We see them everyday, a shirt with a number on the front and name on the back. Certainly all these are different some long sleeve, some short sleeve, and some sleeveless and we see them all over Chap. It is called the jersey and they have been around since the start of 1929. Jerseys can be a memory of a moment in sports history, such as the black sleeved jersey worn by Lebron James in game seven of the NBA finals or the iconic purple Raptors jersey worn by Vince Carter in the 2000 finals.
Jerseys are the image of a city, the New York Yankees iconic pinstripes worn by players such as Babe Ruth, Joe Dimaggio, and Jason Giambi are what many think of a symbol of New York. These symbols can be worn as fashion, or a memory of great moment or not so great moments of the past. The jerseys iconic style as a fashion instead of just athletic wear was born after the 2000 finals when a image of Lakers guard Kobe Bryant wearing a Bulls Michael Jordan jersey while smoking a cigar celebrated a championship. Jerseys were originally just meant for fans to know who was the home and away team, however in all four major sports leagues the NBA, MLB, and NFL that soon changed.
According to Uni-watch it wasn't until 1929 after years of failed experimentation that the New York Yankees put numbers on the back of their jersey to separate the players. After 1929 uniforms continued to evolve and almost every team only had a white jersey and a colored jersey to play games. Fast forward to 1952 and Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’ Malley introduced red numbers on the jersey to help people see the players number on TV. Unfortunately for the Dodgers the red numbers would let the world know who lost the world series to the Yankees in seven games. Then continue to fast forward in baseball history past the Dodgers move to LA when in 1972 the Oakland A’s introduced a yellow and green alternate jersey. The A’s uniforms lead to new uniforms throughout the MLB, until they began to slowly bring the jerseys back to the old days in the 1990’s. Meanwhile in the NBA the first alternate jersey appeared in 1970 and were fulling adapted into the association by 1995. In 2002 the NFL finally introduced alternate uniforms for their teams. The Chargers powder blues might be the most known NFL alternate. Teams were added such the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins that brought exciting new jerseys to the MLB, but few teams really made a big effort until 1998 when the horrendous turn ahead the clock uniform appearance for every team in the MLB. In 2015, the NFL introduced the color rush which one solid color throughout the uniform, originally worn on thursday night football. The MLBs huge uniform mistake lead to no league wide jersey rollouts until 2017, when every MLB team played in custom jerseys for players weekend. The player weekend jersey allowed players to wear nicknames on the back of their uniforms. Then came the greatest jersey rollout of all time, the city jersey. These NBA jerseys introduced in 2018 have lead to some the most legendary jerseys in sports history. Some such as the Miami vice, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Denver Nuggets skyline are some of the most bought jerseys of all time.
So in the end whether it may be basketball, baseball, or football every jersey has a story that no one else knows. Whether it a 60 point game, a walkoff home run, or a game winning field goal every jersey has a meaning. So next time you're walking down the hallway see if you can find a jersey.
Photo by Katie Butefish
Story by Dominic Fratino