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Thread: Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

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    Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

    Here's another article for the baseball uniform aficionados among us. The sleeveless jersey is very much a Cincinnati Reds thing. The Reds wore them from the mid-50s until 1966, and then were the first team to return them to the field in 1993. Several teams have worn them over the years, but no organization has utilized them to the extent that the Reds have.

    We've had several uniform threads here over the years, but I'd like to direct this one specifically toward the sleeveless jerseys. Do you like them or not? Are you tired of the Reds not having sleeves?

    I hated them when they came back in 1993, but they have grown on me a lot since then, especially as they have become more mainstream. But that being said, I really would like to see the Reds return to traditional sleeved jerseys for both home and road, perhaps using the sleeveless as an occasional Sunday alternate or something.

    Also, what are your thoughts on the article itself? Do you agree with what he says?

    A Vested Interest in Sleeveless Jerseys
    by Dave Murray


    There's a dangerous trend afoot in baseball. Some teams have crossed the line into abuse, and we need rules to keep them in check.

    I'm talking, of course, about vests.

    Vests aren't exactly new. The Cubs wore them between 1940 and 1942, but they gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. It must have been some kind of Ohio thing, because the Reds wore them for a decade starting in 1956, the Indians between 1963 and 1969. The Kansas City Athletics also wore vests in 1962 and got loose with the gold and green look a year later, packing them up for the move to Oakland and finally quitting in 1971.

    The pullover polyester era mandated sleeves. After all, do you really want to see skin-tight, buttonless, powder blue vests with those horrid beltless pajama pants? Astros rainbow vests, anyone? Yikes.

    Credit the Marlins, an expansion team that broke many rules with its uniforms, for bringing back vests as an alternate when they unveiled their uniforms in 1992. I proudly wore one to the team's first game in 1993. The Reds also reintroduced vests in 1993, along with white, pinstripe caps. The vests lasted, the white caps didn't.

    Now there are nine teams wearing vests, 9.5 if you count the White Sox and their faux vests. As with all things uniform, they can be divided these into the good, the bad and the "Good Lord, Man, What Were You Thinking?"

    You know about the Gray Flannel Test, the index used to measure a uniform's worthiness. I'm going to add a set of criteria for those who choose to shun sleeves.

    1.) If vests are worn as an alternate, the design must be different from the team's basic jersey. Nothing screams lame like taking a perfectly good jersey and lopping the sleeves off just so you can parade something new in the gift shop. This is called recycling, and it should be left to pop bottles.

    2.) Vests are better if there is an element to one side, rather than stretched across the buttons. This is not a hard and fast rule, but I'm starting to lean that way.

    Before we start, I must say I like vests, when done properly. They're a nod to tradition, and they look cool.

    There are three teams that use vests for their basic uniforms:

    Pittsburgh Pirates

    Classic. A proper use of the vest, harking back to Maz sending the Yankees packing and Roberto Clemente's heyday. These are some of the best uniforms in baseball. Adding pinstripes for a vested alternate was unnecessary.

    Cincinnati Reds

    Another first-rate use of vests, when the team wears the red undershirt. Just a pet peeve of mine. I like to see the teams with colors in their names wear that color and not black. Don't get me started on the Blue Jays.

    Kansas City Royals

    As much as I like vests, the Royals had classic uniforms that were basically unmessed with since their debut. When you've reached the inner circle, you don't dive into the gimmick pool. The Tigers and Cardinals have classic uniforms, and you don't want them lopping off their sleeves for the heck of it.

    Alternates

    Alternates fall into two categories: Those who violate the rule and slice the sleeves off their regular jerseys and those who come up with a new design.

    The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays are three teams recycling jerseys like AC/DC recycles riffs. They're fine but don't offer anything more than the basic jersey.

    In the case of the Angels, this isn't surprising because the road uniform is basically a gray version of the home uniform. The batting-practice jersey looks better. In fact, if they took the Big A with the halo from the BP jersey and used it on the vest, I'd be saluting. It would bring back memories of my short trip to L.A. last year, when I got to drive my Ford rental car under the Big A scoreboard on my way to the Richard Nixon Library.

