The Uniforms of the New York Yankees!

 

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 Titled “It’s Hard To Be Humble” and licensed by Major League Baseball,

we present the uniforms history of the New York Yankees.

 

Please note the print visuals shown here on our website simply cannot do justice to the meticulous detail of the actual print.  In addition, the year each uniform was first introduced is inscribed underneath.  Please also note the uniforms print you receive may have been updated with additional uniforms than what is shown on the print displayed above.

                                            

Framed Version 1

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Here then is the history of the Yankees’ Uniforms …

 

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#1A.

1901  The American league was founded in 1901, and I’m sure to the surprise of some modern day fans, there was no team in New York. The eight charter members of the American League were: Chicago (started out as the White Stockings, became the White Sox); Boston (started as the Americans, became the Red Sox); Detroit (started as Tigers and remained the Tigers); Philadelphia (started as the A’s); Baltimore (started as the Orioles); Washington (started as the Senators); Cleveland (started as the Blues, became the Indians); Milwaukee (started as the Brewers).

 

Turn the hands of time ahead 100 years, and four of the eight teams are exactly where they started – Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Cleveland. Of the other four, the A’s moved to Kansas City and then on to Oakland; the Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins; Milwaukee moved to St. Louis in 1902 and became the Browns, then moved to Baltimore in the 50’s and became the Orioles); and then there were the Baltimore Orioles, whose 1901 jersey we show here. The 1901 Orioles, whose manager was the great John McGraw, finished the season with a 68-65 record, but took a step backwards the following season. After starting out 26-31, John McGraw was let go, and Wilbert Robinson (later the manager of the Brooklyn NL team) took over, but his record was a dismal 24-57, leaving the team with a 50-88 record and sole possession of last place.

 

As we see on this black Orioles road uniform, the orange “O” is for Orioles. This is a very formal collar style, traditional for this period of time. Note also that even though the jersey has four buttons down the front, this is a “pullover” style jersey that had to be pulled over the head – once again, this was common in jerseys throughout baseball at this time. We believe the first major league team to wear a completely buttoned front jersey (ie one that didn’t have to be pulled over the head) was the 1909 Phillies, followed by the 1911 Cubs. The pullover style jersey finally disappeared after the 1939 season (the A’s were the last team to wear it), but of course pullovers resurfaced in a big way with the double knit era of the 70’s and 80’s.

 

Finally, notice that there is a center belt loop, which was to secure the belt buckle off to one side. Players of this era usually wore the belt buckle to one side so they could prevent injury when sliding into a base.

#1B.

1904  Partly because of their record, and partly because of their ballpark, the 1901 and 1902 Baltimore Orioles had a tough time drawing crowds to their games, and at the end of the 1902 season they packed up their bags for what many now consider to be the capital of baseball - New York City – the most obvious choice for a franchise in the fledgling American League.

 

The New Yorkers played their games at Hilltop Park in New York, and thus were known as the “Highlanders”. The Highlanders, who would later become known as the Yankees, played their first game in New York on April 29, 1903. They would finish their first season in New York with a respectable 72-62 record, good for 4th place in the 8 team American League.

 

Here’s the history of the “Yankees” name, according to a great website devoted to Yankees history http://ultimateyankees.com/.

“When the American League moved the Baltimore Orioles to New York for the 1903 season, the club made its home at 168th Street and Broadway, one of the highest spots in Manhattan. The team would, therefore, be known as the "Highlanders" and their field "Hilltop Park." As early as 1905, however, the name "Yankees" began popping up in newspapers whose editors undoubtedly were searching for a shorter name for their headlines. By the time the franchise moved from decaying Hilltop Park to the Polo Grounds in 1913, it officially changed its name to the by then commonly-used ‘New York Yankees.’ “

 

In 1904, the season depicted here, the Highlanders finished a fantastic 92-59, 1½ games behind Boston. Interestingly, the Red Sox also lost 59 games, but they won 95. I’m not sure why New York wasn’t allowed to play 3 more games to see if they could tie things up .  We do know that the 1904 Yankees were managed by pitcher Clark Griffith, who would go on to become the manager, and owner, of the Washington Senators.

