I am going to use this blogspace occasionally to discuss my favorite sports uniforms. Feel free to respond to me with your own thoughts or nominations. I’m starting out with baseball, my favorite sport, and I’m limiting the first installment to the current National League franchises.
New York Mets – The Mets were the team of my youth, so I have a bias toward their uniforms. I grew up with the 1969 championship flannels and those are still my favorite both home and away. I do not care for any of the enhancements over the years including the championship 1986 versions.
Philadelphia Phillies – This is one that I consider to be pretty standard and slightly above the middle of the pack due to its longevity. Again, bias slips into the picture because of my lifelong hatred of the Phils. I do however, have a slight affinity for their jerseys of the late sixties because of the unusual font they used for their numbers. I remember Deron Johnson in the on deck circle in his number eleven with the two oddly shaped ones.
Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos – I can take or leave the Nats jerseys. Quite frankly, they have too many variations, including the caps. The one thing I like is the pretzel “W” on the red caps, but I liked it more on the old Senators caps. I will address that when I get to the American League. The Expos uniforms are another story. They used a lot of color without looking gimmicky, particularly on the caps. They had an interestingly stylized logo. They used a different font for their numbers and used lower case in their team name. All of these factors combined into an exotic look for the first non-American team. I don’t care so much for the pale blue ones, but the white…magnifique!
Atlanta Braves – The old script with the tomahawk is classic, particularly in flannel, but I was never a big fan. The racist image of Chief Wahoo may have been a factor. The ’74 blues from when Aaron broke Ruth’s record were interesting including the odd lower case A on the caps. Overall, I put this in the middle of the pack.
Miami/Florida Marlins – I traded in the Mets for the Marlins when I moved to Florida in 2002. I never cared for the teal of Florida and I never liked black tops from their latest World Series appearance. Their new gaudy tops in Miami are no better. They may be a good fit for their bathhouse-looking stadium that they stole from the taxpayers, but they don’t look like professional ballplayers.
For my collection – Stanton is a stud, but I’ll bet he’s playing elsewhere in three years. Miggy wasn’t here long enough. Uggla faded too quickly. I would definitely go with the D-Train. Dontrelle Willis was such a pleasure to watch here.
Pittsburgh Pirates – This is another classic. They also had a gaudy colorful phase in the 70’s and 80’s. Their 1979 World Series against the Orioles was great, but was also the epitome of baseball in the disco era. Several National League teams wore the pillbox style old-fashioned caps for the bicentennial in 1976, but only the pirates stuck with them for several additional seasons. They even put stars on them for certain accomplishments like the buckeyes on the Ohio State football helmets. Pops Stargell and the Pirate Fam-i-lee actually wore their bizarre outfits well. Still, the giant Dave Parker in head-to-toe yellow was a bit much to take.
For my collection – I’m a Stargell fan, but did anyone ever look more perfect in a baseball uniform than Roberto Clemente? While I love the flannels, the Pirates were among the first to switch to knits. I’ll take the 1971 Clemente.
St. Louis Cardinals – The birds on the bat is classic but works much better in flannel. I also don’t care for the powder blue versions. The caps are classic and if you are going to use red, than make it RED, unlike some of the more subdued teams.
For my collection – Musial would be great as would Brock. A Maris from ’67 would be cool. I would most like a Gibson, but it just wouldn’t look imposing enough on me. I’m going with a Tim McCarver flannel, just to be different.
Milwaukee Brewers/Seattle Pilots – They’ve had a lot of variety over the years particularly on their caps. The MB in the form of a baseball glove is clever, but looks a little Minor League. I don’t care for the blue and yellow either. The Pilots were only around for a year and had the ridiculous scrambled eggs on their caps.
For my collection – This team is so devoid of players with personality that I am having a hard time picking a jersey. I suppose I can take the safe route and go with Robin Yount or Rollie Fingers. I may have to go with a vintage Pilots jersey for a conversation piece. If the Pilots jerseys weren’t so hideous, I’d pick a Jim Bouton in honor of Ball Four, the most important baseball book ever. I’ll go with the Yount road blue.
Cincinnati Reds – I truly hate the Reds. While I acknowledge their greatness, Pete Rose and Joe Morgan are two of my least favorite baseball players. I also don’t particularly care for Tony Perez (I could have driven in 90 batting cleanup for those teams), Barry Larkin, Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, Eric Davis, The Nasty Boys, Cesar Geronimo, George Foster, well, you get the idea. They have had little changes to their uniforms over the years other than the vests of the late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s. Those were pretty cool, particularly when the behemoth Ted Kluzewski would swing multiple bats in the on deck circle wearing the vest with an undershirt with the barest of sleeves. That was intimidating.
For my collection – I’d probably go with a Todd Frazier. My nephew played High School ball with him. If I had the arms for it, I’d go with the Klu.
Chicago Cubs – This is another team that I don’t care for. I hope they go another century without a title. Even their old uniforms are drab. If they made a Steve Bartman jersey, I would buy both the home and road versions.
For my collection – I’d have to go with the ’69 flannels. I’d probably opt for the Ron Santo over Ernie Banks. I always liked him and felt he should have made the Hall of Fame sooner. He retired at 35 and had he hung on three more years as a part timer, his numbers would have been unassailable.
Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodger home whites are my absolute favorite. They are clean and simple and the red number on the front really pops. For some reason, their uniforms always seem to be a brighter and crisper white than other teams.
San Francisco Giants – This should be more popular than it is to me. They have some classic flannels and some great players. Other than the orange jerseys, they are pretty classic. Still, for some reason, the Giants have never resonated with me.
Arizona Diamondbacks – This is another relatively new team with hideous uniforms. They’ve had a lot of variety, but not anything special.
Colorado Rockies – Purple and black are funeral colors, not baseball colors. Their uniforms are ugly and their history is filled with mediocre hitters with inflated stats and pitchers with even more inflated ERAs.
San Diego Padres – The Padres have a candidate for the worst uniforms ever, a piss-yellow model in the early 70’s. From 1980 through 1984, they wore brown jerseys on the road with a stylized font. These were disco-era, but somehow still not bad.For my collection – I considered a first-year Nate Colbert, but decided on the more obvious 1984 Tony Gwynn road brown.
For fun, I have added some pictures of the worst National League uniforms EVER….
© Copyright 2015 – Robert O’Connell. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert O’Connell with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.