On this day off, I promised a crazy list and I think I have delivered.
Take a good look at the current Toronto Blue Jays and San Diego Padres uniforms.
They aren’t good.
It’s not that they are ugly or garish. They are just completely unmemorable.
And the Padres will no doubt do their fourth uniform overhaul since the brown and yellow Taco Bell uniforms of the 1984 World Series.
Wait WHAT? you say.
They’ve changed their uniforms how many times?
A lot… and chances are you have forgotten some of their uniforms.
Which brings me back to my original observation.
Some uniforms are classics and have stood the test of time.
The Yankees, the Red Sox, the Dodgers, the Tigers, the Cardinals, the Cubs and the Giants all wear uniforms that are classic and bring back memories of the past.
Some uniforms are so ugly or unusual that they too have become classics in a different way.
The orange rainbow unis for the Astros, the aforementioned brown and yellow combos for the Padres, the lapels and shorts of the 1976 White Sox and the horrific S-O-X across the chest of the 1983 White Sox come to mind.
And then there are the others… the completely forgettable uniforms. The ones that when you see them in an old clip or on a baseball card you say “Oh man… I forgot they ever wore those!”
This is Sully Baseball… which means I am going to list them.
Setting up a criteria for the most forgettable uniforms, I am only going to include those worn in my baseball watching life. I have no memories of old K.C. Athletics uniforms nor St. Louis Browns jerseys.
I started really watching baseball in 1978… that’s my start off point. And these are all uniforms no longer in use.
And again, these aren’t the worst… just the blandest and most forgettable.
Although no doubt the current Toronto Blue Jays and San Diego Padres uniforms will be on a future edition of this list.
Giving credit to where it is due… I used the National Baseball Hall of Fame website as my source, specifically the Dressed to the Nines – Uniform Database. It is a wonderful time waster!
THE MOST FORGETTABLE UNIFORMS OF THE LAST 30 YEARS
1972-1982 Texas Rangers
Lots of charismatic players, a few Hall of Famers and managers like Ted Williams, Billy Martin and Whitey Herzog all wore these unis… and I can’t still can’t remember these threads.
They are just white tops and bottoms, frontier Texas font and nothing at all worth remembering.
The hat is only memorable because it is identical to the Toledo Mud Hens hat that Klinger would wear.
1973-1982 Kansas City Royals (Away Jerseys Only)
The home jerseys are fine, if a little too close to the Dodgers for my liking.
But the away uniforms… the powder blue and block letters… they were so boring that it actually made an impression on a 7 year old Paul Sullivan.
How often does a 7 year old think “Man, those are dull”?
Just to show I am not just picking obscure or bad teams here, the Royals made their first 5 post season appearances with these. They finally won when they changed their road uniform.
1978-1985 Cleveland Indians
Bland block letters. CLEVELAND on the roads. INDIANS on the home. Upper case C on the hat.
It didn’t have the ugly maroon tops and bottoms. The hat didn’t have the c shaped like a tomahawk. It doesn’t have the racist Chief Wahoo.
This could be any minor league team’s uniform.
1981-1986 Atlanta Braves
Was there ever a less memorable uniform than the pajama pullovers and the blue caps?
Gone was the lower case “a” to bring back memories of Hank Aaron’s 715th homer.
And they hadn’t brought back the tomahawk across the chest.
Yeah the Braves won the 1982 Division in these unis, but they sure didn’t look exciting. I am sure a lot of people flipped past TBS when guys wearing these threads played in an empty Fulton County Stadium.
These are best remembered as the uniform worn in The Slugger’s Wife
. In other words they are not remembered at all.
1983 Texas Rangers
I truly did completely forget about this uniform.
For one whopping season, the Rangers
of 1983 changed their font to all caps and had an awkward TR on their belly where the number should be.
As far as I know TR means Texas Rangers and not Theodore Roosevelt.
I am guessing these didn’t exactly fly off of the rack. If you own one of these, give your pal Sully an e mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
1985-1986 Oakland A’s
I guess these were the airlock years between the bright green Charlie O uniforms of the 1970s A’s and the more stately script Athletics uniforms.
Seeing the team was about to have an identity change, I guess it makes sense to leave the team name off of the uniform all together.
But exactly how much thought was put into the block OAKLAND across the home and away chests?
1985-1990 San Diego Padres
I guess a lot of people complained during the 1984 World Series that the Padres Taco Bell uniforms were kind of ugly. Instead of embracing their ugliness, the Padres took a right turn to dullsville.
They kept the brown in their uniforms, but without the yellow in the cap, it just looked like a boring minor league uniform.
The interlocking SD on the away jersey was a nice idea… but seriously, would you rush out to buy one of these or the brown and yellow Steve Garvey specials?
1987-1990 Chicago White Sox
Between the all red uniforms of the early 1970s, the lapels and Bermuda shorts of the late 1970s and the S-O-X uniforms of the 1980s, the White Sox have had some of the most memorable bad uniforms in history.
