If you survived Monday's bevy of crimes against clothing, where we surveyed a range of forty bad Yankees-branded caps produced by New Era, then my congratulations to you. It was a grueling experience which involved confusing color combinations and bad deployment of logos, and also included our struggle to understand the cap manufacturer's curious affinity for camouflage patterns. Perhaps they just know their demographic well.
Some respite, now, perhaps, because I've assembled a list of my favorite thirty New Era Yankees caps available in 2015 (and one that's not available, just for old times' sake). I should warn you: this list does not end with the regular on-field cap at #1. This is not that kind of list, simply because I am not much of a traditionalist. I like crazy prints and off-brand color mashups. If you are likely to cringe at the Yankees logo adorning a print of iconic scenes from Hawaii (which you may have already seen, or will see if you scroll down a touch), then I suspect I've already done you wrong!
This is a staunchly serious examination of the best Yankees-branded caps New Era produces. We begin, in that fashion, with the aforementioned cap known as 59FIFTY Hawaiian ニューヨーク・ヤンキース ブラックハワイアン × スノーホワイト, available only in Japan, upon which is printed imagery of pineapples, and shirtless men drumming on the beach, among other things. 59FIFTY Hawaiian ニューヨーク・ヤンキース ブラックハワイアン × スノーホワイト, like the other caps in this piece, constitutes one of the best Yankees caps.
¡Important note! I've used Google Translate, which I hear is 100% accurate, to provide translations of the Japanese cap names. If you hover your mouse over any text that has a dotted line over it, a little bubble will pop up with a relevant caption (try this on the above). Sadly, I don't believe this works on mobile devices.
Prints and other patterns
Left to right, from the top left:
- 59FIFTY Hawaiian ニューヨーク・ヤンキース ブラックハワイアン × スノーホワイト (from NewEraCap.jp)
- 59FIFTY Tropical ニューヨーク・ヤンキース トロピカル × ホワイト (from NewEraCap.jp)
- Paisley Neyyan Purple 59FIFTY (from NewEraCapKorea.com)
- On Spotz Original Patchwork Blue 59FIFTY (from On Spotz)
- Animal Fur Yellow Leopard 59FIFTY (from On Spotz)
The assertion in the previous paragraph is one that I stand by still: 59FIFTY Hawaiian ニューヨーク・ヤンキース ブラックハワイアン × スノーホワイト constitutes one of the best Yankees caps. There is something rad about wearing a cap upon which is printed an idyllic 1940s-style Hawaiian paradise scene. It is deliciously eccentric in a way that is totally tolerable, and that's a very, very tough balance to strike, so they've done well here. I would wear this in a heartbeat.
The same goes for the other four of these print/patterned caps. New Era are acutely aware of the fact that you've been looking to cover your skull in a quilt, so they've helpfully provided you the On Spotz Original Patchwork Blue 59FIFTY, a thing that has about a 67% chance of looking legitimately alright in real life. 59FIFTY Tropical ニューヨーク・ヤンキース トロピカル × ホワイト presents a sane alternative to the unrestrained hellscape that was the six – count 'em, six – camouflage-themed caps we witnessed in Monday's forty bad caps piece. Those six would have you go incognito as a survivalist in the woods; Tropical allows you to go incognito on some island paradise. The upside is clear and present.
I'm also quite fond of the Paisley Neyyan Purple 59FIFTY. You might not be able to make it out in that small render, but unfortunately New Era has seen fit to print the words "New Era" along the lines throughout the pattern. This is kind of lame, but otherwise this is a fairly hip deployment of the paisley print. Paisley's in the midst of something resembling a resurgence, so it makes sense they'd run with this now, and sure, the cap sort of ends up looking like chalk drawings on pavement, but this cap will give any plain outfit some character (probably best comboed with a plain black t-shirt or something similar).
Unclear how Animal Fur Yellow Leopard 59FIFTY made its way into this post, but look at how ridiculous that thing is! Of all the various animal print Yankees caps – and there were many, many more than you might initially guess – this one was the best.
Left to right, from the top left:
- On Spotz Original 5-Panel Checker Black 9FIFTY (from On Spotz)
- On Spotz Original Sakura 2014 Navy 59FIFTY (from On Spotz)
- Floral Mashup 59FIFTY (from NewEraCap.com)
If you're looking for eccentricity, but still want something grounded in the realm of decency, then a visor print is probably more in your ballpark.
The On Spotz Original 5-Panel Checker Black 9FIFTY is probably one of my favorites here – it's like they looked at Sonic the Hedgehog's 'Green Hill Zone' and said "let's make a cap out of that." Against all odds, the end result is something that looks pretty alright. Limiting the design to the visor was a good call; the cap would have looked ridiculous if the entire thing was a gridwork. People would sit on you and play chess on your head. Instead, the effect here is a little subtler, and ends up looking better than if I had just told you "this is a grid hat."