    As for the Diamondbacks, if they're going to use their own Big A for their vest, they should bring back the "Diamondbacks" they wore for a while on the sleeved version.

    And the Devil Rays just have been a disaster since birth. The green jersey would have been a better vest instead if it were just a sleeved alternate.

    Others who try something different:

    Cleveland Indians

    Your feeling on this vest will rest entirely on how comfortable you are with Chief Wahoo, who is all red and grinning over the left breast. I used to be OK with him, but I've since fallen into the Wahoo-is-offensive camp. But what's the alternative? Not that "I" thing that looks like a "J" the team wears on its alternate cap. Back to the drawing board.

    Texas Rangers

    This is growing on me, but slowly. I used to think they were horrible. Now we just peacefully co-exist. The team blows up the T from the cap. I'm still not sold on the piping around the arm holes

    Colorado Rockies

    This is bad. We're talking avert-your-eyes, hide-the-women-and-children bad. It's a black vest with Colorado spelled out across the front like on the road jerseys. But there's white, or silver, I can't tell, with double piping only along the arm holes. And they wear this atrocity with purple undershirts, unless they're wearing them with black undershirts, which looks even worse. The Rockies are one of a handful of teams legally allowed to wear black under the Gray Flannel Test - Giants, Pirates and Orioles are the others - but these look like clown suits. They also have a more traditional vest, a white, pinstriped version with the interlocking CR logo from the cap. That should have been enough.

    Just Say 'No' to Faux

    The Chicago White Sox used to have vests. Recycled from the home uniform to be sure, but they were real vests. Then along came the nasty Disney Angels uniforms with the blue sleeves, followed by the Blue Jays with the blue sleeves, pretending to be vests but not making the full commitment. The Sox have continued with this ruse, trotting out vest-like jerseys with attached black sleeves.

    Vests that should be

    I'm not saying every team needs to adopt a vest. But because this trend is showing no sign of letting up, I'm going to step in and offer suggestions. Lest there be confusion, these are all alternates.

    Milwaukee Brewers

    People are clamoring for the return of the ball-in-glove MB logo. Here's a way for the Brewers to have their crappy uniforms and appease the fans, too. How about a vest with the ball-in-glove, but instead of bright blue and yellow they can use the navy blue and gold of the current uniform?

    St. Louis Cardinals

    Only the criminally insane would tamper with the birds-on-bat design pretty much at the center of the inner circle. But I really like the logo on the team's alternate cap. How about that on a white vest? It's only an alternate, so there might not be a riot under the arch.

    Oakland Athletics

    This is a no-brainer. Resurrect the A's design the team wore as vests in the 1960s. Heck, go all the way and make them gold.

    San Diego Padres

    The Padres look horrible anyway, so we can be radical here. How about a navy vest with the Swinging Friar logo over the breast?

    Florida Marlins

    The team has an alternate with the F logo from the cap. Lop off the sleeves and they have a fine vest.

    Baltimore Orioles

    How about the Laughing Bird logo they wore on the caps in the glory days? They could wear it with the lame O's caps they have, so there aren't conflicting, realistic vs. cartoonish birds on the uniform.

    Chicago White Sox

    Drop the faux vests and the recycling. I always have loved the winged-sock logo the team used in the 1950s. I don't think it's ever been on a uniform. Heck, even the sock in the black diamond logo on the road jersey would work.

    Boston Red Sox

    A tasteful logo of the World Series trophy - worn only in games against the Yankees. Look, you can't rub it in enough for my taste.

    Help stamp out, eliminate, and do away with redundancy.

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    Re: Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

    Go back to the 1968-1971 looks.....all red and white......black shoes....
    high red sox. Best look IMO for this team.

    It looked clean and classy.

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    Re: Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

    I love the vests. I don't mind a traditional jersey, but I NEVER want to see the 70's double-knit pullovers again unless it's a once-a-decade retro game. I also loathe the high red sock and I miss the high stirrups.

