Talking Baseball

Your weekday baseball fix. Some days.

Posted by Dave on Sunday, March 21, 2004

Putting the Wraps on Caps

Today, I finish up the hat posts. With only the AL East and AL Central left, I'll venture to complete an entire review of the best Major League hats I can find. Granted, these hats are not always the ones used in games, but they are the most aesthetically pleasing (in my opinion). In case you were deprived, the first post discussed the methodology and the NL East and Central and the second post discussed the NL and AL West. In case you needed a reminder, this is the rubric I established for rating the hats:

Simplicity: 35%
Symmetry: 25%
Colors: 25%
Lasting Appeal: 10%
Nostalgia: 5%

It doesn't get much better than this - writing a post, watching March Madness, all on 9 hours of sleep (approximately 1.5 times the amount I normally get). In a positive frame of mind, with you all properly informed, let's begin:

AL Central:

Simplicity - 7.5: The Tigers have a nice hat here. The D is simple enough, though it has the bizarre horizontal lines in the middle of the D. I'm not sure if the horizontal lines are supposed to allude to some sort of Tiger, but their meaning certainly eludes me.
Symmetry - 6.5: There's a fair amount of symmetry here, fold along the horizontal axis and you nearly have perfect symmetry.
Colors - 7: I'm not going to dock the Tigers for the classic blue and white.
Lasting Appeal - 8: They've had this insignia for quite a while, and even though they may suck now...Oh who am I kidding, they'll continue to suck for at least awhile. But the hat's nice!
Nostalgia - 6: The days of Alan Trammell and Sweet Lou Whittaker are long past, sadly.

Overall Hat Rating: 7.1

Simplicity - 8.5: The Royals were a surprising bunch last year, and they have a surprisingly nice hat. The font's interesting, but not too complex. And the interlocking letters are pretty classic as well.
Symmetry - 4.5: The KC has nice symmetry on its own, but their staggered alignment eliminates the symmetry within the hat. Because they willingly ruined some symmetry, I actually docked them some points. I envision a hat in which the KC is side-by-side, like it is in prose - this would produce some nice symmetry and wouldn't sacrifice much in terms of its aesthetic appeal.
Colors - 8.5: Unlike many other teams with navy and white, KC opted for a lighter blue. I like the mixture, and its far more distinct than the navy/white combo.
Lasting Appeal - 8.5: As far as I know, the Royals haven't ever changed their insignia in their existence.
Nostalgia - 5: I can understand why the naysayers enjoy lambasting me for these articles when I realize I know far too little about the Royals' history. Alas, it's still worth a miniscule 5% of their score. George Brett would rush an umpire over too much pine tar, but I think he could hold back if I told him I didn't know too much about Royal history. Five's average, though I suspect they deserve less.

Overall Hat Rating: 7.325

Simplicity - 6: The White Sox really have themselves a pretty ugly hat here. It's no Diamondback catastrophe, but, whew, it's pretty ugly. With that said, it is fairly simple. I don't know what's up with the font the SOX is in, but at least it only has two colors. Black and white, as simple as you can get.
Symmetry - 3.5: There is entirely no notion of symmetry here. The letters individually have them, but the layering of the letters destroys any hope of producing a symmetric feel.
Colors - 2: Theoretically, one would think that the absence-of-color combined with all-colors would make for an interesting combination. Theoretically, you might be right. In reality, the combination is devoid of anything interesting or appealing. Black and white poses great contrast, but it's not ideal for a hat because it doesn't catch the eye and has no flair.
Lasting Appeal - 4: The colors are too ugly and the hat too boring. Sorry White Sox fans.
Nostalgia - 4: A pretty unremarkable history, I would say. They've always taken a back-seat to the Cubbies in Chicago's heart.

Overall Hat Rating: 4.075

Simplicity - 5: The Indians had this insignia for awhile, and I believe they switched over to the slightly better cursive I. Chief Wahoo is not what I'd call an attractive dude. Actually, his smile has an eerie resemblance to the :-D smiley you might see on Instant Messenger. I can understand why certain activist groups are up in arms about this symbol. Mr. Wahoo is red (a stereotypical color of "Indians" - who are not respectfully referred to as Native Americans today) and he sports a feather on the back of his head (why?!). I speculate that this is why the Indians switched to their I.
Symmetry - 2: I know why everyone chooses letters for their caps now. Chief Wahoo is not remotely symmetrical, I don't know what they could've done to improve this.
Colors - 8.5: I'll give the Indians this - they did have a nice combination of blue maroon and white. The colors are jumbled (due to the ridiculous visage of Wahoo), but it's still a nice mixture of colors. In fact, it's very similar to the next hat I am going to review...
Lasting Appeal - 2: It got dumped in favor of the I and it's not a particularly nice symbol anyways.
Nostalgia - 6: The Indians were one of the first (I'd argue that Atlanta was the first) to escape the small-market economic situation once markets became important in baseball. Hart's model of success will not be forgotten easily.

