News From Terre Haute, Indiana


July 12, 2012

RONN MOTT: Hats and Baseball Caps

TERRE HAUTE — I grew up not wearing hats. The only one I put on was a baseball cap when I was playing baseball. But since my hair went on permanent vacation, I’ve been wearing hats, most often a cap, in particular, a baseball cap. 

A baseball cap is a rather strange thing. It’s a beanie, a skull cap with a button on top and a large bill attached to the front. Baseball is a treasure house of ancient statistics, but I have no idea how this strange little cap got to be “the hat” of baseball. For instance, the original New York Knickerbockers (who would later become the Yankees), wore white skimmers and white shirts. Very spiffy. But the skimmers were soon replaced by the beanie with the bill.

I don’t know exactly when that occurred but it had to be early on, and that little beanie with the bill we recognize everywhere as a baseball cap. Even when it advertises some business or endeavor, it is still a baseball cap.

Throughout history men were often remembered by the hats they wore. Abraham Lincoln, a very tall man, wore a very tall stovepipe hat. Napoleon Bonaparte, who wasn’t very tall, wore that 18th Century commander’s hat. It appeared he was wearing it sideways. Of course, it didn’t make him look any taller.

Cowboys wore the distinctive hat they borrowed from the Mexican Vaqueros with some modifications. The ten-gallon hat the American cowboy favored had nothing to do with the amount of water it would hold, but rather the amount of “braids” that would fit around the crown. It didn’t take many to fit around the Mexican sombrero and it took about 10 braids to fit around the hat the cowboys favored. The term “galoìn” is the Spanish word for braid. To our gringo ears, it came out as gallon.

Around here, and most of the Midwest, a baseball cap says I’m a local. So if you see me driving down the road, walking the park, or heading somewhere more important, chances are I’ll be wearing a baseball cap. I guess that tags me as a local.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News Poll
AP Video
NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later New Tactic Deployed in Search for Plane Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Scott Brown Announces Run for U.S. Senate in N.H Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions Police: Blast in Nigerian Capital Kills 71
NDN Video
8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Toddler climbs into vending machine Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America Applicants Vying for 'World's Toughest Job' Get Heartwarming Surprise Awkward: Crist catches Lt. Gov. insulting him on camera NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse US Airways Tweets Graphic Photo of Nude Woman Behind the scenes of the Marathon anniversary photo shoot American Airlines Responds After Girl Tweets Alleged Terror Threat 'Joke' Charlie White's "Dancing" Mistake Olympic Great & Baltimore Native Michael Phelps Ends Retirement; Eyes Rio 2014 NFL Draft: Potential Booms And Busts William and Kate Squash Baby No. 2 Rumors With a Wine-Tasting Trip Who Showed Up at Coachella?

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010