Goatriders of the Apocalypse

A brief history of the Chicago Cubs baseball jersey

Moment of full disclosure: I am a jersey affectionato.  I realize how much of a loser it makes me, but I would wear a baseball jersey every day of the week if I could.  I don't care if it's January of July, if the Cubs are first or last, I like wearing these shirts.  I'm wearing one right now - my Kerry Wood blue alternate.

Baseball jerseys are my smack.  My h-train is a j-train.  If I see a cool jersey, my pupils dilate, my pulse quickens, and endorphins are released into my brain.  Actually, the same is the case when it comes to hats.

I own the pinstripe home uniform - #8 Andre Dawson - the road grey, two blue alternates (a Sosa that I stopped wearing seven years ago and Wood), a Cooperstown Ernie Banks jersey that is literally falling apart, a Mark Prior jersey that looks like it belongs to a softball team, and a Dominican Republic jersey from the Caribbean Series.  And I.  Want.  More.

I like the Cubs uniforms.  They're nice.  Classic.  Practically unchangeable.  Except I think it would be awesome if the Cubs did just that - changed things up a little bit.  Considering how marketing savvy those guys are, I just can't believe nobody has touched up the uniforms at all.  Besides, the blue pinstripes have only been around since the late 50's.  There are plenty of traditional, classic looks that the Cubs have in their repertoire.

Rather than give you the detailed history of these uniforms, I'm going to highlight some of the most interesting.

(All credit goes to the Baseball Hall of Fame)

1908 - the Cubs C with a bear appears for the first time.  Not without coincidence, this team kicked ass.


1916 - For the first time in the team's history, the big C is red.  Note the "walking bear."

Big Red C

1918 - A one-year experiment with pinstripes.  There are several old newspapers which report that the road Cubs - in their atrocious reds - were repeatedly chased out of town by indignant mobs who were angry that their sensibilities had been so greatly offended.


1929 - Steak Sauce.  I'd love to see this uniform sold in the stores around Wrigleyville.  It's all the colors and the basic look of what we've come to love today minus the pinstripes.  (Actually these uniforms first came into use a few years earlier, but this is the first year of a darker road grey with an arm patch.)

Awesome Unis

1932 - Check these ones out.  The Cubs experiment with 4 different choices, including red pinstripes and, for the road uniform, a red hat.  Note that both road uniforms include a arm sleeve Cubs logo.

1933 - More steak sauce.  This is perhaps my favorite home jersey in Cubs history.  Again, why the hell can't they sell this in the team store?  There are idiots like me flailing about with cash-in-hand wanting to buy these jerseys.

Steak Sauce

Behold the innovation of the 1941 Cubs.  Actually in this era the Cubs were responsible for a lot of uniform firsts.  They were the first team to use zippers instead of buttons in 1937 - something that would be common for decades to follow - they were the first team to go sleeveless in 1940, and here they are the first team with the powder blue road uniforms.  The powder blues would last two seasons before the angry mobs crushed the team's will to wear them.  This is also the first time the Cubs logo has most-resembled today's version.


1957 - the first year that the pinstripes became common.  This was also the only year in which the Cubs road jersey said "Cubs" in it.  When I was a kid I had the blue hat with white stripes.  Upon reflection, it was pretty ugly.  Incidentally, in 1962 the Cubbie bear patch is added to the home and road uniforms.

Cubs 57

1978 - Why Cubs, why?  Blame the Montreal Expos for the return popularity of the powder blues - I guess the Cubs were just three decades ahead of their time - but in 1978 the Cubs became the first and only team to have white stripes on their blue road jerseys.  Look up ugly in the dictionary ... well, you know.  And yet they sell this jersey but not the other, older, cooler ones.


1982 - The coolest ever.  I grew up watching the Cubs when they had the blue road uniforms, which is perhaps entirely why I like the modern alternates so much.  I realize that older Cub fans will scorn me for that, but you guys grew up admiring the powder blues, so you've got nothin' on me.


1990 - And with a few bumps and modifications, this has been the basic Cubs jersey template of the past 19 years.  It amazes me to realize that we've got readers who have known nothing but the uniforms of the last two decades.  But, unbelievably, it's true.

Homes and Roads

I think the Cubs are long overdue for a jersey overhaul.  There are plenty of designs they can incorporate which would not fly in the face of the team's traditional look.  It just seems to me that, with so many cool designs in the team's storied history, it's limiting to pretend that the current look is "old school" and is irreplacable by anything else.

And perhaps as early as tomorrow, I will present to you design options for ... the jersey of the future!


When you post an article to bury one of mine, you REALLY post large!!!

oh, and BTW:

Home - #22 Prior & #12 Soriano, Away - #31 Maddux, Blue - #38 Zambrano, and Winter Classic - #88 Kane

I am insanely attracted to

I am insanely attracted to the 1970's Braves home and road jersey - if I bought one, I think I'd have to make it a Hank Aaron or perhaps Dale Murphy - but if I get another jersey anytime soon I think it will be an Expos Dawson #10 jersey with the classic Expos cap.

Tomorrow will be the Jersey of the Future, Wednesday might be Jerseys that I Covet. Nothing quite like content that practically writes itself.

Expos always had the cool unis

Although there was a time in the 90s when their uniform was pretty much ours with different patches.

Yeah, screw that. Their

Yeah, screw that. Their unis got real boring in the 90's.

I never used to care one way or the other for the uniform style that became popular in the 70's. I'm a little surprised with myself by the sudden man-love I'm feeling for them. Am I crazy about how cool many of them look? I'd even characterize the home jersey of the 70's Padres as being cool. (Their road jersey was thugly, though)

It is your right as a man to love old uni's

Some of my faves, off the top of my head:

- early 60's Reds vests
- early 60's Milwaukee Braves
- I also like the mid-80's Expos
- Tigers homers - classic

They need to go back to the

They need to go back to the high pants using all of the different sock variations. It would be awesome if they wore throwback jerseys more often; maybe once every week or two on Thursday games or something.

I like the way the Blue Jays

I like the way the Blue Jays do it ... every Friday home game is throwback night.

That's an awesome idea.

That's an awesome idea. Just lineup as many throwback jerseys as they've got and wear a new one each week, or keep wearing the same one until the team loses a game wearing those jerseys and then move onto the next jersey.

The current home uniform is

The current home uniform is money. No changes needed there.

The roads though, that's a different story. The Cubs should go for something more traditional looking like the 1929 road uni.

Take the numbers off the front and do a simply script font in either red or blue (maybe a white outline for some contrast).

The Red Sox are doing something like this in 2009. Their home jerseys are going to remain the same but they have a more simple road set now. Check it out and try not to make a mess in your pants if classic design is your thang...


really i'm not trolling

I know that these comments may seem blasphemous but here goes anyways:

A) I like the powder blue unis (with the exception of the Cubs white pinstripes). The Cards looked particularly sharp. Between them and the Royals, Missouri sure rocked powder blue in the day.

B) I think it's high time for the Cubs to ditch the pinstriped home uniforms. Count me as one who thinks they are very classic uniforms, but since the Cubs adopted the home pinstripes, how many World Series have featured the Cubs? I'd like to see the team try an updated version of the 1937 jersey (kind of like the 1941 main home jersey, just with sleeves).

Ban him

Kurt, bring down the hammer

Naah. Powder blues minus

Naah. Powder blues minus the hideous white stripes aren't the ugliest uniforms in the world. I mean, they definitely had their time and place - the 1970's - but everybody has their tastes.

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