Established in 1883, the Philadelphia Phillies are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional sports in the United States. The team are current members of the MLB’s National League-East division.
The team was originally known as the “Philadelphia Quakers” during their early years on the field. As a product of the times passing, the team name was changed to the “Philadelphians” – striving to be more representative of their home city. The two names were used interchangeably from 1883-1890 until the abbreviation “Phillies” made its debut.
The organization attempted to change the team name once more in the early 1940’s to the “Blue Jays.” Trying to gain acceptance, the team introduced new uniforms that featured Blue Jay patches on both sleeves. The name change was scrapped after fans kept referring to their team as the “Phillies.”
Although the Phillies have been in the National League for quite some time – the team lags behind others in terms of World Series Championships. The Fightin’ Phils have only brought the Commissioner’s Trophy home twice – once in 1980 (defeating the Kansas City Royals) and another in 2008 (against the Tampa Bay Rays). Additionally, the Phillies have a total of seven pennants and eleven East Division Titles.
Continue reading to see how the oldest team in the MLB has transformed their uniform throughout their detailed history.
Notable Uniform Changes
1890: The Phillies enter the major league featuring white long-sleeve uniforms. Laces run down the front in place of where buttons typically go. An old English styled letter “P” sits on the left hand side of the player’s chest.
1915: The team ditches the laces and installs buttons running down the center of the uniform. The “P” is modified for a more simple look, and the sleeves are moved up – following the ¾ length trend.
1921: The team switches things up by adding pinstripes to the uniform. The buttons on the front only run down ¾ of the way, and a red “P” sits inside a blue circle.
1931: The Phillies revert back to using the old English “P,” but it’s location is moved to both sleeves of the uniform – surrounded by diamonds. A black arm band is featured on the left sleeve in memoriam to former owner William F. Baker.
1938 (Away): The team opts for a blue-gold colorway for their road uniforms. Gray serves as the base color, while yellow borders the sleeves and button trim. Gold “Phillies” script is placed in the center of the uniform, and the hat color changes to blue.
1944: In an attempt to change their name to the “Blue Jays,” the “Phillies script is feature in a shade of blue. Blue Jay patches are placed on both sleeves.
1946: Abandoning the idea of a name change – the team utilizes a white uniform, changing the “Phillies” script back to red. Red trim is used along the end of the sleeves as well as the collar. The hat remains a solid blue, hosting a red “P” in the center.
1950: The Phillies switch things up this year with their new-found obsession of the color red. This is also the year that pinstripes are introduced to the uniform – and yes, in the color red.
1971: Sticking with red, the “P” emblem makes its way back to the left hand side of the uniform while player numbers appear on the right. Thick red lines trail the sides of the entire uniform.
1972 (Away): Following league trends – the Phillies change the base color of their road uniforms to powder blue. The style of the “P” is slightly modified, and the hats remain red.
1992: Red pinstripes find their way back onto the home uniforms. The hats remain red with a white “P” sitting in the middle. “Phillies” is placed across the center of the uniform, with blue stars dotting the “i’s.”
2008: The team goes for a clean look this season by ditching the pinstripes. The uniform comes in all-white with “Phillies” remaining in the center. The base color for the caps change to blue with a red brim and “P.”
2016: Reverting back to their days of red – the team goes for an all red top with “Phillies” outlined in white.
Looking Back to Look Forward
Since their inception into the National League – East, the Phillies have advanced to the World Series a total of seven times. For a franchise whose origins date back to 1883 – organization leaders have been particularly selective in the uniform numbers they choose to retire. Currently, only six numbers have been retired for the Phillies (along with two player honors) – including Jackie Robinson’s number 42 which was retired throughout all of baseball.
The retired uniform numbers for the Philadelphia Phillies are as follows:
No. 1 – Richie Ashburn
No. 14 – Jim Bunning
No. 20 – Mike Schmidt
No. 32 – Steve Carlton
No. 36 – Robin Roberts
No. 42 – Jackie Robinson
Grover Cleveland Alexander (Honored)
Chuck Klein (Honored)
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