Jump to content

Home Whites and Road Grays


nateoxford

Recommended Posts

When I first started paying attention to baseball, I was intrigued by two things about the jerseys:

1) For each team, the primary home jersey is white. The primary away jersey is gray. Apparently, this is a tradition that has gone on in baseball since the beginning.

2) With a few exceptions, all the teams in the ML have the team name on Home jerseys and the city name on road jerseys.

Does anyone know the origins of these traditions? Just asking out of curiosity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Teams wore grey jerseys when they were away because they didn't clean the jerseys as often as they did when they played at home. The grey was to make stains seem unnoticeable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In addition to what ziggy said, keep in mind that at the turn of the 20th century, textiles weren't what we have today. As such, many of the synthetic dyes we take for granted weren't around then. Many of the dyes were expensive, and could be toxic as well (part of the reason players started wearing sanitary socks under their hosiery IIRC). Bolts of wool were available in gray and white, and there was enough of a distinction between the two that you could outfit 2 teams and be able to tell them apart. The road grays gave the visiting team the ability to sut their laundry bills by hiding stains.

That said, you can look through Dressed to the Nines and find numerous examples of teams wearing non-gray road uniforms during the early 20th century, rendering my previous paragraph moot... :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This made sense during the turn of the 20th century but why now, during the turn of the 21st century? Baseball is the only sport that wears white homes and gray roads. Why not wear colors for roads? I understand the whole puritanic tradition and all that. But it seems a bit out dated. Unless they have a problem with colored jerseys and like them regulated to 2nd class jerseys. :blink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This made sense during the turn of the 20th century but why now, during the turn of the 21st century? Baseball is the only sport that wears white homes and gray roads. Why not wear colors for roads? I understand the whole puritanic tradition and all that. But it seems a bit out dated. Unless they have a problem with colored jerseys and like them regulated to 2nd class jerseys. :blink:

But why be like everyone else ? lol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In addition to what ziggy said, keep in mind that at the turn of the 20th century, textiles weren't what we have today. As such, many of the synthetic dyes we take for granted weren't around then. Many of the dyes were expensive, and could be toxic as well (part of the reason players started wearing sanitary socks under their hosiery IIRC). Bolts of wool were available in gray and white, and there was enough of a distinction between the two that you could outfit 2 teams and be able to tell them apart. The road grays gave the visiting team the ability to sut their laundry bills by hiding stains.

That said, you can look through Dressed to the Nines and find numerous examples of teams wearing non-gray road uniforms during the early 20th century, rendering my previous paragraph moot... :rolleyes:

Also, IIRC, road greys were preferred because they didn't absorb as much heat as coloured uniforms did.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many of the dyes were expensive, and could be toxic as well (part of the reason players started wearing sanitary socks under their hosiery IIRC).

Isn't that what caused Nap Lajoie's death?

This made sense during the turn of the 20th century but why now, during the turn of the 21st century? Baseball is the only sport that wears white homes and gray roads. Why not wear colors for roads?

Because then you get this.

http://www.oobsports.com/files/frank_robinson_forgot.jpg

http://www.autographedtoyou.com/celebpics/dave_parker3.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Teams wore grey jerseys when they were away because they didn't clean the jerseys as often as they did when they played at home. The grey was to make stains seem unnoticeable.

I don't mean to say that you're wrong -- this explanation jibes with the way early professional clubs operated. But Paul Lukas, among others, offers this explanation by simple assertion. No reference to primary sources or evidence. Plus it assumes that clubs were concerned only about the cost of laundry and that the immense practical benefit to players and paying fans of distinctly uniformed teams was an accidental discovery. In the absence of evidence, Occam's razor would favor an explanation based on a desire for more distinctive uniforms and the price and availability of colored fabric. In any event, no answer to this question should be accepted without some reference to primary evidence. Can any evidence for the "hides stains" hypothesis be offered?

