This column isn’t about baseball’s POWER outage. It’s about baseball’s POWDER outage. Why don’t teams wear powder blue uniforms anymore when almost half the teams wore them back in the wild 1970s and ’80s?
Of all the sartorial trends in sports history, was there ever a weirder fad than when Major League Baseball teams decided to add a powder blue uniform in the 1970s and ’80s? I mean, please!!! They weren’t even alternates usually. They were one of the main uniforms, worn as either a home or a road outfit.
It’s almost as if all the baseball owners colluded to take away North Carolina’s Tar Heel powder blue monopoly. When I was growing up in the 80s, I used to think that all these teams actually had powder blue as one of their official colors.
What did I know? I was seven. But no, these teams didn’t all have powder blue in their team colors. They just decided, “Hey, why not! Philadelphia’s doing it so why don’t we too?!?”
From what I gather, at least 15 different organizations (out of 30 franchises) had a powder blue version of their uniform. Some were cool. Some were awful! Some were just…..strange. All were…..powder blue. And in a way, it was all…… glorious!
It seemed like a high school girls’ powder puff football game was going to break out, except in big league parks across the nation! And it wasn’t even Homecoming week. But you know what, I kinda liked it. Where has all the powder blue gone? I guess North Carolina must’ve won their court case in protecting their monopoly, because almost all the powder blues are gone, lost to history like those fat mitts from the 1920s, the non batting-gloved blistered hands prior to Hawk Harrelson inventing the idea in the ’60s, or those ear-flapless helmets from the ’70s.
Nevertheless, let’s take a look at the teams that have worn a version of a powder blue uniform throughout their existence.
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals
St. Louis Cardinals
In conclusion, here’s how the “Dutch Lion” rates the powder blue uniforms.
The Good: Brewers, Braves, Phillies, Blue Jays, Cardinals, and Royals (ironic yet solid)
The Bad: Rays (meaningless and dumb), Rangers (boring, and just, why?), Twins (not sure if they were bad or ugly or both)
The Ugly: Cubs (pajamas for soft people like old retired men that wear slippers, pajamas, and smoke a pipe), Brooklyn Dodgers (satin blue bed sheets, not even sure this was a real uniform)
The Non-Participants: Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Tigers, Indians, Angels, Astros, Athletics, Mets, Reds, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Giants, Padres, and Rockies (*I get the feeling that many of these franchises wished they could get in the powder blue arena but just couldn’t pull it off, i.e. the Pittsburgh Pirates equipment manager pleading with the Pirates management who just informed him they’re considering powder blues: “C’mon man, all I know are these yellow and black duds, and then when this season is over I go down the street and work at the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers clubhouse and then after that season I can’t stop working so I go to the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins clubhouse. I can’t even see any other colors anymore. I’m color blind!”) (PS Wouldn’t it suck to be a Pittsburgh fan? Your entire wardrobe is just yellows and blacks with a side of grass stained versions of those. Ugh!!!!!)
Our World Champion: Montreal Expos (exquisitely worn by “Rock” Raines, Andre “The Hawk” Dawson, Pete Rose, and Gary “The Kid” Carter)
Congratulations to the defunct (favorite word) Montreal Expos for their first World Championship. It’s not a World Series Championship but it’s something.
It’s Dutch Lion’s Sartorial World Championship of Powder Blue Uniforms!
The Blue Jays brought back their powder blues about 10-15 years ago for Flashback Friday home games and I didn’t really like them for some reason. They just seemed out of place. Maybe it’s because the opponent wasn’t wearing a flashback jersey. Something was off. Back in the day they looked great, but not now.
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I knew you’d enjoy this column Paul. The Blue Jays powders always make me think of Dave Stieb and the great Outfield of Lloyd Moseby, Jessie Barfield, and George Bell. Those were the days!
I think the once a week flashblacks are really cool. The Brewers use it to great effect on Friday nights with their 80s style MB unis, but not powder blues.
Have you noticed the Phillies have brought back their powder blues for Saturday day games if memory serves me. I love those! They’re kinda funny but awesome. It’s all about fun so why not?
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A lot of teams seem to be bringing back their throwbacks this year. I know the Reds have a new throwback every Sunday and they’ve been awesome. I also like the Phillies one!
I don’t mind throwbacks every now and then, but I definitely think it’s better when both teams in the same game are wearing them. Makes it even cooler for me.
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