20 Unflattering Jerseys We Can’t Believe The MLB Made Their Players Wear
Look, we’ve all seen those horrendous jerseys some of the Class-A and Double-A farm-league ball clubs force their humiliated players to wear on wacky theme nights to try to move the front-gate revenue needle. It’s a cheap gimmick that gets a few laughs and engaging social-media fodder, but it generally only works in the minors.
Now, try and bring those god-awful abominations to the majors, a league that prides itself on tradition, prestige and simple uniforms with roots that can be traced all the way back to the 19th Century, and it’s gonna raise some eyebrows from ownership right on down the casual fab who only tunes in on the occasional Sunday night.
You’ve almost got to wonder how some of these getups made it out of the designer’s studio in the first place, let alone get league approval for an entire team to suit up in them for a real-life game. Avert your eyes if you must, because here are 20 UGLY jerseys we can’t believe the MLB made its players wear.
20. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (1977-1979)
In 1977, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ brass apparently decided it was finally time to adopt pinstripes on their uniforms, like so many teams had done before. Unfortunately, the way they went about it didn’t make for a very attractive look.
The Phillies do pinstripes well, the Yankees (obviously) do pinstripes well, and heck, even the Mets can pull them off. But the Pirates? Not so much. They – for some reason – wedged a yellow stripe between two super-thin black ones and then spaced them all about an inch apart, making everyone’s eyes ache at the mere sight of them.
Add in the weird pillbox-style caps the team kept around for far too long, and the complete uniform was a total eyesore. The pinstripes went away after the Pirates won the World Series in 1979, so consider that a win-win.
19. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS “TURN AHEAD THE CLOCK” (1999)
You remember those god-awful “Turn Ahead The Clock” uniforms the MLB rolled out in 1999 to simulate what jerseys might look like in the future, right? If not, you probably blocked them from your memory, so sorry to bring them back up. Unfortunately, the Diamondbacks’ version of the TATC look won’t be the only one in this list, so just be prepared.
Anyways, as if the vest design wasn’t bad enough, Arizona took a snake that looks like it was drawn by a 3-year-old, gave it some awful colors and then proceeded to WRAP THE THING ALL THE WAY AROUND THE JERSEY… TWICE!
I’m sorry but this wasn’t “futuristic” in any sense of the imagination. This was an egregious misstep in MLB jersey history and set all that progress back by at least a decade.
18. TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS (1998-2000)
The Tampa Bay Rays, called the Devil Rays at the time, weren’t very good at many things when they entered the Majors back in the late 1990s. First of all, like most expansion teams, the Rays were awful. They didn’t break 70 wins until the 2004 season and only did so one time between 1998 and 2007.
But not only did the on-field play look atrocious, so did the uniforms they wore while committing said awful play – especially in those first three seasons. Those inaugural uniforms, with the soaring sting ray, weird font and blue-green gradient in the text were about as “90s” as you could get.
Seriously, it looked like someone spent about 10 minutes in the Microsoft Paint application, slapped the design on a jersey and called it good. Yuck.
17. CHICAGO WHITE SOX THROWBACKS
Sometimes, things are better left in the 1980s. A good example of this would be the “throwback” alternate jerseys the White Sox have been wearing once in a while. No, it wasn’t a very good look back when they wore them between 1982 and 1986, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. It was the ‘80s. Style was a relative term back then, especially in Major League Baseball.
Of course, nowadays, everybody loves the throwbacks. So, despite the fact that these designs don’t translate into a trendy look in modern times, south-side Chicago fans are apparently willing to look past the horrendous chest logo, odd color scheme and random floating number the players wear on their left thighs just to get in on the fashionable fad of bringing back outdated uniforms.
16. 1999 ALL-STAR GAME
Seriously, what in the name of the Great Bambino got into the heads of the MLB brass in 1999? We weren’t invited to the planning meeting when they were trying to hammer down a design for the 1999 MLB All-Star Game, but it must have gone something like this: “Well, those ‘Turn Ahead The Clock’ jerseys that teams are wearing this year are pretty freaking awful, so we might as well just continue with that trend and use these awful blue-and-red ones.”
The vest look is always awkward. Then there’s the whole inverted colors on the sleeves. And topping off the horror, putting “National” and “American,” as well as the nameplate on the back, vertically down the sides just seems like a misguided attempt to be relevant. Sad!