Putting on a Major League Baseball uniform can be a great privilege to those who’ve made it from Little League, high school, the NCAA levels and the minor leagues. From generation to generation, the design of all MLB uniforms and team logos have evolved for good or bad reasons. But there have been some ugly uniforms that have graced big league ballparks for many years.
A new MLB promotion is set for August 25th to the 27th labeled as Players Weekend, where all players are expected to don “youth-league” inspired uniforms, sporting a custom nickname on the backs, colored spikes, batting gloves, and even custom-designed bats. The youth-league jerseys could very well be roasted on Facebook or Twitter as we speak. At least it’s for a more notable cause, but some uniforms have passed by over the years that simply left us scratching our heads. We’ve wondered why on earth these teams took the field in these uniforms, as they just served as an embarrassment for the franchise. No team is excluded here, as all 30 MLB teams have had a least one uniform some can view as disgraceful to the team.
So let us take a look at every big league team’s most embarrassing uniform in their history.
30. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS – Current Roads
The Diamondbacks boast a primary logo that looks unique compared to the other 29 teams, yet they’ve produced uniforms that were either purple, black, or red. The team introduced a new set of home and away uniforms during the 2015 offseason in an effort to attract younger fans. Although the D’Backs are currently in a wild card position, the new road grays are noticeably darker than the typical road jerseys and pants.
The teal-colored borders that you see on the tops and cap is a nod to their early years, when Randy Jonhson and Curt Schilling led Arizona to a World Championship over the defending champion Yankees in 2001. The road attire is far from being a total flop, but it can be challenging for players to wear these outdoors whenever the temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
29. ATLANTA BRAVES – Red Alternates
Well, the Atlanta Braves created a history of winning multiple division titles and NL pennants under Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox. That culminated in a World Championship in 1995, taking the Series in six over Cleveland.
As the Tomahawk Chop became an established tradition during home games, the Braves unveiled red alternate jersey that they would likely wear on select games. These alternates look slightly better than some of the other red-clad unis you will see later on the list, but there’s too much red all over. They also have glittering text on the front that kind of makes you dizzy and you can barely tell that it says ‘Braves’. The Braves removed the tomahawk logo below the script as well.
28. BALTIMORE ORIOLES – Orange O’s
The Baltimore Orioles may very well be ashamed of themselves for designing these all-orange uniforms back in the 1970s. A few years ago, the O’s decided to wear these unis as a nod to the early 70’s when they won a World Series in 1971.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter heard a reporter comment that the orange uniforms resembled “Halloween candy corn”, and actually agreed with the remarks! The O’s looked like either pumpkins or construction workers in those all-orange jerseys, which doesn’t look visually appealing. It’s because they come off as really bright and overpowering for a traditional baseball outfit. Orioles, just stick to your normal white uniforms. Those ones look pretty simple and decent in general.
27. BOSTON RED SOX – Alternate Red
The Red Sox have basked in the glow of three World Series titles since 2004, as most of their fans had to endure an 86-year wait for a championship. Their uniforms are iconic in Boston sports, as franchise greats Ted Williams, Carl Yazstremski, Roger Clemens, and David Ortiz let their game do the talking with “Red Sox” stitched onto the front during home games at Fenway Park.
The front office unveiled new logos, caps, and uniforms before the ’09 season. The Fenway crowd saw their team wear red alternates, and was much different than the traditional whites. The main color of red on the tops is fitting though, given their nickname. Still, the look seems more like a gimmick when it’d be best for a team like the Sox to stick to tradition.
26. CHICAGO CUBS – Pinstripes
Just look at these Cubs road uniforms from the late 1970; they were almost as bad as the Curse of The Billy Goat that the team broke against the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series.
This powder blue design with white pinstripes didn’t quite work when they played outside Wrigley Field, and the uniforms seemingly resembled pajamas as opposed to a traditional baseball jersey. Once the 70s and 80s passed, the Cubs returned to road grays by the 1990s and eventually the present day, therefore ditching the powder-blue look. Cubs fans had to wait over 100 years for a championship despite a goat owner putting a hex on their team, a stray black cat, some lame 70s jerseys, and a five-run 8th inning by Florida in Game 6 of the ’03 NLCS.
