The evolution of Major League Baseball has seen a lot of ups and downs over the years and that includes the look of the game, specifically the uniforms as the look and feel of them has shifted several times. Batting helmets weren’t commonplace until the 1950s while the old-styled uniforms lacked the edge of today. Also, you have to take in the fact how styles have changed. Sure, the basic look of baseball uniforms remains the same as the past but teams know they have to be a bit flashier to get attention, not just the bland uniforms of yesteryear.
Sadly, some teams go a tad too far in the wrong direction. Bad designs, terrible colors and more can make a baseball uniform look incredibly stupid. Something that looks okay on the design page is horrific to see when actually worn. Then again, some designs are just bad no matter what and remarkable they ever got approved in the first place. With over a century to look at, plenty of contenders abound but here are the ugliest looks every current MLB team has put out and how looking good on the field isn’t as easy as it seems.
30 Arizona Diamondbacks - 2016
The uniforms of the Diamondbacks have been regular for years, mostly gray and somehow fitting for the desert. But this season, they’ve switched to a new style that has fans scratching their heads. The home uniforms are mostly white with a “snakeskin” style that sounded a lot better on paper than it actually does to see and the pant cuffs look more like pajama pants.
The gray road uniforms are even worse, too much snakeskin and just looking bland while the alternates of dark jerseys and white pants mix up poorly. They’re meant to stand out well but many a fan wishes they were buried in the desert.
29 Atlanta Braves - 1977
When they were in Milwaukee as world champions, the Braves had a good design, white and black with black and red caps and a stylized “A” cap. When they moved to Atlanta, they kept to the classic style and added a nice-looking “pullover” set but when Ted Turner bought the team, he decided the look needed to be “spiced up.” Thus, for a season, the Braves wore pinstripes with red colors and sleeves, the logo looking a bit drab amid the light colors. Not helping was the idea to have the nicknames of players on their backs rather than their real names. This coincided with Turner’s infamous “manager for a day” moment and fans hated how the blue and white road uniforms only had 'Atlanta' rather than 'Braves' on the front.
28 Baltimore Orioles - 1971
Okay, orange has always been Baltimore’s color, so that’s logical to integrate into the uniforms. But you didn’t have to make every damn part of it that color. The first-ever alternate uniform, almost killed the entire thing for everyone and looks utterly horrific. It just melds together into a bad mix, the colors looking so bland and nothing here screams as exciting as the team had been doing. The overbearing orange made these uniforms look more like prison jumpsuits than that of a baseball team. Breaking up the uniform with white or black pants would have done wonders for it.
27 Boston Red Sox - 1908
The Red Sox were luckier than other teams as when they hit upon their red and white uniforms with the unique logo font, they stuck with it for decades. They’ve been smart to know it’s becoming iconic and thus smartly don’t try to mess with it at all. To find the worst outfit for the team, you have to go all the way back to 1908, almost totally white except for the large red sock on the right side of the chest with “Boston” written into it.
Not helping is the red “ties” about the neck which look completely out of the place on the ballfield. It only lasted a year and while the Red Sox’s woes are well known, they can at least say the team looked better than this to get through them all.
26 Chicago White Sox - 1982-86
A very close contender is the period in the 1970s when the team lived up to their name with knee-high white socks and shorts, a completely ridiculous look. However, most fans will agree that this uniform from the early 1980s is far worse. Mostly white, they had long red sleeves and striped blocks about, looking too far off from the team’s usual colors.
You wouldn't even be able to tell that this was once a White Sox uniform. It looks more like a bad alternate jersey for the Red Sox. If this was supposed to be a cutting edge look for Chicago, then it failed miserably.
25 Chicago Cubs - 1978-81 Road
The Cubs are infamous for one of the absolute most famous records of woe in all of sports. Heartbreak has followed this club for a century and even as they ride high today, most fans expect something bad to happen. In terms of uniforms, the team has mostly stuck to blue and white with the logo of the big red “C” sometimes mixing with a bear face but still looking good.