Then they went back to their classic uniforms and eventually won a World Series.
But in between they tried out a totally forgettable boring script uniform that featured an unusual cursive C hat.
How forgettable were these? The Official White Sox website has a page devoted to the history of their uniform… and they forgot to include it in their time line!!!!
1987-1993 Houston Astros
Look, if you are going to have an ugly uniform… have an ugly uniform! Don’t do it half way!
From 1975 to 1986, the Astros had the Orange Rainbow uniforms that were so garish and so ugly that they came right back around to beautiful. I even owned one! They were distinct… and the Astros played 2 of the greatest NLCS in history wearing them.
But after the 1986 NLCS, they reduced the orange to a stripe down the sleeve but kept the rest of the uniform the same. So now it was just a bland “Astros” and a star.
It’s like seeing a coloring book before your kids can color it. Someone throw some orange on those threads!!!!
1988-1992 New York Mets (Away Jerseys Only)
The Mets won a World Series with away jerseys that just said “Mets” scrolled across it. Then in 1987 they changed their away jerseys to a terrific script “New York.”
Inexplicably they changed it the very next year to a generic ugly block letter “NEW YORK” that resembled the Yankees away jerseys.
They lost the 1988 NLCS in these uniforms and devolved from a potential dynasty in the late 1980s to the worst team that money can buy in the 1990s.
1992-2004 Montreal Expos
The Expos were a cool and kind of exotic franchise that I truly miss.
Their announcers spoke French, their logo was unusual and they had the great three color “beach ball” hat and wonderfully understated uniforms.
Then they changed into a more generic uniform. Gone was the beach ball cap and replaced with a single color hat. And they went indecisively with a script with a flourish AND pinstripes.
They spent more than a decade in these bland threads.
1992-1994 San Diego Padres (Away Jerseys Only)
Actually the home uniforms that the Padres introduced in 1992 are my favorite San Diego uniforms. I could do without the pinstripes, but the new color scheme and the two colored S and D on the hats are the best they’ve ever had. I wish they’d go back to those.
The road jersey was a generic, no imagination, should have been worn by Cool Hand Luke on the chain gang.
In 1995 they changed the uniform and gave “SAN DIEGO” a nice outline, ergo creating the best uniform combination in their team’s history. Of course they changed it eventually.
1993-1998 Cincinnati Reds
I know the Reds were trying to go back to traditional uniforms… but I ask why for three reasons:
1. They were only three years removed from a World Series title where the team wore the same unis as the Big Red Machine. Why mess with success?
2. The old fashioned hats and sleeveless uniforms looked anachronistic in the ’70s cookie cutter park Riverfront Stadium.
3. Let’s face it. Those white hats made the players look like the Good Humor Man.
1993-1994 New York Mets
The Mets wore these uniforms for two miserable seasons. For some reason the standard script Mets now included a flourish underneath it. It never quite looked right… and in its first season they had a big payroll, had Vince Coleman chucking fire crakers at kids and Anthony Young seemed to lose all 103 of their games.
Met fans would like to pull an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and erase their memories of that season… and those uniforms for that matter.
1994-1996 Chicago Cubs (Away Jerseys Only)
Man, the NL Central around the time of the strike was a division of some lousy threads.
The home jerseys of course are the classic Ernie Banks specials (and they weren’t wearing the blue tops with the bear on it… that top stinks.)
But look at that awful away jersey. The script Cubs with a flourish? Can you imagine if the Cubs had finally won wearing that ugly jersey? Could Cub fans even enjoy it?
(Then again, Broncos fans seemed pretty happy seeing Elway with two Super Bowls in the ugly new helmets, so what do I know?)
1994-1999 Houston Astros
The Astros used to have a wacky George Jetson identity. They had a futuristic name, they played in a futuristic stadium with futuristic grass and they had wacky futuristic uniforms.
And for whatever reason (taste?) they decided to abandon the orange color scheme for possibly the blandest and least colorful uniforms since the advent of color television.
Seriously, which ones are the road uniforms?
Granted, not everyone was thrilled with the orange horizontal lines… but maybe a little color to break it up. Perhaps they were emulating silver jumpsuits… which are always futuristic.
1994 Milwaukee Brewers
Now I’ve already written about this… but it is worth bringing up again.
The Brewers should NEVER have abandoned the M-B baseball glove hat.
The result was the mess of a uniform unspooled in 1994. The M-B interlocking on the hat was too cluttered… as I said before looked like Motre Bame.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, on the uniform they included the MB but thought “It’s not busy enough!” So they put the M-B in a diamond and then stuck two bats in there just to make it a complete travesty.
1995-1996 Baltimore Orioles (Hat Only)
Remember the premise of this post is uniforms that completely slipped my mind. And in looking through old uniforms I have stumbled across a few that made me actually say “Wow! I have NO MEMORY of that!”
