I don’t know about you, but I think Major League Baseball uniforms, in general, are a mess. Everyone has alternate home and road jerseys and caps and special occasion jerseys for afternoon Sunday games that fall on an even numbered day when the temperature is between 80 and 85 degrees. And don’t even get me started on the camo abominations. It’s a disaster.

Since it’s the offseason now, this seems like a good time to gripe about it and make suggestions. The Reds are going to be good again eventually and they might as well look good either way. Anyhow, it’s been a while since I’ve put forth opinions which are completely and unassailably correct in every way, so let’s talk about baseballing clothes.



The Reds are generally accepted to be the first professional baseball team. And yet, unlike so many of their early-baseball kin, they lack uniforms that carry a classic feel. In fact, the Reds have changed clothes approximately 17 quadrillion times since their inception with only 1.5 quadrillion of those changes being represented by the variety of alternate uniforms they wore last year.



The Reds have had generally ugly uniforms for a long, long time. The golden era for the franchise came while they were wearing the equivalent of a 70s leisure-suit. Sure, it seemed in keeping with the times, but now we know how stylistically misguided those times were. Worse, once the franchise acknowledged that it was time to move on, they got caught up in the 1990s cartoonery and brought us those sleeveless-abominations. Bad. Bad. Bad.


The Plan

Here’s where I provide a template to avoid future uniform missteps. Note that I said “provide” and not “offer.” This is because my opinions on this matter are right. If you disagree, you probably need to take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror. I mean, really, what has become of you?

The following is a list of things that should not ever be part of a Reds uniform:

  1. “Accent” colors (I’m looking at you, blue & black)
  2. Sleeveless jerseys
  3. Cursive script

Here are things that should be required as part of the uniform:

  1. The wishbone C (duh)
  2. Buttons (no more pullovers, ever)
  3. High socks

I think, if we keep to the above requirements, it’s hard to come up with something particularly awful. In fact, I don’t think there’s much wrong with the current standard home uniforms, which are very similar to the classic-Tigers home garb. I would remove the numbers from the front, but if I weren’t busy being right about everything, you could convince me to allow them.

The road uniforms are a different matter though. Road uniforms in general tend to have one of two problems: 1. Incredible boringness 2. Incredible ugliness.

There have, in Reds history, been two exceptions, I think. First, despite the abomination of the 1990s homes uniforms, I’ve always been fond of the pinstriped road uniforms in their sleeved edition, and I could definitely be persuaded to bring them back.  Additionally, there was an interesting little quirk on their road uniforms back in the 30s. Here’s a drawing of them and here’s a picture. Now, while I am certainly not defending the blue accent color, I do like the stylized letters spelling out Cincinnati. It feels appropriate to the city. Kind of steamboat-y, if you get what I mean, and the Reds have been playing with the old-timey thing lately. I think one or possibly both of these things would really jazz up the current road uniforms and fully encourage the Reds to take my obviously correct advice and revise their plumage accordingly.

Okay, everyone, you may now form an orderly line in the comments to express your unanimous enthusiasm for my entirely correct baseball clothing opinions.

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

Join the conversation! 36 Comments

  1. Can we get a sleeveless exemption for anyone on the team whose bicep measurement meets or exceeds Big Klu?

  2. The current away unis look pretty similar to those older ones you linked, no? They have the heavily stylized “Cincinnati” and almost identical sleeve trim.

  3. I actually really like the team’s current uniforms… I don’t mind what you have “provided” other than I don’t love the high socks.

  4. The sleeveless jerseys were around in the 50’s, and I was sorry to see them re-incarnated. I would add the stupid camo unis to your list of deplorables. While there are certainly times when the Reds could reasonably want to blend seamlessly into their surroundings and thus escape detection, the camo doesn’t accomplish that, given GABP’s color scheme.

    • I could be wrong, but I am confident that the camo jersey was a way to show appreciation of the military, so the military probably doesn’t find them to be stupid

      • My father is a veteran, and he thinks that the camo jerseys are incredibly stupid

        • I could be completely wrong, but I thought sales of the camo jerseys put money in some sort of veterans fund… if not, they should!

        • I am active duty and I do not think they are incredibly stupid, nor did the Army reps who put together the events with the Reds for things like the Ken Griffey Jr camo jersey giveaway or the Jay Bruce Bobblehead giveaway

      • I think that you’re right, but it strikes me as a superficial, for-show demonstration. Joining the military ( and getting camo fatigues) would make it more real, wouldn’t it? In the meantime, to my eye at least, they look silly on a bunch of young millionaires playing a game.