Floral Mashup 59FIFTY is a similarly-restrained take on floral patterns. Gray and pink have always been close friends, and the black-on-pink-on-gray combo the logo is swathed in is plus-plus (makes me wonder why the person who designed this wasn't consulted for about half of the bad caps we looked at – lest I link you to the #2 worst cap on the list as a reminder).
On Spotz Original Sakura 2014 Navy 59FIFTY is the ultimate in noncommittal. Most people won't take note of the print on the underside of the visor, and any that do will probably compliment you on it. And so they should; that cherry blossom is super pretty! Everything else about this cap just looks like the regular on-field version. It's a nice riff on the original design. Thumbs up emoji.
Left to right, from the top left:
- 59FIFTY ニューヨーク・ヤンキース ブルージュエル × ホワイト (from NewEraCap.jp)
- Azure Blue 59FIFTY (from On Spotz)
- Blue Tint 59FIFTY (from On Spotz)
- Heather Pop 59FIFTY (from MLB Shop)
- American Patch Redux Black 59FIFTY (from On Spotz)
These are, to state the abundantly obvious, more grounded alternatives to the regular team colors. Of these, the punchiest is the Azure Blue 59FIFTY, which is what you're looking for if you want to echo a 1980s vibe (short of moving to Miami or just straight up dressing like you walked out of Scarface). Note also Heather Pop 59FIFTY, which is like a conservative take on a baseball cap; 59FIFTY ニューヨーク・ヤンキース ブルージュエル × ホワイト exists as sort of a Royals-lite cap, as if you'd watered down the entire Royals team and the end result was the Yankees... which is surely a secret reference to the Yankees more or less being the second-best team in the American League, trailing the Royals (and by some margin too, which is scary come Postseason time, but let's not dwell on that right now).
You might recall a few patriotic numbers in Monday's forty bad caps – American Patch Redux Black 59FIFTY is one of the better American flag options. An equivalent made #23 on the bad caps list; this one is superior, both less busy and less... "boisterous."
July 4th Stars & Stripes 59FIFTY (from NewEraCap.com)
New Era's July 4th caps can be hit-or-miss. The wonderful Uni-Watch does a great job of covering these each year. You might recall the blue-cap and red-cap years as sad disasters. By contrast, 2010 and 2011's use of white as the base color led to a better product. And then there was the camouflage incident... it's as if someone walked into the office, said "design me the worst looking thing imaginable," and upon being presented with this Chernobyl-level design disaster, ordered it to be lit on fire, flushed down the toilet, at which point the designers would be sent through the sewers Shawshank Redemption-style to find it floating there, sending it from that pit of waste straight onto trucks for distribution.
By contrast, this year's July 4th effort is more tolerable. It's a bit tacky, sure, but the flag silhouette is pleasant enough, and if you're the type that can only stomach on-field gear but are looking for an alternative to the regular cap, this is a pretty good option.
Left to right:
- Polka Dot Neyyan Navy/Scarlet 59FIFTY (from NewEraCapKorea.com)
- Star Dot on Oxford White 59FIFTY (from On Spotz)
Back to something a little jazzier – the Polka Dot Neyyan Navy/Scarlet 59FIFTY is about as fantastic as it is possible to be, and is as lively as the Star Dot on Oxford White 59FIFTY is subdued. Both are equally good at their own game. You'll still suffer from giant head syndrome if you go with the white one (we identified this issue with cap #15 on the forty bad caps list) because that correction fluid-level white will make anything look large. And the polka dot option does look like a pair of boxer shorts, which does present a bit of an issue. Actually, it looks like a ton of stuff. For the person that wants to wear an entire outfit of navy-scarlet polka dots, then!
- Black 59FIFTY (from On Spotz)
- Pinstripe Linen White 59FIFTY (from On Spotz)
- MLB.com Exclusive Derek Jeter 59FIFTY (from MLB Shop)
New Era has officially presented us with the only cap in the world that has even the faintest possibility of being wearable while also wearing a suit. The Black 59FIFTY looks like they came across a heap of Hugo Boss off-cuts and cobbled together a line of caps out of them. Amazingly, the end result looks positively fantastic, and is much sharper than it has any right to be.
The Pinstripe Linen White 59FIFTY is an attempt at a throwback cap – the Yankees of a century ago never wore anything like that of course, but it does a pretty good job of capturing the aesthetic of that time period despite having no legitimate inspiration to draw on. '47 Brand used to do a version of this cap, but it seems like New Era has now taken over the vintage tip.
As hate-able as the MLB.com Exclusive Derek Jeter 59FIFTY cap is – that silver logo was crafted atop Mt. Obnoxious and then gondola'd down to the ground, each logo with its own car for maximally decadent inefficiency – it's also fairly elegant. The Yankees could never play in this kind of pinstriped cap (you'd end up with it looking like some crazy pajama set without the dark blue up top to break up the outfit) but as a collector's item it's pretty cool, presuming you're comfortable with having a fat number 2 festooned on the side of your head.
