase team issued caps directly from the teams. A made in USA Giants cap I purchased at the team store at Oracle Park. Any nook and cranny you could peek through to see inside the ballpark was tarped off. The sky was gray and full of floating ashes from California's horrendous summer fires. 2020 was as surreal as it gets. From what I have been told, the last caps that the Derby plant made were for special event games in 2019 (Memorial Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, 4th of July, the All-Star Game Workout/Home Run Derby caps, and certain "turn back the clock" caps.
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The Korean Baseball Organization has been thrust into the spotlight recently as for a period of time it was the only professional baseball league playing a regular season in 2020. MLB is now scheduled to start in late July. When the KBO season first started, I had searched eBay to look for on-field caps but there weren't any. However, it appears that on-field caps for most teams have now become available. The KBO is a wide-open market for cap and uniform providers. Like the NPB, it's a mix of national and international brands. KBO on-field caps typically come in both Velcro-back and fitted stretch-fit styles. What I mean by "fitted stretch-fit" is despite being stretch-fit caps, they still come in fitted sizes. They have a bit of give to them so if you are just above or below the fitted size, the cap will be able to accommodate that. Very clever, I think. The Samsung Lions are the only team that appears to wear snapback caps. The two major brands (Nike, worn by