If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Wear a Totally Bogus Synthetic Fabric


A few months ago, something called a “Cool Base” jersey began showing up in Major League Baseball’s online merchandise listings. According to the sales copy, “The 2006 season brings an innovative jersey to the playing field! The Cool Base jersey provides temperature control to keep the wearer cool, dry and comfortable. These jerseys feature authentic decorations and will be worn on-field during hot game days. They feature a technologically advanced fabric with stretch-mesh gussets for the ultimate in cool performance comfort.”

Leaving aside for a second the question of who actually got paid cash money for invoking the term “authentic decorations,” I’d forgotten all about these jerseys until last night, when I got an e-mail from someone who works for the Texas Rangers (and who prefers to remain anonymous): “Tonight our team wore new jerseys for the first time at home (they wore them once on this last road trip too, I believe). They are mesh, not double-knit. The mesh is basically the same as the batting practice jersey, except without the underarm ventilation. These jerseys are infinitely cooler in the Texas heat than the normal jerseys, and it is nearly impossible to tell the difference unless you’re up close.”

How pathetic is this? If it’s too hot, stick a frozen cabbage leaf under your cap, like that Korean pitcher from last season. I’ve always maintained that if I ever become a professional ballplayer — excuse me, when I become a profressional ballplayer — I’ll claim to have a skin allergy to polyester and insist on having a cotton uniform. (Yes, I know: Seinfeld, George Costanza, blah-blah-blah, let’s move on.) And there’s actually some precedent for this, although the allergy ran the other way around: When Ken Singleton joined the Expos in 1972, he suffered an allergic reaction to the team’s wool uniforms and had to be fitted with a double-knit polyester model, while his teammates continued to wear wool. The Expos eventually switched over to double-knits the following season, becoming one of the last teams to do so.


• Another none-too-balmy evening at Shea Stadium, another blue-capped, blue-sleeved game for the Mets. That makes three blue-clad games in a row — unprecedented in the team’s black-accessorized era! And keep in mind that the blue outfit includes blue socks, an important consideration now that the Mets have acquired Orlando Hernandez (who just went from the outhouse to the penthouse, uni-wise).

• Yesterday’s item about the apparent padding on Jay McKee’s skates brought this info from Markus Kamp: “That’s some form of ankle protection, helpful when blocking shots. There are a few on the market that look less taped-on than McKee’s.” (And as an aside, this discussion reminded Jeff Attkisson of the protective shoes he wears when umpiring behind the plate. The panel over the laces helps to protect against foul balls.)

• I collect old uniform catalogs, and here‘s one from 1940 that I just won on eBay. Really more of a fold-out sales flier than a true catalog, but check out that amazing Spalding logo!

• New Uni Watch installment on ESPN today — look here.

17 comments to If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Wear a Totally Bogus Synthetic Fabric

  • MAO | May 25, 2006 at 9:00 am |

    I’ve got no problem with newer, synthetic fabrics for the uniforms, as long as, like the Rangers guy says, you can’t tell the difference. If they start looking like batting practice unis, then there’s an issue.

  • Dan | May 25, 2006 at 9:54 am |

    I was at the Met game last night, and plan on attending today again, and I cannot begin to describe my joy with the Blue hat and Blue undershirts. I think if we all petition Omar and the Wilpons to return to the pre-black days, it will be possible. I am also the owner of a 1983 Tom Seaver alternate all-blue throwback (its authentic, he started 34 games for the Metropolitans that season, in an attempt to revive past glory). If the Mets want to get rid of the black, but still retain 2 alternate jerseys, they can make the all-whites the standard home (I may be in the minority, but i like those better than the pin stripes) and bring back the old blue throwback. I absolutely love this jersey. Click here for a close up http://www.mitchellandness.com/detail.aspx?ID=1543

  • Steven Wyder | May 25, 2006 at 10:09 am |

    The new fangles rangers shirt material is probably very simialer to the adidas clima cool shirts that have been in the golf business for at least 2-3 summers now.I am gofl professional in South Florida, and wear them all the time, as part of our staff uni.
    Most all the vendors have a version of this material, adidas, ashworth, and the evil uni empire, (which is the mushy elastic like material that I don’t like)
    The adidas version is the best, it does keep you cooler than a regular cotton shirt. It feels and looks like a superfine version of an old school polyester shirt, with tiny little holes in it.

  • Jay | May 25, 2006 at 10:38 am |

    While I don’t object to the black jerseys as much as the black caps (particularly the black-and-blue cap that doesn’t match ANY jersey the Mets wear), replacing them with blue alternates would be a welcome change. The current BP jersey is a step in the right direction (away from its hideous orange predecessor), but the old blue spring-training and BP jerseys (circa 1995-97) looked good.

    Unfortunately, since the then-L.A. Raiders gear sold so well in the mid-late ’80s, the L.A. Kings adopted Raider colors when Gretzky arrived and THEIR merchandise sales took off, then Jerry Glanville somehow incorporated black into the Houston Oilers gear before changing the Falcons to all-black when he got there, etc., etc., everyone jumped on the bandwagon. I think someone with the Mets, when the team cooperated in making the film “Men In Black” around 1996 (remember the scene where Bernard Gilkey got clocked by a fly ball while staring up at a flying saucer?) got the idea for “Mets In Black,” and the public bought it, literally and figuratively. As long as people keep buying the black jerseys, they’re not going away.