        • If they all joined the military you wouldn’t have a team to watch, besides it is showing appreciation that someone else is doing the job. Did you tell every person with a yellow ribbon displayed after 9/11 that they should join the military instead of putting a stupid magnet on their car?

        • Fair enough, Bill. It’s a silly argument, particularly because I was indulging in a bit of logical absurdity, which happens with no baseball to watch. Obviously, based upon the other responses, some people like the camo and some don’t. I don’t, just as I don’t like most follow-the -leader displays of patriotism and many other things, on the grounds that, if something is real, it’s not necessary to flaunt it, particularly because the flaunting is often in lieu of more meaningful response, or so it seems to me.

  5. The current home jerseys are nice. Not great, but nice. The daytime home red jerseys need a re-do.
    Red knee socks should be mandatory, they are the Redlegs, no?
    The current road uniforms just suck. I like more of a heather gray. The road unis that the Reds have worn when honoring the Negro Leagues the last 3 years have been pretty nice. The ones 3 years ago were the best of these.
    I can live with no sleeveless jerseys and no pullover jerseys. But they have to have knee length pants and red knee socks, home and away.
    The best ML unis are the Braves and Cards home jerseys and Tampa Bay’s light blue home jerseys.

  6. As a little league coach once told me, “You look good, you play good.”

  7. Why not have them wear bowties and shorts along with knee knockers?

    • Flat-topped hats, too? 48-ounce bats and gloves with no lacing between the fingers? I could live with that.

  8. The home and road unis should be old school timeless classics. The alternate is what you can go crazy and modern on styling.

  9. Hey Jason – I colorized a 1935 shot of Billy Myers in the road uniform. I don’t think I can directly post it here. Want me to send it to you?

  10. I’m sure it’s not going to happen, but I would like to see all Reds players wear high red socks to denote Cincinnati as baseball’s first professional team.

    • Speaking of high socks, did you see the Indian with the high socks last night? I think it was Santana. His pants ended ABOVE the knees. Never seen that before!

  11. I own a green, St. Patty’s Day jersey from spring training… don’t judge me!!

    • We’d never judge you, Patrick, but we are envious. I’m sure you get it…

  12. 1. The letter/numeral style used since 2007 looks, quite frankly, a bit frilly and feminine. Return to traditional block letters/numerals and eliminate the black drop-shadowing. On the road shirts, all the shadowing blurs the name “CINCINNATI,” especially on TV.

    2. Eliminate the black bill on the road caps. It just looks out of place. Replace with red.

    3. Eliminate the red shirts altogether. With the red undershirts and caps, it’s just too much red. (Why put your team in bright red shirts on a hot 90-degree summer Sunday afternoon?)

    4. As a weekend alternate, how about a white-home version of the 1956 road uniform:

    5. Drop the “Los Rojos” shirts. More appropriate for the Miami or L.A. market. In fact, drop all the other special-occasion shirts as well. Teams with great tradition — Yankees, Dodgers, Tigers, Cardinals, etc. — largely stick to the basics. Find ways to honor the military other than by wearing camo caps and shirts.

    • Add sleeves to the ’56 road uniforms, and you’ve definitely got something!

  13. The Navy trim was part of some of the best Reds teams ever in ’39 and ’40, with all the alts honoring the past I would love this look to be reused sometimes.

  14. I’d love to see an alternate uniform that has a black jersey with the white font, outlined in red, with the red helmets and black hats with a red bill.

  15. I noticed in the picture you linked to of 30s uniforms that they guys played for a place called NCINNA. Where the hell is that at?

  16. it has been proven by all advanced metrics that high socks make you run faster–see Billy Hamilton’s stat cast numbers if you have any questions,

  17. I also think we all need to be prepared for the potential of our first full-blown 21st-century red scare brought about by a reaction to the administration-elects foreign policy and that the team name may go back to redlegs officially for at least 4 years. Don’t worry about rojos becoming the temporary substitute.

  18. I strongly prefer that they stick to the team colors whatever the configuration. Nothing worse than tuning in to a game in progress and trying to figure who is who because a team which typically wears red or blue is bedecked in some shade of pastel or other off color. I think we do a better job of avoiding this in the states; but, others who also follow international football (soccer) know what I’m saying……

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About Jason Linden

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.