25. CHICAGO WHITE SOX – 1976 Throwback
Those White Sox alternates might remind you of baseball in the 1920s or something. Apparently, the franchise wanted to wear these throwback jerseys, pants, and socks which dated back to 1976.
Aside from the caps, everything else looks pretty strange and a bit outdated for this current decade. The pants are noticeably dark blue, which would never pass as a home uniform, the collars are unnecessary, and the lettering and numbers seem too old-fashioned as well. Last season, White Sox starter Chris Sale foolishly destroyed the ’76 throwbacks during a BP session because he didn’t want them to be worn by the whole team. The front office responded by suspending Sale for five days. In other words, he simply disliked those disgraceful threads.
24. CINCINNATI REDS – Straying From Tradition
The Cincinnati Reds were the first professional baseball team in the United States. They were established back in 1869, and have won multiple World Series thanks in part to the leadership of Johnny Bench and Pete Rose who spearheaded The Big Red Machine. The Reds’ days of reaching baseball’s pinnacle are rare in Cincinnati, as the franchise is currently going through some lean years despite boasting Scooter Gennett and Toronto-born slugger Joey Votto.
But before the Votto era began, the Reds incorporated black into their caps and team logo from 1999 to 2006. Those changes caused the team to stay away from the traditional white and red home uniforms that were popular before. As for the modified Reds jerseys, they looked pretty lame from the outset. The front office probably wanted black to be a uniform color that appealed to a younger demographic, but it missed the mark. They discontinued the black and red threads following the ’06 season and returned to their pre-1999 jersey.
23. CLEVELAND INDIANS
A bit similar to several other jerseys you’ll see later on, the Tribe had an all-red look in the mid-1970s and they were far from great. The script must’ve been inspired by a Native American association, the cap logo best resembled the current primary logo of their pro basketball friends in the Cavaliers, and it could remind you of a ketchup bottle. The Indians discontinued the red uniforms after three seasons. While some may argue the real embarrassment of the Indians is their controversial Chief Wahoo logo, we’re looking at the entire ensemble here rather than focusing in on the logo. When you look at the all-red, your eyes may get a little sore here. Thankfully the Indians eventually abandoned these and went with a more traditional look.
22. COLORADO ROCKIES – Turn Ahead The Clock
These atrocious, short-sleeved jerseys were used during the Rockies’ 1999 season as part of the Turn Ahead The Clock promotion. The Rockies probably wish they could turn BACK the clock and prevent these unis from being made.
Larry Walker, their biggest star at the time, stepped up to the plate wearing a supposedly futuristic outfit in front of the Rockies faithful on select days that they wore the TATC jerseys. What Rockies fans saw was one of their worst alternates their team had ever put on. The oversized team logo was one of the reasons why they were never a success, as it took up a lot of space on the jersey itself, not to mention the sleeves were much shorter than their regular home uniforms. The future-themed promotion lasted one season.
21. DETROIT TIGERS (OR STARS?)
The Detroit Tigers have been a part of the American League since 1901, winning the World Series four times. They returned to baseball’s biggest stage under then-manager Jim Leyland in 2006 and ’12 but lost in five and four games respectively.
They also introduced a throwback jersey that paid homage to the Detroit Stars of the Negro League. While the cause may have been in the right intentions, the bottom line is the jerseys are really outdated for the 21st century. Look at the middle stripe that goes from the collar to the belt buckle, it’s just the way it stands out among the pinstriped portion. That seems pretty strange for its time. On the other hand, the all-white cap isn’t that terrible by MLB standards but the throwbacks have to go.
20. HOUSTON ASTROS – Throwbacks
The word “hideous” could best describe these 1970s to ’80s era uniforms from the Houston Astros, when Nolan Ryan emerged as a great pitcher. This team sported rainbow-striped tops during their National League era and it didn’t look very appealing from the start. I mean, those looked pretty bizarre on a ballplayer and a jersey number on the right pant leg seems quirky.
The Astros got to the NLCS in 1986 wearing the red and yellow rainbows but fell to the New York Mets who eventually won the World Series that year. Now that they’re members of the American League West, and their current uniforms are a far cry from the 80s to say the least, although they still occasionally wear these throwbacks today.
