Family ties deep at New Era

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Baseball has been very, very good to the New Era Cap Company.

The New York-based firm began operations in 1920 after Ehrhardt Koch persuaded his aunt to take out a second mortgage on her house with the promise that if she would help him, her children would always have a job at his new company.

By the 1930s, however, men’s dress hats had largely gone out of fashion. Reasoning that since baseball was the national pastime there would always be a demand for baseball caps, Ehrhardt began manufacturing caps under a private label for various major league teams.

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He later began selling directly to both major and minor league clubs under his own New Era label. His son, Harold, convinced colleges and high schools to buy his caps with the motto, “If it’s good enough for the Yankees to wear then it’s good enough for your school players to wear.”

Today New Era is the exclusive manufacturer and marketer of the official uniform caps worn by every Major and Minor League Baseball player. The company manufactures more than 20 million caps each year, including 8 million youth and high school players.