Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Tip of the Cap! Tip of the Cap is a weekly series discussing Baseball’s most important accessory, the Baseball Cap. Is it a cap? Is it a hat? Does it really matter? We’ll probably be using both interchangeably. Every week we look at each league from the Single A Minors all the way to the Major Leagues and ranking their top 5 and bottom 5 hats. What makes us qualified to do this? That’s an extremely good question.
The Florida State League
The Florida State League is a Class A Minor League. Their teams are:
- North Division
- South Division
Well hello, friends, we’re back. A few thoughts on the Florida State League. These hats are solidly blasé. There were very few hats that I went, “I LOVE THIS”. There were a lot of hats that I would buy if I were at the game. On the flip side, there were just so many hats I actively disliked in this league. I’m not sure what’s going on in Florida, but I’d like them to fix it, please. There is one exception, the Dayton Tortugas. Never change.
Maybe I’m an easy sell. I again found myself looking for hats to hate. There are a lot of mediocre hats in this league, but not many so awful I had to add them to the burn book. If you recall last weeks bottom five, this week the Florida League had some of the straw cowboy hats I hated but they made much more sense to me in this league, therefore aren’t on this list. Anyway, here’re the ones I don’t prefer.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm
As I’ve long said, bucket hats are the worst and not worthy of being in these lists. That said, this one is so bad it needs special mention.
This is everything we here at Tip of the Cap dislike rolled into one, awful package. This is for infants/toddlers. Parents, please never put this on your child’s head.
As always we’ll start with the hats we just can’t stand. Who approved these? Why? Florida State can do better.
Ned Donovan – St. Lucie Mets – Catcher
I think my big problem with this hat is that it wants to be cooler than it is. I’m not against abstract hats, in fact, I wish more teams would try new ideas. This one gets my bottom list for two reasons. 1. The color scheme isn’t good, the dark blue disappears into the hat, and so only the orange lines stand out. In doing so, the image becomes hard to track. 2. The catcher’s mask looks like a ‘B’. It’s practically begging you to believe it’s a ‘B’. Which is weird to my eyes because their name has not a single ‘B’ in it. Hard pass.
Brandon Andrus – Lakeland Flying Tigers – Tigers Adj Hat Style Dynasty
I have added this cap here not because of it’s look or the fact they called it a hat. (It’s a cap) This is something I saw on a couple of the sites in this league and I want to call out this particular team because so much of their branding is above the rest. I get that it’s probably not a glamorous job working in the team store for a MiLB team. But, COME ON! You couldn’t take a photo in focus. I can barely read the Tiger Town script. How are you supposed to sell an item online if you can’t really see it? Perhaps most (if not all) sales are done at the stadium. I do wonder how many caps are sold from the online stores. (Anyone want to research?) A little thing goes a long way. Take a clear picture Lakeland and repost. You make my low five for minimal effort.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Charlotte Stone Crabs – VISOR BLUR Red Cap
This hat would be a totally adequate, boring, blah thing to put on your head, except for the brim. What were they thinking? This is just kinda gross looking. Also, I am almost always of the belief lettering on a cap should be the city’s initial(s) not the mascots.
Ned Donovan – Tampa Tarpons – Home Flex Hat
Anyone else feel uncomfortable by this logo? This Tarpon is giving me terrified side-eye. It looks wholly uncomfortable holding a baseball bat. It’s far side fin might just be hanging out, but to me it looks like sassy hand on hip. The bend of the body feels really uncomfortable. The hat is made all black in order to promote the logo, but this logo could use some help from better color work.
Brandon Andrus – Dunedin Blue Jays – 2018 Stars and Stripes 5950
The team name is the BLUE JAYS. I asked a friend with no knowledge of baseball (at all) what he thought the bird was on the cap. He said a Woodpecker. Exactly. New team name. “The PECKERS” because thats what you are if you thought this was acceptable. Has nothing to do with Stars and Stripes this time. It’s the design. Period. And I really like their home look. Way to screw it up “Peckers.”
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Florida Fire Frogs – New Era Official Home Cap
If ever there was a cap in need of some contrast, it’s this one. A solid red hat with a predominately red logo do not make for a hat that is appealing to the eyes. My eyes struggle to focus on the frog and instead are drawn to the flames and, weirdly it’s tongue. Also, the frog is holding a baseball in its tongue and that’s just unsanitary. (Ned Note: This hat was my last removed from my bottom list, and it is horrible.)
Ned Donovan – Charlotte Stone Crabs – Clawford Hat
Speaking of uncomfortable mascots, meet Clawford. Clawford is like Arthur, but with claws. Claws that look like they’re going to be used to murder you. Plus the mascot is weirdly high on the hat. Yes, this hat is meant for the youth, but I don’t care. I want this mascot hat to be much better, and it’s not.
