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Tag: uniforms

Don’t Change Their Stripes

Richie Ashburn models the Phillies' original pinstripes

The Yankees weren’t the first team to wear pinstripes, but they have worn them at home longer than any other team, doing so continuously since 1915. The team that comes the closest is the Phillies, who introduced the ancestor of their current home uniform in 1950, the same year their Whiz Kids met the Yankees in the World Series, and maintained their home pinstripes throughout their 1970-1991 redesign. The Phils’ current home duds differ in a number of ways from the flannels worn by the Whiz Kids (including blue buttons on the caps, blue stars dotting the i’s in “Phillies,” numbers on the left sleeve, names on the back, a new number font, and a purer shade of red), but the gist is the same. Their non-pinstriped alternates, a variation on their home duds from 1946 to 1949, are handsome and would represent a significant upgrade on their current road unis, but their home pinstripes are classics.

Hey, Good Lookin’

Untitled The only uniform number the Tampa Bay Devil Rays have retired is Wade Boggs’ 12. Boggs’ 26, meanwhile, remains unretired (though also unused) in Boston. Here are a few other sartorial notes about this year’s LCS participants:

Nine major league clubs featured pinstripes on their home uniforms this year, but after the Yankees, whose use of the pinstripes dates back to 1915, the Phillies are the major league team with the longest uninterrupted use of pinstripes on their home uniform. The Phillies adopted the original version of their current home duds in 1950, the year the Whiz Kids got swept by the Yankees in the World Series. They had one major redesign that stretched from 1970 to 1991, but still featured pinstripes at home, then switched back to an updated version of the Wiz Kids uniform. The alternate home unis which the Phils wore in Game 1 of the NLDS are a variation on the the home duds they wore from 1946 to 1949.

Similarly, the Red Sox and Dodgers have been models of sartorial consistency. The design of the Red Sox’s home uniforms dates back to 1933 and, save for some variations striping and piping, the only significant change it has experienced since then was a six-year flirtation with pullover v-necks in the ’70s. As for the Dodgers, save for the addition, removal, and restoration of names on the back and the swapping out of the “B” on their caps for an interlocking “LA,” their home uniforms have remained unchanged since they introduced the red number on the front in 1952, while the distinctive Dodgers script dates back to 1938. Also, their current road uniforms are a variation on the road flannels they wore for their first 13 years in Los Angeles.

The Rays, of course, have brand new uniforms this year along with a brand new color scheme and their sort-of-new name. I think they could beat the Sox in six in the ALCS that starts tonight, but it’s more likely that the series will go to a seventh game, which means the Sox will win because they’ll have Jon Lester on the mound for Game 7. My preview of today’s games is up on SI.com

Yankees by the Numbers

Updated Sept. 27, 2007 and Sept. 18, 2009

This is a rainy day post I’ve wanted to do for years. Thanks to the tremendous YankeeNumbers.com, and in the spirit of Jon Weisman’s recent All-Time Dodger Alphabet Team, I’m pleased to present the Yankees by the Numbers. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

A quick bit of history before I begin: though often credited as such, the Yankees were not the first major league team to wear numbers. The Indians wore numbers on their left sleeves for several weeks in 1916, but abandoned the practice after another brief period of use in 1917. The 1923 Cardinals were the next to try, the numbers again appearing on the players’ left sleeves, but quickly removed them because the players were “embarrassed.” Both the Indians and the Yankees were set to begin the 1929 season with numbers on their backs, but a rainout in the Bronx gave the Indians the precedent. Still, the 1929 Yankees were, along with the Indians, the first team to wear numbers for a full season. Here’s where the legend synchs back up with reality. Those 1929 Yankees wore numbers that corresponded with what was likely their opening day line-up, thus the original single digits were:

1 – Earl Combs (CF)
2 – Mark Koenig (3B)
3 – Babe Ruth (RF)
4 – Lou Gehrig (1B)
5 – Bob Meusel (LF)
6 – Tony Lazzeri (2B)
7 – Leo Durocher (SS)
8 – Johnny Grabowski (C)

Catchers Benny Bengough and rookie Bill Dickey wore numbers 9 and 10 (Dickey won the starting job that year and took Grabowski’s #8 in 1930). Top pitchers Herb Pennock, Waite Hoyt and George Pipgras wore numbers 11, 12 and 14 (the Yankees skipped #13 for the usual reasons).

Enjoy . . .


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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver