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Dressed to the #9's
June 3, 2011 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Dressed to the Nines: A History of the Baseball Uniform. Explore the different parts of the uniform, or browse a timeline. Features a fully searchable Uniform Database. Thanks to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Reload the front page for two fresh quotes.
posted by not_on_display (32 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
when [team captain] Harry Wright occasionally appeared with the scarlet stockings, young ladies’ faces blushed as red, and many high-toned members of the club denounced the innovation as immoral and indecent
posted by exogenous at 10:14 AM on June 3, 2011


I haven't followed baseball for many years, but for some reason I'm disturbed by modern uniform pants. The floppy, baggy, bell-bottom thing just looks all wrong to me. If I had to run fast, those type of pants are the exact opposite of what I'd want to be wearing.
posted by davebush at 10:16 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think your namesake would agree!
posted by Phatty Lumpkin at 10:29 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Baseball players are really into the uniforms. In my son's little league games, the umps have stopped play several times because shirts were untucked. And while the uniforms seem normal enough, baseball clothing is as specific and expensive as hockey gear, minus some, but not all, of the padding. It's one of those thing that I never really thought about as a casual baseball watcher but as a little league parent it becomes really apparent.
posted by GuyZero at 10:41 AM on June 3, 2011


Also I am really not sure about flat caps, but as a glasses wearer they do seem to make more sense as a curved cap+glasses is a bad combination.
posted by GuyZero at 10:42 AM on June 3, 2011


1. Those 1909 Cubs road uniforms are really keen.
2. High socks should be mandatory.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:48 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dinger, Phatty Lumpkin. Well played.
posted by davebush at 10:53 AM on June 3, 2011


As a Brit, I would just like to say that baseball pants are the maddest things ever, and they always have been. WTF, baseball pants?

Oh, and baseball caps suck too. Especially when worn by people not playing baseball. Why would a grown adult want to look like a cartoon version of an old-fashioned schoolboy? I just don't get it.

Also, goatees. Come on now. Stop it, already.
posted by Decani at 11:05 AM on June 3, 2011


The gentleman's sporting apparel.
posted by Decani at 11:08 AM on June 3, 2011


A gentleman and his lunch money are soon parted.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:11 AM on June 3, 2011


Boy, it must have been confusing to be a Pittsburgh Pirate in 1979
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:13 AM on June 3, 2011


I look back on stirrup socks like some women look back on vintage, bullet bras -- a look you absolutely had to have at the time, which now seems monumentally silly.

In Little League, the stirrup sock needed to be ultra-high and ultra-thin, like Reggie Jackson. Some mothers would cut them in the middle, and sew in elastic so they could be pulled higher and thinner. Not having a mother that could sew, I wore rubber bands on the socks, under my pants, so they'd stay up and not get loose and droopy.

Then stirrup socks were gone altogether, and that seemed good. But yeah, the pants seems weird.

If I could do it again, I'd emulate the sartorial sock choices of Jim Thome, Ichiro Suzuki or Brendan Ryan.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:20 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of the 1 billion and one things I love about baseball, apparel is fairly high up on the list. I mean, check out these Turn Ahead The Clock uniforms from 1999. I especially love how Ken Griffey Jr. was so excited about the whole thing.
posted by ORthey at 11:20 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


They're missing all the Mets alternate black uniforms. Feh.
posted by ericbop at 11:25 AM on June 3, 2011


It's the belt that always bothered me. I think I'd be hesitant to do a head-first slide with that buckle!

Regarding shirts being tucked in, perhaps this is obvious to everyone else, but one reason the umps enforce that rule so strictly is because a hitter could try to let his shirt blouse out in front to collect a free hit-by-pitch on an inside pitch.

Also, natural fibers.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:27 AM on June 3, 2011


They're missing all the Mets alternate black uniforms

Another reason to love this site!
posted by RogerB at 12:08 PM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I loved watching the Red Sox play in the mid 2000s, mostly because of Manny Ramirez and his comically oversized uniform.

I also love all those 70s uniforms. How dated is this font and color combo?
posted by muddgirl at 12:11 PM on June 3, 2011


How dated is this font and color combo?

It's the same colour as my fridge and stove, what are you talking about?
posted by GuyZero at 12:14 PM on June 3, 2011


> Also, goatees. Come on now. Stop it, already.

