The Ugliest Uniforms of All-Time

Earlier this week, SportsCenter featured a poll on the worst sports uniforms of all time, including three baseball teams in the final vote: the Astros of the late 1970s, the Padres of the early 1980s, and the White Sox of the mid-eighties. I agree that the Astros’ awful rainbow uniforms of the seventies have to be included on this list of nominees, but I think that far worse uniforms can be found than the ones featured by the White Sox and Padres in the eighties. Heck, those Padres threads weren’t even the worst in franchise history. In 1972, the Padres unveiled the sickly color combination of a yellow base with a brown trim, culminating in the all-yellow (yes, that’s the pants and the jerseys) monstrosity worn by manager Don Zimmer. Now I’ve been a fan of Zim over the years, but he’s never quite had the figure to pull off that fashion choice with the appropriate level of style.

There have been other atrocities, as well. In 1971, the Orioles came up with an alternate uniform: the all-red eyesore that made even Jim Palmer look odd and made Boog Powell look like a giant red berry. (Later in his career, Boog would wear a similar uniform with the Indians, who apparently never learned a lesson from the Orioles’ Frankenstein experiment.) In 1976, the brilliant mind of Bill Veeck lost his sanity momentarily when he decided to outfit his White Sox in short pants oh so briefly. Opponents laughed out loud at the Sox’ players in their moment of indecent exposure; the Sox even ednured the physical pain of bruises and scrapes on their suddenly tattered legs. And then there was another failed experiment in 1979, when Phillies owner Ruly Carpenter decided that an all-maroon look just needed to be showcased in the City of Brotherly Love. With his players near revolt, the Phillies abandoned the maroon-ic (or was it maronic?) look after only one game.

So which qualifies as the worst uniform of all-time? My vote has to go those awful Astros uniforms of the rainbow seventies. (If you’d like to examine the uniform designs of all teams throughout the years, visit the terrific on-line exhibit featured at the Hall of Fame’s web site.) With the aforementioned duds leading the way, here is a rundown of ten of the worst uniform designs of the last 35 years. Voice your opinion as to the absolute worst:

Baltimore Orioles (all-red) 1971

San Diego Padres (yellow and brown) 1972-73

Atlanta Braves (blue and white) 1972-75

Cleveland Indians (all-red pajamas) 1975-77

Houston Astros (rainbow) 1975-1979

Chicago White Sox (short pants) 1976

Pittsburgh Pirates (bumblebee uniforms) 1977-1984

Cleveland Indians (pale blue tops) 1975-77

Philadelphia Phillies (all-maroon) 1979

Chicago White Sox (red and blue band across the chest) 1982-86

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2 comments

  1. michael@chartertn.net

    I think there should be a final choice: all of the above. Actually, when you think about it, all of those old late ’70s and early ’80s uniforms (with the exception of the Yanks and Dodgers) were pretty awful. The best of them looked like softball uniforms (A’s, Giants, Reds, Tigers) and the worst looked like, as you said, pajamas. If I had to pick the absolute worst, I’d say those all red pajamas were it – expecially when you think of Frank Robinson, Charlie Spikes, Boog Powell and Oscar Gamble (!) with all that hair (!!). But then those Astros uniforms were worn *forever*, so let’s call it a tie …

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