Case in point, the alternate Oriole cap.
It’s bad enough they abandoned the smiling bird, but I covered that already.
But they wore gray hats sometime? REALLY? I watched a hell of a lot of baseball in 1995 and 1996. ’95 was the year Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s record. They made the ALCS in 1996. And they wore gray hats sometime? Cal Ripken wore that dull cap with the sideways bird during his streak?
I don’t think I forgot that… I plum never knew it!
1995-1996 Florida Marlins (Away Jerseys and Hats only)
Fans of ugly baseball uniforms rejoiced with the creation of the Florida Marlins in 1993.
They wore TEAL HATS! TEAL HELMETS! They had a big Marlin jumping over their name. They were truly ugly.
Then just two seasons later, they muted their home jerseys adopting the black hats. Yet, they kept the teal caps, but only for the road uniforms.
Don’t they know that you have the colorful hat for home and the dark cap for the road?
1995-1996 Milwaukee Brewers
The final two seasons of the M-B hat were just as bad as the first.
But here’s the forgettable part:
Did you remember the Brewers had a green bill on their away cap?
To quote Joe Wilson, “YOU LIE!”
1997-2001 Anaheim Angels
The California Angels uniforms of my lifetime were always cool. The A with a halo on it and the lower case letter looked good on Reggie and Rod Carew (but not Fred Lynn, but that is just me.)
And then in the mid 1990s, they brought back the CA on their hat for their best ever uniform.
Then Disney bought the team from the Autrey’s the name was changed to Anaheim and this uniform was vomited on the field.
Angel wings on the hat? An overly busy “ANGELS” logo across the chest with pinstripes working against it? It gives me a headache looking at it. It isn’t even worthy of a fun Hall of Shame a la the White Sox shorts or the Brown and Yellow Padres unis.
It’s just a horrible example of marketing people trying to design a new uniform and failing miserably. I went to Angels Stadium this year… didn’t see ONE of these hats or uniforms.
1997-1999 Milwaukee Brewers
Man the Brewers had a run of forgettable uniforms… and I will argue that the 1997-1999 uniforms were the most forgettable of my lifetime.
The bland M hat.
The lifeless uniforms.
These look like uniforms they would use in a beer commercial where they couldn’t get the rights to MLB logos and want to have a generic looking team play.
1997-2000 Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates have always been pretty reliable in their uniforms. They currently wear the sleeveless uniforms and black caps that Roberto Clemente or Ralph Kiner could have worn.
And in the late ’70s during the We Are Family title years, they were wonderfully wacky with the different uniform combinations and the flat caps with the Stargell stars.
But in the mid ’90s they altered the font of PIRATES, making the P and S bigger and giving it a curve like the Giants uniforms of the late 1980s. And like the 1995-1996 Orioles, they inexplicably would alternate to a gray cap that I have no memory of.
Then again, the 1997-2000 Pirates were hardly teams of legend.
1997-2003 Toronto Blue Jays
Why do teams mess with uniforms that are already working???
The Blue Jays had a cool logo and unusual fonts on their uniforms… and they wore those during the George Bell years and the back to back World Series titles years…
You know, their GLORY YEARS!
So naturally they altered the cap to have the Blue Jay sitting in a giant maple leaf. Yeah, we know you are from Canada.
The cool font from the original jersey was scrapped… and the hat even had an awkward red bill.
People love the old uniforms. DON’T MESS WITH SUCCESS! (And have more retro jersey nights!)
1998-2000 Arizona Diamondbacks
Supposedly manager Buck Showalter had a hand in designing these uniforms.
Yeeesh! Nothing screams “Arizona Fall League” more than the DIAMOND Back home jersey.
Plus could we have SOME consistency in the color scheme? Or did Showalter have a thing for Purple… and Teal… And Black… And Orange?
By the time Showalter was canned, they mainly played with the A on their chest and mercifully the cumbersome DIAMOND Backs home uni was phased out.
2001-2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays
The original Tampa Bay Devil Rays uniform was so ugly that the Walt Disney Company (the people who brought you the wings on the Angels hat) fudged history in the movie The Rookie.
Jim Morris in real life wore the laughable pajama top with the Ray on it, but in the movie he wore the lower key “Tampa Bay” jersey that they started wearing 2 years later.
While the new uniforms were no longer embarassingly ugly, they were flat and generic. It didn’t even say DEVIL on it and hid the swimming ray under the RAYS. Like the Astros before them, if you are going to have an ugly uniform, embrace it… don’t do it half assed.
So there you have it. A closet full of forgettable tops and bland hats.
Granted with a few exceptions these were uniforms for teams that weren’t any good. But the Royals, Astros, Orioles and Diamondbacks played in October in these threads.
But if any of you readers wear any of these often, please e mail me at email@example.com.
First one who doesn’t know me personally to e mail me a photo wearing one of these jerseys gets a prize!
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