By Phil Hecken
With good reason, Paul pretty much ignores all those “Worst Uniform” lists we see on other websites, and to my knowledge, he’s never compiled such a list himself. I tend to agree with him, but every so often, I see one of these lists that really makes me just shake my head in amazement. Now, I don’t normally even bother critiquing such lists, but one that appeared on Bleacher Report the other day really made me angry.
Now, as we’ve often been told, opinions are like certain parts of the anatomy — everyone has one. So, far be it from me to critique another writer’s opinion when it comes to uniforms. What appeals to me may look awful to you, and what I think is horrid, you may feel is the greatest thing since sliced bread. By the way, what was the greatest thing before sliced bread, anyway? But I digress.
So, while I may disagree with another writer’s opinion, that doesn’t make mine correct. When a writer appears to have just thrown together such a list, with errors and inaccuracies, however — well, that’s when I get my hackles up. And that’s what has happened on a few of these. Uniform lists are serious business — if you’re going to make one, you should at least do some fact checking and know of what you speak. With that in mind, I’ll repost the most recent “25 Worst Uniforms” list with the writer’s thoughts — and my own.
What prompted this was the author included a photograph of none other than Jerry Reuss, who is sporting the Bumblebee combination. I asked Jerry if he wanted part of my critique, but he declined (which was undoubtedly a wise move on his part). But that isn’t going to stop me from taking this one to task. So without further ado, here’s the list, and my thoughts. The uniforms are listed in descending order from 25th worst to worst.
What he said: “The Seattle Pilots were an expansion team in 1969, playing for one season in Seattle before moving to Milwaukee and becoming the Brewers.
Take one look at their uniform, and you can see why they were run out of town in Seattle on a rail.”
My Take: Really? I think it’s a gorgeous uniform. Of course, with a critique like that to back it up, how can I argue?
What he said: “There is probably no team in professional sports that honors our nation’s military more or better than the San Diego Padres.
However, their camouflage uniform, in this particular instance, should have been marked as ‘classified.'”
My Take: Current uniform? Um, no. That’s what they wore last season. No, wait, here’s what they wore the past several seasons. In fact, they haven’t worn that particular camo since 2003. They even had a second ‘jungle camouflage’ uni after that. They’ve been wearing the desert camo since 2007. And this year, they have a newer one still.
I’ll agree with him that the camo (any iteration) isn’t one of the better uniforms out there, but at least know which one is “current”.
What he said: “The Philadelphia Phillies wore a variety of different uniforms from 1970 to 1990. However, this particular one was introduced in 1979 and was, in a word, colorful.
Just as colorful as the man wearing it in the photo.”
My Take: I have no problem if someone wants to include the “Saturday Night Special” on a “worst” list (although I think there are many candidates from the monochromes from which to choose). But to say the wore a “variety of uniforms” in that 20 year span? Actually, the Phils were remarkably stable during that period, which included the switch from flannel to doubleknit and included a zipper front for a number of years before returning to buttons in 1990. And for the most part, except for their powder blue phase, they wore the same uniform for that entire span. The author implies that they wore the SNS’s for more than the single, solitary game as well. No big complaints with this, but at least get some facts in there.
What he said: “There are three teams that made this list multiple times, and the Pittsburgh Pirates are one of them. This particular home alternate jersey was worn for one year, and then scrapped.
I’ve often wondered: Do teams just make up bad jerseys to try to take the fans’ minds off the terrible play happening on the field?”
My Take: Once again, fact check, dude. The “jersey” is actually a vest and it was worn for TWO seasons (2007-08). I don’t have a problem with him including it on the list, but please, at least know when it was worn.
What he said: “Last year, the Baltimore Orioles put out a throwback uniform, honoring the 1971 Baltimore Orioles and the orange uniforms worn for two games that season.
The ’71 Orioles were certainly special, but I don’t remember them playing on Halloween.”
My Take: It’s actually debatable how many times the 1971 Orioles wore their Brooks Robinson-designed orange blossom specials, and it may have been two games. But they also wore them in 1972. It’s the devil that’s in the details, and obviously the author can’t be bothered with those.