 

The hitting leader on the ’04 Yankees was “Wee Willie” Keeler, a 5’ 4 ½” 140 lb future hall of famer who hit .343. On the mound, Jack Chesbro went – are you ready for this – 41-12 with a 1.82 ERA. He started 51 games and went the distance in 48 of them – pitching a whopping 454 2/3rds innings in the process!

 

This 1904 dark blue uniform with white belt is a road uniform. You can see that the collar has been slightly modified from 1901 in that the lapels are now slightly rounded at the ends. This is still a pullover style jersey with a center belt loop on the pants.

#1C.

1910  As mentioned above, by 1910 the team was known as both the Highlanders and the Yankees (the Yankees wouldn’t become official until 1913). On the field, the team had yet to win a pennant, and 1910 would prove to be no exception. The Yankees did finish with an impressive 88-63 record, which was good for second place in the AL, but a whopping 14½ games behind Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s.

 

Note how on this home white uniform the old style “lapel” collar has been replaced with a blue, stand up “cadet” style collar. This type of “cadet” collar, a small upright collar, was a fashion worn by many teams beginning about 1910 and lasting through the mid-late 20’s.

 

If you look very closely, you’ll see a red “NY” on the collar of this home uniform, and even more importantly, you’ll see the now familiar interlocking blue “NY” on the left sleeve. Here’s the history of this interlocking “NY” logo, according to a great website devoted to Yankees history http://ultimateyankees.com/.

“What would become the most recognizable insignia in sports—the interlocking "NY"—made its first appearance on the uniforms of the New York Highlanders in 1909. The design was actually created in 1877 by Louis B. Tiffany for a medal to be given by the New York City Police Department to Officer John McDowell, the first NYC policeman shot in the line of duty. Perhaps because one of the club’s owners, Bill Devery, was a former NYC police chief, the design was adopted by the Highlanders. It first appeared   on both the cap and on the jersey’s left sleeve, replacing the separated "N" and "Y" which had appeared on the left and right breast each season from 1903 to 1908 with the exception of 1905. For the 1905 season only, the "N" and "Y" were merged side by side into a monogram on the left breast—actually a forerunner of the now legendary emblem.”

 

 

#2.

1912  By 1912 the Highlanders/Yankees were playing their last season at Hilltop Park. As noted above, by this time the “Yankees” nickname was catching on, and when the team moved to the Polo Grounds in 1913, the name “Yankees” was made official.

 

You’ll notice that this Yankees uniform features, for the first time, pinstripes, and in fact the Yankees are frequently credited with the birth of the pinstripe uniform. In actuality the Boston Red Sox first sported pinstripes for their road uniforms in 1907, five years before the Yankees. These Yankee pinstripes haven’t deviated much over time, however. This 1912 home uniform is almost identical to the ones worn by today’s Yankees. Over the years the Yankees and the Tigers are two teams that seem to have “stayed with what works”. Consequently both teams’ uniforms have resisted change and stood the test of time quite well. Long live tradition!

 

Here’s some more history of the famous Yankee pinstripes, according to a great website devoted to Yankees history http://ultimateyankees.com/.

“In 1912, their final season at Hilltop Park, the Yankees—as they were now commonly known—made a fashionable debut at their home opener on April 11. Their traditional white uniforms were now trimmed with black pinstripes, creating a look that would become the most famous uniform design in sports history. The Yankees, however, were not the first team with pinstripes and would actually abandon the look for the next two seasons. By 1915, though, the pinstripes were back for good and, with the exception of the cap, the uniform would remain relatively unchanged.”

 

On the field, the 1912 Yankees were rather forgettable. They finished last with a 50-102 mark, some 55 games behind the league leading Red Sox.

