Why Do Umpires Wear Suits? (Things You Never Knew About Baseball Umpires!)

Last Updated on October 28, 2023 by Alex PT

Baseball umpires wear suits to establish authority and professionalism on the field. The tradition of umpires wearing suits dates back to the late 1800s, and navy blue has been the standard color since the 1930s.

Furthermore, an umpire handles all disciplinary actions and makes accurate and precise judgments. But have you wondered why they all wear suits during baseball games? If you’ve been in search of why baseball umpires wear suits during games, you’re at the right place. In this article, we are going to talk about why baseball umpires wear suits during games, how their uniforms evolve, and the uniforms and equipment of Little League baseball umpires.

Umpire EquipmentUmpire Uniform
Red FlagThe Plate Coat
Lineup BookHat
Lineup WalletSuit

Why Do Baseball Umpires Wear Suit Jackets?

Baseball umpires wear suit jackets for a variety of reasons, including:

  • To establish authority and professionalism on the field. The suit jacket is a symbol of authority and professionalism, and it helps to distinguish umpires from the players and other members of the field staff.
  • To set a good example for the players and fans. Umpires are role models for the players and fans, and their appearance and demeanor can have a big impact on the game. By wearing suit jackets, umpires are showing that they are serious about the game and that they expect the players and fans to be serious as well.
  • To protect themselves from the elements. Baseball umpires spend a lot of time outdoors in all kinds of weather, and suit jackets can help to protect them from the sun, rain, and wind.
  • To maintain a consistent appearance. Baseball umpires are seen by millions of people around the world, and it is important for them to maintain a consistent appearance. By wearing suit jackets, umpires are presenting a unified front and reinforcing the professionalism of the game.

In addition to these reasons, umpires may also wear suit jackets for personal reasons. For example, some umpires may feel more comfortable and confident when they are wearing a suit jacket. Others may feel that wearing a suit jacket is simply a part of their job and that it is a professional thing to do.

Regardless of the reason, there is no doubt that baseball umpires look sharp and professional when they are wearing suit jackets. The suit jacket is a key part of the umpire’s uniform, and it helps to set the umpire apart from the players and other members of the field staff. It also helps to establish authority and professionalism on the field.

How Was The Umpires’ Uniform?

Just because of their uniform color, umpires are normally called “Blue”. Like a suit, the umpire uniform was different in the early days of baseball. In the American League games, all umpires are seen wearing an outside chest protector, whereas, in the National League, they wear chest protectors outside their suits. All thanks to civilization and technology, the umpire uniform has evolved into a blue coat with grey slack. There’s a patch of the embroidered league logo on every professional coat. Navy-blue polo shirts replaced light-blue shirts in 1996. Now, after the introduction of a new uniform for the umpires in the 2017 season, they wear a light blue trim and a black jacket over the shoulders.

What Is The Umpire’s Uniform History And How It Is Progressed?

In the 19th century, the umpiring job is a legitimate profession where the official’s uniform (which is the umpire) was very crucial. Most parts of the umpire uniform are to be saved in good and clean condition. Keep in mind that an umpire who looks well-kept provides the impression of preparedness, competence, and authority. 

1. The Plate Coat: The National League in conjunction with the American Association agreed that all umpires must wear a professional uniform during games to establish lawfulness. So, a suit is considered to be a more professional uniform by these two organizations. A suit with full pants, hats, ties, and shirts was worn by the very first umpire.

2. Hats: Sunshade hats are the protective headgear used by umpires, which allows them to see properly even under the sun. These hats also shield the eyes of the umpires from the hot sun without the use of any shade umbrellas. Furthermore, umpires are also seen wearing University-style caps to on-field games. Plate umpires who require smaller hats under their facemasks favor Boston-style caps. These umpires’ hats are well-made and embroidered with the stamps of the league’s logo or emblem.

3. Suits: At least two major components are always composed of the umpire’s suit. These include a jacket of the same fabric and the matching pants.

