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New Era Cap celebrates 59FIFTY Day on May 9

The Buffalo-based cap company is using Tuesday's date, 5/9, to celebrate its signature line.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — If you're a cap person, you recognize the silhouette. Fitted, flat brim, with a shiny gold sticker. 

In honor of Tuesday's date, 5/9, Buffalo-based New Era Cap is celebrating the 59FIFTY, the most recognizable and successful cap in its 100-year history. 

Back when the company started out in the 1920's, they concentrated on caps for gentlemen. As the sport of baseball got more popular, they experimented more with that style cap. 

The Cleveland Indians, as they were known then, were the first Major League Baseball team to make the New Era 59FIFTY their official cap. Today, it's the exclusive on-field cap of the whole MLB. 

Brand Historian Jim Wannemacher says the style really took off when they started selling it to fans. 

"Basically the only way to get a 59FIFTY on-field cap was to be a player, or if they gave you one, but in 1980 they actually did a mail order ad that allowed everybody to buy that cap," he said. 

"We didn't think anything of it, but we went to the mail a couple weeks later and we had all these handwritten notes. I'd like a Yankees cap in a 7 1/4, you sent in a check for $12.95 and you got a cap. So that opened up a whole big industry for us."

Today, in addition to Major League Baseball, the 59FIFTY is the on-field cap of the NFL and NBA. It's also holds a significant place in the worlds of music, fashion, and pop culture. 

So, how did this cap get its name? 

"There's no understanding as to why we picked the numbers we picked," Wannemacher said. "The top of the line was these 5000's, 5500's, and the 5950. So we've morphed that over the years to being the 59FIFTY is the top of the line, and everything we do goes below that. Basically is it's a part number, that made it easier for manufacturing to understand what they were making."

New Era Cap will be hosting a 59FIFTY Day party at its flagship store on Delaware Avenue on Tuesday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m, featuring a DJ, Lloyd Taco truck, and free customization for anyone who buys a cap. 

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