 

As a side note, the Red Sox went on to win the 1912 World Series, their second World Series championship (their 1st was in 1903). They would also win it all in 1915, 1916 and 1918, and would thus have 5 wins under their belt by 1918. The Yankees wouldn’t win their first until 1923. Since then? Yankees 26 – Red Sox 0 (or will it be 27 as of the end of the 2001 season?).

#3.

1927  From 1927 to 1930 the Yankees wore their nickname on the front of their road gray uniforms. This was the only time in the history of the Yankees where the name “Yankees” was spelled out on the jersey. This was also unusual for a baseball team to wear their nickname on their road jersey – typically it has been the case, and still is to this day, that teams wear their city name on their road jerseys and their nicknames on their home jerseys.

 

The 1927 Yankees, perhaps the greatest Yankees team ever assembled, amassed an incredible 110 - 44 record, and went on to face the 94-60 Pittsburgh Pirates. The result? A 4-0 sweep by the Yankees.

The Yankees were led by Babe Ruth, who hit .356 and clobbered a staggering 60 home runs (a record that would not be broken until Roger Maris’ 61 in ‘61). As incredible as Ruth was, the Yankees also had Lou Gehrig, who hit .373 with 47 homers of his own and was named AL MVP ahead of Ruth. And on the mound, the Yankees starters were Waite Hoyt, who went 22-7; Wilcy Moore, 19-7; Herb Pennock, 19-8; and Urben Shocker, 18-6.

#4.

1938  The Yankees are in the midst of an incredible 4 straight World Series Championships (1936-1939), and after going 99-53 in the regular season, the 1938 Yankees defeat the Chicago Cubs 4 games to 0. This marks the Yankees’ 7th World Championship in 16 years (1923, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937), and there are more to come. A lot more.

 

Some of the players for most/all of this incredible four year stretch were: Joe DiMaggio; Lou Gehrig; Tony Lazzeri, Frankie Crosetti, George Selkirk and pitchers Lefty Gomes, Red Ruffing, Bump Hadley, Johnny Murphy and Monte Pearson.

 

You’ll notice an unusual logo on the left sleeve of this 1938 home jersey – this is the 1939 New York Worlds Fair logo. Even though the NY Worlds Fair was held in 1939, the Yankees uniform helped promote the fair a year ahead of time, and they would have worn it again in 1939 except all Major League teams were required to wear the 100th Anniversary of baseball patch in 1939. Back to the Fair for a minute - if you are a student of history, you may be aware that the 1939 New York Worlds Fair was perhaps the most successful Worlds Fair ever held – it was hugely attended and showcased an endless stream of exhibits and delights that has really never been equaled by a Worlds Fair before or since.

#5.

1943  December 1941 to November 1945 America goes to war.

 

During the Second World War, the question is raised, should able-bodied athletes of baseball be fighting for their country rather than playing baseball? Baseball Commissioner Landis asked President Franklin D. Roosevelt what to do - here is part of Roosevelt’s reply:

“I honestly feel it would be best for the country to keep baseball going. There will be fewer people unemployed and everybody will work longer hours and harder than ever before… Here is another way of looking at it - if 300 teams use 5,000 or 6,000 players, these players are a definite recreational asset to at least 20,000,000 of their fellow citizens - and that in my judgment is thoroughly worthwhile.”

 

Wartime sleeve patches were worn by all levels of professional baseball teams between 1942 and 1945. A “Health” patch was worn during the 1942 season, part of a war-time health and fitness awareness campaign, and from 1943-1945 a “Stars and Stripes” was worn.

 

We have depicted the Health patch on this 1943 road uniform when in actuality the Health Patch was only worn for the 1942 season – we should have labeled this a 1942 jersey, not a 1943 jersey. This will be corrected in future editions of this poster. If this was truly a 1943 jersey, it would have featured a Stars and Stripes patch.