19. KANSAS CITY ROYALS
There’s a lot of not-so-good things you could say about this particular Royals uniform from the late 1990s. The reason why they went with this unorthodox look was the Turn Ahead The Clock promotion that MLB spearheaded in 1999 (you already saw the Rockies’ edition earlier in the list. Starting with the batting helmets, the color is all-gold and weak. That just doesn’t work for a team who usually sports blue caps.
And the tops looked pretty ridiculous as well. The Royals opted to wear gold vests and short-sleeved undershirts, so they didn’t leave a good impression on baseball fans everywhere. Thankfully, the promotion lasted only a year. It’s funny how 18 years later, baseball jerseys look in no way like these eyesores seemed to predict.
18. LOS ANGELES ANGELS – 90s Overhaul
The California Angels needed to overhaul their look after the ’96 season. The Walt Disney Corporation bought the team and renamed it the Anaheim Angels, so a uniform change was inevitable.
The final result became a short-lived, pinstriped jersey with an Angels logo that would’ve been more suitable for a comic book. And to make matters worse, they failed to reach the postseason for five straight years in those jerseys. The team wanted to change their logos and uniforms before the 2002 season, going to red and white as their main colors and the classic “halo” logo on their caps and batting helmets. The change seemed to work wonders, as the Angels won their first World Series in team history over a San Francisco Giants team led by Barry Bonds.
17. LOS ANGELES DODGERS – Dark Blue
The Los Angeles Dodgers came into the Southern California sports scene from Brooklyn nearly 60 years ago, as franchise icons Tommy Lasorda, Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela wore and bled Dodger blue for decades.
They decided to use all-blue alternate uniforms for only the ’99 season. As a casual baseball fan, I found this jersey to be okay because of its simple design and feel. But what I didn’t like about it is the Dodgers script on top as it is too bulky. It seemed like the Dodgers were trying to cash in on the style of the times, but this didn’t leave much of an impression and unsurprisingly, the uniform was not brought back. The uniform also included a weird gray brimmed hat seen here.
16. MIAMI MARLINS – Current Orange Alternates
The Marlins’ current orange alternates were introduced following their move to a new retractable-roofed stadium in 2012. In my opinion, they seem to mirror the main jerseys of the Miami Hurricanes, their college football counterparts, who vacated the Orange Bowl site to make room for the Marlins’ new home.
Honestly, the orange jerseys should be utilized for batting practice or even spring training rather than in a real game. It might be unique to the people of South Beach, but perhaps not to fans outside of Miami. Now that the Marlins are set to have a new ownership group led by venture capitalist Bruce Sherman and former Yankee Derek Jeter, it is unknown if the art deco-themed Marlins uniforms and logos will be overhauled, given their lack of regular season success with those designs.
15. MILWAUKEE BREWERS – Gold Alternates
How do you begin to explain this gold-colored alternate from the Brewers? It’s almost like they went to a Milwaukee brewery and purposely dipped their white jerseys into beer to achieve what you see in the above photo. The only good thing about the jersey could be the Brewers script and numbering, and they look sharp on an otherwise subpar uniform. The team ditched their gold alternates after the 2015 season.
Here’s how the Brewers marketed this jersey launch back in 2013: “The Brewers go for the gold every season. Each of the 30 flags atop the Commissioner’s Trophy awarded to the World Series Champion are adorned in gold and it is the Brewers goal to one day have that trophy at Miller Park. With that in mind, the Brewers will be “going for gold” in a new gold alternate jersey next season.”
14. MINNESOTA TWINS – Turn Ahead The Clock
This Twins alternate jersey from the ’99 campaign is inexplicable and doesn’t scream a true big league top. There was no real effort put into this because it looked uninspired, and the enlarged Twins logo seems quite unnecessary and attention-grabbing. Then again, these were used as part of the Turn Ahead the Clock charade that about 20 clubs (including Minnesota) wanted to partake in. Some weird times back then… We don’t know what on earth the Twins were thinking with this design. Were the two cartoon men supposed to be twins? What’s so futuristic about this garb? Just for the benefit of your curiosity, these jerseys are available on e-Bay and they’re somehow going for as high as $90 for the jersey. Even if you’re the most hardcore Twins fan out there, we can’t see anybody buying this.
13. NEW YORK METS – Turn Ahead The Clock
Are you kidding me with this? What is with that jersey and that cap? The Mets decided to participate in the futuristic throwbacks thing back in ’99 and temporarily became the Mercury Mets.
