The Evolution of MLB Hats: Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore oriole, the official bird of Maryland, has been the proud emblem of Baltimore baseball since 1954. First fashioned with a rudimentary profile depicting the Baltimore oriole, the official ball cap of the franchise has been stitched with a variety of insignias throughout the team’s 63-year history. The Baltimore Orioles cap we know today is an iteration of the logo first displayed in the 1960s, portraying “The Oriole Bird” mascot.
All six of Baltimore’s World Series appearances have showcased The Oriole Bird on their caps, including their three championships in 1966, 1977, and 1983. Coincidence? No. Superstition? Likely. With one of the most recognizable mascots in professional sports, the Baltimore Orioles proudly sport their fine-feathered friend during another glorious year of America’s game.
Let’s take a look at how the Baltimore Orioles cap has evolved since the mid-20th century.
1954–1963: In the Orioles’ inaugural 1954 season, the team styles itself in the black and orange color of the state bird. The “flaming orange and black” bird perches on Baltimore caps in the style of a simple line drawing for nearly a decade.
1963: The Orioles fashions their 1963 caps with a block-style “B.” A single letter is not stitched onto the face of Baltimore’s official cap again for nearly 50 years.
1964–1965: An orange-on-black line drawing very similar to the original insignia replaces the one-and-done “B” for two seasons in the mid-1960s. This depiction arches the songbird upward as if it is singing.
1966–1988: Enter “The Oriole Bird.” For over two decades of uniformed caps, Baltimore flirts with six iterations of their beloved mascot. Each is a cartoon-themed logo that brings post-season success and heartbreak to the ballclub. Slight variations are made to the logo throughout these 22 years.
1989–2011: The Audubon-style depiction of the Oriole is introduced in 1989. The form is similar to that of their inaugural logo, but this version is enhanced in detail, style, realism, and just about every way possible. Five variations ride Baltimore’s caps to victory over a 21-year span. Each version of the logo is more detailed than the last.
2005–Present: Baltimore introduces a letter for a cap logo for only the second time in the franchise’s history. In 2005, a cursive “O’s” emblazons the ball cap. This alternate is still in use today, alongside an updated bird-themed hat that is reintroduced in 2012.
As the Baltimore Orioles battle on the baseball diamond in 2017 to reclaim American League glory, at least we know they’ll be sharply adorned while doing so.
Whether you’re a fan of orange stick-figure fledglings or classical-realist Oriole stitching, Fanatics.com has you covered for your Baltimore ball cap needs.