Far from the screams of adoring fans and the bright lights of television, sports started out with much less glamour and hype. And with that came less attention to uniforms. Even protective equipment was far more spare than today. Take a look at those old football and hockey pictures.
The Cleveland Indians were the first big league club to take the field with numbered uniforms. This was in 1916, 70 years after the first official baseball game was played. Today, baseball, which started in the United States, has spread worldwide. More than 100 countries are part of the International Baseball Federation.
Uniforms have become a symbol of sport, team, and player. Specific sports have uniforms tailor made to fit the equipment and the demands of the sport. Football team uniforms are tight-fitting to the equipment, as the sport demands speed and power. Basketball team uniforms are looser and more baggy because the sport demands a range of motion little seen in other major sports.
The symbol of team within sports uniforms can be seen in baseball team uniforms. That pin-striped white shirt with the ‘N’ and ‘Y’ crossed over on the left chest is synonymous with The New York Yankees. And because the Yankees have won 26 World Series titles, more than any other team, it is synonymous with the culture of that organization.
And the symbol of individual players can be seen in all kind of team uniforms, from soccer team uniforms to baseball team uniforms. The top selling sports jerseys of today will spell recognizable names in all of the major sports:
- Odell Beckham Jr., #13, wide receiver for the Giants
- LeBron James, #23, leader of the Cleveland Cavaliers
- Adrian Gonzalez, #23, first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Or the retired jerseys from all sports, from Wayne Gretzky to Michael Jordan. Picking the right uniform may seem like drudgery, but for the young athletes that play even at the local level, wearing a uniform with a number on it that symbolizes your contribution on the team and the stat sheet is a big deal.
And while standard uniforms are available from many outlets, some teams and programs are willing to go another step and order custom uniforms for their teams. Custom uniforms can be purchased for athletes at all levels and it’s not without precedent. Certain companies have designed custom uniforms for specific college football teams. There are even rankings on top sports sites about the which team had the best uniform for the week.
Whether they are baseball team uniforms, basketball team uniforms, or track and field team uniforms, athletes care about the uniforms they wear onto the field. It’s a symbol of their commitment to an organization and a team and a representation of themselves.