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The 18 Best MLB Uniforms That Don’t Exist Anymore (But Really Should)
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images (left), Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images (right)

Major League Baseball has a 150-year history, so it’s not surprising there’s been a lot of uniform variance throughout that time — and some teams have changed their jerseys a lot more than others.

Teams like the Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Dodgers can lean on a well-established color scheme that never needs to change. No need for throwbacks when your whole look is one.

Pinstripes might last forever for a team like the Chicago White Sox or New York Yankees, but a lot of other teams really have to mix up their jerseys to keep things fresh. Many teams do much more than just change uniforms — the Cleveland Indians rebranded into the Cleveland Guardians and the Miami Marlins have used more colors than the painting color palette wall at Home Depot.

Throughout the years, many team uniforms have been thrown in the dumpster and forgotten about. You know those historically-considered-ugly-but-they’re-actually-glorious Houston Astros sunset jerseys? Or how about the Seattle Mariners’ “Turn Ahead the Clock Night” sleeveless jerseys that Ken Griffey Jr. first made cool? Yeah, those are the types of uniforms we’re talking about.

MLB has had hundreds and hundreds of uniform variations since its inception in 1869 (current players are probably glad wool isn’t the material of choice anymore). While plenty uniforms have been downright terrible, there have also been plenty of spectacular ones that could make even the cheapest dad crack open his wallet at the team store.

So which are the best uniforms that should never have gone away? Here’s a whole selection.

18 Best MLB Uniforms That Don’t Exist Anymore

18. Arizona Diamondbacks Purple Uniforms

Arizona Diamondbacks Purple Jerseys
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What happened in the desert? The D-Backs used to have a series of really cool purple-and-teal uniforms. Purple and teal is always a fun combo (just check out the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA), especially with pinstripes, and they won their only World Series in these unis. So why did they change it to a deeply boring red and white scheme that absolutely no one likes? I don’t get it.

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17. Florida Marlins Teal Jerseys

Gary Sheffield Celebrates Wearing Marlins Teal Jerseys
RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images

Before they changed their uniforms to be black with orange trim like some weird terrible version of the Orioles, the Marlins actually had really cool unis. They actually got it right from the very get-go: their original 1993-95 pinstripe home jerseys with long-sleeve teal underneath are both killer and unique. Never should’ve changed them.

16. Colorado Rockies Gray Pinstripes

Colorado Rockies
George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Colorado’s uniforms haven’t actually changed all that much over their history. There’s always black and purple (the best color combo in sports), and there’s always some form of pinstripes. But these 2000-01 uniforms marked the only time the Rockies used gray pinstripes with purple lettering. It was such a winning combo it’s not clear why it only lasted such a short time.

15. Baltimore Orioles All-Orange Uniforms

Baltimore Orioles
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The Orioles have worn bright orange jerseys several times throughout their history, but this outfit designed by Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson was the first and best time they went orange-on-orange. It was also the only time they had those cool sleeve stripes. I say bring these back ASAP. No MLB team has ever really featured anything like them.

14. Milwaukee Brewers Powder Blues

Milwaukee Brewers
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers’ uniforms now might be the worst in the league, a depressing miasma of navy blue and muted gold, but it wasn’t always the case. In the 1970s and 80s, the Brewers wore these absolutely rad blue-and-yellow unis. Bring these back immediately.

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13. Kansas City Royals Powder Blues

Kansas City Royals
Bettmann/Getty Images

A good general rule is that powder blue is never, ever a bad idea for a uniform. Every MLB team that’s tried it has found success, and even NFL teams like the Chargers have a long, proud history of powder blue unis. The Royals use a variant of these as an alternate jersey now, but it’s not quite the same.

12. Seattle Mariners Blue-Yellow Jerseys

Seattle Mariners
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Look, I don’t know what to tell you; vertical sleeve stripes are always cool, and blue-and-yellow is a winning color combo. The Mariners’ early history may have largely been devoid of All-Stars, but they at least had some rad unis. Their home whites were pretty cool, but these, their road uniforms, were even better.