What he said: “In 1944, the Brooklyn Dodgers sported their normal home/road jerseys, but also decided to go with a powder-blue look for their alternate jerseys.
They may have been known as ‘The Bums,’ but they were sure purdy-lookin’ Bums.”
My Take: At least he got the year correct. First of all, they were alternate uniforms, not jerseys — MLB hadn’t yet adopted the softball look in 1944. Secondly, while they may indeed have been powder blue in color, they were also satin, and were designed especially for night games. But that’s not really important when you can just take a cheap shot at the uni for a laugh, right? Also, they were “Dem Bums” not “The Bums.” Finally, it’s probably unimportant to note that fans voted for this uniform to be worn six times this year (albeit in modern fabrics) as a throwback.
What he said: “The Cincinnati Reds, the oldest professional sports franchise in America, have certainly had their share of uniform changes over the years.
This one from 1991 wasn’t meant to be a throwback, but it should have been a throw-away.”
My Take: Yeah, um. Actually this one was meant to be a throwback. Perhaps our esteemed scribe was thinking of the 1993-1998 uniform, which did have a white pinstriped crown, but that’s not what he said.
What he said: “I absolutely loved the Milwaukee Brewers back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. The Brew Crew were always fun to watch.
But powder blue with yellow trim on the road? Really? Someone actually thought that up and ran with it?”
My Take: I actually don’t have too many OCD quibbles with this. Although the Brewers were born in powder blue, they did wear that particular iteration from 1978 to 1984. And that’s a gorgeous uniform.
What he said: “Back in the 1970s, the Pittsburgh Steelers were the dominant team in the NFL, winning four Super Bowls.
My only guess here is that the Pirates wanted to represent their intra-city brethren.”
My Take: While there is some truth to the “lets all wear black and gold,” and the Bumblebee combination was new that year, the Pirates had been wearing black and gold since 1948; certainly they didn’t just “change” to imitate the suddenly-successful Steelers (remember, until they won Super Bowl IX in 1975, the Steelers had won exactly ZERO NFL titles, pre- and post-Super Bowl). Now, as to one’s opinion on the Bumblebees, that’s entirely subjective. And did he have to use Jerry for his splash?
What he said: “The 1950 Washington Senators were not a very good team, kind of like most Senators teams over the years. However, in 1950, they apparently tried to spice things up a bit.
The Senators always wore some of the plainest uniforms in all of baseball throughout their existence…save for one year.”
My Take: Ah…the “random old uni” shot. As in, I really know my history, so check this out. Only problem is, they wore that uniform for quite some time. I’m not even entirely sure that hand colored baseball card is correct, but to include it on a “worst” list? Really? How is that any better or worse than any other 1950 uni?
What he said: “The Arizona Diamondbacks decided to make a splash in the 1990s with their alternate uniforms.
A splash is one thing. Downright bold purple is another entirely.”
My Take: I’m not entirely disinclined to disagree. Although I’m pretty sure that cap was a BP cap. Next…
What he said: “You know, I’ve been to the Rockies a few times. It’s surely one of the most beautiful settings in the country.
But I don’t ever recall seeing anything purple while I was there.”
My Take: Wait…didn’t we just see that combo on the D-backs? Guess he’s gotta be consistent. And while I wouldn’t necessarily call this gloaming purple, there’s a reason they’re called purple mountains majesty.
What he said: “The Montreal Expos joined the National League as an expansion franchise in 1969, and they were named in honor of the 1967 World’s Fair in Montreal.
Apparently, the team wanted to put its players on display as well.”
My Take: Expos enter league 1969? Check. Named after Expo ’67? Check. 1970’s uniforms? Um. The photo our writer chose was actually from the 1982 All Star Game (which was played in Montreal). And they didn’t wear that style, with the racing stripe piping until 1980. So close. Now, worst uni? I was never a fan of the wide striping added in 1980, but the 1970’s Expos uni was a classic.
