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 Southern League is a Class AA Minor League Team. Their teams are:
- Northern Division
- Southern Division
In terms of personal fandom, there are no teams affiliated with the authors’ favorite teams.
I found there are only four teams worth looking at in this league. The others just didn’t have anything of interest to me. So I applaud these four teams (Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, Montgomery Biscuits, Biloxi Shuckers and the Tennessee Smokies) for giving it all you got. I would rather see you fail at trying than not try at all. Even if they have caps in the bottom 5, they made some real winners too. This week, not making my list says a lot. Absent teams need to start something if you want to keep up with these four. Because I see many more great caps coming for these four winners.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm
There are some inexcusably bad web stores for some of these teams. The Jackson Generals & Tennessee Smokies being the worst of the bunch. I almost excluded them from these lists because of how miserable it was to navigate their web stores, but ultimately decided to judge the hats on the hats alone this week. On general, the bad hats this week aren’t anywhere near as terrible as in some previous weeks, but the top hats aren’t as good either. Also, there’s no wonderful Copa goodness involved this week.
I would like to publicly state that the Mobile BayBears were the most disappointing hat selection I have ever seen. Seriously. Look at this.
LITERALLY HOW CAN YOU HAVE A NAME THAT SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE COOL BRANDING AND ONLY HAVE 4 TERRIBLE HATS?!
We’re all disappointed in you, Mobile.
This list is full of firsts for me. I really shocked myself. Specifically the Bottom list.
Spoiler Alert: There are two teams HEAVILY featured here.
Brandon Andrus – Biloxi Shuckers – Road Cap
Not only is the logo BS, so is the name description. (Hat – Road Cap) #facepalm #pickone Is it a hat or a cap? Anyway, here is why it made the list. One is, it says BS. That is bs. Two, it’s bland. You have pink and gold in your color scheme. Maybe some color in the the drop shadow, button and brim. Or different colors for the letters? Three, you have X in your city name. I am surprised I didn’t see a BlxShx cap. Or an Aw, Shux cap. Glad I didn’t see a “Go Shux Yourself” cap! And btw for food promo you should be the BiLOXi and Bagels. 🙂 Anyway, for so many great logos, this was your least interesting. Don’t make a bland road cap. It is what you show the other cities you play. I love the lighthouse cap. Make that the road and come up with a new alternate.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Montgomery Biscuits – Biscuit Lid
I honestly went back or forth on wether this should make my Top 5 or my Bottom 5. My biggest problem with food themed hats stems from a couple of items. One is they typically have nothing to do with the team name, just a local food, and two is giving random food objects eyes and arms is kinda weird to me. Now, these hat doesn’t do either of those things. The team is in fact called the Biscuits, and this hat essentially takes the characterized mascot and removes the eyes and arms, well just hands in this case. It’s an extremely out there design for a cap, essentially wearing a biscuit on your head like the ball cap version of a cheesehead. To some degree I respect it for being so bold. That said, it looks completely ridiculous and I would never, ever put it anywhere near my head.
Ned Donovan – Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp – New Era Core Script 9Twenty
Look out, y’all. The Jumbo Shrimp are about to get some serious pain from me.
You know what’s not a good look? The word Shrimp across your forehead in big bold letters. When I saw the thumbnail version of this picture, I didn’t see the “Jumbo” part, and I can’t decide if that makes it worse or better. There’s nothing about this hat that would make me go “yes…I need this on my head.” The only thing that would make this worse is if you somehow turned it into a horror movie set piece.
