The Evolution of the New York Yankees Jersey

The Evolution of the New York Yankees jersey

The New York Yankees are the baseball team best known for the most World Series won of all time. Steeped in excellence, the Yankees mean so much more than the collective product of athletic talent assembled any given year on the diamond. When going to a game, you are not being sold a seat to watch a single ballgame; you are being sold a ticket to a shrine of the most storied team in the history of America’s pastime.

Although sports fans want something fresh and new every so often, the Yankees have barely updated their classic uniform since the team began in 1903. Uniform critics, fans, and even some players have criticized the Yankees for their unwavering commitment to tradition and business-like mentality. However, the Yankees subscribe to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy.

The Yankees’ net worth, hovering around $3.2 billion, is tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the highest valuation of any American sports franchise, and the two trail only the Real Madrid Football Club globally.

The team keeps winning and is still in New York, media capital of the world. With 27 championships, they are a money-making machine. They sacrifice aesthetic changes for the sake of reminding people just who they are and why you’re paying the price of admission.

As Yogi Berra put it best: “So I’m ugly. So what? I never saw anyone hit with his face.”

The New York Yankees jersey

The Sometimes False Legend

As if to fill the void of news surrounding their on-field attire, there are many rumors and legends surrounding the Yankees uniform.

Possibly the most famous? The Yankees were the first major league baseball team to wear uniform numbers. Other iterations of the rumor have it as the first to wear them on the back of the jersey. Both are false.

The Indians occasionally used numbers on their sleeves in 1916 and ’17, and the Cardinals did likewise in 1923. The Indians and Yankees were both slotted to wear back-numbered jerseys for their home openers in 1929, but the Yankees had to postpone due to rain.

Other fictional tales include the adoption of the pinstripes to slim down Babe Ruth – the mythical hot-dog-eating machine who could crush baseballs. However, the team first wore pinstripes in 1912, seven years before the Yankees acquired Ruth from the Red Sox.

Since then, besides the occasional patch (on a sleeve or hat), only minor details have been toyed with since 1936.

Small Changes Through the Years

  • 1903 – After the 1902 season, the Baltimore Orioles move to New York City and are renamed the New York Highlanders. The uniforms feature a noninterlocking but elaborate “NY” on the chest. A collar and buttons past the midriff, but not extending the whole shirt, are present.
  • 1905 – The first attempt at using an interlocking “NY” is used for one season before being abandoned.
  • 1912 – The interlocking “NY” logo moves from the uniform sleeve to the front of the jersey. The next year, they are officially renamed “the Yankees.”
  • 1915 – The modern pinstriped home uniform look returns.
  • 1917 – The interlocking “NY” logo disappears.
  • 1927 – For a three-year stint, the away uniform says YANKEES – as opposed to NEW YORK – in curved big block letters.

Looking Forward

The last time the idea of changing the Yankees uniform was even broached was in 1974 – year 10 of an 11-year first-place drought. The Yankees official apparel company, Wilson, sent over samples of a “negative” alternate road uniform. It was the classic, white-and-blue Yankee pinstripe home look, but in reverse, with white pinstripes.

So will the Yankees ever deviate from the pinstripes? Not in your lifetime. The team’s brand and unchanging uniform will always be synonymous with winning, and people love to back a winner.

Fanatics carries a full line of Yankees jerseys that will never go out of style.





You might also like...