Brandon Andrus – Charlotte Stone Crabs – VISOR BLUR- Red Cap
I just don’t get this cap. First off, colors and style are awful. Red isn’t even part of your color palette. Why is it the primary color? Because the reverse would look like Blood Splatter? Second, when I see SC I think South Carolina. But Charlotte is in North Carolina. I completely Agree with Andrew. Why would you make your Letter Logo based on your mascot? I don’t know if I ever seen this. And adding the Rays starburst really just makes me wonder what that has to do with Stone Crabs anyway. I think this team needs a rethink on branding. I’d rather you be the Rays. Or why not put “Crabs” on the cap? And the Stone Crab logo itself isn’t cartoony, which feels weird to me. The C with Stone Crab claw seems more serious than other Crab logos around the MiLB. You are the QUEEN CITY. Why not the King Crabs? Anyway, hate the hat and the whole brand is just confusing. Back to the drawing board Charlotte.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Lakeland Flying Tigers – New Era 59Fifty On Field Navy Cap
This hat is boring and the logo sucks. I really dislike the Flying Tigers logo. I’m not entirely sure why. But I am not a fan and therefore this hat goes here. (Ned Note: I really hate this hat. The thumbnail was deceptively enticing and as soon as it opened I immediately removed it from my potentials list.)
Ned Donovan – Fort Myers Miracle – Groupers Cap
Hey are we still on the trend of mascots that make me uncomfortable? Because a fish sandwich with a face is HIGH on that list. Also the fish is of a horrible color. And have I mentioned it’s a sandwich? Like it has bread, lettuce and tomato for a hat. Or maybe the lettuce is hair? I’m going really into the weeds as I look at this logo. Is that Grouper going to cry? This hat needs to go.
Brandon Andrus – Florida Fire Frogs – Florida Fire Frogs Youth Girl’s Adjustable Cap
I guess I could give them credit for trying to appeal to girls without making it pink. But what is this thing? I love a good tequila sunrise, but this is some weird mosaic rainbow with no relation to fire, frogs or Florida. When they came out with this name, I never was given a good explanation to the reason behind it. There is no reference to Railroad history like the Yard Goats, or Trolley History like the Rail Riders, or the local hunting industry like the Wood Ducks. This just seemed desperate, and this hat exemplifies it.
Maybe if it was a nickname tied to Firefighters in the area or a history of local tree frogs called Fire frogs I would understand. But this team is as desperate as this cap for attention. Bad branding on bad fashion. But its not the worst, and the worst completely backs up my theory they had no idea what to name this team and created it on a facebook name generator. (I don’t know what is happening in this hat. What do the rainbow triangles supposedly accomplish?)
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Clearwater Thrashers – Threshers Cap Glamo Camo
Oof. Where to begin? Glitter? Check. Improperly colored camo? Check. Hard to make out logo? Check. Terrible color blocking? Check check check. The only thing this cap has going for it is that it very much represents Florida. I actually think my least favorite thing about this whole atrocity is the name. Glamo Camo? Get the f**k out of here. Ladies, you can do far better than this.
Ned Donovan – Clearwater Thrashers – Threshers Cap Glamo Camo
I second everything Andrew said, but with an extra dose of, go f**k yourself. CALLING SOMETHING GLAMO CAMO MAKES YOU DESERVING OF A DICK PUNCH. Only a man would name something so f**king asinine. Have we mentioned that is camo? We all know how I feel about camo. There are so many things to hate about this hat, that I don’t understand how it could be anything but number 1. Except I looked below, and both Brandon and Andrew make great arguments.
Brandon Andrus – Florida Fire Frogs – Florida Fire Frogs Freedom Adjustable Cap
To be clear, this isn’t a stars and stripes, which I said I wouldn’t call out anymore. It isn’t an on-field so it’s completely merchandising. It isn’t at all anything except “Patriot Porn” #trademarkedjustnow As Ned so eloquently called it last week, you know they are ashamed to even have it in their store if they have just the mock up drawing. This team clearly doesn’t know its fan base and is just thinking of every generic idea that they can and sticking it on march to see what will sell. Good branding is thought out, planned and marketed well. The font doesn’t feel fiery or froggy or Florida. The team isn’t owned but the Nationals so the whole ‘Murica vibe doesn’t make sense. The cap is by far and away the worst offense any merch can make. It’s pandering and I for one won’t stand for it. The team needs a complete overhaul from the top down on branding and merchandise. Shame on you whoever came up with this basic b***h team name and logos.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Fort Meyers Miracle – Groupers Cap
Dear Minor League Baseball Teams. Please stop putting weird food items on your hats. It does not work. And especially not a fish sandwich which a damn face. And terrible color blocking. But mostly it’s that fish that lands this thing in my bottom most spot. I want to throw up just looking at it.