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    Re: Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

    I think everyone knows where I am on the subject. The '68-'71 home uniform look is just classic. I prefer the road uniform to be modeled after the 1969 road uniform. Grey uniform with "CINCINNATI" outlined in white on the front, with the numbers on front and back and the players name in "red" only. Black shoes, red stirrup socks and the Red cap with the white wishbone "C" that just eminates, "Cincinnati Reds Baseball." I wouldn't, however, mind seeing the Reds keep the vests as an alternate uniform look, but only with Red sleeves and eliminate the black trim and replace it with the navy blue of the early 60's in the limited way it was used at the time. What would be really cool is if they would bring back "Old Red" and use him on the vests the way that they did on the 1956 road uniform, and wear a grey flannel cap with the red bill and red "C" with the alternate vest on the road. For the rest of the games, red cap with white wishbone "C" only. Old Red would look great on a Red jacket, as well. I also like the jackets that they wore in the early 60's and then again in the early 70's that had "Cincinnati" in script across the front with a "tail" under the word. I have a wool one from Mitchell and Ness that I wear in the winter.

    As far as vests in general, I feel that teams that have traditionally worn vests, look good in them if they harken them back to traditional looks, but otherwise, it doesn't really work for me.

    I loved the caps that the Reds wore on the road during the period of '61-'66. I have one and wear it frequently. It was grey flannel with a red bill and red oval style "c" outlined in navy blue. Teams have tried grey caps recently, (Baltimore and KC) but none have used the flannel material that makes it look authentic. The imitation looks quite "bush league" along with the cheap, Majestic imitations that a lot of teams have used for the throwback games. If they are going to do a throwback, do it with Mitchell and Ness and do it right. The Reds did a couple of good throwback road uniform's against the Mets and Phillies a few years back, but I would credit that to the Mets and Phillies and not the Reds. One was the '61-'66 road uniform (Dibble ripped his off, buttons flying exiting the field at Shea) and the other was the '57-'60 road uniform, which they also wore with the red stirrups with white stripes that were worn with that uniform.
    Last edited by RANDY IN INDY; 07-23-2005 at 01:09 PM.
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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

    I don't love the vests, but styles are fleeting and this fad will go back on the shelf in a few years.
    /r/reds

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    Knowledge Is Good Big Klu's Avatar
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    Re: Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Cloninger
    Go back to the 1968-1971 looks.....all red and white......black shoes....
    high red sox. Best look IMO for this team.

    It looked clean and classy.
    I like that, too, but you would never get the players to wear their pants at the proper length.

    As for the sleeveless uniforms, I like them, but I would like to get rid of the pinstripes on the home white uniform, and wear red sleeves with the road gray uniform.

    My ideas for uniform design (for those who like the black sleeves and black cap with red bill, both the Home and Away uniforms can be made into Alternate uniforms by using black sleeves instead of red):

    Plan A
    Home: White sleeveless uniforms (with or without pinstripes--preferably without), C-Reds logo on right breast, red number on left breast, red sleeves, solid red cap

    Alternate Home #1: White sleeveless uniform (as above), black sleeves, black cap with red bill

    Alternate Home #2: Red sleeved jersey with white pants (pants with or without pinstripes, as above), C-Reds logo on right breast, white number on left breast, solid red cap

    Away: Gray sleeveless unforms with black trim around armhole, "CINCINNATI" in red arched block letters, red number offset below on left side, red sleeves, red cap with black bill

    Alternate Away #1: Gray sleeveless uniforms (as above), black sleeves, black cap with red bill

    Alternate Away #2: Red sleeved jersey (same as Alt. Home #2) with gray pants, red cap with black bill


    Plan B
    Go back to the 1970 uniforms. One solid red cap, one home white uniform, one road uniform. (But an alternate look that is inspired by the 50's and 60's.)

    Home: White sleeved uniform, C-Reds logo on right breast, red number on left breast, solid red cap.

    Home Alternate: White sleeveless uniform, Mr. Redlegs head on right breast, red number on left breast, red sleeves, white cap with red bill.

    Away: Gray sleeved uniform, "CINCINNATI" in red arched block letters, red number offset below on left side, solid red cap.

    Away Alternate: Gray sleeveless uniform with black trim around armhole, "CINCINNATI" in red arched block block letters trimmed in black, red number trimmed in black offset below on left side, red sleeves, gray cap with red bill (red C trimmed in black).