Brandon Andrus – Montgomery Biscuits – Biscuit Lid
I’ve avoided most of the food promo caps. They are a local thing, and I get the local pride wanting a cheesesteak or Buffalo wing cap. It’s stupid, but it’s fun. So I don’t care. But this team is always the food promo. What I love about the Biscuits is the little guy with the shoes and eyes with a butter tongue. Creepy? Maybe to some but it reminds me of a Henson muppet and that wins major points in my book. SO WHY ARE THERE NO EYES ON THIS CAP? Put googly eyes on it and it makes sense. This is just a weird cap I would never buy for my least favorite relative. But add eyes and you have a kitch collectable. Just saying.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Biloxi Shuckers – Hat-MBW 800 Alt #1 Neon Pink
There are a quite a few food based mascots in this league. But at least they’re the actual mascots. However, this is an alternate logo and it adds arms and a cowboy hat unnecessarily. The mascot always has eyes, which I can deal with, but in no way should an oyster ever have arms. Or wear a cowboy hat. Stop it. However, my biggest issue with this hat is the stitching. I am just not a fan of the stitching on the brim being the accent color. It looks sloppy to me most of the time. (Ned Note: I think it might actually be a fedora?)
Ned Donovan – Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp – Navy Pop Stitcher 9Twenty
Remember what I said about a horror movie set piece? WELL HERE YOU GO. This font styling and color combo have only existed as the logo on posters for awful horror movies. Please don’t forget, having the words “Jumbo Shrimp” across your forehead is not a good look. Plus that terrifying shrimp hiding in the background? What is it doing? What is it looking at? Why is the border around the white lettering twice as wide as the letters themselves. Why is it not uniform? Everything about this cap makes me unsettled.
Brandon Andrus – Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp – Logo Spill 950
Seriously? Wtf is this? It’s a rat tail on a ten year old. It’s Drukar Nuar cologne from CVS. It’s those jeans no one buys at Macys. You know the ones. With the chains and jewels. Like the guy in Deadpool that gets the pizza. Anyway, I know Florida doesn’t always have the classiest of citizens, but they deserve better than this.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp – ’47 Black & Silver Home Snapback
This. Hat. Is. So. Boring. It also is very difficult to make out from a distance, as evidenced by the way this hat looks in thumbnail form. If you want a Jumbo Shrimp hat, please pick one with some semblance of color.
Ned Donovan – Montgomery Biscuits – Logo Peek Hat
Whew. A team that’s not the Jumbo Shrimp. Okay, now then. Anthropomorphic biscuits are not cool. Look at it, it’s a biscuit, split in two, that has a butter pat for a tongue. No. And why is this one peeking out from behind the lettering? It’s creepy as hell. What is it hiding? That’s what the “peek” in the name of the hat refers to, right?
OH HOLY F**K NO THERE IS A GOD DAMNED BISCUIT STARING AT ME FROM THE DEPTHS OF THE CROWN. WHO THOUGHT THE EYEBALLS COMING OUT OF THE MIST BUT BARELY VISIBLE WERE A GOOD IDEA? THIS HAT WILL GIVE ME NIGHTMARES FOR WEEKS.
The Gold ‘M is kind of dope, though.
Brandon Andrus – Montgomery Biscuits – Kids Bolt Snapback
These “flash” looks will be the hyper color of this generation. The reflective “flash” was designed for celebrities so paparazzi couldn’t get clear photos of them at night. SO of course in this celebrity crazed culture, every kid wants to pretend to be a Kardasian. Here’s the thing. I could see this being made for the Storm or Thunder or Fireflies. But you are the Biscuits. Unless you don’t want people to know you are from Montgomery, I don’t see why this cap was made. Even worse, it was made for kids. It’s a style I’ve seen for other teams, but it really doesn’t fit here. Didn’t care about these caps before, but this is just stupid.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Mississippi Braves – Home Logo Digi Camo
Digi Camo? Seriously? Why? And while I typically enjoy a minor league team incorporating their MLB affiliate’s logo into their design, this logo just seems uninspired to me. Though this hat makes it almost impossible to see. And then there’s the whole notion of a hat for a team called the Braves being a digi camo, which is only used by modern militaries, that seems completely tasteless to me. Don’t support this.
