‘Straight Outta Compton’s Sox Hat Mistake, And The Great Sox/Sex Hat Trend Of The Mid-1990s

As Mike Provine (and a million others) have by now pointed out, an early scene in Straight Outta Compton sees Eazy E wearing the ultra popular ’90s Sox hat, featuring the logo that was introduced in 1991. Only problem, the scene was set in 1986.

Obviously, in the grand scheme of things, Straight Outta Compton‘s hat error is probably significantly less important than leaving out, say, Dr. Dre’s history of domestic abuse. Nonetheless I point it out as nostalgia fuel, and for your help in discovering an original artifact of an awesomely ’90s trend: changing your “Sox” hat into a “Sex” hat.

This was facilitated by the design quirks of the 1991 White Sox logo. All you needed was a Sox hat, a Sharpie, and an incredibly immature sense of humor:

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Getty Image
Getty Image

And BOOM, you were instantly the coolest kid in middle school until the teacher called your parents.

Here’s a Baltimore Sun article about the phenomenon from 1993 (the same year my White Sox Little League team won our city championship, incidentally):

“I think it’s a good example of subliminal advertising,” my friend explained. “The positioning of the letters, the type face. I think they spell out, or appear to spell out, or at least suggest in the mind, ‘sex,’ and I don’t think it’s by accident. Furthermore, I think it accounts for the sudden popularity of White Sox caps.”

My friend is an award-winning graphic designer with 15 years’ experience. She has suggested a number of columns for me in the past and has complained when I haven’t given her credit. But for this one, she insisted that her name not be used.

Well sure, the subliminal aspect could be part of it. But also the part where you can make it actually say ‘sex’ with just a black Sharpie.

Here are the facts: Among all Major League teams, White Sox merchandise traditionally stayed at, or near, the bottom in consumer popularity nationally. Then, near the end of the 1991 season, the team adopted its new look and Sex — er, Sox — merchandise zoomed to the top virtually overnight and has been there ever since. [Baltimore Sun]

Amazingly, I couldn’t find a single image of a Sharpie-doctored White Sox/Sex hat through Google image. A vintage Sex hat has to be out there somewhere, hasn’t it? At the time, having a Sox/Sex hat was as popular as writing “BOOBS” on solar-powered calculator. Help me out here, people, this has to still exist somewhere.

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