What he said: “It’s pretty bad when players extend their careers to pad stats and play for some less-than-stellar teams.
But to have to do it in uniforms like this…wow.”
My Take: Not sure the shot at Boggs was necessary, but I can’t disagree with anything he said.
What he said: “Obviously, this is not a major-league team. However, there was NO way this uniform couldn’t be included.
Minor-league teams will go to great lengths to try to draw in more fans, and having players come out in pseudo-tuxedos is definitely an eye-catcher.”
My Take: Since the Title of our author’s post was “The 25 Worst Uniforms in Baseball History,” I guess I can’t complain about a MiLB uni being thrown in. But he really didn’t try very hard to find one, now, did he? I mean, c’mon man, there’s worse than the tux.
What he said: “For several years now, the Boston Red Sox have honored the Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17.
However, how about honoring them in another way?”
My Take: There are plenty of teams who have worn St. Paddy’s day (or even halfway to St. Paddy’s Day) uniforms, and some are better than others. But the Red Sox one is fine. If you really want to include a one-off, spring training jersey on this list, how about something from 2011 with the disgusting shoulder yoke?
Update: As a reader recently pointed out, the Red Sox did wear those green tops on April 20, 2007, in a regular season game against the Yankees.
What he said: “When the Florida Marlins joined the National League in 1993, they made a splash right away with their teal uniforms.
I actually own one. Seriously. I was not of a sound mind when I bought it, but I have it proudly hanging in the very dark recesses of my closet.”
My Take: Well, that’s batting practice jersey, so I’m not sure it even counts. I’m guessing the author probably didn’t know that. But hey, he OWNS one, so he must know that. The Marlins have NEVER worn a teal jersey in actual game play — the closest they have come is teal sleeves and caps. And they ditched those pretty quickly too. Jim Vilk may have worn that, but the Marlins never did, not when it counted.
What he said: “The San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates both at one time in their franchise histories decided it was a good idea to wear all yellow.
These uniforms have since been worn on a few occasions on throwback nights. I think they should rename those nights ‘Throw-Away’ or ‘Throw-Up” Nights.’
My Take: I won’t criticize that the splash photo is a throwback and not the original (hey, google is hard to use). I won’t even criticize the fact that you could call those unis “gold” and not “yellow.” And he did get they year correct. As far as “worst” uniform? YMMV.
What he said: “About all I can say about this particular uniform, worn by the Chicago White Sox in the 1980s, is that the clubhouse manager must have had to keep a LOT of Purex and Woolite around to keep those colors looking fresh.”
My Take: I’ll give you the ‘beach blanket bingo’ uni wasn’t necessarily the greatest in history, but was it really any “whiter and brighter” than any other uniform of the day? Or any day? Or did he like to take the overexposed photograph for a cheap laugh? C’mon guy, that uni was bright but it was hardly more “colorful” than the Tequila Sunrises. And hey, Tom Terrific won #300 in that. How bad could it be?
What he said: “Wow. To think that the great manager, Tony La Russa, once had to bear the indignity of wearing this particular uniform.
And then he went back and managed them later on. He got over the embarrassment quickly.”
My Take: Cheap laugh at LaRussa’s expense. OK, maybe our author isn’t so bad after all.
What he said: “Dorkish, garish, outrageous, color-blind. Call the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates whatever you want.
But they were family. And they were champions, no matter what they were forced to wear.”
My Take: And just how in the hell is this uniform any different than what you picked at #17? Jeebus — the Bumblebee Pirates wore at least 9 different bumblebee combos, and you picked the exact same combo for TWO of your worst uni choices? Proofread much?
What he said: “Rod Beck was a pretty intimidating-looking closer during his major-league career.
But couldn’t the Cubs have at least put a meaner-looking bear on the jersey?”
My Take: There are probably 20 royal or navy alts (if not more) worn in the past 3 decades, and this is the worst? Whatever, it’s his opinion. Pretty sure he was just grasping at straws by this point though.
What he said: “This particular Kansas City Royals uniform, aptly modeled by the fashion-conscious Johnny Damon, is a train-wreck turned into a monstrosity.
