Why Do Some Baseball Uniforms Have Pinstripes?

Last Updated on July 3, 2021 by

For telling themselves apart! Sometime in the nineteenth century, baseball teams could only tell themselves apart through the color of their socks. Later on, they brought about a system where the home teams would wear white, and those on the road would wear gray and black. However, the twentieth-century teams started trying new things with their uniforms. Until 1907 when the Chicago Cubs came up with pinstripes. Many teams went along with this system but the New York Yankees widened their stripes and made them more visible. Some people see it as a classy look while for some teams it is traditional. Chicago Cubs have been wearing stripes since 1907 non-stop, while the New York Yankees have worn them since 1915. Some other teams wear them sometimes and they don’t most times. 

Baseball Uniform- Definition 

A baseball uniform is a kind of uniform which is worn by baseball players, coaches, and managers. On every baseball uniform, the player wearing it has his name and number are written on the back to differentiate each player from one another. Keep in mind that the complete uniform isn’t just the shirt and shorts worn by the player. The uniform consists of a shirt, shorts, socks, shoes, caps, and gloves. The uniforms help the players, officials, and spectators tell the difference between the two teams and the official’s infield because each team’s uniform has different colors and logos. The uniforms are made with polyester and not cotton because cotton shrinks when being washed. The first team to use uniforms was the New York Knickerbockers in 1849. Uniforms have helped baseball teams not only to differentiate their players but to also make money by selling replicas. Branding companies help make for them and develop a huge amount of revenue for teams in the major league. 


Earlier Improvements

The first baseball team to wear uniforms was the knickerbockers on the 4th of April 1849. They came in blue wool pants, white flannel shirts, and straw hats. After they did it, it became normal and rampant in the 1900s for major league teams to wear uniforms. In the year 1882, most team uniforms had stockings to cover their legs and knees, these stockings were mostly used to differentiate the teams. The uniforms also had features that made them different from that of the other teams, like colors and patterns. The patterns were to differentiate between the positions of each player. 

Uniforms For Home Games And On The Road 

In the later years of the 19th century, most teams started using two different uniforms. What I am trying to say is that each team has a uniform for when they play in their baseball stadium while the other one is used for when they are on the road. Most teams were wearing white uniforms when at home and gray and black uniforms while on the road. A good example of a team that did this was the Brooklyn Superbas because unlike most teams they used blue patterns on the road. 

Hat Styles

The different kinds of hats and headgears that have shades for your eyes have been a portion of baseball uniforms since the beginning. From 1840 to 1870, most baseball players wore different kinds of hats when coming to the field. Most of the players didn’t even wear hats because, at the time, there was no official rule for headgears and hats. Some of the hats players wore to the field were jockey caps, boating caps, straw hats, cycling caps, and flat-topped caps. All these hats were worn just to prevent sunburns it did not matter which one you wore, as far as you can play with it. 


Later in the 19th century, baseball players started to prefer soft and reliable leather shoes. In the 1970s, artificial turf came into place in most advanced country’s baseball fields. Based on these modifications, footwear was upgraded. Detachable spikes which were banned in 1976 were brought back to prevent players from slipping on the artificial turf. Back in the 19th and 20th centuries, most baseball shoes were black. In the 1960s Kansas city Athletic started to wear revolutionary white shoes and kept toll tradition even when they moved to Oakland.

Socks And Shorts

Motivated by the Cincinnati Red Stockings, in the 1860s moving on, colors of stockings of teams were used mainly in telling the difference of teams. In 1990 also and moving on, the recent styles of pants were close-trimmed for players. The pants ran clear to the shoetops. These ones came just after the ones that were traditionally knee-breeches style and had been used by generations. They were an infringement of the law that made players wear full-length pants and knee-length socks at the same time while on the field. 

Graphics And Logos

From the start, there were always designs that were used to identify the different teams. Most times, the uniforms had an old English letter on them in the chest area. This design is still in use by the Detroit Tigers, they also have a gothic style D on their home jersey and Hats. Another team is the Oakland Athletics, they have an A written on their caps and alternative jerseys. Just as official nicknames were adopted in the 1990s, so also pictorial logos became part of the team’s marketing. A good example is the small red Tiger drawn on the Detroit Tiger’s black cap. 

Why Do They Call It Pinstripes?

The banking theory stated that the pinstripe used to be a kind of uniform for Victorian English bankers and different bankers from different institutions were differentiated by the distance and thickness of their stripes.


Funny thing is that just 6 out of 30 MLB teams use pinstripes on their home uniforms. The stripes were put mostly for home uniforms because most home uniforms had the same colors so the stripes were used to let people know the team on the road and the home team. We’ve reached the end of this informative article. We hope that this article helped you find resources in your quest to know why baseball uniforms have pinstripes. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments. Thanks!

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