What are those little buttons doing on the top of baseball caps?

Updated: March 4, 2003, 3:26 PM ET
By By Answer Guy
Ed McGregor, general editor-baseball, ESPN The Magazine: Everyone knows the buttons are there to help teach infielders to catch grounders. Huh? Come on, Guy, didn't your Little League coach tell you he wanted to see the button on top of your cap? You have to put your head down and watch the ball when you field! Uh, Ed, some of us played the outfield.

Answer Guy
Tom Shieber, new media curator, Baseball Hall of Fame: I have no idea, but I do know buttons would look really dumb anywhere else-like, say, on the side of the cap. Sunday caps. BP caps. Alternate home-game caps. Why not buttons-on-the-side caps? Funny. Did you know the first baseball headwear was worn by the New York Knickerbockers, when they put on the first uniforms back in 1849? Heads up! It's true-white flannel shirts, blue wool pantaloons and, get this, straw hats! What we call a baseball "cap" today actually evolved from "jockey caps" that horse riders wore back then. Straw hats didn't cut it, huh? Guess not. Later on, players wore derbies, pillbox caps and big things that looked like chef hats. You'd laugh if you saw a picture. You don't know me.