Overall Hat Rating: 4.875

Simplicity - 9.5: The Twins really have a nice hat here. I chose the inverted scheme because the red-maroon is particularly appealing to the eye. The TC is really nicely laid out on the hat and the font is not ostentatious while still being interesting. The way the C appears to wrap around the T is particularly nice, as well. It almost gives the hat a third dimension - all while remaining simplistic.
Symmetry - 8.5: The T and C each have their own symmetry and it's not destroyed in this tactful tiling of letters. The T has vertical symmetry while the C has horizontal symmetry. Though the hat as a whole doesn't have symmetry, the sum of the letters is still good-looking.
Colors - 9: I'm not sure what I gave the Cubbies (I just checked, I gave them an 8.5 - just what I thought I would've given), but this color combination is only slightly better than theirs because I like the darker red a bit more than the brighter/lighter red. The navy is also a nice contrast from the red and white.
Lasting Appeal - 8.5: The TC of the Twins (Twin Cities) does a better job at illustrating the team than the underlined (that was an underlined M, right?) M that Minnesota used to have. It's a nicer hat and should be their cap for a number of years.
Nostalgia - 7.5: They sacrificed some of their nostalgia by switching from the underlined M, but Kirby Puckett, Jack Morris, Scott Erickson and Co. won't be forgotten easily.

Overall Hat Rating: 8.925

AL East:

Simplicity - 8: As much as I want to be biased, I can't say that the B is incredibly simplistic. The colors are nice and the B is a nice symmetrical letter, but the font is a little much, I think. The B has too many frills and embellishments.
Symmetry - 8: Perfect symmetry across the horizontal axis. There's even a bit of horizontal symmetry with respect to the separate halves of the B, but not a whole lot.
Colors - 8: The always appealing navy, red, and white. You can't go wrong with that combination.
Lasting Appeal - 9: The BoSox have always had, and will always have this timeless insignia and cap.
Nostalgia - 9: The history of heartache and disappointment is strong with this hat and logo.

Overall Hat Rating: 8.15

Simpllicity - 8.5: The Yankees employ the technique that many teams have since emulated - the interlocking letters. It's a nice look and the letters cross in the center which is aesthetically appealing. The N is stretched slightly, giving it a slightly strange and elongated appearance, but it only minimally detracts from the hat.
Symmetry - 7.5: The N has rotational symmetry while the Y has vertical symmetry. Placed together, the hat has no cohesive symmetry, but at least the letters on their own have it.
Colors - 7.5: The Yanks get slightly more for the standard white and navy because they were one of the first to employ it.
Lasting Appeal - 9.5: They've had it forever, just like the Sox. Except they win championships frequently.
Nostalgia - 10: No other team in any professional sport could boast that they've won nearly 1/4 of all major titles. The Yankees emblem has never changed and is a reminder of that tradition of winning.

Overall Hat Rating: 8.175

Simplicity - 4.5: The Blue Jays really bombed with this one. If they had omitted that devious blue jay lurking behind the T, the Blue Jays cap would only be as bad as the Rangers'. But, for some reason, they felt compelled to include it. This eliminated all notion of symmetry, but more importantly, it eliminated any semblance of simplicity. He's tossing a ball! He's got a bat! Don't mess with him! Don't wear him!
Symmetry - 3.5: It was kind of there until that stupid bird invaded the vertically symmetric T.
Colors - 6: The blue and red is appreciated - the black and white speckled everywhere is not.
Lasting Appeal - 4: They would've been better off keeping the other ugly cap they had when they won those World Series under Cito Gaston.
Nostalgia - 3.5: This cap only reminds Toronto fans of the recent misery their team has experienced - a far cry from their Series titles. JP is doing a great job though, so they will be proud of their franchise in no time, I expect. Sneaking in for the wild-card doesn't look impossible in one of the next few years - maybe this year if the Sox injury bug keeps being passed around.

Overall Hat Rating: 4.525

Simplicity - 5: The Oriole is a good-looking bird, but it doesn't really make for a good-looking cap. The Orioles at least broke from convention and decided on having a picture rather than a letter for their logo. It was smart of them - had they chosen a letter, they would've had a very similar cap to Boston.
Symmetry - 2.5: I've thought for awhile, but it's just not there.
Colors - 7.5: Some people dislike the "Halloween colors." I don't think they look particulraly bad, but there's nothing tremendously redeeming about orange, black, and white. You could wear this hat with a lot of clothes, however. The splash of orange would even be a nice way to spice up your outfit of choice.
Lasting Appeal - 7: It's not an awful hat, and I feel like a lot of ornothologists would enjoy wearing this hat.
Nostalgia - 6: I really do miss Benitez beaning Tino in the back and Albert Belle on the juice.