 

During the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s many teams used zippered jerseys instead of the more traditional button front jerseys, while a handful of teams wore them well into the 70’s and even the 80’s. The Yankees were one of three pre-1977 major league teams that never wore zippers, the others being the Reds and A’s. The 1937 Cubs were the first team to wear a zippered jersey, and as far as we can tell the 1988 Phillies were the last to wear one.

 

The 1943 Yankees complete another great season in 1943, going 98-56 and finishing 13 ½ games ahead of the 2nd place Washington Senators. In the World Series, the Yanks square off against the 105-49 Cardinals, and make short work of them, winning the World Series 4 games to 1 in what was really a pitchers’ series – the Yankees batted .220 vs the Cards’ .224.

#6.

1951  This is the rookie year of the fresh-faced Mickey Mantle, although I’m not sure that you could tell what heights he would go on to achieve based on his rookie year stats – he hit .267 in 96 games, striking out 74 times while hitting 13 home runs. And in the World Series he would see action in 2 games, getting a single in 5 at bats. But Mantle would see his team win their 3rd straight World Series Championship – it would end up being their 3rd in a string of 5 consecutive wins – with a 4-2 World Series win over the surprising New York Giants.

 

The Yankees’ 5 World Series championships in a row - from 1949-1953 - is a record, and surpassed their own mark of 4 Worlds Series in a row from 1936-1939.

 

Consider the record: The Yankees finished 1949 with a 97-57, record; 1950 with a 98-56 mark; 1951 with another 98-56 mark; 1952 with a 99-52 record; and 1953 with another 99-52 record. A remarkably consistent and outstanding record in what many consider to be baseball’s finest era, an era dominated by the Yankees.

 

The Yankees of the late 40’s and early 50’s were led by Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizutto, Yogi Berra, Hank Bauer, Johnny Mize, Billy Martin, Jerry Coleman, Tommy Henrich, Vic Raschi, Allie Reynolds, Whitey Ford, Ed Lopat – it reads like a who’s who of baseball.

 

The patch on this pinstriped home uniform commemorates the 50th anniversary of the American League, which was founded in 1901, 25 years after the National League. This is why the American League is considered by some as “the junior circuit”.

 

A uniform note: Uniform numbers first made their appearance on the front of a uniform in 1952 - the Brooklyn Dodgers were the first team to wear uniform numbers on the front of their jersey. The Braves followed suit in 1953, and the Reds joined in beginning in 1956. The 1916 Cleveland Indians actually wore a uniform number on their sleeve, but it wasn’t until the ’52 Dodgers that the number made it to the front. But the Yankees have never worn a uniform number on the front of any of their jerseys.

#7.

1961  The ‘50’s were tremendous for the Yankees (they won in ’49, ’50, ’51, ’52, ’53, ’56 and ’58), and it looked like their championship ways would continue in the ‘60’s, with titles in ‘60,’61 and again in ’62. Then in 1963 and 1964 the Yankees won the American League, but lost both times in the World Series (4-0 to the ’63 Dodgers, 4-3 to the ’64 Cards). And after that, it was a drought the likes of which the Yankees have almost never seen – no playoff appearances for 12 straight years,

 

But let’s go back to 1961, when the Yankees were on top of the world.

 

There were many greats on the ’61 Yankees – Bobby Richardson, Tony Kubek, Elston Howard, Chet Boyer, Yogi Berra, World Series MVP Whitey Ford, Ralph Terry – but two names stand out from the rest, largely because of the power of their bats, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. Mantle had a monster season in 1961, hitting .317 with 128 RBI and 54 dingers, but Maris did him several better, hitting .269 with 142 RBI and 61 home runs, thus breaking one of the oldest and most cherished records in all of baseball – Babe Ruth’s mark of 60 home runs in a season. Maris would win his second consecutive regular season AL MVP in 1961 (Mantel would turn the trick in 1956, 1957 and 1962).

 

The home uniform depicted in this 1961 painting is virtually unchanged from 1951 and 1938, and even from the 1912 jersey! It’s a white jersey, with fine black-blue pinstripes and a very dark blue interlocking NY logo on the left breast.