Ned Donovan – Jupiter Hammerheads – 2018 4th of July Hat
Remember when I used to hate on these 4th of July Hats? Well I’ve now picked two in my top 5 lists over these series. So maybe I have to rethink my stance. I really like this hat. We have intact nautical themes of a lighthouse and a fishhook. The fishhook makes the J for Jupiter. We have a shark wearing a hat (that could be a better color scheme, tbh). It also has great color blocking, the bordering really pops the logo, and then we have a second border scheme in black to further pop the white off the hat. Well done.
Brandon Andrus – Bradenton Marauders – 2017 New Era On Field BP Hat
I love this word script! I just wish it wasn’t a BP. Almost had the Fort Meyers Miracle BP cap in this slot, but I really appreciate an affiliate of the Pirates not calling themselves the Pirates and instead adding to their parent teams affiliation. I like the cartoony Bucco they use, but this B is Awesome! More MLB than MiLB but I can’t resist it. Really wish this was their road cap. Maybe with a yellow brim. Give it a little flair. As for the Miracle cap, I want to say go to sport logos.net and look up the history of the team name. Great MiLB franchise that has been great for decades.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Tampa Tarpons – Alternate Hat
The Tarpons have two variations on a “T” logo. Of the two I prefer this one, though the other isn’t awful. The use of the fishhooks is just very different and I like it. Add to that a very solid color pairing with a contrasting brim and you have the makings of a no. 5 spot on this list. (Ned Note: I really wanted to like this hat. I love the double fishhook making a ‘T’ It just doesn’t connect with me.)
Ned Donovan – Palm Beach Cardinals – BP Diamond Cap
Usually with a hat like this I’d say it’s too busy, but I really like this hat. There’s something very satisfying about the 3D nature of the logo without being overly in your face. I love the detail on the hat, and I love how the white outline pops it off the all black crown. However, if the cardinal was the only red on the hat, the hat wouldn’t work. So the red brim is such a smart choice. I also love that there is a second, black outline on the letters in order to keep the lettering white. Also my final favorite touch is the eye on the Cardinal. It completes the entire logo.
Brandon Andrus – Clearwater Threshers – Threshers Cap Road
There are so many things to love about this cap. The red comes from their parent team the Phillies. The powdered blue comes from the Phillies past. The two colors combined feel very complimentary. The Blue Button with the Blue Brim against the red base… Looks great! The Phillies have been spring training in Clearwater from before I can remember so its fitting they use the current and past colors. This branding is also unique yet pays homage to their affiliate. The logo itself is a hidden C for Clearwater. Brilliant! I know I may be biased being a Phillies Phan but at least I didn’t make this number one. I do have some integrity. (Ned Note: I love the brim on this hat. The whole hat didn’t do it for me, but this color really pops)
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Bradenton Marauders – 2017 New Era On Field BP Hat
I sincerely hope the Marauders are still using this hat in 2018, but my uncertainty in the matter is keeping this confined to the lower half of my top 5. Otherwise, this is a phenomenal hat. It’s a Pirates hat, but for the Marauders. This works on so many levels, and I also just love the choice of Marauders as a mascot for a Pirates affiliate. The way the script of the “B” is, there’s also a pretty visible hidden “P” in the hat for another great touch. Love this hat.
Ned Donovan – Daytona Tortugas – Steel Gray Sure Shot Two Tone ’47 Captain
Get ready, everyone, because here come the Dayton Tortugas. No seriously, this team has the coolest freaking caps. I love so many of them so much. This, however, is my favorite of the bunch. It’s not common to find a solid green cap, and when it is, it’s even less commonly the secondary color for the crown. It’s an effect that I think more teams should look into. The logo, brim, and crown button all having the same dark green allows the space for that AWESOME turtle to come through the lettering with a baseball bat looking ready to destroy your kneecaps. This is the kind of hat I look to the Minor Leagues to bring me, and the Tortugas do not disappoint.
Brandon Andrus – Lakeland Flying Tigers – New Era 59Fifty On Field Navy Cap
Unlike Andrew, I love this logo. This was one of the first MiLB teams to have brilliant branding when they changed from the Tigers to the Flying Tigers in 2006. It pays homage to their local history, is unique and pays complete homage to their affiliate. I absolutely have an affinity to thinking outside the box, and this team does it. It’s a little dated compared to others now but thats why I love it. The logo is so damn good! I would like to see this cap with an orange brim, but until I do this is near perfect. It’s fashion forward yet completely timeless to me. Nailed it. But not my favorite in the league. The next two could have gone either way. (Ned Note: Just to back up Andrew, I’m honestly mystified at your appreciation for this hat)
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Dunedin Blue Jays – DBJ On Field Fitted Cap
As we’ve learned by now, I love where minor league clubs incorporate their MLB affiliates logos into their own stylings. This is another great example of it. I’ve always liked the font choice of the Blue Jays, and I think it works as great for Dunedin as it does for Toronto. The only reason this gets the nod above the Marauders hat for me is A)I know its current and B) its the actual on field cap not just BP. Still, a great hat all around.