Through much of the 19th century, most clubs had only one uniform that was worn home and away, most often dark pants with a white or all-white. By 1900, most teams seemed to have distinct home and road uniforms, but very dark road uniforms (navy blue, black) were quite common. Gray only seems to have become ubiquitous in the 1910s. Given this very rough timeline of, say, 1869: Teams wear only one uniform; 1901: Teams wear home and road uniforms; 1920: Road uniforms are gray, I think the question requires two explanations. First, when did road uniforms become common and why; and second, why did gray survive while colored road uniforms fell by the wayside?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many of the dyes were expensive, and could be toxic as well (part of the reason players started wearing sanitary socks under their hosiery IIRC).

Isn't that what caused Nap Lajoie's death?

This made sense during the turn of the 20th century but why now, during the turn of the 21st century? Baseball is the only sport that wears white homes and gray roads. Why not wear colors for roads?

Because then you get this.

http://www.oobsports.com/files/frank_robinson_forgot.jpg

http://www.autographedtoyou.com/celebpics/dave_parker3.jpg

I LIKE teams that mix and match like the ol' Pirates did...heck, with 162 games a year, there's plenty of opportunities to wear the traditional white/gray and also spruce things up a bit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And remember how pale blue was popular for road jerseys in the '70's? What was that about?

An experiment. They figured "we're changing the uniform material, why not play with the whole thing?"

Every now and then, baseball has to reject a few of its traditions, just to demonstrate how much value those traditions really have. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And remember how pale blue was popular for road jerseys in the '70's? What was that about?

Remember, the '70s was a time of color. Often garish color (you should see my high school senior photos from 1974). Pale blue was seen as a colorful version of gray.

Some places it worked, some places it didn't. You can look at the teams in the state of Missouri for extremely good and extremely bad usage. The Kansas City Royals looked like they belong in the pale blues -- I still think they should bring them back. The St. Louis Cardinals, on the other hand, looked awful in them.

And remember how pale blue was popular for road jerseys in the '70's? What was that about?

Remember, the '70s was a time of color. Often garish color (you should see my high school senior photos from 1974). Pale blue was seen as a colorful version of gray.

Some places it worked, some places it didn't. You can look at the teams in the state of Missouri for extremely good and extremely bad usage. The Kansas City Royals looked like they belong in the pale blues -- I still think they should bring them back. The St. Louis Cardinals, on the other hand, looked awful in them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Remember, the '70s was a time of color. Often garish color (you should see my high school senior photos from 1974). Pale blue was seen as a colorful version of gray.

Some places it worked, some places it didn't. You can look at the teams in the state of Missouri for extremely good and extremely bad usage. The Kansas City Royals looked like they belong in the pale blues -- I still think they should bring them back. The St. Louis Cardinals, on the other hand, looked awful in them.

I agree with you on the Royals, and that at least a couple of teams ought to bring back the powder blue roads (Royals and Phillies, this means you). As to the Cardinals, there ought to be a rule: If your team is named after a color or combination of colors (Cardinals, Tigers, Red Sox, White Sox, Orioles, Reds), you must not wear uniforms primarily composed of some other color.

Also, if your team is named the Twins, you also shouldn't wear blue uniforms, unless you've finally switched your colors to Minnesota blue and green, at which point the light blue road uniforms would become permissible.

I would love to see more variation in the colors and shades of baseball road uniforms, but conservative variation. Not bright, clownish, or garish colors. So different shades of gray or pastels, or tan, or light blue. But not bright green and yellow or brown and yellow or black and yellow ... come to think of it, all the worst offenders of the '70s seemed to wear a lot of yellow. So I guess my rule would be teams without yellow need to be a bit more creative. Teams with yellow need to stick with the gray.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And remember how pale blue was popular for road jerseys in the '70's? What was that about?

Some of the blame/credit must be dropped at the feet of that new-fangled color picture box all the kids were just going mad about 50 years ago. No longer was it good enough to watch your stories in good ol' black & white (and every gray you could imagine, by crackity!!); you had to see the game in space-age living color.

Ah, to be alive in such an age... the horseless carriage... moving pictures being shown in the comfort of your own living room. Now all we have to look forward to is that durnburned paperless electronic mail we get over the Interwebs... :cursing:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.