If you thought 2019 was going to be just another soul-deadening year of rebuilding for the Reds, think again. This year, the Reds going to wear more unnecessary and commercially available throwback uniforms than any other Major League team.

The history minor in me should like this 150th anniversary gimmick. I feel sad for myself that when the highly shareable graphic popped up on the Reds Twitter feed, I immediately and slowly nodded my head, for now I will not have to wonder what to buy various nephews for Christmas until they are well out of college. They’re getting one piece of historically inspired spiritwear a year until 2034, at which point they can all drink, at which point Aunt Beth is going to drive at a semi-reasonable speed past their houses on their birthdays and hurl a six-pack out the window. Cynical as I am, this makes my life easier, I’m willing to throw down officially licensed money for that, and the Reds know it.

Beyond this, I don’t know how historically accurate this corporate mess actually is. If the team were serious about it, they’d send Votto and company out in full wool at least four times, which what the original teams disgustingly wore. And if you think I’m going to let Scooter out of knowing the full horror of polyester for the 1976 and 1990 uniforms, you have got another thing coming.

These kids today don’t know the shocking sacrifices we made so that they could climb mountains and fall off hoverboards and sit on their butts in soft, moisture-wicking material. I had to run up and down the full length of a SAY soccer field mid-August in heavy, itchy, 100% polyester complete with the stupid, even more uncomfortable ring-around-the-arm band, and I didn’t win anything, not even an “At Least You Tried” cake to ease my pain.

At first I had trouble understanding why the 1969 uniforms were even included until I realized that half of Reds Twitter was breaking the retweet function on any statement proclaiming a preference “for the ’69. “You are all twelve-year-old boys, is what the Reds are telling us, and they are correct.

The 1999 for-some-reason black monstrosities, I got nothin’. Unless the Reds are including an actual Sean Casey in one of these things, I don’t want any part in seeing any of them ever again.

The uniform throwback which concerns me the most is 1911’s, because it has the least to do with being an actual Reds uniform, which, in effect, makes it the most modern. The navy blue 1911 Reds uniform anticipates our decade’s worrying obsession with temporary uniforms having nothing at all to do with the actual team colors. I should not have to search out a graphic to see which team is playing who during a highlights reel. I should be able to glance up at the screen, see a swarm of grey and blue football jerseys and two brown ones ramming into each another, and instinctively know the Cowboys are playing Cleveland.

My personal favorite is when Ohio State’s football field trotted onto the field recently in all black, looking like the UC Bearcats, because their colors are scarlet and grey and why not. I look forward to next week’s Bengals neon green pants. You know this is coming.

You have been warned.

27 Responses

  1. greenmtred

    I’m old enough to be a curmudgeon, Mary Beth, but I doubt that you are. That said, thanks for starting Friday off on a bright note. Funny as always.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Thanks! But I’m also old enough to have once said “You’re too young too…” to a person younger than me, which I’m pretty sure is the threshold.

  2. lwblogger2

    Yeah, um, well… I um… Chad really likes the 1911 uniforms. They look spiffy but they don’t really say “Reds” to me in any way whatsoever. I’m with you on the black 1999 uniforms. Put The Mayor in one and I’ll pay attention but anyone else and well…

    Another giant marketing ploy by our favorite baseball team. As the great Yogurt once said “Merchandising!” The Mel Brooks accent of course doesn’t come through in print but I’m willing to bet you hear it in your head upon reading.

    • lwblogger2

      Hmmm, the missing comma in my last sentence are likely a subconscious nod to my sadism.

      • lwblogger2

        “are likely” wow… I did it again! “is likely”

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I mean, I do like the navy uniforms just by dint of aesthetics. And I was given a navy blue Reds cap modeled after a 40s version.
      And people would say, “Cool cap, which team is that?”
      I no longer own that cap.

  3. Scott C

    Thanks for the article, it is always a bright spot. I am old enough that I actually wore a wool uniform in little league. Talk about hot and itchy, but it was worth it to be able to play the greatest game ever.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Wool? Like actual wool?
      You win the “my childhood uniform sucked” contest, forever.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        I wore a wool uniform in high school. Heavy and uncomfortable and it smelled funny if we ended up playing in the rain.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        That sounds like an utter, complete, total nightmare.