Ned Donovan – Bradenton Marauders – 2017 New Era On Field BP Hat
I agree with the boys here about just how wonderful this cap is. I don’t need to add anything new here. I would like to second what Andrew said, that it looks like they used the Pirates ‘P’ (even though the font is slightly different) and then continued on into a B, which I think is just damned sexy.
Brandon Andrus – St. Lucie Mets – Official St. Lucie Mets Home Hat
Only reason this is number two is because of a lack of diversity in their cap collection but I have to admit this one is damn near perfect. It tells you exactly who they are. Its whimsical enough to be MiLB, kitchy enough for Florida, and cool enough to be worn by any fan. Next time I am in Florida I must head over to St. Lucie get one for myself. Kudos to the Mr. Met cap in Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses. Make that your alternate or road. And play with more idea like that and you could be number one. But one team has you beat.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Charolette Stone Crabs – 59Fifty BATTING PRACTICE Fitted Hat
This Stone Crabs logo is much better than the one featured in the Bottom 5. It’s a great Minor League worthy character. Coupled with two quality shades of blue that go well together and a New Era logo, brim, button matching masterclass, this hat is damn near perfection. It also does a great job of tying into the MLB affiliate Rays. A+ (Ned Note: I feel like you and I agree most often in this column, but I am vehemently against this hat.)
Ned Donovan – St. Lucie Mets – Official St. Lucie Mets Home Hat
I’m not usually the reviewer to care about Major League team branding tie-ins and yet my #1 and #2 are on there for exactly that. Look. At. This. Hat. It’s whimsical, but effective. The curved lettering is quintessential MiLB, with the Mets colors on full display. Add to that the ‘T’ over the ‘L’ that is so strange, but so unique that I can’t help but love this hat. Also the logo appears just barely larger than I would expect it to be, and with a logo this weird, that’s the kind of bold choice that pushes you to the top!
Brandon Andrus – Daytona Tortugas – Copa de la Diversion
So many caps from this team could have fit in this slot. Andrews #1 is definitely one of them. That is why the team itself earned the #1 for me. But this cap is sheer perfection. The colors feel cool enough for Florida, the name is unique and it’s just fun. I am surprised they went with this moniker instead of something like the 500s. It’s far better in my opinion. And this is part of the Diversion collection, but the name is already Spanish in nature. So I think it’s really cool they still made a cap for that promotion anyway. I must get this cap.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Daytona Tortugas – Daytona Tortugas New Era Road Cap
I knew this hat was number 1 this week from the first second I saw it. It is everything I want in a minor league hat. That mascot logo is just too damn good. And the Torgtugas are one of those teams that use a variety of logos. This one only shows up on this particular hat which is a damn shame. The variety of light colors all work together and that logo just pops off the hat because of it. Add to cart.
These caps didn’t really do it for me. Except the Daytona Tortugas. I could have picked all five of my options from that team, almost certainly. The other two selected by my comrades were fighting for slots in my top 5 for sure. We’ve definitely seen better hats from other leagues, though.
I wanted to give props to two caps I didn’t feel deserved a top five but are great caps for a specific reason. Fauxbacks can be awful. But sometimes they are inspiring. Growing up in the 90s you always wanted a starter jacket and a script cap akin to this Threshers beauty right here. Is it necessary? No, but it’s cool they did it. And The Fort Meyers Miracle Fauxback is great as well. Screams 1970s baseball. With all the promotions in the MiLB, a fauxback night is one I would like to see gain traction. (Ned Note: I’m not sure I understand your connection to either of these hats)
Andrew Mark Wilhelm
I didn’t feel it right to include there, but this is the first week some of the team shops have included foam hats. What do I mean by foam hats? I’ll show you.
I think the look of defeat in shark guys eyes in the last photo accurately describes how I feel about this things. No sober adult should ever consider putting something like this on their head. (Side note: is that a Phillies polo it Pirates colors? Is that even legal?)
Do you agree with us? Hate us? Do you have a hat that you think should be winning this battle? Drop it in the comments, tweet it at us, throw a picture of yourself wearing it on instagram and tag us @the_turf_sports. We’re on Facebook, Reddit, and even Linkedin if you care to follow us there. Right below where you’re reading this (well, past the ad), there are some share buttons. So it’s really easy to send this to your friends who will hate our selections. DOOOOO IT.