Baseball Shorts: A colorful experiment that lasted less than a season

The seventies and the eighties were known for their colorful baseball uniforms. Take the 1979 Phillies for example with their all Crimson uniform. Or the colorful mishmash of the 1977-1984 Pittsburgh Pirates. But in 1882, it was even crazier than in the seventies.

In that year, the National League adopted a rule that every position would wear its own colored jersey and cap. As a result, no team looked like a team at all.

The pitcher would wear a light blue jersey and ditto cap, a catcher scarlet, a first baseman was dressed like a candy cane in a scarlet and white striped jersey, second basemen wore orange and black striped jerseys, third basemen gray and white, shortstops wore maroon, left fielders would wear all white jerseys, center fielders wore black and red striped jerseys, and right fielders wore gray. Utility players would wear brown, relief pitchers and substitute players wore green, both of a different shade and striping.

Teams could only be recognized by their socks. You may guess it, the Chicago White Sox (now the Cubs) wore white socks, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, red.

The photo below shows the 1882 Cincinnati Red Stockings. As you can see the team didn’t look very uniform (yes, pun intended).

Schermafbeelding 2020-12-07 om 15.54.01

Somehow, the colored uniforms did not win the fans’ hearts as the experiment was abandoned halfway the 1882 season. 



Source: Threadsofourgame.com, exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines

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