It’s no wonder Damon headed to Oakland. At least their uniforms were bad, but tastefully bad.”
My Take: OK, I can’t argue with any of the TATC unis, but this was the first one — played in 1998, before MLB thought it might be a good idea to make this basically a league-wide deal. And it’s far from the worst (but that’s all a matter of opinion, I guess). Might have been nice if he actually mentioned it was a Turn Ahead The Clock uni or even gotten the year, since it’s not exactly difficult to find. But that might have required effort.
What he said: “Houston, we have a problem…
There has already been more than enough said about this particular uniform over the years. I really don’t think at this point that there is anything more witty that I can add.”
My Take: If only he’d applied that same logic to the prior 23 uniforms.
What he said: “Yes, this was actually an idea that someone came up with.
This was by far the worst uniform ever made. Even opposing players thought so.
Opposing Kansas City Royal John Mayberry once exclaimed, ‘You guys are the sweetest team we’ve seen yet.'”
My Take: Really can’t argue with this — this may not have been the worst uniform ever, but it was probably the stupidest. Always a safe choice for any “worst” list.
Whew. OK, that was probably an exercise in futility, but I feel much better. Lets leave the uni critiquing to Uni Watch. And if you’re going to do a “worst” list, it’s better to post just the unis and let them speak for themselves.
We have another nice of tweaks today.
If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great a keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
And so, lets begin:
Up first is Mark Peterson, with a “fake” team, and a great concept:
This one was a rainy weekend concept I came up with.
“This is for a Tampa Bay team (or any newish-team) looking for a green look with a retro cartoon mascot.
The home features a button-vest with green sleeves & pinstripes. Wordmark, sleeve patch & front numbers would be chain stitched & have a white outline, and some rings to go on the stirrups.
Hope things are well.
Next up is Walter Helfer, who has taken on another team who stinks, the Mets:
I can take or leave the pinstripes, but I love the soutache trim on the solid whites. So I put them on the striped uniforms. Unique! I like the drop shadows from the current jerseys, but I made them orange. Road: Added orange to the sleeve and trouser piping.
And closing out the tweaks today is Dave from Mixed Media, who sent these to Paul, who forwarded them to me:
Hey paul –
just going through an old archives CD (about 10 years old) and found some concepts that are timely again.
One is a refresh of the Winnipeg Jets logo – not perfect – but of that time for sure. Perhaps we do get a new Winnpeg Jet design if the Coyotes move back there or more than likely they’ll slap on the old and call it retro (there is something beautiful about that original design!)
Also including a Bills refresh from around ten years ago as well – whenever they redesigned their uniforms last and there was a talk a new logo (similar to the buffaslug) – this one combines old and new.
Maybe you can do something with these…
Hope all is well – we got MORE snow here.
P.S most of these were done in Coreldraw – let’s just say Illustrator didn’t find them to easy to work with…
Thanks tweakers! Back tomorrow with more.
by Rick Pearson
When you don’t play ball for a living, sometimes getting there is half the, um…fun.
And here is your full size version.
It was “everybody dress like Mariano Rivera day” yesterday (also known as “Jackie Robinson Day”) so lets take a quick peek at some of the highlights:
âœ” Jackie was a Dodger. So was Don Newcombe. Nice touch.
âœ” This is always a cool look.
âœ” Jackie’s widow Rachel is always on hand for these games. She was at Yankee Stadium last evening.
âœ” She got a hug from the last remaining guy to wear #42 in non-JRR day games.
â˜¹ Wouldn’t want to let JRR Day interfere with the wearing of the softball tops at Fenway.
âœ” Even the umps wore #42 yesterday.
â‚ª What’s with the socks? Not particularly liking that white line (hemline?) down the back.
Everyone have a good Saturday.
I flipped on the White Sox game tonight, and thought, why NNOB? It took me about 20 seconds to realize it was “42”³ day. I need to mark that down, so I can measure it against how long it takes me next year. I can start a “senility graph.” — Michael Emody