A baseball uniform is worn by baseball players. The players of each team will wear a different color uniform to distinguish their team from the opposing team. Also, baseball shirts have the last name of the player on the back of the shirt along with the players number. A baseball uniform is made up of a shirt, also called a jersey, pants, shoes, socks, baseball cap and gloves.
The First Uniforms
The first baseball team to wear a uniform was the New York Knickerbockers. They played the game on April 4, 1849. There uniform consisted of a white flannel jersey, blue wool pants and straw hats. Many other teams liked the uniforms and by 1900, all Major League Baseball players wore uniforms during their games. In 1882, the uniform changed a bit when stockings were added. These stockings were long and stretched from the foot to the knee. These stockings were utilized to tell one club from another. In the latter part of the 1880s, several teams adopted the striped uniforms and they were the first to wear these types of uniforms. The teams were the Detroit Wolverines and the Washington Nationals who were part of the National League as well as the Brooklyn Bridegrooms who were part of the American Association.
Different Team, Different Uniform
By the latter part of the 19th century, the teams would wear two different uniforms. They would wear one uniform when they played home games and they would wear a different uniform when they played away games. It was popular back then to wear the color white when they played home games and when they played away games, they choose gray, black or dark blue.
When the New York Giants adopted purple lines on their uniforms for their away games in the year in 1916, the players thought that it gave them a tartan look and another type of uniform for away games was either solid dark blue or solid black with white. In 1963, Charles Finley changed for the Kansas City Athletics. They adopted the colors gold and green but sometimes when they played away games, they used light blue.
And then along came piped baseball pants. These were long stripes that ran along the length of the pants. They were first worn by baseball players in 1907 and then in 1912 the piping was widening so the spectators could view them more clearly. These piped pants are made from 100% polyester double knit and have a belt loop waist. They are specifically cut for baseball players and have an open leg that is not hemmed. These pants are perfect for not only game playing but practice as well. Piped baseball pants are made with a baseball specific cut which is taut in the legs and is left unfinished. This allows the baseball player to sew the pants to any length that is 37 inches or less.
Some of the teams, including the Brooklyn Dodgers, developed satin uniforms that were to be used for games played at night. The reason for this is that satin is more reflective than any other kind of material and is much easier to see.
The first team to put numbers on their uniform was the Cleveland Indians in 1916. At that time the numbers were put on the left sleeve of the home game uniforms only. The New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians were the first two teams to have the numbers put on the back of their jerseys. This occurred in 1929 and by 1932; all of the major league baseball players had their numbers on the back of their jerseys. In 1952, the Brooklyn Dodgers were the first team in baseball who thought of adding their player number to the front of their jerseys.
For the majority of the country, baseball players have no more than two numbers on their uniforms. But in Japan some players have three digit numbers on their baseball uniforms. Major league baseball players give out the highest numbers at spring training camp. These high numbers are 50 and over and are usually given to the players that coaches believe will not make it into the regular season games. So the lower numbers are obviously more important. There are a few exceptions to veteran players who have worn higher numbers. For example Carlton Fisk wore #72 when he played for the Chicago White Sox.
Baseball caps have been a huge part of the baseball uniform since the very beginning. Starting in the 1840s until the 1870s baseball players were all kinds of different caps since there was no official restriction regarding headgear. They wore caps such as bicycling caps, boating caps, jockey caps and even straw hats. The modern-day baseball cap were first worn in 1860 by the baseball team Brooklyn Excelsiors. Recently, many teams have adopted the hats that have fold-down ear flaps which keep their head and ears warm during cold weather.
As far as baseball’s shoes, the most common choice of shoes for baseball players are leather shoes that are soft but also durable. When artificial turf became part of most baseball fields in the 1970s, baseball players had to change the shoes that they wore. In the 20th century, baseball players wore shoes that had detachable spikes. These spikes helped the players to avoid slipping and sliding on the Astroturf. However, these shoes were banned from baseball in 1976. After the ban, baseball players then wore black shoes for most of the 19th century and part of the 20th century. However, during the 1960s, the Kansas City Athletics started wearing white baseball shoes. Ever since then, many teams started wearing colored cleats that matched their uniform. For instance, some of the players who play for the San Francisco Giants wear orange cleats.
Team logos were adopted from the beginning but at that time they were just graphic designs. By the year 1930, almost every team either had a logo, team nickname or letters on their home game uniforms. This also became part of the teams marketing concept.