Ned Donovan – Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp – Navy Hex Visor 5950
Once, Twice, Three Times a Travesty. Yep that’s the third Jumbo Shrimp hat in my bottom 5. This one’s a doozy. As I mentioned before, I hate this logo. If your logo’s a shrimp, make it a shrimp, not a weird shark crossover. Next, I don’t really understand what is happening with the red thread around its arms. Is it dripping water? Covered in scales? Super jacked? I don’t know. The only good part of this logo is that it makes a J with its tail. That’s it. The colors are awful, they don’t understand contrast, and they have dark blue fighting with itself at every turn.
Then there’s the brim. Oh. The Brim. What the f**k is going on here. It’s a brick layer’s pattern that goes….right to left? That doesn’t make sense. Is it a sidewalk? They call it a “hex” pattern but those hexes are horrifically defined if they’re meant to be hexagons. This hat should be put straight in the garbage.
Brandon Andrus – Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp – OC Valor Inferno
Here’s their description. “A color pallet perfect for when users want to be seen, yet still be concealed. This trucker mesh cap (with a velcro enclosure) features our road logo on the front with a reflective badge. The front pattern is the Inferno camo pattern designed by Kryptek which turns the heat up with High-Vis Camo, merging lifestyle and concealment with function.” That’s a lot a sales speak for “If you are an absolute tool, this is the hat for you.” Nuff said.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Chattanooga Lookouts – Freedom Cap (Stars)
This hat makes my eyes bleed. It’s like an all out assault on my retinas. Add that to a letter with some eyeballs, contrast color stitching on the brim, and whatever that background is supposed to be. Just, no. And as an aside, what exactly does this hat have to do with “freedom?” This hat is trash.
Ned Donovan – Montgomery Biscuits – Monty Bromley Snapback Hat
2 teams make up my entire bottom 5. 2 TEAMS. We’re back to the Biscuits.
Here we have the terrifying biscuit from before, but now he’s large, in charge, wearing cleats, and looks like he just slammed his foot down at the end of a dance break. He is poorly sewn onto the hat as is evidenced by the uneven cutout all around his body. He is a terrifying figure in any circumstance, but especially on this hat. Mildly googly eyed should make him more lovable, like a sesame street character, but the fact that he’s a split in two biscuit really freaks me out. Stop Anthropomorphizing food. kthnxbye.
BOTTOM 5 POLL
Alright, Top 5. This is one of the most diverse collections of caps we’ve put together yet!
Brandon Andrus – Tennessee Smokies – State Logo Snapback
I will ignore the complexity of their online store to praise this cap. (You need to be a registered customer to order?) I have shown I love a good use of a state outline before, and this is no exception, if not one of the finest. If it was fitted it would be higher. This should be their road cap. They have a lot of great designs, but this is stellar. If i was from Knoxville, or Tennessee even, I would be proud to wear this cap.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Jackson Generals – 1998 Jaxx Throwback
The Jackson Generals store is a total nightmare, and a lot of their designs are not worth a damn, but this throwback hat to their inaugural season is fantastic. The logo is very late 90’s but I dig it. Honestly, this hat would be higher on the list but the Generals are no longer an affiliate of the Mariners as they were at the time of this hat, which so clearly borrows Seattles fantastic color palette. Still, this is a fantastic hat that anyone should be proud to wear. (Ned Note: I don’t love the very top of the logo, above “West Tenn” which is why it didn’t make my top 5. I love the concept though, and the throwback logo.)
Ned Donovan – Chattanooga Lookouts – On Field Alternate Cap
The weird part about this hat is that I kind of want to make fun of it. Why are the shifty stoner eyes giving side eye? Why are they so massive on the hat? This feels so cartoonish, these eyes should have veins in them. And. Yet. I love this hat. I would wear this hat almost every day. Unique, distinct, fun branding is an important part of MiLB culture, and this hat is no exception. I said this before about the Lake Elsinore Storm hats, but the Lookouts need to partner with Nintendo and make crossover caps with Super Mario Galaxy and Cappy. I love that there is nothing on this hat but eyeballs. I choose to ignore the New Era Flag due to its obnoxious nature.