- Satin Navy 59FIFTY (from On Spotz)
- Swarovski Crocodile 59FIFTY (from On Spotz)
- Harris Tweed Neyyan Grey 59FIFTY (from NewEraCapKorea.com)
- Synthetic Suede Beige 59FIFTY (from On Spotz)
For the person that wants to simulate wearing lingerie on their head... its the Satin Navy 59FIFTY. It's very unclear under what context anyone would ever want to wear a cap made of satin, but I suppose that this opportunity now exists. I must admit, it looks better than it has any right to be. I wouldn't go so far as to say there's anything expressly erotic about it, but... exotic, maybe? Look, you know what I mean. There's something tantalizing about that cap. Bring me that cap.
For the Russian oligarch... it's the Swarovski Crocodile 59FIFTY. This'll run you a cool $191. That's real leather, though not actually crocodile skin; it's unclear what the things studded into the Yankees logo are, but given this cap isn't presenting a four or five figure price tag, they're not of any value whatever they are. This cap is amazing. Bring me that cap.
For the college professor... it's the Harris Tweed Neyyan Grey 59FIFTY. Sometimes you want to wear a cap but you also want to look sophisticated. It takes fortitude to resist wearing a baseball cap to a dinner party, I know. But New Era now has the cap for all such semi-formal occasions. Hit up some sartorial elegance while wearing this to your child's college graduation, or while presenting a TED talk on geopolitics. Bring me that cap.
For the person that wants to be squarer than even those who wear tweed... it's the Synthetic Suede Beige 59FIFTY. It's not even real suede! Though I suppose why would it be; it's a baseball cap after all. This one looks like it shouldn't be possible, but for whatever reason someone will wear that on a summer day and look totally ridiculous. Bring me that cap.
The Top 5
#5 – 59FIFTY Galaxy 2 ニューヨーク・ヤンキース
This is a thing of majesty and beauty, a cap of infinite new horizons. It's like Cosmos: The Cap. Cosmic print apparel peaked a few years ago, but this one will always hold up. It's a really kitschy take on printed caps and caps as a whole, yes, but it's a take that works. Truth be told, it's not what I'd call wearable – but I'd leave it out on a shelf, maybe. Okay, I wouldn't do that, because that would be weird, but in a hypothetical way, yes, I'd have this cap as a display piece.
#4 – Authentic Collection On-Field 59FIFTY Game Cap
The classic! A timeless and steadfast cap. It'll always look good, and will likely always be a part of the Yankees uniform. I can imagine a future where the look and feel of the pinstripes change, but I can't really imagine the team ever changing this. It doles out its simplicity in spades, but that's the entire charm of the thing, of course.
It's a beloved icon, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't branch out into other designs. A plain old Yankees cap won't score you points, for tragically it has disarmed itself. It's ubiquitous now; it is what it is. By contrast, a little panache goes a long way. Take a look at #3, for instance.
#3 – 59FIFTY Splash Paint ニューヨーク・ヤンキース ブラックウール × ホワイト
THEY MADE THE JACKSON POLLOCK OF CAPS.
This thing is amazing.
#2 – 59FIFTY Diamond Era ニューヨーク・ヤンキース パープルグラデーション × ホワイト
THEY MADE THE VAPORWAVE OF CAPS.
Vaporwave is a music genre and art style that emerged in the early 2010s from indie dance genres such as seapunk, witch house, and chillwave. Although there is much diversity and ambiguity in its attitude and message, vaporwave sometimes serves as both a critique and a parody of consumerist society, '80s yuppie culture, and new-age music, while sonically and aesthetically showcasing a curious nostalgic fascination with their artifacts.
Google "vaporwave gradient," if you'd like. Gradients were abused for many, many years (anybody that made WordArt with Microsoft Office in the early 2000s is acutely aware of this), which has led to their semi-demise, but this kind of apparel is a vote of confidence in favor of a solid gradient. I like it. If you're looking for a plain cap that doesn't stick to the regular color scheme, something like this is an 80-grade direction to go in.
#1 – Small Dot Series Black 59FIFTY
The Small Dot Series Black 59FIFTY is, in essence, a compromise. It is fairly reserved – white dots on a black base – so it's not too far from the original on-field cap in ethos, but it also has its own flair. My feeling is that dots are a wonderful staple of design and aren't used enough anymore. They bring activity without being overwhelming, and I totally have a soft spot for them, so this one speaks straight to my heart. It isn't crazy like a Hawaiian print or an abstract artwork – nowhere near that extreme – but it still has a character of its own. It straddles the line between the two extremes: we're not plain, but we're not getting crazy either. Traditionalists will throw the on-field cap to the fore still, and that's fine. But if we're looking at alternative designs, I vote dots.
Special entry: Galaxy 59FIFTY Fitted Cap by NEW ERA x MLB
This one is no longer on sale. I picked it up in a store once, thought "I should buy this," and then proceeded not to buy it. I have rued the day ever since. We weren't meant to be, cosmic cap.