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The Slimming Effects of Pinstripes and Full-Brimmed Hats: A Historical Look at Baseball Uniforms

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The official baseball uniform was first introduced in 1849 by the New York Knickerbockers Baseball Club, and would grow to become one of the major sources of income for Major League baseball through methods of popular branding and merchandising. By the end of the 19th century, these uniforms were so popular that professional baseball teams had official “home game” and “away game” uniforms. For the most part, the baseball uniforms for home games were white, and uniforms for away games were darker, such as black or gray. Interestingly, this practice transcended into the realm of basketball uniforms, as well; today, most basketball teams continue a similar practice of different uniforms depending on a game’s location.

The pinstripes of baseball uniforms add more than just style to any baseball game; for most people, the symbolism of pinstripes is a well-loved and revered practice that dates back to the days of Babe Ruth. Rumor has it that pinstripes were initially introduced in order to make Babe Ruth appear more “slim” on the playing field; yet the origin or truth of this rumor remains unknown. On the other hand, however, there isn’t much evidence to support an effort for basketball uniforms to make players look slimmer on the court; on the contrary, the original basketball uniforms were much shorter and tighter than they are today!

Around the world, the baseball cap has come to signify much more than just an integral part of baseball uniforms; the baseball cap is worn both recreationally and professionally by men and women of all ages and occupations. However, the “baseball cap” has a long history of interesting designs; believe it or not, baseball players originally wore full-brimmed straw hats! Other baseball cap designs also included the boating cap and jockey hat! Yet in the spectrum of basketball, there is no documented case of caps being a critical part of official basketball uniforms; however, many recreational basketball players choose to wear the baseball cap, whether on or off the court. The unique history of both baseball and basketball uniforms is a fantastic way to take a step back in time and reconnect with our favorite sport, no matter what it may be.