    Regardless of which plan is implemented, the pants should be worn at the proper height to display the socks (stirrups, preferably) as they are supposed to be.
    Last edited by Big Klu; 07-23-2005 at 07:18 PM.
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    Knowledge Is Good Big Klu's Avatar
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    Re: Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

    Quote Originally Posted by RANDY IN CHAR NC
    I think everyone knows where I am on the subject. The '68-'71 home uniform look is just classic. I prefer the road uniform to be modeled after the 1969 road uniform. Grey uniform with "CINCINNATI" outlined in white on the front, with the numbers on front and back and the players name in "red" only. Black shoes, red stirrup socks and the Red cap with the white wishbone "C" that just eminates, "Cincinnati Reds Baseball." I wouldn't, however, mind seeing the Reds keep the vests as an alternate uniform look, but only with Red sleeves and eliminate the black trim and replace it with the navy blue of the early 60's in the limited way it was used at the time. What would be really cool is if they would bring back "Old Red" and use him on the vests the way that they did on the 1956 road uniform, and wear a grey flannel cap with the red bill and red "C" with the alternate vest on the road. For the rest of the games, red cap with white wishbone "C" only. Old Red would look great on a Red jacket, as well. I also like the jackets that they wore in the early 60's and then again in the early 70's that had "Cincinnati" in script across the front with a "tail" under the word. I have a wool one from Mitchell and Ness that I wear in the winter.

    As far as vests in general, I feel that teams that have traditionally worn vests, look good in them if they harken them back to traditional looks, but otherwise, it doesn't really work for me.

    I loved the caps that the Reds wore on the road during the period of '61-'66. I have one and wear it frequently. It was grey flannel with a red bill and red oval style "c" outlined in navy blue. Teams have tried grey caps recently, (Baltimore and KC) but none have used the flannel material that makes it look authentic. The imitation looks quite "bush league" along with the cheap, Majestic imitations that a lot of teams have used for the throwback games. If they are going to do a throwback, do it with Mitchell and Ness and do it right. The Reds did a couple of good throwback road uniform's against the Mets and Phillies a few years back, but I would credit that to the Mets and Phillies and not the Reds. One was the '61-'66 road uniform (Dibble ripped his off, buttons flying exiting the field at Shea) and the other was the '57-'60 road uniform, which they also wore with the red stirrups with white stripes that were worn with that uniform.
    Not bad ideas, but I never liked the oval C or the navy trim. If I could really do what I wanted, I would eliminate the black altogether (except that some dark trim is needed on the gray sleeveless design, and I like black better than navy), even from the white C on the cap, and go back to a plain white C on a plain red cap.
    Last edited by Big Klu; 07-23-2005 at 01:57 PM.
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    Re: Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

    FWIW the first "sleeveless" uniform 1940 Cubs


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    Re: Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Klu
    Not bad ideas, but I never liked the oval C or the navy trim. If I could really do what I wanted, I would eliminate the black altogether, even from the white C on the cap, and go back to a plain white C on a plain red cap.
    I would be for eliminating all the black and any other color but red and white, (and grey of course for the road uni's) except for the shoes.
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    Re: Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

    Interesting that the black sleeve design on the original 61-66 uni's was originally a single black band in rememberance of Powell Crosley who died on March 28, 1961. They wore the uniform with only one black band in 1961. The second was added later.
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    Re: Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

    I'm still waiting for shorts to come back
    Go Gators!

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    Re: Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

    Those '76 Chi-Sox uni's were worse than bad.
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    Re: Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Cloninger
    Go back to the 1968-1971 looks.....all red and white......black shoes....
    high red sox. Best look IMO for this team.

    It looked clean and classy.
    I agree.
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    Re: Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

    Last edited by RFS62; 07-23-2005 at 03:04 PM.
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    Re: Uniform Article: A Vested Interest In Sleeveless Jerseys

    That photo intrigues me. Did Gullett actually write his career statistics on that photo? That's unique and strange--at least to me.

    I like the current uniforms with red sleeves (though I'm not opposed to the black which has been a hit with the kids who buy caps and jersies). Like Big Klu and RFS62, I like the 61-65 uniforms with the black outline around the sleeves. I really liked the caps, but in today's style prejudices, the white cap wouldn't make it nor would the gray home cap. And I have a problem with the non-wishbone C.
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