Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How Fashionable Are Ballplayers?

A few weeks ago, the MLB.com "Cut4" blog posted this photo, which was originally tweeted by @HitchnerArt:
Unlike most of the other things surrounding the Mets organization, that dress is not the least bit disappointing. (Zing!) In fact, it got me thinking about other major fashion moments in baseball history. From the first baseball stockings to the batting helmet to top-of-the-line shades, attire has always served an important function on the diamond.

MLB can't hold a candle to the NBA in terms of fashion -- historically or recently -- but baseball has seen its share of Seventh Avenue moments. With that in mind, here are my five favorite instances of the garment industry intersecting with the game we love:

5. Dave Parker, repping the '70s
Steeze (via cabinetbeer.com)
The "We Are Family" Pirates boasted unforgettably stylish uniforms, but this photo embodies the team's quintessential '70s vibe.

4. Ken Griffey, Jr., rocking the backwards hat



When Griffey participated in the 1993 Home Run Derby at Camden Yards, it was another example of the guy they called the Kid just acting like one of the kids. Griffey's backwards lid trumps other All-Star Game style choices like Jeter's baller cleats and Larry Walker's backwards helmet. It also beats out last year's "Fields of Fashion" promotion in that fashion hotbed known as Minneapolis.

3. Hawk Harrelson, pioneering the batting glove
Harrelson, who's now best-known for his obnoxious announcing, first wore batting gloves in 1963 to cover a golf blister. This moment was more of a functional, on-field event, but it warrants a mention here because batting gloves have since become a way to make a fashion statement.

2. Babe Ruth, killing it in fur
Ruth in '31 (Photo via myauctions.com)
Ruth's fur coats edged out his famous Triple Crown headgear for a spot on this list. The Bambino loved his furs, in more ways than one.


1. The White Sox, bulging out of their shorts
In August of 1976, the White Sox took the field for the first game of a doubleheader wearing Bermuda shorts, the brainchild of eccentric owner Bill Veeck.

Ralph Garr and Minnie Minoso (Photo via karamaxjoe.webs.com)

The shirt in that photo almost looks like it was done using body paint. And those shorts could make an Olympic sprinter blush. That ensemble had actually debuted during a bizarre springtime fashion show, making this moment an appropriate topper to our list.

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As for this season, I'm curious about what new fashion trends will permeate the game. What might we see this year? Will an ejected player or manager concoct a disguise akin to Bobby Valentine's? Will Matt Kemp take over for Derek Jeter as the game's best-dressed player? What ridiculous get-ups will Joe Maddon dream up in his first year with the Cubs? Will Justin Verlander again make news for his lack of clothing? Time will tell.

Oh, and there's one more fashion-in-baseball moment that we'd regret omitting:

Honorable Mention: Smalls, nerding it up
There is no written statement that could adequately describe this fashion statement:

Via nbcsports.com



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