24 Cincinnati Reds - 1936
Here's another uniform where we had to go really far back because the Reds have mostly stuck with a similar look for many years.
23 Cleveland Indians - 1974-78
Few outfits scream the ‘70s like this. The Indians have been smart over the years to keep to lighter colors, some dark but still doing their best to not stoop to the depths of this ensemble. But for this period, they chose an outfit that just looked horrible. The mostly red color was bland, not bright enough to sparkle, not light enough to be effective and the way the team name was emblazoned on the front looked lame and clumsy. The whole uniform looked more like children's pajamas than one belonging to a pro ball club.
22 Colorado Rockies - 1999
In 1999, the country was caught up in “Millennium Fever,” folks eager to see 2000 and the push for a new look in various businesses. Major League Baseball decided to take advantage by having teams don special “futuristic” uniforms, meant to be a look at what baseball could look like in the 21st century. Now that we're well into the 21st century, we can be thankful that fashion didn't see a turn like this.
21 Detroit Tigers - 1928
The white outfits with that famous giant “D” in English lettering has been a favorite for the Tigers over the decades and wisely, they try not to mess that up. They have had a few shifts here and there for bad colors yet the worst may be back in 1928 as the road outfits have an orange tint that doesn’t really suit the team. Much more unappealing is the tiger on the back of the outfits which lack numbers and names, just that tiger head and so appear to be something you’d see at a theme park instead of with the Tigers while the block team name lacks the flair the simple “D” does. That tiger looks like the least intimidating cat you've ever seen. It actually looks scared, if you stare at it closely.
20 Florida Marlins - 2003-2005
Created in 1993, the Marlins had ups and downs, famously buying up massive talent to win the World Series in 1997 only to sell all those guys off and thus sink to the cellar the very next year. Their outfits have changed and some aren’t quite fans of the current uniforms with their brighter colors and “neon” logo.
Yet the 2003 outfits may be the worse because they look for all the world like the Marlins just bought some discount Yankees outfits, the pinstripes a blatant steal. Plus, the oversized logo of the swordfish looked more idiotic against this backdrop yet this was the uniform on the road when the Marlins won another World Series. This has to take the cake for the worst look in Marlins history.
19 Houston Astros - 1975-1986
This one might very well be unanimous among all baseball fans. Virtually no one likes this look when reflecting back on the old Astros years.
18 Kansas City Royals, 1999
The current defending World Series champions have always boasted a cool logo of a crown in a diamond and no matter the colors, they stick to a mostly white and blue vibe, sometimes darker but still looking pretty good. However, in 1999, they got the short end of the stick with the MLB’s infamous “turn ahead the clock” outfits meant to pay tribute to the upcoming year 2000. The bright gold coloring was way too bright with the team logo across the stomach and the aqua-blue undershirt clashing horribly.
The caps were even brighter gold and the blue and yellow stripe down the white pants legs was just the icing on this horrid cake. All told, a uniform as far away from royalty as you could possibly get.
17 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - 1997-2001
The Angels have moved a bit in towns from L.A. to Anaheim and back and have seen a varying level of success. Sadly, this success was not shown in these horrible uniforms as the pinstripes looked boring and not standing out well. However, the logo was the worst part, the wings around the “A” too large and distracting and how they’re slapped on the chest with the player number underneath and to the left is just off.
These were very uninspiring and completely abandoned the traditional look of the Angels franchise. The all-blue caps don’t help and many fans see it as no coincidence that the year the Angels dropped these uniforms, they won the World Series. They have stuck with that 2002 look up until today and the current uniforms are far better.
16 Los Angeles Dodgers - 1940s Road
The Dodgers have stuck to a mix of gray and white with a bit of blue at times, a throwback to their old homes in Brooklyn. While some talk now and then of adding some L.A. flash to it, the Dodgers prefer to stick to this classic look and do well with it. You have to go back to their Brooklyn days to find a really bad look, which is the uniform they wore for away games.
