Every season we are bombarded by an assortment of throwback, fauxback, alternate, and retro uniform combinations in an attempt not just to celebrate baseball’s rich history, but to also pull a little extra cash out of our wallets. If MLB is going to reproduce all of these hats and uniforms for the sake of marketing and our personal consumption, then we’re going to buy them. Hey, it is what it is.
The most notable uniform set the Indians have made use of for such promotions is the all red 1970′s caveman scripted uniforms. It’s an obvious choice. The garish, all red uniforms stand out as the most extreme set, not just in the teams history, but ranks near the top in terms of some of the all-time ugliest baseball uniforms. That said, I love the red uniforms, but it’s lazy to keep pulling them out of moth balls each and every season.
That’s not to say these are the only retro stylings the Indians have made use of. They have also made use of the old Cleveland Buckeyes uniform set, the classic blue tops from the late 70′s/early 80′s, and thrown all the way back to the 1920′s, among others. Even their current uniform set barrows certain elements from uniforms of seasons past.
With that in mind, which uniform set should the Indians pull out from the back of the closet this season? They have yet to announce which set, if any, they will utilize this season so now seems like the perfect time to throw some ideas out there. Without further ado, here are five classic uniform set the Indians should consider using this season, should the opportunity present itself (click the links to see the uniforms).
1. 1970 Home Uniforms: This set was used for one only season back in 1970. A similar version was used the following season in 1971, minus the red drop shadow on the lettering, but this actual version had only one year in the spot light. It’s a shame, too. This set had a lot to offer. The pinstripes are a classic look and the unique lettering is something we hadn’t seen before and haven’t seen since. The dark navy cap with the red wishbone C really pops. It’s a good contrast of dark navy with a vibrant red and makes for good looking uniform. This is one that I’m not sure a lot of Tribe fans even know existed.
2. 1993 Home Uniforms: While many consider this to be a black mark in the uniform history of the Indians, I don’t see it that way. While the mid to late 80′s and early 90′s (pre-Progressive Field) weren’t necessarily the golden age of Cleveland Indians baseball, that’s when I fell in love with it. My first game was at the old Municipal Stadium with the Indians wearing these very same uniforms. How awesome is the red, white, and blue striping down the sides? Now the only time we get the chance to see them is whenever one of the Major League movies comes on TV. 2013 also marks 20 years since the final season at Municipal Stadium. Why not honor that memory by bringing this set back to life?
3. 1967 Home Uniforms: This set flips the script on the heavy usage of navy blue throughout the Indians’ uniform history and places a heavy emphasis on the color red. Red hats, piping, numbers, and socks all pop against a very clean white pant and vest. I also love the socks, or in this case stirrups. that help make subtle usage of navy blue. It’s too bad that most players nowadays would hide these under long. baggy pants. Despite that, this is still a great uniform that would translate well to the modern landscape of major league baseball. Well, except for the zipper front. That can stay in the past.
4. 1962 Home Uniforms: The 1962 is yet another example of the Indians usage of pinstripes throughout their history. This was also a time when the Indians were very obviously experimenting with their look and different uniform element. This time around they utilized blue stirrups with red and white striping. The lettering across the chest was a very bold and very red block lettering. The caps also unique in that they utilized both of the Indians primary logos up to that point by displaying chief wahoo within a red wishbone C. Perhaps the most obvious visual difference with these uniforms, and many they wore during the early 60′s, were the sleeves. On the left, Chief Wahoo. On the right, the players unifrom number in enormous, bold, block lettering. This is also a uniform that I’m sure our new manager would love to have the opportunity to wear, for obvious reasons.
5. 1933 Home Uniforms: There is certainly a lot that can be said about this set. For starters it is definitely unlike anything else in the Indians uniform history. While the basic elements of this set, most notably the wishbone C on the left breast and on the cap, remained in use from 1933 through 1945, the wide red band around the neck and down the button front was used only from 1933 through 1935. They were the first team to use this element in a uniform. In addition, the belt loops on the pants were also red and really stood out against the blue belt. The most notable aspect of this jersey is the far more accurate representation of Chief Wahoo on the left sleeve. It is perhaps the most accurate and least offensive version we have ever seen. It’s just a shame that we didn’t have the photographic technology back then that we have now. Otherwise, we might have a better idea of how this uniform actually looked on the field.