The Transformation of Baseball Uniforms Over the Last 100 Years
Baseball has been around for well over 100 years, but the uniforms have seen some drastic changes over the past century. Since the 1920s, some teams have stuck to their original roots while others have had name changes, city changes, and uniform changes alike. Here are some of the biggest baseball teams and their uniforms through the years.
1920s: New York Yankees
The New York Yankees have sported the pinstripes for more than 100 years. In the photo above, Babe Ruth is seen at bat in a Yankees uniform circa 1925. The pants are cuffed just below the knee, and the socks cover the rest of Ruth’s lower legs. Buttons are noticeably placed down the center of the uniform.
Next: This St. Louis team sports the same image on their Jerseys in the 1920s as today.
1920s: St. Louis Cardinals
The early days of the St. Louis Cardinals’ uniforms still show that familiar tree branch with two cardinals perched on top. In the photo above, you can see the Cardinals’ 1920s uniforms also have much shallower hats than the big leagues do today. The pants are baggy and hit below the knee. They also sport the pinstripes and tall socks, similar to the Yankees.
Next: This D.C. team had a different name years ago.
1920s: Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals started out as the Senators in 1901. But by 1905, they had changed their name. In this old-time photo of Eric McNeely, it doesn’t even look like the Nationals had their names written on their uniforms. Again, the high socks and short pants are a staple. But the belt is also extremely noticeable, and the cleats don’t look anywhere near today’s quality.
Next: This photo shows how baggy baseball uniforms once were.
1930s: Chicago Cubs
Cubs’ pitcher Dizzy Dean doesn’t even look like his uniform fits him in this 1930s photo. The shorter pants and high socks are still the style of choice in this decade. The baseball cap still has a shallow brim. A noticeable “C” adorns the front of the cap, and the uniforms are free of pinstripes.
Next: Let’s look at the Cardinals 10 years later.
1930s: St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals’ uniforms didn’t change too much between the 1920s and 1930s. In this photo, Pepper Martin is sliding into home during the World Series, and his jersey still clearly shows the team’s two cardinals perched on a branch. The word “Cardinals” is written in print; the font of a uniform can help define the uniform’s look. In the 1930s, the Cardinals’ font is print, but that doesn’t last.
Next: This World Series photo shows two teams’ uniforms.
1930s: World Series, Philadelphia Athletics vs. St. Louis Cardinals
The Philadelphia Athletics are no longer called as such. Today they’re the Oakland Athletics, and the Philadelphia team is the Phillies. But in 1931, the Philadelphia Athletics played the Cardinals in the World Series. The baggy baseball pants are visible on every player in the photo above. And the jerseys are not nearly as snug as they are today. The Cardinals won the World Series that year.
Next: One MLB team’s home uniforms
1940s: New York Yankees (home)
The above photo is a close up of the New York Yankees home uniforms in 1941. Just five years earlier, the Yankees officially adopted the interlocking “NY” logo that they still wear today. By 1941, the Yankees’ uniforms started to take the shape they still have decades later: The interlocking logo on both the jersey and the ball cap, plus the defining blue pinstripes. The team still sports the baggy pants that hit below the knee.
Next: The Yankees’ away uniforms are a bit different.
1940s: New York Yankees (away)
The Yankees’ away uniforms have also started to take a familiar look. The Yankees do not have pinstripes on their away uniforms, which is still the case today. A large “New York” written in bold font stretches across the front of the jersey, which is far different from the interlocking logo on their 1940s home jerseys. The baseball caps are the same for both home and away games.
Next: This team once shared a city with the Boston Red Sox.
1940s: Boston Braves
The Boston Braves are not the former Boston Red Sox. They’re actually the original Atlanta Braves, and that’s made clear by the cursive on their uniforms. In the photo above, Braves pitchers Warren Spahn (left) and Johnny Sain sport their jerseys and Braves hats. The hat has a printed “B” at the top — it does not match the B on the jersey and looks very similar to the Boston Red Sox “B.”
Next: Jackie Robinson wore this jersey in the 1950s.
1950s: Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers started out in Brooklyn in 1884. In 1957, they moved to L.A. But Jackie Robinson wore the Dodgers’ uniform in the 1950s, and the biggest change to this uniform through the years is simply the city it comes from. The Brooklyn Dodgers’ hats look very similar to those of the Boston Braves. The baggy pants and high socks are still the look.
Next: The Boston Braves moved to this city, but only for a few years.