15 Milwaukee Brewers/Seattle Pilots, 1969
Despite success, including a World Championship, the Braves had a bit of a downturn in attendance and a falling out with Milwaukee officials and so left for Atlanta. That left the city empty for a while but hoping to get a team to fill their stadium out. In 1969, the first major expansion included the Seattle Pilots, a team soon made famous for two things: A horrific record and one of the worst outfits of all time. The winged logo on the heart and the yellow stripes along the sleeves were rough enough. But then…the cap. Almost solid blue with gold trimmed wings at the brim, it looked for all the world like someone had taken a 1960s flight attendant uniform and adapted it to baseball.
14 Minnesota Twins - 1987-1999
It's not that these uniforms were ugly, but they were just plain bland.
Imagine if instead of the “NY,” the Yankees dropped the logo on the caps in favor of a simple “N.” That’s pretty much how this goes for the Twins. This is a period where they won two World Series but also dropped the beloved intertwined “TC” that fans had loved so much in favor of a stylized “M” on their caps. There was simply no need for the team to do this, as the fans had grown to love their "TC" insignia on the caps.
13 New York Mets - 1999
It’s the dreaded 1999 “Turn Ahead the Clock” outfits again. The Mets are known for the logo of the “NYM” mixed in or the NYC landscape inside a baseball with blue and white colors. But for this event, they went with “Mercury Mets” on the front of their shirts with a ball showing the chemistry sign. What in the world was the point in throwing "Mercury" on the uniform?
12 New York Yankees - 1927
Yes, it’s a bit ironic but the worst of the Yankees uniforms comes from the “Murder’s Row” season that kick-started the Yankees dynasty. This was the team of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Earle Combs and the rest who are often considered the greatest single-season team in baseball history. Yet the uniforms were lacking, just plain white with the team name across the front, no real pizazz or hype to it all. The Yankees have never really done anything drastic to alter their look and they shouldn't, but there should be some type of signature that separates a franchise like the Yankees from everyone else. This uniform failed to do so.
11 Oakland Athletics - 1999
What. The. Hell? Seriously, what genius believed this was a great idea? Yes, Oakland has seen some whacky issues with their green and yellow mixes, including going too much on the yellow during their World Series dynasty of the 1970s and fans complained about the blocked simple “Oakland” in the late ‘80s. But they topped it with the “Turn Ahead the Clock” outfit, a nightmare of yellow and green mixed together.
The topper had to be the logo, an armored elephant hitting the ball with his trunk, a completely ludicrous concept that looked worse on a cap. You never know, maybe these uniforms have now become a hot collector's item.
10 Philadelphia Phillies - 1979
Only used for Saturday games and for a single season, these uniforms were a strange choice for the Phillies. A team that usually leaned toward whitish colors instead went to something red as ketchup and solid over their bodies save for white stripes at the legs. It looked like a bizarre robot toy and the large white “P” on their chests didn’t help improve it at all. At best, maybe these could have passed for spring training jerseys or practice jerseys, but sadly these were worn in actual games.
9 Pittsburgh Pirates - 1977-1984
Why? That’s all you can say when you see these outfits. The massive yellow is just ugly to look at and on the field, it looked even worse, especially when mud and such started to cover it all. The black armlets didn’t help or the numbers on the stomach. But the hats were the worst part. Black with a simple “P” on them, they looked like an old railroad conductor’s cap and you half expected the team to make a “Choo-Choo!’ noise as they marched onto the field.
8 San Diego Padres - 1972-74
There’s yellow…and then there’s THIS much yellow. For three seasons, the Padres took the field in a uniform that makes mustard look bland. Bad enough just to watch but then throw in how dirt and mud would cake it over and it was a nightmare for the cleaners to keep them crisp. Throw in the ugly looking and bulky belts and it was a sight that made man a fan feel utterly nauseous and not the best color to help out so many a San Diego fan enjoyed it when the team moved to a better mix to watch on the field.