Should I get off your lawn now, or wait until you have your monocle in place first, so you can lose it in your righteous indignation?
posted by mrzarquon at 12:30 PM on June 3, 2011


It's the belt that always bothered me. I think I'd be hesitant to do a head-first slide with that buckle!

I love that baseball players wear belts. Its a little bit of class that seem entirely impractical. Then again, I think the Pirates 70s-80s hats are the best baseball ever produced.
posted by drezdn at 12:36 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]



Interesting site.

WTF, baseball pants?

Of course, baseball pants are in part responsible for how the first professional team, the Cinciinnati Red Stockings got their name in 1869. You wouldn't know their stockings were red if they hadn't been wearing 'knickers'.

The pants page is silent about shorts, but the timeline does cite the 1976 double header in which the Chicago White Sox wore bermuda shorts for the first game. Apparently, the players all hated them and switched back to long pants for the second game, and ever after. This marks the only game in which shorts were worn in the majors.

Too bad the site doesn't cover (sorry) facial hair, which was near ubiquitous during baseball's first 50 years, but went of out style in the US around WWI for all but college professors and other dangerous types. For everyone else, facial hair was right out until the 1960s. For 'role models' and men who wore uniforms to work, it was later still.

But some may recall the Oakland A's Moustache Gang:
In 1972. . . the A's began wearing solid green or gold jerseys with contrasting white pants, at a time when most other teams wore all-white at home and all-grey on the road. . . Furthermore, in conjunction with a Moustache Day promotion, Finley offered $300 to any player who grew a moustache by Father's Day, at a time when every other team forbade facial hair. . . . every member of the team collected a bonus.
posted by Herodios at 12:36 PM on June 3, 2011


I was always curious about what the deal was with stirrup socks. Playing Little League in the era of high stirrups, I never ever would have guessed at the true origin.

Also, 1970s Houston Astros, best professional sports uniform ever.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:07 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I think the Pirates 70s-80s hats are the best baseball ever produced.

Chuck D agrees.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:10 PM on June 3, 2011


I love that baseball players wear belts. Its a little bit of class that seem entirely impractical.

How else will you forget you're in front of thousands of fans when you go clean your uniform of dirt?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:32 PM on June 3, 2011


Chuck D agrees.

I think drezdn meant this one. I doubt Chuck D agrees with that version.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:34 PM on June 3, 2011


Oh, yeah. That looks more like something the S1Ws would wear.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 2:45 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Funny. The '70s were the era of cookie-cutter stadiums but the unis were at least distinctive (1975 AL, NL; 1980 AL, NL). Now that they've knocked down the old concrete ashtrays, it's the uniforms (2010 AL, NL) that have had all distinctiveness beaten out of them. Sad, that.
posted by hangashore at 3:49 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


The cookie-cutter uniforms put the emphasis on the logo itself which is easier to transplant onto merchandise - t-shirts, hats, etc. When you had those crazy colour-gradient uniforms merchandise was harder to align with the team branding. That's my guess.
posted by GuyZero at 3:56 PM on June 3, 2011


Personally, I'm in favor of unique stadiums and classy, simplified uniforms, but I grew up in Houston in the 80's. Do not look directly into the Astros.

(I love that the A's uniform design lasted long enough to become classic, however.)
posted by Navelgazer at 4:08 PM on June 3, 2011


How else will you forget you're in front of thousands of fans when you go clean your uniform of dirt?

So that's why they no longer slide into first base.
posted by exogenous at 5:42 PM on June 3, 2011


Now that they've knocked down the old concrete ashtrays, it's the uniforms (2010 AL, NL) that have had all distinctiveness beaten out of them.

Actually what happened is the database stopped being updated with anything but home and road. Every team has a third uniform now -- the Mariners are playing in teal this year, the A's have gold jerseys after varying versions of green and black the last few years. The Indians have been playing in retro alternate home jerseys.

So there's distinctiveness, just not in the regular uniforms.
posted by dw at 8:50 PM on June 3, 2011


As a Brit, I would just like to say that baseball pants are the maddest things ever, and they always have been. WTF, baseball pants?

Oh, and baseball caps suck too. Especially when worn by people not playing baseball. Why would a grown adult want to look like a cartoon version of an old-fashioned schoolboy? I just don't get it.

Also, goatees. Come on now. Stop it, already.


Cricketers in knit sweaters shouldn't throw stones.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:21 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


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