11. Montreal Expos Red, White & Blue

Montreal Expos
Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Not only do these uniforms not exist any more, the team doesn’t. Montreal moved to D.C. in 2005 and became the Washington Nationals. Patterned vaguely on the red-blue-white color scheme of the Montreal Canadiens, these Expos unis will be the first thing that returns if Montreal ever gets another team. Maybe then we’ll finally get to see them in the playoffs.

10. St. Louis Cardinals Experimental Blues

Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images

RELATED: The 10 Best Uniforms in College Football Put Everyone Else to Shame

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The Cardinals have always featured red and white on their jerseys, but for a brief time in the late ’70s and early ’80s, they experimented with a much more interesting look. Does this color scheme make any sense? Of course it doesn’t; cardinals aren’t blue. But it’s cool as heck, and that’s all that matters. This is slightly cheating. the Cardinals have very recently brought these back as throwback unis (maybe to lure free agents?).

9. Texas Rangers Flag-Based Uniform

Texas Rangers
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Before they decided to transition to the most boring uniforms in the entire league (oooh, gray and navy blue, how original you guys are), the Rangers had a really fantastic look in the late ’70s and early ’80s based on the Texas flag. Look, can we just flash all MLB unis back to the late ’70s/early ’80s? The league clearly had a winning fashion thing going back then.

8. Tampa Bay Rays Hunter Greens

Tampa Bay Rays
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Hunter green is not usually that much of a winning color, but the Rays made it work, at least for a time. These mid-2000s uniforms are way better than any boring old navy blue, black or gray color they’ve attempted before or since.

7. New York Mets Pinstriped Sleeves

New York Mets
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The Mets’ uniforms haven’t really changed much in their 65-year history, for a good reason: you really can’t go wrong with pinstripes and a blue-orange color scheme. But in the mid-to-late 1980s, they experimented with a really cool variation involving these stripes on the sleeves. This might be one of the only times a team’s home uniform was even cooler than the road one.

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6. Minnesota Twins Light Blues

Minnesota Twins
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Few things in MLB history have been as cool as Rod Carew wearing the old-school Minnesota Twins blue-grey uniforms with red trim. There’s not a lot to say here other than to hammer the point home again: light blue is a killer uniform color.

5. Philadelphia Phillies Powder Blues

Philadelphia Phillies
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies are one of the few 19th century baseball teams that has changed their uniforms a significant number of times throughout their history. They’ve been red-and-white, burgundy-and-gray, navy blue-and-white (gross) and then this color scheme of powder blue and burgundy during the 1970s, maybe the only pro sports team to ever attempt it. Considering how cool it was, I don’t know why it ever went away.

4. Toronto Blue Jays Powder Blues

Toronto Blue Jays
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The 1980s were a glorious time for MLB uniforms, an age when powder blue ruled the roost. Other than maybe the Royals, no team leaned into this harder than the Toronto Blue Jays, who sported blue on blue on blue with just a little bit of white to offset it. What an amazing time to be alive.

3. San Diego Padres Brown/Yellow Uniforms

San Diego Padres
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The San Diego Padres’ old school brown-and-yellow unis, those worn by Dave Winfield, Rollie Fingers and Gaylord Perry, shouldn’t work. Nothing about that color combo should be good…and yet here we are. I’m as baffled as you are, but these things rule.

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2. Pittsburgh Pirates Yellow-Striped Hats

Pittsburgh Pirates
Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Pirates may have had decades of futility to contend with now, but they can always lean on that killer yellow-and-black color scheme (and the best ballpark in the league). Their uniforms have always been at least decent, but they were never better than their late ’70s/early ’80s caps. There’s never been anything like these oddly-shaped, horizontal striped lids in MLB history, and we need to bring them back immediately.

1. Houston Astros Sunset Jerseys

Houston Astros
Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images

This list was only ever going to end one way. The Astros’ uniforms now are pretty solid (orange is always a winning color), but nothing is ever going to touch these late ’70s unis. These orange-yellow horizontal striped uniforms may be divisive, but that’s just because the people who hate them are wrong. They rule.

MORE: The 21 Worst Uniforms in Sports History Belong in the Dumpster

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Author placeholder image About the author:
C.A. Pinkham is a Pittsburgh-based writer and Washington sports fan who has written about food, video games, history, sports and politics for a variety of outlets. He suspects Alex Ovechkin may be unkillable by conventional means.
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