To see the Mets wear silver and black uniforms rather than the usual blue and orange (despite having another set of black alternates) must’ve been strange to their diehard fans. As you can see, the sleeves were unusually short and the cap logo best resembles the Venus symbol instead of mercury, which comes off as corny to baseball fans. Unsurprisingly, the Mets did not bring back the Mercury-themed uniforms for 2000 and beyond. Besides, these colors seem to be more suited for a Brooklyn based team rather than the one who calls Queens home.
12. NEW YORK YANKEES – Bland Alternates
Quite frankly, the New York Yankees have rarely designed awful uniforms in their storied history. The home pinstripes and team logo that Yankee legends such as Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Reggie Jackson, and Derek Jeter once donned are among the most iconic in professional sports and has stood the test of time.
If you’re a Yankees fan, you might be a little unimpressed with the grayish colors of the “New York” text on the front of their spring training jersey seen above. Their spring training uniforms don’t replicate the regular road attire or their classic pinstripes, but thankfully we don’t have to see those often during Yankees road games in the regular season. Why do they even feel the need to have alternates? They’re the YANKEES!
11. OAKLAND ATHLETICS – Yellow Pajamas
Oakland has seen its baseball team win multiple times during the 20th century, achieved a 20-game win streak in 2002, and suffer a disastrous American League Wild Card game loss to the 2014 Royals in extras.
As you can see, the Athletics’ yellow uniforms go way back to the 70s, a time when the team brought three World Series titles to the Bay Area from 1972 to ’74. Seeing these things in the current era of big league baseball, you would think they dressed like farmers in the American Midwest. You can see yellow is the dominant color from top to bottom, yet the team still wore white cleats and the shade of green on the caps is lighter than what they have now.
10. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
From maroon to blue, and red, the Phillies have sported some interesting uniforms in their history. Back in 1979, the Phils made their players wear burgundy uniforms during home games at the old Veterans Stadium. Make no mistake, these Phillies’ all-burgundy jerseys are eyesores at first glance. From far, they look like Christmas pajamas and they alsmost look like sweatsuits. The Phillies’s logo is just fine here, but there is just entirely too much of one color here. I mean, a baseball legend in Pete Rose had to put on those horrendous jerseys? Yikes! When he had to put these things on, he was probably regretting his exit from Cincinnati. In any event, thankfully the Phillies eventually ditched these haven’t brought back anything like this since.
9. PITTSBURGH PIRATES
The Pittsburgh Pirates are one of baseball’s most historic franchises, winning a total of five World Series titles. But having pitiful jerseys and multiple losing seasons as part of their rich history is something Bucs fans have endured after their 1979 championship season.
Check out these pitiful red unis from their 1999 season; they were flat-out terrible. For the Pirates to use red as the primary color of the jersey itself doesn’t make sense, given their team colors are black and gold. And don’t get me started on the front and back of them. The enlarged team logo is too attention-grabbing, and you see the numbers and nameplate are all vertical! This makes you want to cringe if you’re a Bucs fan. The team did not bring back these dreadful uniforms for this millennium, never to be seen again.
8. SAN DIEGO PADRES – Brown & Yellow
The Padres’ old-school look consisted of yellow and brown. Just think about that, an admired Padre in Dave Winfield had to wear those every day in humid weather? At first glance, you might think the Padres retro uniforms were straight out of The Bad News Bears, a sports film from the 70s. These colors don’t exactly scream San Diego when you look at them.
The fact that this team had to wear all-yellow pants must have been embarrassing for the players. Once the 1980s came to a close, San Diego shifted away from brown and yellow and went with blue and white. While the current Padres unis may seem a little bland, just look at these and remind yourself things could always be worse.
7. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS – Current Alternates
Giants fans are suffering through another poor season just in time for another odd-numbered year. They’ve also seen their team wear black and orange alternate jerseys that look atrocious. The orange on black design screams poor execution, especially all over the tops. Then you see unnecessary piping and a Golden Gate Bridge shoulder patch on the alternates, which is what makes this jersey disappointing. The Giants went with a marketing campaign that was titled Fade To Black but needless to say, these haven’t brought much pride to San Francisco at all. These jerseys have probably helped the Giants fade into obscurity more than anything. The Giants’ traditional jerseys are just fine so this seemed like nothing more than a cash grab for San Fran.
