We resume our series on the ugliest uniforms in sports by turning our attention to baseball. With the season upcoming, there is no better time to showcase the ugliest baseball unis ever, according to me. You'll probably find as you're reading along that going monochrome gets bonus ugly points.
#10. The 1969 Seattle Pilots - If This Was The Uniform Your Stewardess Wore On Your Flight, You Would Walk Out.
The Pilots, which only lasted one year and then became the Milwaukee Brewers, left an indelible mark in the world of ugliest uniforms. Whether it is the uniform number on the right chest or the cap that was supposed to resemble that of an airline pilot with its "wings" embroidery on the brim, it's not mystery why these guys played in a place called Sicks Stadium. Along with these lovely home threads, the Pilots sported a baby-blue number on the road that would eventually be reborn as the Seattle Mariners roadies until 1988.
#9. A Triple Play of Ugly - Cleveland Indians 1974-1978
Whether it's the cartoonish, Flintstones-style "INDIANS" written across the pullover-style jerseys, or the red top/red pants monochrome look, the Indians were a tough team to take seriously in the 1970's. Their on-field production wasn't much to look at, either. Cleveland featured a red, navy blue and white version of the Flintstones jersey, and alternated them all with white pants, except on the rare occasion they went all-red, which basically made them look like hot dogs with blue baseball caps on.
Even Oscar Gamble's tremendous, awe-inspiring, gravity-defying afro couldn't improve these things.
#8. Failure to Launch - Houston Astros 1975-1993
These could be higher on the list based on your preference, but the yellow, orange and red gradient uniforms that were unmistakably the Houston Astros served its purpose. They gave the Astros great brand recognition. The upper deck seats of the Astrodome were done in the exact same gradient pattern as the uniforms. These might be the most effective "ugly uniforms" on the list. Even if the name wasn't on the jersey, most people would recognize the team immediately.
#7. Classic Nasty - The Boston Red Sox 1908 Throwbacks (brought back in 1997)
These were probably acceptable for the times, but when the Red Sox brought out these unis in 1997 and several times since, they just seemed ridiculous. The laces in the front and the sport collar really add to the hilarity of it all. Seeing a big guy like Mo Vaughn in one of these is very entertaining. Some throwbacks withstand the test of time and look cool like the Kansas City Monarchs Negro League uniforms the Royals wear sometimes, or the Brooklyn Dodgers flannels that L.A. will bring out now and then. These? Cool? Not so much.
#6. At Least We'll Be Safe While Hunting - The 1971 Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles were among the first teams to don an "alternate" uniform in MLB. In 1971, these all-orange sweeties were it. While searching for photos for this article, one website described the look as "dressing up like candy corn". I'd say that's pretty close. Could you imagine being an umpire and having Earl Weaver come out and argue a call in these? How could you keep a straight face when you're getting chewed out by a 5 1/2 foot carrot?
#5. World Championship Ugly - The 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates won a World Series and featured a lineup of great sluggers like Willie Stargell and Dave Parker, and because of their postseason success, millions of people watching on national TV got an eyeful of some of the ugliest uniforms ever. The Pirates had a traditional white home uniform with black pinstripes which was fine, but the fun began when they wore the solid black, solid yellow, or a combination of the two uniforms. Top it off with bright yellow batting helmets and pillbox-style caps with horizontal pinstripes running around the perimeter and you've got yourself some uniforms! I wonder if the guys that designed these might not have been partaking in a little recreational drug use along with those players implicated in the Pittsburgh Drug Trials. Hmmm?
#4. The 1979 Philadelphia Phillies "Saturday Night Specials"
1979 was a banner year for crappy uniforms in Pennsylvania. These things were precious. Talk about maroon overload. The Phillies busted out the monochromatic look for Saturday games in 1979. Maroon pants, jersey, and cap. Could you imagine what these things would look like in HD? Although, it would be something if the current Phillies brass decided to bust these suckers out for one game. Wow.
#3. SoCal, So Ugly - San Diego Padres (1978-1985)
The Padres went through several degrees of nasty over an eight-year period, beginning when they first joined MLB from the Pacific Coast League in 1969. The first era being the lovely brown and what I assume is supposed to be gold. This uniform strongly resembles what you might find in a newborn's loaded diaper. As we enter the 1980's, the Pads added some orange to the white, brown and gold motif. I think this may have been an effort to represent some sort of sunset or southwest theme, but it failed miserably. In 1987, the Padres moved to a boring-but-clean white-with-brown pinstripe set with road grays. They made a few more tweaks to that until they rolled out nice brand new duds to coincide with the opening of Petco Park in 2004.
#2. The Chicago White Sox "Shorts Game" - August 8, 1976
Hall of Fame owner, master promoter and certified baseball man Bill Veeck thought it would be a great idea to have his South-siders suit up in shorts instead of baseball pants for the first game of a doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals. Needless to say the visiting nine were amused and let the Sox players have it with catcalls and insults the entire game, leading the White Sox to wear pants in the nightcap. Chicago lost both games, 9-2 and 8-3 respectively, and finished 1976 with a 64-97 record. This was good for dead last in the old AL West, 32 1/2 games behind the first-place Royals. That's right, the Royals once used to be a first place ballclub.
#1. The 1999 MLB "Turn Ahead The Clock" Jersey Project
This had to be one of the worst ideas to ever come out of MLB Properties, Inc. I understand this was a concept to play on the upcoming new millennium and establish a "what if" type of idea, but these jerseys are just plain atrocious. To this day I don't know what that female symbol with ears is on the "Mercury Mets" jerseys. This was an interesting idea but extremely poor application. Get a load of Johnny Damon in that Royals jersey. Is he a leadoff hitter or is he in first place in the Tour de France? Yikes.
And now, it's time for a few honorable mention jerseys.
HONORABLE MENTION 1: The San Diego Padres "camo" jerseys - These jerseys have been worn by the Padres over the past few years to honor the military. They are pretty tacky looking jerseys, but after visiting San Diego in 2007 and seeing what a great Navy town it is and the pride and love they have for the soldiers and sailors there, I couldn't include it. The message is more important, and it was a great sight to see.
HONORABLE MENTION 2: Minnesota Dairy Queens - These jerseys are really too obscure to even wind up on the top 10 list. The Minnesota Twins worse these jerseys only twice, on April 6th and 21st, 1997. They were named the "Dairy Queen jerseys" by ESPN announcers for their clear resemblance to the popular ice cream store.
HONORABLE MENTION 3: The Price is Wrong - The Fresno Grizzlies are the Triple-A affiliate of the SF Giants, and I'm not sure why they ever did this, but they had a Price is Right day at the ball park in 2007. Not even Bob Barker would have approved of these unis. The Grizzlies also had a Totally Rad 80s Night in 2008, but thankfully that was just for the fans, not the players.
HONORABLE MENTION 4: The Pink Tablecloth - The only reason this isn't on the main list is because, well, it's from 1916, and it's never been brought back (thank God). But anyhow, back in 1916 the New York Giants went pink for a whole year. Hard to believe the players actually let this happen. No wonder the team finished 4th in the National League that year.
Are there any others that you think deserve consideration? Let's hear it!