The classic birds-on-the-bat logo makes the Cardinals' uniform difficult to top.
It’s finally baseball season again, and beyond the balls, strikes, home runs and steroid allegations are the uniforms.
I’m always intrigued to see which teams unveil new looks and which clubs stick with a more traditional look. More times than not, tradition wins out. Is it only coincidence the majority of the best-looking uniforms are those that have stood the test of time and are worn by the game’s most storied and successful franchises?
I think not.
Teams that are constantly changing their looks are simply attempting to cash in on passing trends in an effort to sell more jerseys, hats, etc., in an effort to steer at least some of the attention away from the product on the field. A classic example: the San Diego Padres have undergone more uniform changes in their relatively brief history than the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers combined.
When you think classy baseball uniforms, what teams first come to mind? The Yankees, Cardinals and Dodgers are probably at or near the top of the list. Certainly not the Padres, whose current road uniform is unquestionably one of the worst in the long history of the game. It is a brownish something or other that looks like it hasn’t been washed.
Here are baseball’s best looks:
The new road blues sported by the Braves this year look sharp.
1. St. Louis Cardinals: The Cards’ strikingly white home uniform with the classic birds on the bat is hard to match. Thank heaven they don’t wear those silly road blue uniforms any more. St. Louis has the best combined home and away look in the game.
2. Atlanta Braves: When the Braves got rid of those light blue pajamas they wore in the 1990s it was a major plus. They returned to the retro look that was popular when they played in Milwaukee, causing all baseball fans to applaud. I’m not much for the popular alternative third jerseys, but Atlanta’s new dark blue look this season is quite sharp..
3. Cleveland Indians: The Tribe’s home whites are simply beautiful, and so is the weekend outfit (adopted in 2008), which is a throwback to the 1950s and reminiscent of the Giants’ current cream-colored look. I’d rank Cleveland first if their road grays were a bit sharper and the player names on both the home and away jerseys were easier to read. The Cardinals’ names are the easiest in all of baseball to read.
4. Philadelphia Phillies: My only complaint against the Phillies’ classy red pinstripes is the look needs a touch of something else, maybe a hint of black or something. I like the matching red shoes, too, which are reminiscent of the Indians in the mid-to-late 1990s.
5-tie. New York Yankees: I have always liked the Yankee road grays better than the home pinstripes, but I realize the tradition factor with those pinstripes. I admire the Yankees for sticking with their famous look and not bowing to some ill-conceived ideas from a marketing department somewhere on Fifth Avenue. There’s a story that owner George Steinbrenner shot down the idea one year of putting the players’ names on the back of the home uniforms because it would hurt program sales.
The Padres' road uniforms are simply a mess, and they always have been.
5-tie. Los Angeles Dodgers: I have dropped the Dodgers a couple of notches because last year they altered the look of their away uniforms, if ever so slightly. The script “Los Angeles” was always placed atop a snow-white background that made it stand out. Starting last year that background was removed and the jerseys have a dull appearance to them, but the overall look remains solid and is a throwback to the team’s days in Brooklyn.
Here are the worst looks:
1. San Diego Padres: I absolutely detest the franchises that change their entire color schemes every few years, and that’s exactly what this nondescript bunch does. Think about it. They have had gold, several shades of brown, yellow, blue and who knows what else as their team colors. The current home blue and white uniforms are passable, but that mess they wear on the road is simply unacceptable.
2. Colorado Rockies: During their formative years they donned a classy pinstripe look, but in the last few years they have morphed into a black theme with the worst looking sleeveless outfits known to man. Ugh. The Rockies would be No. 1 if not for the Padres’ tasteless road gear.
3. Tampa Bay Rays: A year ago they switched to a new blue and touch of gold look, which isn’t horrible, it’s simply boring as sin. But it is an improvement over those institutional green outfits they wore for the better part of a decade.
4. Toronto Blue Jays: I’m not sure what look the Jays are going for, especially with that futuristic bird logo. Bring back the look that Lloyd Moseby, George Bell and Joe Carter popularized.
5. Houston Astros: Those burnt orange or maroon jerseys they like to wear make my eyes hurt.