Monday, April 23, 2012

Atlanta Braves Uniform History

Though the early 60's Milwaukee uni remains my favorite, here’s a list of all the uniforms the Braves have worn since they moved to Atlanta:

ORIGINAL: Cream colored with black trim, plus red Braves and small front numbers. Also the iconic Braves stirrups. Denis Menke serves as our model:
Road greys were exactly like the home jersey. 
PINSTRIPE: In 1968 the Braves copied the Yankees classic pinstripes. They kept the red-billed home cap in 1968 but changed to the all navy cap in 1969.
The road jerseys were plain as well.
FEATHER: In anticipation of Hank Aaron’s record-breaking home run, the Braves designed a then-revolutionary uni: white pullover jerseys with royal blue shoulders and sleeves. 
Road jersey was royal with white sleeves. White pants were worn on the road: another MLB first…as were the two-toned caps. Original plans were for predominantly red uniforms, but when Aaron saw them, he requested the red be changed to blue.
RED PINSTRIPE: When Ted Turner bought the Braves in the late 1970’s, he wanted a patriotic uniform. White pullover jerseys with red collars and sleeve stripe, and red pinstripes. Several players were given jerseys with their nickname on the back: “Knucksie” Niekro and “Channel 17” Andy Messersmidt. That didn’t last long. 
Road jerseys were powder blue with royal blue shoulders and sleeves. On the road jersey Turner replaced “Braves” with “Atlanta” – something I dislike to this day.
RED, WHITE, & BLUE: In the early 1980’s the Braves went to a look popular at that time: pullover V-necks with slender stripes of red, white, and blue lining the neck, sleeves, pants, and waist.
The road jerseys were powder blue.

TOMAHAWK: In a stroke of genius, in the late 1980’s the Braves re-introduced the tomahawk jersey from their Milwaukee glory days. The tomahawk was red instead of black, with plenty of traditional red piping on the jersey, pants, and belt-loops. 
Road unis were similar, 
except for “Atlanta” instead of “Braves”.
SUNDAY RED: After keeping the same unis for over 15 years, jersey sales slumped when the string of division championships ended. In an effort to increase sales, the Braves added a red Sunday jersey in the mid-2000’s, with a slightly different Sunday cap. In 2012 and 2013 the Braves wore red on home Fridays.
ROAD NAVY: In the late 2000’s the Braves added a navy road jersey, with interesting white-trimmed navy numbers. The ATLANTA and navy numbers made it different from the navy batting practice jerseys, that had red numbers. At the same time the all-navy road cap was re-introduced. When manager Fredi Gonzalez came on board, this navy jersey was worn more and more…and the classic grey jersey worn less and less.
THROWBACK: In 2012 the Braves re-introduced an “alternate home” uniform, quite similar to Atlanta’s original cream-colored home unis. No tomahawk. These are to be worn on weekends, with the red jerseys now worn on home Fridays. With five different jerseys, the Braves could just about wear a different jersey every day of the week.
SPECIAL OCCASION: In 2014 the Braves dropped the Friday red jersey and added a special starred jersey to be worn on five special occasions, then auctioned off each time. Unlike the previous red jersey, the new jersey has stars on the Braves wordmark, an American flag patch on the sleeve, and no tomahawk. Not pretty, but at least red will be worn fewer times.

Compared to most other teams, I still consider the Braves to have above average unis. Some in the northeastern media might not rank them in the top ten, but I sure do.  


Unknown said...

great article, I've been tryin to find one of the red pinstripe "clown" jerseys as Dan Epstein described it. I actually saw a Niekro red pinstripe jersey go for about 3k on an auction site just a few months ago. It didn't say "knucksie" like the one above, that's a rare gem. What's the sorce of that photo anyhow?

Go Braves!

David said...

Thanks so much for the comment. I found the photo on Google Images back in 2012. Not sure if a sports website was selling the jersey. Years ago I saw a Knucksie jersey on the clearance rack at TJ Maxx for $50.00. Can't believe I didn't snap it up.