7 San Francisco Giants - 1982
The current uniform for the Giants isn’t winning fans overwith its dark top and stenciled logos. However, the ’82 outfits are still seen as the worst around. It’s just too much at once, starting with the solid orange tops with the multi-colored sleeves and lack of undershirt. The logo looks too large and the font not the simple one the Giants have come to use in the past while the tiny orange belt looks frankly stupid. Clashing with the nearly all white pants doesn’t help at all either. Looking at these uniforms from the waist up, you could almost swear this was the exact same look the Orioles were sporting during this period. They're both on the list for similar reasons.
6 Seattle Mariners - 1977
Given their location and name, going for an “aquatic” feel isn’t a bad idea for Seattle’s team. Yet their outfits in their inaugural season worked that theme poorly. The home uniforms weren’t as terrible, although the blue undershirts seemed to clash with white tops and blue caps. The logo looked stupid with the “M” shaped like a trident and not fitting well with the concept. The road outfits were worse, almost solid light blue with a large yellow striped belt and sleeves to clash poorly. Thankfully, Seattle would improve with their later uniforms yet this shows how expansion teams have a rough go at the start.
5 St. Louis Cardinals - 1976
The Cardinals latched quickly to their scheme of mostly white with red sleeves and caps and smartly didn’t do much to change it over the years. They also hit upon the terrific logo of a bird perched on top of a bat that’s become one of the most iconic in baseball. In 1976, they tried to shift it up a bit and the results were poor.
The pullover jerseys with the implication of polyester were a bad idea and the two birds on the logo were a bit much. The road outfits were worse, powder blue and a road hat design that reminded you of the Pirates’ infamous “train conductor” caps, never a good look. They only lasted a year but shows how the Cardinals are better off sticking to what works.
4 Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays - 1998-2000
Expansion teams often have to go with a few hits and misses before they can find the proper look and logo. But the Rays stumbled right out of the gate with a design that had fans wincing. The completely white uniforms looked incredibly bland, nothing that hinted at their hometown or anything really special for a team intending to jump into the 21st century.
The logo was almost universally hated, the font looking like it was created at a cheap beachside restaurant with “wavy” colors and the manta ray underneath totally out of place. The Rays would shift to some better designs later but their first remains the worst in trying to sell a new team.
3 Texas Rangers - 1983 Road
The Rangers have had issues for a while in their color. Originally the Washington Senators, they moved to Texas in 1972 and since then have bounced between blue and red as their primary color and various changes to their logo as well. That leads to a lot of bad choices but the 1983 uniforms are probably the worst of the bunch. Yet another powder blue look with red trimmings, they didn’t fit the Rangers at all, nothing to them that spoke to Dallas and the horrible font to the “T” made it look like any number of letters from a distance.
Powder blue was a trend around the 80s. Some teams were able to pull it off, while others failed miserably.
2 Toronto Blue Jays - 2006
There’s nothing wrong with having some pride in your nation, we see it all the time in baseball. However, the Blue Jays went too far in 2006 with this special outfit for Canada Day that failed to showcase any of the “flag” design at all. It’s just uninspired, solid black jersey with a badly done team logo design that looks more U.S. flag colors than Canadian and clashing with the simple back font. This looked more like a quick way to try to sell a new jersey. It's as if the design department was only notified of their assignment the night before the game.
1 Washington Nationals, 2012 Alternate
Originally the Expos, the team was moved to Washington in 2005 and has enjoyed some success there. The Expos' history of uniforms is full of some beauties so none of those were serious candidates for this list.
In terms of Washington's uniforms, they stick to mostly red and white designs, a patriotic look that does look good on the field and serves them well. On the road, they can go for a good blue and red top to pay tribute to their home but their main road alternate is a bit worse. The nearly solid red looks better suited for another team and the “W” over the heart looks worse with a star background to it. The “vest” stripes at the front also distract and the team number on the back is a bit small. The regular road outfits look good but these alternates fail to make the Nationals seem as big a deal as they should.
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