The Cincinnati Reds had one of the most classic looks in all of sports when they were the Red Stockings.
The Cincinnati Reds have only had a handful of uniforms in their extended history. For the most part two things have been the same for the past 75 years. The red cap with the pointed “C” and the somewhat subdued red socks. There have been a handful of variations there.
The Reds need to recapture the past elitism that propelled them to be first professional team ever. The Reds were the first professional baseball team in the world, led by the Wright brothers. In the late 1800s, handlebar moustaches were all the rage.
The uniforms were essentially polo shirts with a large red C on the middle of the chest. This C was about the size of a pumpkin. There has been some debate on whether the uniforms were white or off-white, but the consensus is that they were white wool.
The polo collar and the wool fabric can go away, but imagine a non-button jersey with a huge C on the front like the Reds were all supermen. For years the white jersey with the white hat and long red stockings were their only uniforms. They didn’t need a grey uniform or a Sunday special uniform.
For forty years the caligraphy C as most people call it now was the Reds’ uniform. In 1909 the Reds added a uniform that isn’t too different from what is now the Chicago Cubs alternate uniform. That uniform had all blue shirts and pants with a red C on the left breast and ball cap with the classic high red stockings.
Somewhere along the line, the button up uniform with the belted pants came back into vogue. The Reds should move their uniforms back to the pullovers. A shiny caligraphy C would look great on television.
Uniforms really don’t mean much, but the focus on Mr. Red Leg is beginning to be distracting.
The only uniform feature in the National League that is more distracting than the oversized Mr. Red Leg on the home uniforms is the change in color feature of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The way it changes colors makes the numbers difficult to read. It also makes the uniforms look like it’s always raining.
Maybe the Cincinnati Reds could do something like that too. They could have a bright red top to the uniform that transitions to black just about the red stockings. That might be a nice look. The original uniforms would only qualify as home uniforms in today’s MLB, so they need to create new visitor’s uniforms.
The color rush uniforms from the NFL’s Thursday night games could provide a cool looking Reds’ uniform. Imagine a red uniform from head to toe with minimal black and white trim with a large caligraphy C on the front in reflective white. It would be unique in all of baseball.
Of course that calls to mind the most amazing thing about baseball uniforms. Most teams play the majority of their games in warm weather situations. Why don’t more teams have alternate materials to keep their players cool?
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The Reds are the most classic team in baseball. They should lean into their heritage. Returning to a uniform that is similar to the original 1869 uniform would be a great way to remind us all that the Reds are the true originals.