#8.

1978  The Yankees make it back to the post season in 1976 after being away since ’64 – an eternity in Yankee years, a short snooze to the rest of the world. They’ll fall to the ’76 Cincinnati Reds in 4 straight, but then came 1977 and 1978.

 

1977 and 1978 are almost carbon copies of each other, and as such you’ll often hear baseball fans (and Yankees fans) saying both years in the same breathe – as in the “77-78” Yankees.

 

The ’77 Yanks finish 100-62, the ’78 Yanks 100-63. In both years they beat the Kansas City Royals to win the American League Pennant – 3-2 in ’77 and 3-1 in ’78. In both years they faced the L.A. Dodgers for the crown, and come out winners in each – 4 games to 2 in ’77 (including Reggie Jackson’s three consecutive homers, each on the 1st pitch, in the 6th and deciding game of the ’77 series), and 4 games to 2 in ’78.

 

But the difference, and if you’re a 30+ year old Yankee fan you will remember where you were on October 2nd, 1978, was that the ’78 Yankees had to face the Boston Red Sox in a one game playoff at Fenway to determine the winner of the AL East.

 

The Yankees were down 2-0 when the seventh began but had rallied. Chris Chambliss and Roy White reached safely on singles and Bucky Dent, a .243 hitter with four home runs during the season, came to the plate with two out. Dent lofted a 1-1 pitch from Mike Torrez, the Boston starter, over the Green Monster -- the 37-foot wall in left field -- to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Dent's shocking blast was the biggest blow in a 5-4 win over Boston and put the Yankees into postseason play for the 3rd straight year.

 

The 1978  road uniform is a little bit different than the last one we saw, in 1943, in that it features a white outline around the dark blue “Yankee” lettering, and there are now two dark blue stripes on the sleeve cuffs.

 

This road jersey is of a double-knit style that most major league teams succumbed to during the 70’s and early 80’s. But unlike most other teams, the Yankees jersey is not a pullover style jersey, although it is made of stretchy, synthetic material. Most teams wore pants that were called “Sans-a-Belt”’s because the elasticized waistline eliminated the need for a belt, but once again, the Yankees never surrendered to this trend.

The 1970 Pirates were the first double-knit - sans-a-belt team, and the Cards and Astros joined them in 1971. By 1975 two thirds of major league teams had succumbed but never the Yankees (even though they did were jerseys made from double knit fabric).

#9.

1981  Dave Winfield played 8 great seasons with the San Diego Padres, but when he became a free agent, the lure of the Yankees, (and a huge contract!) was too much and he began his tenure as a Bronx Bomber this season. In 105 games he batted .294, with 13 homers and 68 RBI. But there were so many other names as well – Goose Gossage, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Rick Cerone, Willie Randolph, Lou Pinella, Reggie Jackson, Graig Nettles, Dave Righetti – and more.

 

But 1981 is perhaps known best for what happened off the field – a players’ strike – that resulted in the odd situation where the winner of the 1st half of the season in each division played the second half winner (remarkably all first half winners were different than the 2nd half winners) for the right to advance to the League Championship Series.

 

Thus the Yankees, winners of the 1st half with their 34-22 record, went on to play the Milwaukee Brewers, the 2nd half winners (the Yankees finished the 2nd half 25-26, 6th out of 7 teams). The Yankees prevail in the playoff 3 games to 2, then sweep the Oakland A’s 3-0 in the ALCS. This puts them in the World Series vs the Dodgers for the 3rd time in 5 years (1977 & 1978). But this time the Dodgers take their revenge on the Yankees, winning the last 4 straight to take the Series in 6 games.

 

The Yankees, more than any other team in professional baseball, honor the players and management that have been influential in the development of the team and thus from time to time wear a black armband in respect for the death of a colleague. Thus over the last 25 years the Yankees have worn numerous black bands, in most cases for an entire season. That being said, we are not sure who the 1981 black armband was in honor of. .

#10.