1950s: Milwaukee Braves
Before the Boston Braves were the Atlanta Braves, they were the Milwaukee Braves. (Did you get all that?) They only stayed in Milwaukee from 1953-1959, so these uniforms are pretty historic. The major difference is the letter on the baseball cap was switched from a “B” to an “M.” Even most of the players stayed the same — Warren Spahn, pictured above, also played for the Boston Braves.
Next: One of the two Chicago teams
1950s: Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox uniform of the 1950s has a large, bold “Chicago” written across the front. The ball cap has a “Sox” written on it, intertwined in a fashion similar to the Yankees. It looks like the pants on ball player Luis Aparicio (above) are a bit lower than in previous decades, but it could be the angle. And the striped socks are hard to miss, too.
Next: A Pennsylvania team and New York team battle it out in the World Series.
1960s: Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees
The above video recounts the 1960 World Series game 7, featuring the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees. But around the 13:40 minute mark, you get a clear view of the Yankees’ away uniforms. A large “New York” is written across the front, and the uniforms look relatively similar to years’ past, including the notorious baggy pants of the earlier decades.
Around the 23:30 minute mark, you get a nice view of the Pirates’ home uniforms. They have short, black sleeves on a white jersey. “Pirates” adorns the front of the jersey in a printed font that seems more decorative than other teams of the decade. A pinstripe dons the side of this batter’s pant leg, and the baggy pants are in full swing (no pun intended).
Next: Another 1960s World Series matchup
1960s: Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins
In 1965, the Los Angeles Dodgers played the Minnesota Twins for the World Series. The Twins were home, and right around 19:08 you get a clear view of the Twins’ home uniforms. They don’t look too different from today: A pinstripe pattern on the jerseys and pants, and “Twins” written in cursive and underlined on the Jersey. That still holds true in 2018.
At 19:27 the camera closes in on the Dodgers’ pitcher, and you get a good look at the team’s jerseys. Back in 1965, the Dodgers’ away uniforms had a large “Los Angeles” written in cursive across the front. But fast forward to 2018, and the biggest change is the writing on the front. Today, the “Los Angeles” has been replaced with a cursive “Dodgers.” The wording today is still underlined the same way it was years earlier.
Next: An East Coast World Series matchup
1960s: New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles
It would be unfair to include the Yankees in this decades-long uniform piece and not include the Mets. This highlight film from the 1969 World Series gives a clear look at the Mets’ uniforms. At the 3:20 mark, the Mets uniform is clearly visible as the Dodgers hit a home run. A blue and orange “New York” dons the entire uniform, and it appears to be light gray in color.
The Baltimore Orioles’ orange and white socks stick out from their white uniforms. But their 1969 uniforms aren’t too different from today. “Orioles” is written in cursive across the front with orange numbers and black last names written on the back. Today, the uniforms are a little more modern looking but generally look the same with the orange cursive on the front and numbers and names on the back.
Next: A Chicago-area team with a prominent logo
1970s: Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs’ pitcher Steve Stone is pictured above wearing the team’s 1970s uniform. The pinstripes are easy to make out in the photo. And if you look at the right side of Stone’s chest, you can see the Cubs logo — a large “C” followed by a small “ubs” written in red and encircled thickly in blue. By the 1970s, the pant legs in the MLB weren’t nearly as baggy as in previous years.
Next: This team is no longer named as such.
1970s: California Angels (Los Angeles Angels)
The most noticeable part of this 1970s California Angels uniform is the thick, red stripe running down the side of the pant leg. It’s outlined thinly in black, and defines the uniforms of the California Angels — today, they’re known as the Los Angeles angels. Later, you’ll see that thick line change. Plus, the pants are clearly more slim-fitting near the calves.
Next: This team had distinguishing hats in the 1980s.
1980s: Pittsburgh Pirates
This 1980s Pittsburgh Pirates uniform can only be seen from the back in the above photo, but the hat is the most distinguishing feature. Rather than the circular-style ball cap other teams wore, the Pirates sported these cylindrical-style ball caps with much more defined edges than those of other teams. (You can still buy one today.) Plus, the uniforms have a thick black and yellow trim on both sleeves and the pants.
Next: A 1980s Chicago team
1980s: Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox uniforms of the 1980s were far different from what you’d see the team wearing today. The uniform is white with hints of red and blue. It takes a patriotic tone. Across the jersey, “White Sox’ is written in cursive. The slim-fit pants hit at shin length and are followed by red and blue high socks. Today, their colors are black and white.
