New York Yankees: History of the Yankee uniform, and a discussion with ace Gerrit Cole (video)

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez, Gerrit Cole, Aaron Boone
Feb 16, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17), pitching coach Matt Blake, starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) and catcher Gary Sanchez (24) talk during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are known for pinstripes, but they always haven’t had them.

The New York Yankees have been wearing the pinstripes for years. What most fans don’t realize is that the Yankees started out with a dark grey jersey with four buttons at the top and a bright orange O over the left front.  The reason for that is that the Yankees started out as the Orioles in Baltimore, not New York.  The original eight members of the American League were the Orioles, the Chicago White Stockings, the Americans (Boston Red Sox), the Tigers, the Blues (Indians), the Senators, the Brewers (Orioles), and the Athletics (Phillies).  All had their distinct uniforms.

In the case of the Yankees, when they moved from Baltimore to become the first New York City team, they maintained their dark grey uniforms when they became the New York Highlanders in 1903.  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 ’50s and became the Orioles), and then there were the Baltimore Orioles who eventually became the New York Yankees.  All of those changes required changes to uniforms.

The only change to the Highlander uniform was that instead of the O, the team put an N on the right side and a Y on the left.  But the same dark grey uniform remained with the four buttons.  The Yankees got their Highlander’s name from playing at Hilltop Park at 168th Street and Broadway, which was the highest point in elevation in New York City.

In 1904 when Willie Keller was the hitting king the Highlanders introduced a new away uniform.  It was a medium-dark blue with a white belt.  During 1910 the Highlanders were known as both the Highlanders and the Yankees.  The official name change didn’t come until 1913.  But in 1910, the first interlocking NY showed up on the left arm of the team’s uniform.

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 and was to become the most universally known sports insignia.

In 1913 the Highlanders/Yankees moved to the Polo Grounds.  The name that had gained favor Yankees was made official as the New York Yankees. To make the change as evident as possible, the Yankees changed their home uniforms to be white with pinstripes.  Thus the birth of the famed Yankee pinstripes.   To each team in baseball, the uniform is extremely important because once you put it on even if you played for another team first, you are the history and pride of that new team.

Since 1913 there have been several minor changes to the home and away New York Yankees uniforms, but most involve thickness of the lettering. The interlocking NY is only on home pinstripes, and the name New York goes across the chest of the away uniform.  The only significant change is that the 1913 pullover was changed to a button-up jersey.  The Yankees are one of three teams that do not wear players’ names on uniforms but are the only ones that never wear player names.  Both the San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox wear player names on their away uniforms.

The importance of the uniform is highlighted every year for every team.  When a new player is introduced to a team and fans, it’s not official until the press conference when he first donned the team’s uniform.

Gerrit Cole sits down with legend David Cone and Jack Curry to talk pitching

In an interview taped for the YES Network that was broadcast last evening, Gerrit Cole speaks with YES Network analyst Jack Curry, and Yankee baseball legend David Cone on how he became a pitcher, on analytics and ball spin among other pitching subjects.




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