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What is a Rally Cap?

A young baseball pitcher.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 22 June 2014
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A rally cap is a baseball cap that's worn inside out, with the team’s logo on the inside. The wearer does this while silently wishing or praying for a losing team to rally and win a game. Usually, the cap is worn by players and by fans in a superstitious attempt to turn around the team’s luck.

Many suggest that the rally cap may first have been employed during a Mets and Red Sox match in the sixth game of the 1986 World Series. During the seventh inning of the game with the Mets down, all the players could be seen wearing their baseball caps in this fashion. The trick seemed to work and the Mets managed to win the game, and ultimately that year’s World Series.

Since baseball players and their fans often rely on superstition as a possible extra edge in the game, this technique has since been used by other teams and by leagues of fans desperate to see their teams pull out a victory. The inside out hat may be a slight offering to the baseball gods that winning is more important than fashion or dignity.

Like many trends in Major League Baseball, use of the rally cap has filtered down to minor league players and to children on baseball teams. It is not unusual to see a group of nine or ten year olds turn their hats inside out to rally their losing team to victory.

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Generally, the practice is only thought to be effective when a person is actually wearing the team logo, though some argue that a cap with team colors also counts. Fans turning a cap inside out that does not have the team logo may actually, according to lore, invalidate the rally cap plea.

Many baseball players practice other superstitions as well. They may dress in very specific ways, exactly the same each time before a game. Some players brush their teeth before innings. Others have tried urinating on their hands to improve bat grip. Watching the traditions of baseball players may provide almost as much entertainment as watching the game itself.

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