ANSWER GUY: HOW DO MLB TEAMS DECIDE WHICH UNIFORM TO WEAR?
Pulling on the thread of scholarship to unravel the sweater of ignorance.
Ted Walsh, clubhouse manager, Seattle Mariners: We have two home jerseys. Home white is worn every day except Friday and Monday, when we wear the alternates. Okay, why home white? Paul Lukas, writer, Uni Watch, ESPN.com: Everything was formal back in the early baseball days. You didn't appear in public without formal wear, so the home team would sport white as an extension of that custom. Natty. Caps were also originally a gesture of formality. And a fair sunblock. John Thorn, co-editor, Total Baseball: In 1882, both leagues ordered all teams to give different colors to different positions - all shortstops would wear maroon, all catchers would wear scarlet, all pitchers wore light blue and so on. What about utility players? They weren't invented yet. The colors of the tie, belt and stockings were the only things that alternated by city. It lasted only half a season. Why's that? Because the athletes complained that the multi-hued uniforms made them look like fancy men. Color commentary! What about road grays? Back in the day, players had to buy their own unis and were responsible for their maintenance. Gray jerseys were practical because dirt wasn't as apparent, and players wouldn't have to do laundry as often on the road. Lukas: But teams didn't settle into the home white and road gray idea until the 1920s. Prior to that, penny-pinching owners would often go with whatever fabric was cheapest that year. In 1916, the New York Giants even wore purple plaid. Todd Radom, designer, LA Angels and Washington Nationals uniforms: The Big Bang happened in the 1960s, when Charlie Finley's Kansas City As changed their colors to kelly green and gold. That was really the precursor of the rainbow explosion that took place in the 1970s. Darn hippies. Prior to 1970, jerseys were constructed of flannel, but that year, the Pittsburgh Pirates came out with a polyester jersey. The synthetic material was able to hold elaborate, colored designs. This was also during the rising popularity of televised sports, so they became a promotional tool that hadn't been necessary before. Now many teams have a home jersey, a road jersey and an alternate jersey. So who decides which to wear? Roger Riley, home clubhouse manager, Arizona Diamondbacks: On the day of the game, we have our two different jerseys ready to go, and the starting pitcher will choose which one he wants the team to wear. Of course, many of these guys are superstitious about one, or they'll rotate until they get into a rhythm with one. But if our team has won three in a row in a certain jersey, the starter will probably stay with that. Classy.
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