    I still think they should try wearing the blue caps with the black jerseys and see how it looks. Not to mention the blue caps with the road greys. And the two-tone batting helmets have to go as well.


  • nybatt | May 25, 2006 at 11:08 am |

    I’m wondering if the mets have ever worn their true cap with the road greys??

    I don’t believe they ever have….

    as for losing the black in the uni… with KC eliminating it and the reds scheduled to do so next season, maybe there is hope for those in flushing…


  • Jay | May 25, 2006 at 11:23 am |

    The Mets wore the blue cap with the grey jersey prior to 1998. They may have done so for some games in early 1998 as well, but by the end of the ’98 season and ever since the grey jersey was paired exclusively with the black-and-blue cap. What a shame.

    When I designed uniforms for the high-school team I used to coach (the school and team were both brand-new, but blue and orange were already the school colors), I designed them to resemble the Mets’ pre-1998 road uniform: grey jersey with blue piping, arched Tiffany lettering in blue outlined in orange, blue numerals outlined in orange (serif, though, not the Mets’ sans-serif numeral font), and blue caps with an orange logo.

  • Eli | May 25, 2006 at 12:03 pm |

    Sorry to disagree, but the black and blue Met hats look GREAT with the snow white home jerseys AND the road grays.

  • Kek | May 25, 2006 at 12:33 pm |

    I love the idea of bringing back a modernized version of that old Mets blue jersey.

    Regarding the cabbage leaf, that’s a bonafide remedy for heat relief. My dad was in drum and bugle corps when he was in college and they did this trick all the time when they were in contests and parades.

  • T-Bone | May 25, 2006 at 2:25 pm |

    Lukas! You still haven’t exposed the “KOHO” on Niedermayer’s jersey (or maybe you have, and I’m just an idiot). Anyway, I went back and searched other photos. Here is some more material on that.

    Rbk buys Reebok: http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/stories/2004/04/05/daily38.html

    Here are a few more photos to re-confirm the Niedermayer sighting as well.

    Brind’Amour wearing his road jersey (KOHO): http://www.hurricanes.com/images/snapshots/05-09-02/050902brindy.jpg

    A Modano alt jersey (KOHO): http://www.iwn.fi/~dana/images/thb/thb_modano.JPG

    Jagr wearing his home Capitals jersey (CCM):

  • Heath Miller | May 25, 2006 at 3:26 pm |

    I just don’t see the aversion to purple that is displayed in Uni-watch at every chance that presents itself. I like purple and think that there are far worse colors that Uni-Watch could blast with fury. In my opinion the color orange is the worst color in sports history. If you don’t believe me, look at the Cincinnati Bengals uniforms.

  • Steven Wyder | May 25, 2006 at 3:33 pm |

    I am a proud owner of a Carson Palmer Bengals #9 jersey.

    Not to turn the uni watch forum into mindless my team is better than yours, the Cincinnati Bengals, unis are unique, and bring a definitive style to NFL Uniforms. Plus they do a cool history of their unis and well as publish what combo they are wearing for every week of the year.

    I am a proud owner of a Carson Palmer Bengals #9 jersey.

    Paul has explained his aversion to purple several times. For me his recent tidbit about purple being the color of british royalty is enough to justify it not being in any state flag, much less a uniform.

  • Shorty | May 25, 2006 at 4:46 pm |

    First of all I just want to say that T Bone the links of the pictures were awful u could barely see the back of the uni forget about the writing.
    Also I like the Bengals uniforms. They are very unique. I like the stripes.

  • AMS | May 25, 2006 at 6:24 pm |

    the bengals unis wouldn’t be so bad if they simplified things a bit. i like the general design, and think that, for many years, their uniforms were just fine. but now, it’s almost as if a designer couldn’t decide on a design, and combined about 4. Way too busy…

  • Matt Dub | May 25, 2006 at 7:31 pm |

    i agree, i wear my chad johnson jersey proudly

  • T-Bone | May 26, 2006 at 11:32 am |

    Shorty, I’m sure you’re aware that 99% of photographers are actually more concerned with the face of a player than the patch of the company worn at the back of the neck on his jersey.

    However, since I worked in the jersey industry, here’s some more info that will help you clearly identify the patch. CCM had a hard time matching the embroidery color of the threads to the jersey colors worn by the road teams. This is why the KOHO patch in the Brind’Amour photo is darker than the rest of the red jersey. This happened on several teams’ road jerseys.

    Paul, since I know you love logo creep info, the last two pictures are an example of logo creep in hockey.

    And Shorty, since you wanted better pictures, here we go:

    Jagr’s black Caps jersey:

    Jerome Iginla’s home Calgary jersey:

    The Modano alternate jersey (again):

    Old CCM logo location:

  • Tom O'Grady | May 27, 2006 at 11:15 am |


  • Tom O'Grady | May 27, 2006 at 11:16 am |

    Maybe you or some of the UniWatch readers can help me?

    Norm Cash from the Detroit Tigers wore an unusually weird batting helmet when he played in the ’60’s and early ’70’s.

    Here is a photo of Norm Cash batting in the 1968 World Series and you can tell that he’s not wearing a classic “batting helmet” Was wondering if he had a liner or something else underneath this facsimile helmet… Because if you’re batting against Bob Gibson without any headwear protection… you’re either really old school or just plain crazy…

    Anyway, it has always haunted me that I was not sure what the heck he was doing and would welcome any help here?

    Tom O’Grady