6. SEATTLE MARINERS – Turn Ahead The Clock
Yes, we know we’re going with a lot of these ’99 alternates, but can you really argue when looking at these? The Seattle Mariners’ Turn Ahead the Clock jerseys from the ’99 season takes the cake as the team’s most disgraceful or embarrassing uniform. It seems pretty odd that their franchise player in Ken Griffey Jr. wore this during his Hall of Fame career, but he seemed to like this 2027-themed promotion. In fact, Griffey Jr. was instrumental in the overall look of those awful uniforms, insisting on adding a brick-red color to the number and oversized Mariners’ logo on the front and back. He and his teammates also wore silver batting helmets. The Mariners, like other teams, would probably like to forget all about this failed ’99 experiment.
5. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS – Powder Blue
It might be hard to believe, but the history-rich St. Louis Cardinals once wore powder-blue uniforms in the early 80’s. Their future Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith played shortstop in their powder-blues, yet won the hearts of Cards fans throughout his brilliant career.
But honestly, the light blue doesn’t match their team colors at all. The Cards have utilized their “birds on a bat” logo on a regular basis, but for them to wear that particular jersey was either unique or just odd. It looks okay, but it’s just a little bit out of place for a team’s fanbase that passionately follows professional baseball. Why is that? It’s common for St. Louis to wear home whites and road grays, as they’ve distanced themselves from baby blue uniforms on a full-time basis. There shouldn’t be a reason why the Cards should go back to using powder-blue at home.
4. TEXAS RANGERS – Powder Too
From one Texas-based team to another, the Rangers have worn powder-blues at some point in their history. We don’t see why they felt the need to incorporate powder blue here. The Rangers have always had the red, white and blue look that screams Texas but we don’t know why they felt the need to put powder blue. It’s been done by so many teams and it didn’t bring in anything unique to the Rangers. These were only alternates in recent times, but they did also wear it back in 1977. Those didn’t last long, as the team moved to a darker shade of blue and/or incorporated red into their alternates. Did any of you Rangers fans out there like the powdered blue?
3. TAMPA BAY RAYS – Devil Rays
The original Devil Rays logo looked a bit too cheesy for a major league ballclub. If you take a closer look at the script, there is a subtle left to right shift of colors that are darker and lighter. Of course, the Devil Rays did not reach the postseason until 2008 when they got to a World Series.
After the ’07 season, the franchise removed the “Devil” from their nickname and branded themselves the Tampa Bay Rays. Therefore, the team colors changed from a dark shade of green to navy blue and white. Thank goodness the old Rays jerseys are a thing of the past! While the current ones aren’t the greatest, at least they look like a legitimate major league ball club.
2. TORONTO BLUE JAYS – Canada’s 150th
The Blue Jays have had uniforms and logos that were either good or bad overall. In honor of Canada’s 150th birthday, the Blue Jays revealed new red and white alternates for the 2017 season.
They haven’t fared well in their new Canada 150-themed jerseys so far, being outscored 69-32 in eight games. The Jays lost 19-1 to the Houston Astros in “Canadiana” jerseys for goodness sakes! Jays infielder Ryan Goins isn’t a fan of the 2017 alternates, and who can blame him? If the Jays manage to clinch a playoff spot this year, their fans are hoping they don’t bring back the red and white unis for next season. These gimmick jerseys rarely come across well and it’s probably fitting that the Jays have been badly outplayed in these jerseys.
1. WASHINGTON NATIONALS – DC Alternate
The Expos/Nationals franchise has yet to appear in a World Series since they arrived in Montreal during the late 1960s. Aside from an embarrassing “Natinals” jersey incident that occurred on April of 2009, the team’s worst uniform would probably have to be their DC alternates worn in 2007 and 2008. Some people are split as to whether the old Expos powder blue look was a good one, but it’s become entrenched in Expos nostalgia and it looked back on fondly now. These Nationals’ DC alternates? Not so much. They just didn’t seem like it was meant for anything other than perhaps a 4th of July game but the interlocked DC logo on the side just didn’t fly.
What do you think your team’s most embarrassing uniform was?
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