1996  The Yankees start an amazing run this year, winning the next four out of five World Series championships, ’96, ‘98, ‘99, and 2000! The 1996-2001 Yankees have to be mentioned in the same breath and with the same reverence as the 1936-39 Yankees (who won 4 World Series in a row) and the 1949-53 Yankees (who won 5 World Series in arrow).

 

Looking back, the Yankees finished 92-70 in ‘96; 96-66 in 97 (2 games back of the Orioles); a whopping 114-48 in 1998; 98-64 in 1999; 87-74 in 2000; and 95-65 in 2001.

 

It has been a remarkable team, surprisingly void of huge egos and controversy – in many ways these Yankees have reflected the nature of their manager, Joe Torre.

 

In 1996, the first year in this tremendous string, the Yankees met the Texas Rangers in the first round of the playoffs (baseball added this extra round of playoffs beginning in 1995), and knocked them off 3 games to 1. Next up were the surprising scrappy Baltimore Orioles, but led by MVP Bernie Williams, the Yankees knocked the O’s off 4 games to 1.

 

In the World Series, the Yankees squared off against the defending champion Atlanta Braves. The Braves hammer the Yankees 12-1 and 4-0 in New York, and can’t help but feel good about heading back to Atlanta for games 3, 4 and 5. So what happens? The Yankees peel off 4 straight victories (5-2; 2-0; 1-0; 3-2) for their 1st World Series victory since 1978.

 

This 1996 home uniform pays tribute to Yankee great Mickey Mantle, who passed away in August 1995, with a black armband on the left sleeve. The patch that we see on the right sleeve is a “World Series patch”, this is something that baseball started in the late 80’s – the practice of wearing a “World Series” patch in the World Series. The patch changes from year to year, but usually contains the year and the words “World Series”.

 

 

#11.

1998  After missing the playoffs by 2 games in 1997, the Yankees were back at it in 1998. And then some! Featuring great team play and not celebrating the individual, the 1998 Yankees won an amazing 114 games in the regular season, the third highest season win total in Major League history. The Yankees went 114-48 in ’98 for a remarkable .703 winning percentage.

 

The all time record belongs to the 1906 Chicago Cubs who won 116 in a season and went 116-36 for an amazing .763 winning percentage. In 2001 the Seattle Mariners went 116-46 to better the Yankees’ 1998 record, but the Yanks had the last laugh as they knocked the Mariners off in the playoffs.

 

After beating the Texas Rangers 3-0 in the first round of the playoffs, the ’98 Yankees then subdued the Indians 4 games to 2 on the strength of MVP David Wells’ arm, and found themselves up against the San Diego Padres.

 

Once again, there was no doubt about it – I’m not sure the Padres knew what hit them. Baseball’s most dominant team in the regular season is baseball’s most dominant team in the post season. Final score? Yankees 4 – Padres 0. World Series #2 in the last 3 years.

 

And it wouldn’t stop there. In 1999 the Yankees do it again, beating the Braves in 4 straight yet again. Then in 2000 the Yankees do it to their cross-town rival Mets in the first “subway” series since Oakland played the Giants in 1989 (although some don’t call that a subway series) by a 4-1 margin.

 

As for the uniform, it’s basically the same look as the 1978 uniform, a tribute to the consistency of Yankees uniforms. A couple small notes: in 1998 we see a different “World Series patch” on the right sleeve than we did in 1996 , this is because baseball uses a different patch each year on the World Series teams’ uniforms. As noted earlier, the patch changes from year to year, but usually contains the year and the words “World Series” and this year is no exception.

 

We also see a high collared t-shirt/undershirt with an embroidered white “NY” on the collar. The practice of wearing embroidered undershirts began at some point in the 90’s, to the point now that many teams basically consider the t-shirt part of the uniform.  We also see something we’re used to seeing.  Yet another

Yankees World Championship in 2009!!!!

 

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The New York Yankees: “It’s Hard To Be Humble”

 

 


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