Spike Lee: I Convinced George Steinbrenner To Make The First Red Yankee Hat in 1996

Posted July 9, 2014 by BlackIce in News
New Era Heritage Series Launch Event Hosted By Spike Lee

Jay Z may have made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee, but Spike Lee was the originator. During an interview with New Era CEO Chris Koch, Spike Lee explained how he got the late Yankee owner to change the Yankee hat color for the first time.

Spike Lee was apart of a panel with Koch, Frank 151 founder Stephen Malbon and Professor Elena Romero at the launch event for Lee’s installment of the New Era Heritage Series collection. During an interview with Complex, Lee explains how his desire to match his hat with his “red Yankee down jacket” in 1996 is what put the wheels in motion to create the first authorized Yankee hat not in the traditional navy blue color:

The World Series is in October and it gets cold so I wanted to have a hat. I called up New Era and they said ‘We don’t know if we can do that. You’d have to speak with Mr. Steinbrenner.’ Mr. George Steinbrenner. The late, great owner I called him up, Mr. Steinbrenner called up New Era and we got the Ok.

Spike Lee’s fashion influence did not start in 1996, as New Era collaborated with the young filmmaker on a special edition “X” hat for his 1992 film Malcolm X. According to Lee, the rare hat may return in 2017:

That was a special hat. So, maybe we’ll bring it back for the 25th anniversary for Malcolm X.

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