Monday, August 4, 2014

Jersey evolution

Not everyone can be the Yankees.

It isn't normal for teams to use the same basic uniform style for centuries at a time. Whether you like the Yankees or not, it's hard to argue against the fact that those famous pinstripes make for the most iconic jerseys in sports.

Most teams have a wide history of jersey evolution. That's why we see so many throwbacks. I wasn't around to see the infamous Technicolor Astros jerseys of the '70s and my memory isn't good enough to remember the days of those awful teal Marlins uniforms.

Still, I have been able to see a lot of clubs alter their gear over the last decade or so. In some cases, being so accustomed to the old makes accepting the new impossible. Yet, in other cases, I find the new jerseys becoming much more ingrained into my memory.

I went on a quest to see just how much certain uniform changes have affected me over the last ten years.

If at all, that is.


Although I was only six at the time, I do vaguely remember the Devil Rays coming into the league in 1998.

Which means that, yes, I do recall those horrifying jerseys they used to wear. I wish I didn't, but I do.

The Devil Rays uniforms that I best remember, however, are those dull gray "Tampa Bay" ones you see on Aubrey Huff. Though I always liked the Devil Rays, I was never fond of their color scheme.

In some cases, teams change jerseys because of a city and/or name change. It was the latter for Tampa, as they dropped the "Devil" from their name in 2008. The club went from a laughingstock to a perennial pennant contender after that innocent switch.

The new Rays jerseys are still a bit generic, but they are definitely an improvement over those old boring ones.

Preference: New.


I'll admit, I've never had much of an opinion about the Marlins either way.

That's especially true with their uniforms. In addition to a rare glimpse of Antonio Alfonseca's sixth finger, the card on the left shows the ordinary pinstriped home jerseys the Marlins used to wear for much of the 2000's.

In 2012, the team got a dramatic makeover. They signed a bunch of big-name free agents (most of whom have been traded away by now), built a new stadium (which has been a disaster), and went from being the Florida Marlins to the Miami Marlins.

The new uniforms appear to have a bit more color to them, which I guess are better than the dull ones they used to wear.

Like I mentioned earlier, though, anything the Marlins wear is an improvement over the teal.

Preference: New.


I'm starting to think that the 2000's were simply a boring time for jerseys.

Like the Devil Rays and Marlins, Astros uniforms did absolutely nothing to separate themselves from the pack until last year.

I'm not sure I'll ever get used to Houston as an AL club, but I applaud their change in direction. The Astros ditched the old in favor of another new, vibrant color scheme that recalls their look of the '70s. A lot of it is probably their way of wiping the slate clean in hopes of a bright future.

I like the candy-orange look that Jose Altuve is sporting on his 2014 Topps issue. 

The Astros in general have me excited about the future.

Preference: New.


Still, bright neon uniforms don't work for every team.

Especially one with such a long uniform history like the Giants.

The likes of Irvin, Mays, and McCovey became legendary in those famous white jerseys with black GIANTS font across the front. The Giants still wear those uniforms today.

But, like a lot of other teams, they've adopted a bright orange alternate jersey lately. Alternates may or may not be a still-growing trend in today's game, and I'm not quite sure where I stand with some teams having five or six different types of uniforms.

All I know is that those alternate Giants uniforms remind me of Halloween.

That's not much of a compliment.

Preference: Old.


Some uniform changes are simply common sense.

Yes, I know there is a bit of blue in the jerseys the Blue Jays wore during much of the 2000's. As you can see, though, their color scheme used to be dominated by black.

Which, considering their name is the Blue Jays, makes absolutely no sense.

It made me so happy to see the Jays switch to much more blue-friendly uniforms in 2012.

This may be the best jersey change of them all.

Preference: New.


Like the Blue Jays, lots of teams adopted black jerseys in the 2000's.

The Diamondbacks were one of them. Though black seems out of place with teams like the A's and Mets, something about the color works with Arizona's logo for me. I can't put my finger on what it is, but I liked the early 2000's duds that guys like Randy Johnson and Luis Gonzalez wore.

They switched to the red D'BACKS script you see on Mr. Goldschmidt recently. For a team that seems to pride itself on being tough and nitty-gritty, their jerseys are rather wimpy and pajama-esque.

They need another uniform change, pronto.

Preference: Old.


While I'm an Angels fan, the name Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim has to be the dumbest in all of sports these days.

The new name may be odd, but I think the uniform change was a definite plus. Like the new Diamondbacks jerseys, the Angels uniforms of the '90s had a very pajama feel to them. I was never fond of the blue caps and sleeves, either.

The recent Angels duds aren't particularly memorable, but I do like that red has taken over the color scheme.

That alone makes them an upgrade for me.

Preference: New.

Oh, one more thing.

Let's be glad that the Angels didn't adopt jerseys like this one.

MLB thought baseball jerseys would eventually evolve into these in the future.

I think I speak for everyone when I say that I'm glad that didn't happen.


Mark said...

I hated the primarily black Marlins color scheme, but the original teal-centric pinstriped unis are among my favorite.

The Rays had a run of historically bad jerseys before they went to the current look. Fortunately the team on the field turned things around as well.

JediJeff said...

The Rays need to bring back the green and white look. The blue is overdone in the league.

That word font, but without the vest.

Kaiser The Great said...

McCovey lasted long enough to get into the not-so-traditional Giants look that a lot of teams suffered from in the 70s. I initially hated those Orange Friday alternate jerseys but then the Giants went undefeated every Friday for a good long time wearing them and so they earned my love.

Kaiser The Great said...

Also, why are you comparing Giants vintage to an alternate jersey? Their current home jerseys are fairly glorious, IMO. This contest is rigged! Rigged, I say!

John Miller said...


Ana Lu said...

The Houston Astros had more uniforms. They must be one of the teams with more variety no?
Great post.

Linnie Dimmitt said...

I'd have to say that the Blue Jays' uniform change was the best, and most appropriate. It certainly sets them apart with the dull road greys and the colored ones that are too distracting. Their jerseys balance the tradition of the greys and the colored innovations. As for the Angels, the haloed "A" in the "Angels" was also a nice touch, and it's a good catch they didn't switch to the one with the huge logo on it. Thanks for sharing these gems with us!

Linnie Dimmitt @ Uniforms Express