Fun Fact Friday: Jersey Day

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Today is jersey Day at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Those wearing a jersey to the game get to be a part of walking on the field. I am wearing my Kapler jersey. Today for Fun Fact Friday I thought I would show you the history of the jersey.

There is a wonderful online exhibit from the National Baseball Hall of Fame:

http://exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/jerseys.htm

 

Here are a few highlights:

Pete Browning of the American Association Louisville Colonels, c. 1887

 

Running the Bases Wearing Laces

The late 1870s saw the introduction of the laced-front jersey. Styles varied, with some shirts featuring lacing that ran the entire length of the shirt, while others had lacing for just the top portion of the jersey. Laced-front jerseys remained popular through the 1890s, but by 1901 only two of 16 major league clubs were wearing the style. Ten years later, laces on shirts had disappeared altogether.

Members of the American Association Cincinnati Red Stockings in “clown costumes,” 1882

At left: Pete Browning of the American Association Louisville Colonels, c. 1887

Clown Costumes

Perhaps the boldest experiment with the baseball uniform came in 1882, when the rules of the game called for multi-colored uniforms designed to denote each player’s position. When the members of a ballclub took the field, no two men were wearing the same uniform. Shortstops, for example, were required to wear maroon shirts and caps, while first basemen dressed like candy canes in scarlet-and-white-striped caps and jerseys. Regardless of position, the 1882 rules stipulated that each player wear white pants, a white belt and a white tie. The only way the fans could tell which club was which was by looking at the players’ stockings, as each club wore uniquely colored socks. The rulebook called for Buffalo to wear gray stockings, while Cleveland donned navy blue hose. Not surprisingly, Chicago wore white stockings and Boston dressed in red socks. No doubt the wild color schemes caused mass confusion on the field and in the stands, and so the experimental uniforms, derisively called “clown costumes,” were abandoned in mid-season.

Chicago Cubs outfielder Bill Nicholson, 1940

Dressed in a Vest

In 1940, the Chicago Cubs unveiled a bold new look in baseball uniforms: a lightweight flannel vest worn over a knitted undershirt. The vest, designed by club president Philip K. Wrigley, allowed for greater freedom of motion for players’ arms and shoulders. Though the Cubs abandoned the innovation just three seasons later, the style has enjoyed a number of revivals over the years. Today, multiple clubs wear sleeveless jerseys, either as part of their primary or alternate home uniform.

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