Brandon Andrus – Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp – Expos Pinwheel Throwback Fitted
Before I ever was involved with The Turf, I started (barely) a blog where I said “I wish this cap was still around.” It was part of a top ten I did of caps they should bring back. AND THEY DID! I don’t hate the rebranding. Jumbo Shrimp is fine. I would have preferred just JUMBOS and you could have the shrimp logo and a circus elephant logo as well honoring the history of the old circus wintering in Jacksonville. That all being said, I prefer Jacksonville’s old monikers to this new one, and would love to buy it. It’s a great play on one of the most classic looks in baseball. I have at least one more on this list, and several before like this, so if you want to win me over, can’t go wrong with the red white blue pinwheel.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Tennessee Smokies – Official 2017 Road Cap
This hat is last years design. The team is no longer using it and as such the hat is currently on sale. Go get it because its vastly better than the 2018 Road Hat. The Cubs affiliates buy into the matchy match of their MLB counterpart more than any other franchise, and I respect that about them. What makes this hat stand out is the Minor League perfect take on a bear logo, and the fact the colors are inverted from a standard Cubs outfit. I love that. The blue accents just make this hat pop. If it was a current hat it would most likely be number 1 this week.
Ned Donovan – Jackson Generals – Orange JG Flex Hat
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again. Teams, you need a good store. The Jackson Generals website is bad, especially compared to how clean the MiLB store is. Just port over already, you’ll be happier for it.
As for the hat, sometimes simpler is better. I love a hat with standard, classic feel. I also love a hat that does great things with non-standard colors. This cap is both. I love the orange hat, and I love that it’s a golden orange, not hunter’s orange. The white stitching being visible is a great touch to bringing texture to the hat, and then there’s that logo. That JG is a thing of beauty. It’s elegant, it’s classic, it screams baseball but also screams unique. Lastly the white grommets accentuating the logo are a great finishing touch. This hat is glorious.
Brandon Andrus – Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (TIE) – Jax Beach Seabirds 59/50 + ’47 JB Seabirds Trawler
I could not pick one over the other. I more than likely would buy the JB cap, but if I looked good in the trawler, I would buy it too. I get why you went with Jumbo Shrimp (You were trying too hard I must say) but Seabirds?! PERFECT! And you could even do an alternate called the Snowbirds with the bird on a walker or something. I don’t know if Shrimping is big in Jacksonville. I remember it more in gulf than the Atlantic, but I wish you went back to Seabirds. AND the colors are so Florida! Biloxi could learn a lot from this JB cap. See what a little pop of color can do? In reality, the JB cap is my number 3, but I love that other logo. Wish it was on a cap not so truckery. But if it looks good, why not?
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Biloxi Shuckers – Alt #2 Diamond Era
Diamond Era means we’re looking at a BP hat here, which is mildly unfortunate because this is by far my favorite of the logos Biloxi uses. And the color blocking of this hat is fantastic, and also superior to the rest of the offerings from Biloxi. Just a good hat.
Ned Donovan – Birmingham Barons – BHAM Flex Fit Cap in Red
As always I’m a sucker for the unique. I’ve never seen this hat anywhere else, in any other team. The stark lettering, the cool baseball logo. I love the way the overall use of space leans right, but it counters left with the hands holding the bat. Plus B-HAM is a great abbreviation for Birmingham. I think what I love most about this hat, too, is its use of colors is so simple, and effective, while being unique. It’s a red and white hat. That’s it. Oh wait, there’s a punctuation mark of a black circle for hands. Why? It distinguishes between bat and arm, and it creates an asymmetric feel to the whole cap. What a great design decision.
Brandon Andrus – Tennessee Smokies – Official 2018 Home Cap
Told you I love a pinwheel. Much like the South Bend Cubs, this is perfect. But it’s better than South Bend because its their Home cap. Theirs was BP. I would buy this in an instant. Best Home or Away cap in the whole league. (Ned Note: This was the last hat eliminated from my Top 5. I love this one.) Pen
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Birmingham Barons – Alternate Fitted Cap
I’m a sucker for a good, classically styled cap. Especially one that utilizes Olde English lettering. But what makes this hat is the black brim, button, logo combo that perfectly accents the red of this hat. And this color combo just works. It certainly worked for one of the Barons most famous athletes, Michael Jeffery Jordan. That’s right, the Barons are the team MJ played for when he did his Minor League stint in ’94. This hat has nothing to do with that, but these are the colors Jordan is known for and I can’t help but feel that’s not at least a bit intentional. Even without that, this hat would be here on this list. It’s a beaut.
