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The Hall of Fame has about 750 caps in its collection, but "as far as we know, [this is] the oldest cap in existence," Strohl said. It was worn by players on the Baraboo Baseball Club of Baraboo, Wisconsin, sometime around 1866. "It looks a little bit like a jockey's cap would've looked, back in the day." The hat has no maker's mark inside, so researchers believe it was made by a local Wisconsin manufacturer. "This is right after the Civil War, so baseball is really starting to explode at that point in terms of being an amateur sport. It's not too far from becoming a pro sport," Strohl said. This cap was donated to the Hall of Fame in 1939 and had previously never been displayed outside of Cooperstown.

Text: Dante A. Ciampaglia
Photo: Dante A. Ciampaglia/SIKids

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