Next: The other Chicago team in the 1980s
1980s: Chicago Cubs
This 1980s photo paints an even clearer picture of the Chicago Cubs uniform. That Cubs logo on the right side of the jersey is very visible. Overall, the uniform doesn’t look much different than it did in the previous decade. And the thick blue elastic around the waistline is the most noticeable difference between the Cubs uniforms of the 1980s and today.
Next: A 1990s California team
1990s: San Francisco Giants
In the above photo, Giants team members Darryl Hamilton (center) and Bill Mueller (right) stand next to manager Dusty Baker. All three members of the team are wearing the Giants’ away uniforms. A noticeable part of the uniform is the “San Francisco” written in large, bold letters across the front of the jersey. Today, the team has an interlocking “SF” logo on the right side of the uniform instead of the city’s name fully written out.
Next: This Colorado team’s uniforms look far different from today’s.
1990s: Colorado Rockies
Darryl Hamilton reappears in this decade, but this time he’s wearing a Colorado Rockies home uniform. The word “Rockies” is written across the front in a unique font; the letters are outlined rather than filled. In previous decades, many teams sported thick elastic waistbands of their team colors in place of the belts worn in much earlier decades. The Rockies have a belt in this photo.
1990s: San Diego Padres
Gray seems to be the color of choice for away uniforms in both previous decades and today. San Diego Padres player Tony Gwynn wears a gray away uniform in the photo above. You can see his baseball pants are nearly to his ankles — a new trend in these later decades. And while the uniforms may have changed through the year, the bats still shatter as always.
Next: The Boston Red Sox in the 2000s.
2000s: Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox have bright white uniforms in this early 2000s photo. The last time we checked in on Boston was back in the 1940s when the Red Sox shared their Boston territory with the Braves. But the Braves have long left the city by this decade, and the Red Sox dominate as Massachusetts’ baseball team in these crisp white uniforms. If you look closely, you can see a thin, red pinstripe running down the side of the pant leg. (You’ll notice Brian Daubach’s pant leg directly meets his cleats as he stands at bat.)
Next: The 2000s New York Yankees
2000s: New York Yankees
In this 2006 photo, Daryl Strawberry (left) and David Cone are wearing the Yankees’ iconic pinstripe uniforms. Although it’s been decades since we last took a look at the Yankees’ uniforms in the 1940s, they don’t look all that different. The pants are a bit longer and the uniforms are more form fitting, but those pinstripes are still present. And the Yankees’ logo has stayed the same for years.
Next: The Braves are finally in Atlanta.
2000s: Atlanta Braves
The Braves moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1959. In the 2000s, the Braves home uniforms might read “Braves” but their away jerseys read “Atlanta.” Once again, this MLB team wears a gray uniform to represent they’re not on home turf. The uniform has thin red detail around the sleeves and down the side of the pants. But there is also detail down the center of the uniform that runs through the “Atlanta” writing. Andruw Jones’ baseball cap is not visible in this photo, but the batting helmet has a large, cursive “A.”
Next: An update on these St. Louis uniforms.
2010s: St. Louis Cardinals
Since the early 1900s, the St. Louis Cardinals have stuck true to their mascot. The two red cardinals perched on the tree branch is still the graphic of choice across the Cardinals’ uniforms in 2018. They have thick red belts to match the birds. However, the team doesn’t have any stripe down the side of their white pants, which many teams in the MLB do.
2010s: Milwaukee Brewers
Milwaukee hasn’t been known as the Braves since the 1959. Today, they’re the Milwaukee Brewers, which actually started out at as an expansion team in Seattle — the Seattle Pilots. But in 2018, the Brewers are Milwaukee’s favorite, and their away uniforms stray from the typical gray of most teams. The Brewers have deep blue jerseys matched with gray pants, black belts, and show a cursive “Brewers” written across the front.
2010s: Colorado Rockies
We last saw the Colorado Rockies in full pinstripes in the 1990s. But today, their home uniforms have pinstriped pants with solid purple jerseys. The team still rolls with the outlined “Rockies” rather than filled in color. They have black belts and black hats with an overlapping “CR.” The pinstripes are purple, and the whole uniform is a pop of purple the MLB probably never expected.
Next: Today’s Los Angeles Angels uniforms.
2010s: Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels haven’t appeared on this decade list since the 1970s, and their uniforms have changed a bit since then. In the above photo, Mike Trout rounds the bases in a bright white uniform with a thin red pinstripe running down the side of the leg. (Previously the Angels donned a thick, red and black stripe down the pants.) The same thin red stripe can be seen around the sleeves — also different from the thick, red and black stripe in previous decades.
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