Ned Donovan – Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp – Scrabble Night On Field
WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THAT MILB TEAMS DO SCRABBLE NIGHT?! How does it even work? I love scrabble. I want in. I also want this hat, but maybe not with a J. So I’m giving this hat kudos for the design overall. I love that it’s superimposed on the easily identifiable scrabble board. I love that they went with a simple blue for the overall design which softens the design. If I have ONE gripe, it’s that the value of the letter isn’t on the tile emblem. It should have the 8 point valuation on it. Beyond that? Great hat. I want it with an “N” or maybe a “P” for my hometown Portland Sea Dogs.
Brandon Andrus – Montgomery Biscuits – Official Greenbow Biscuits On-Field Cap
The fauxbacks are killing it this year! Many have been based around 70s designs, but this 40s/50s design is just a thing of beauty. It shows an evolution of a look which I already love. I cannot believe how brilliant this design is. Kudos to the artist. And I love they changed the name to Greenbow. Brilliant! Sad to say I don’t think there are any available to buy, but hopefully this becomes a permanent thing for them. Even just once a year, it would be worth it. I hope this inspires some of other teams to do the same and not just do 70s designs. Best cap by far this year in the Southern League if not all fauxbacks this year. (Ned Note: I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with an opinion of yours more strongly :P)
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Pensacola Blue Wahoos – Lakeview Snapback
This might be a first for me, but I’m putting a snapback at number 1. This hat just calls to me. The deep navy goes with the heathered cream base of the hat so well. And the logo just pops off it. This hat also screams Florida golf course to me, I think because it is reminiscent of the Greg Norman Shark hats I saw everywhere when I lived down in Florida. I also applaud the bat being in the Wahoo’s mouth and not awkwardly in his fins. Lastly, the way it includes the iridescent stripe on the wahoo’s back, which is a defining trait of the fish, is wonderful. I typically don’t go for snapbacks, but I simply love this cap. (Ned Note: I searched for a hat with this logo that I liked. Because I love this logo. Alas, I think every color choice they made with every iteration of this logo is bad)
Ned Donovan – Jackson Generals – Tri Color Dog Logo
Okay Jackson Generals. You may have a terribly designed web store but you have fantastic hat options. This one right here is now in the running for my favorite hat I’ve seen in any league yet. First let’s start with color. Hell. Yes. White front panel, forest green brim, black back paneling to drive the eye to the front, green grommets to tie the panels together, a green crown button as the point it all meets. What a fantastic, fantastic hat. But this logo. It so perfectly lives on this cap. A bulldog with a baseball bat in its mouth wearing a three star army helmet? So not only do we get the “General” side of the team, but it’s the three stars of the Tennessee emblem. We get state, team, color, unique, all in one hat. Few teams in any league can top this offering.
TOP 5 POLL
So I am putting The Generals, Barons, Lookouts, BayBears (Although I think they are moving), Miss. Braves and Wahoos on notice. Wahoos have a good start but could do better. Never thought I’d see pink work in a baseball look, but it does for them. All of you need to be bold, make mistakes, and you too can make it into the top 5!
Andrew Mark Wilhelm
I don’t understand how in 2018 web stores for professional organizations can be as bad as some of the examples here. It distracts from the hats which, while middle of the road, deserve better.
Two teams making up my entire bottom 5 was not something I was prepared for. However the Jackson Generals really stood out as a fantastic offering out of this league. I’ve already ordered my Tri-Color Generals hat because of this column. This might be the best thing that happened to my hat collection, and one of the worst to my bank account.
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.