Overall Hat Rating: 5.25

Simplicity - 4: The Tampa Bay Devil Rays have our intials (Talking Baseball), but the good qualities just about end there. Not only does a devil ray inspire no fear in the opponent, it looks awful on a cap. The TB is relatively simple, but like the Blue Jays and Marlins, the mascot does not befit the insignia. The only reason the Rays' cap scores this high with simplicity is the nice font for the TB.
Symmetry - 3: The TB is not symmetrical at all, neither is that stupid ray. What would compel anyone to have a devil ray as a mascot?!
Colors - 6: I only chose this hat because I like the green of this cap. The purple certainly detracts, especially when paired with the green, but I'll be a bit generous because I like that hunter green.
Lasting Appeal - 3.5: The Devil Rays have yet to be good, and their hat does not much inspire much enthusiasm either.
Nostalgia - 2: They've barely had a history - what are we going to remember, a front office overpaying for a triumvirate of decaying sluggers (McGriff, Greg Vaughn, Jose Canseco)?

Overall Hat Rating: 4.1

With the anticlimactic Devil Ray ending, I've covered my favorite hat for each team (and in the Cubs' case, my favorite two hats). How does everyone stack up comparatively? What follows is the Hat Rating Leaderboard, including the post you can find the hat review and picture in, followed by some general commentary on the final results. At the peril of looking particularly biased, the asterisked hats are the ones I own.

Overall Hat Rating Leaderboard:

1) 9.000 - Houston Astros (1st post)*
2) 8.925 - Minnesota Twins (3rd post (this one))*
3) 8.750 - Chicago Cubs, Red C (1)
3) 8.750 - Anaheim Angels, Back (2)
5) 8.600 - Seattle Mariners (2)
6) 8.175 - New York Yankees (3)
7) 8.150 - Boston Red Sox (3)*
8) 8.050 - Cincinatti Reds (1)
9) 8.000 - Milwaukee Brewers (1)
10) 7.400 - San Francisco Giants (2)

11) 7.350 - New York Mets (1)
11) 7.350 - Los Angeles Dodgers (2)
13) 7.325 - Kansas City Royals (3)
14) 7.275 - Philadelphia Phillies (1)
15) 7.250 - St. Louis Cardinals (1)
16) 7.125 - San Diego (2)
17) 7.100 - Oakland Athletics (2)*
17) 7.100 - Detroit Tigers (3)
19) 7.000 - Atlanta Braves (1)
20) 6.975 - Chicago Cubs, Cub (1)

21) 6.825 - Texas Rangers (3)
22) 6.175 - Pittsburgh Pirates (1)
23) 5.250 - Colorado Rockies (2)
23) 5.250 - Baltimore Orioles (3)
25) 5.050 - Montreal Expos (1)
26) 4.875 - Cleveland Indians (3)
27) 4.525 - Toronto Blue Jays (3)
28) 4.100 - Tampa Bay Devil Rays (3)
29) 4.075 - Chicago White Sox (3)
30) 3.600 - Florida Marlins (1)

The Absolute Worst Hat, at #31:
31) 2.475 - Arizona Diamondbacks (2)

1. The teams in the West have generally worse hats than those in the Central and East. This can be seen because the hats with a two in parentheses generally rate worse than the Central and East teams (found in posts 1 and 3). I think this is likely due to the fact that the Eastern and Central teams are older and have more classic hats. It also may be due to the fact that I have a greater attachment and connection to them.
2. The scores are not normally distributed in the least. After the Brewers at #9 with a score of eight, there is a precipitous drop to the Giants with a score of 7.4. Similarly, after the Rangers with a score of 6.825, there's quite a drop-off to the Pirates at 6.175 and then the Rockies at 5.250. I'm not sure why this is the case - it could be because the categories are correlated. That is, if a hat is symmetric, it tends to be simplistic, etc.
3. The Reds, in my opinion, were rated most poorly by me. Somehow they snuck into the Top 10, even though I wouldn't say I have a very high opinion of their hat. The Reds deserved to be lower, and the Cardinals deserved to be higher. Their hat is at least better than the Royals, even though the Cards are at 15 and the Royals at 13.
4. The Red Sox never seem to beat the Yankees, and they don't win in the cap department either. They were narrowly edged out by only .025 points.

Next post I'll discuss Eric Chavez and his contract, Jeremy Reed (a prospect for the ChiSox), Joe Mauer, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Until then, let me know what you think of the Hat Ratings below with the comments and keep checking out Talking Baseball. Oh, and get those Worthlessnessfest entries sent in, the start of the season is only 8 days away!

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