      • lwblogger2

        Our HS uniforms and our uniforms at Midland were polyester when I played.

  4. Scott C

    And also, I agree with you teams ought to wear their colors and quit this mess of wearing whatever and please get rid of the camo uniforms, baseball players should look like baseball players not hunters or soldiers.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      As the daughter and SIL of a vet, I certainly appreciate the sentiment, but yeah. Stop blending into the grass.

  5. Scott Ledridge

    The softball jerseys of the Schott years were the worst. I don’t understand the desire some have to bring those back.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I know I’m in the minority here, but the 70s weren’t to fashion-forward either.
      I would say I like the current ones, but I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THOSE ACTUALLY LOOK LIKE since they keep changing them between each at-bat.

  6. jreis

    with the HR/K/BB/HR/K/BB style of todays game uniform performance is less important than style. I kind of like the idea of the tuxedo uniforms of the early 1900s or possibly the shorts and tee shirt style of the Chicago whitesox circa 1984.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Or, just send them out there in actual tuxedos. I’d like to see the replicas they come up with for that.

      • greenmtred

        And if they’re really only going to walk, strike out or hit a homer, they could do that in tuxedos as well as they could in anything else.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        I vote they all have the 80s prom style bow ties.

  7. WVRedlegs

    Nice article.
    Face it, the Reds have some very drab uniforms. About as Plain Jane as they can be. The Cardinals home jerseys and the Braves home jerseys are probably the best in baseball, with the TB Rays light blue jerseys also having a good appeal.
    The Reds are supposed to be the Redlegs, but a majority of today’s players wear their white/gray pants legs down past their ankles. I believe they make uniform socks that look like stirrups, so why not wear those? The Reds red socks with the graphic designs on them are OK, but a stirrup look would be better.
    The Bengals can have the neon green. I can’t wait for the Reds to add teal to their red, white……and black colors. (shhh, sarcasm).
    Who buys this stuff? I have yet to see any of these jersey adaptations in the stands or on the street. The Mothers Day stuff, the Fathers Day stuff, any of the different types of military jerseys they have trotted out. I think I saw one camo jersey one time in the stands on TV. I have never seen a Los Rojos jersey anywhere but GABP on the players. Why do teams go to such lengths for supposed marketing gimmicks when very, very few are buying this crap?
    Now if the Reds come out with their own adaptation of the early 1980’s Houston Astros rainbow jerseys, I might buy, maybe.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Oh the whole array is available at the Majestic shop by the stadium. But I agree, i don’t see many of the special jerseys actually out and about very often. *Someone’s* buying them, though, or they wouldn’t feel the need to keep up with everybody else.

      It’s even more blatant in the minor leagues, who, granted, are masters of self-promotion but not necessarily of finding a classic style and sticking with it.

    • John46

      Mostly the stuff is too expensive. There aren’t places to wear the stuff; I have a Reds jersey and have worn it twice. The caps are a bit more appealing but I have a dozen or so, various teams. Another for 30 bucks isn’t going to make it. I live in Chicago area and see a lot of Cubs gear on fans. They do buy the stuff. Reds fans, not enough of them that ditzy.

  8. scotly50

    I remember more of those uniforms than I care to admit. A hat is the only part of any official Reds uniform I have adorned. But I might be tempted should the money be used for a Kluber or Bryant, and not to fill up the Slurpee machine.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      As long as it’s the Slurpees with the shot in them, they can fill those up all day long

  9. msanmoore

    “Flowers are red, young man. Green leaves are green. There’s no need to see things any other way than the way they always have been seen.” (HT to the late Harry Chapin)

    Cool designs are one thing. Absurd colors (like the green Reds uniform) are just out there.

    Thanks for the diversion. I always read your stuff and provide at least some comment. I guess that kind of makes us a cult following here on RLN. I hope that’s not creepy (at least not as creepy as the old Astro’s shirts – in polyester).

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Not at all. It just confirms your excellent literary taste.