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Baseball & Hats: A ‘Natural’ Fit

Submitted by on March 26, 2011 – 7:47 pm 2 Comments

Need a little spring training of your own to get psyched up for the baseball season? Gather some friends, put a 6-pack on ice, buy some peanuts and pop in 1984ÔÇÖs ÔÇ£The Natural,ÔÇØ starring Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall and Kim Basinger.

If youÔÇÖve never seen it, it has everything a great baseball movie should. An unlikely hero looking for redemption, country folk adapting to city life, big money and corruption vs. honor and integrity, lust vs. love. Oh, and hats. Really well represented hats.

The Biltmore Ark is a teardrop crown fedora similar to one worn by Robert Redford in 'The Natural.'

The Biltmore Ark is a teardrop crown fedora similar to one worn by Robert Redford in 'The Natural.'

The core of the story is about Roy Hobbs (Redford)ÔÇöa rookie in his mid-30s looking for one last chance to break into the game. In his youth he was truly great until a mysterious and sexy assailant shot him and nearly destroyed his life. Now heÔÇÖs back and playing for the worst team in baseball run by an honest manager/team co-owner and a greedy corrupt co-owner. Vying for his heart are a long lost true love (Close) and a smokinÔÇÖ hot gold digger (Basinger) owned by the corrupt powers within the movie. The fate of the player, the team and the lovers boils down to one tense climatic playoff game.

Capas Big Apple in Grey Tweed

Robert Duvall wears a Big Apple cap in grey tweed similar to this one in the 1984 hit "The Natural."

Aside from some early scenes set in the early to mid-1920s, the bulk of the film takes place in 1939. The two biggest hat wearers of the movie are Robert Redford and Robert Duvall, who plays a conniving sports writer named Max Mercy. In the ÔÇÖ20s, Duvall wears a large grey tweed Big Apple cap. In the ÔÇÖ30s heÔÇÖs wearing several impeccable teardrop crown fedoras in primarily pearl grey and graphite grey. These are similar to our Selentino Sterling in silver and Stetson Downs in graphite.

RedfordÔÇÖs character is a Depression-era man who has spent his time living on the fringes of poverty. His brown fedora is dirty and well worn. The teardrop crown is broken-in and a little out of shape. The hat band is stained, presumably from sweat. As his baseball career improves, so does his hat. Careful observers will notice the nicer hat switching between a center-dent crown and a broken-in teardrop crown. No matter what hat he is wearing, the snap brim is usually down in the front and back. Similar hats at Hats Plus are the Churchill Capone and Biltmore Ark.

RedfordÔÇÖs worn-in hat is indicative of the great work done by the costume designer of the film. Most of the characters and extras have generally worn-in hats in various states of repair and disrepair, which is far more accurate than movies where everyone is wearing a shiny new hat. Most of the fur felt fedoras in this film are teardrop crowns, but some are center dent. YouÔÇÖll also find extras wearing a lot of Panama hats and boaters or skimmers. It is summer in the film, after all.

My favorite bit player in the film is the team psychiatrist who continuously compares losing to diseases in an effort to motivate the team: ÔÇ£Losing is like a disease, worse than bubonic plague.ÔÇØ In fact, every time IÔÇÖm force to listen to a motivational speaker, I usually snicker that line to whoever is seated next to me. I digress. This character in the film wears a straw optimo, in case youÔÇÖre curious.

And there you have it. Now youÔÇÖre all set for another season of baseball and stunning hats to wear to the game. WhatÔÇÖs left?

Batter up! Or should that be hatter up?

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