4. Pants: There were times when the National League agreed that the umpires should wear white pants for on-field games. But not quite long after, the manager complained to the National League that they were frustrated about players kicking dirt on them all the time, and it is not good to the eye when they carry stained or dirty pants around the field. So, to answer their plea, the National League decided to go back to their former blue pants colored heather and charcoal grey to conceal any dirt stain and to also keep the elegant suit slacks outlook.

5. Jackets: The big blazers that can acclimate the meaningful equipment requirements are what the umpire jackets look like. In the early days, these umpire jackets had big pockets that could accommodate spare baseball. The umpire’s upper wear has a blue dominant color. American League experimented with plate coats and maroon blazers, so as to characterize all of its staff from the National League. In an effort to make this happen, the American League had its logos patched on the short’s left breast quadrant.

6. Shirts: The National League and American League had agreed to bring in the suit-era with stiff-collared shirts later in the 20th century. These shirts evolved into chest predator-accommodating shirts with a button-down feature. Not quite long again, a more flexible poly-style short replaced this chest-accommodating shirt. Shirts with light blue or white shades with dark blazers are worn by the umpires. Also, not quite long, black polo shirts replaced this piece of heavy outwear when the manager complained about the heaviness of the uniform.

In 1996, the button-down light bluish shirts were replaced with a navy blue polo shirts together with white and red trim on the sleeve cuffs as well as the collar. The figures were additionally changed to red on the shirts.’ N’ was embroidered with the National League logo and’ A’ together with the American League logo on the caps show. As an elective by the American League which wasn’t used by a lot of umpires, a short-sleeved white shirt was used. In 1997, the National League included a light pink shirt, that became very popular compared to white tops in the American League. Since 2001, the uniforms are switched over to gray blazers with grey slacks, with the hats like the MLB logo, and they remain the same. The navy blue shirt was phased from white, and the light blue shirt was reintroduced following a tiny experiment with grey. For the 2017/18 season, we are sure that a black umpire jacket with light blue trim through the shoulders was created.

Why Umpire’s Plate Coat Has Been Evolved?

The uniform of the umpire has evolved with the game of baseball. There are reasons for the evolvement of the uniform of the umpire. They include;

1. Requires A Lot Of Time To Receive; the arrival of the umpire’s uniform might take up to twelve weeks before it will be received. It was a long time to dawdle for the uniform package.

2. Expensive; in those days, it was very costly to purchase a new plate coat. $250 was the price of the suit.

3. Difficult To Pack; Having considered the exorbitant price of the suit, it is also sad to know that the suit is difficult to pack and carry. To move it around, you’re required to lug it around themselves.

4. Only Dry Clean; the coat has an added expense with it since it can only be dry cleaned.

5. Not A Big Market; just 24 plate coats were produced in a year by the main manufacturer of these uniforms, which include one for umpires in the major leagues who get them for free.

6. Criteria Of Modern Umpire Apparel; a mix of authority and athleticism are provided by today’s umpire apparel. Truly, the authority part is achieved by plate coat but obviously not the athleticism. how can you wear a plate coat in the field when you can’t use a sport coat at the gym? Impossible!

In whatever way an individual turns into an umpire, people who embrace the craft and also continue volunteering in this most vital role, will need to look the part. The wardrobe varies in ways that are several depending on budget, league specifications, and preference.

Umpire’s Equipment

Every umpire is going to use conventional equipment to officiate games. Often neighborhood leagues are going to provide this gear, while more knowledgeable umpires will annually finance to purchase their own equipment of, a couple of clothes in a time.

1. Pitch Indicator –  a pitch indicator is expected to be used by both the base umpire and plate umpire. All pitching indicators are usually made with plastic or metal and they help to keep track of balls, strikes, and outs. Innings are also tracked by some versions.

a) Lineup Book

b) Lineup Wallet 

c) Red Flag

Final Thoughts

In professional sports, baseball umpires are the few remaining officials that still wear suits. But if you’re still wondering why they wear suit jackets, it is because it helps to separate them from the players. We’ve come to the closing chapter of this informative article. See you again!



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