They always say, “if you look good, you’ll play good.” I believe it. That’s why when we’re young we always have to buy the best looking cleats, a couple arm bands, eye black, and it determines whether we wear our pant legs up or down on the diamond. I get it. The uniform plays a large role in the confidence players play with. The Tigers uniforms over the years have not changed drastically, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The approach taken in this article is to judge the uniform based purely on aesthetic appeal. We are not including any alternate jerseys in the mix, but focusing on the threads that were worn predominately during a season.
Here are the best five uniforms in Detroit Tigers history:
**All photos representing the uniforms are courtesy of Dressed to the Nines: A History of the Baseball Uniform, for more information click here.**
5. 1907-1910 Road Gray Uniforms
For number five we throw it all the way back to before Navin Field-Briggs Stadium-Tiger
Stadium was even built. Games during these days were played at the former home of the Detroit Tigers, Bennet Park. Some players that would have donned this classically old school uniform were names like Ty Cobb, “Wahoo” Sam Crawford, Hugh Jennings, and George Mullin.
These uniforms started with the solid, navy blue cap, lined from the crown of the head to the base of the cap with a white piping and the Old English D gracing the front. They were a dull gray color, with a blue collar (yes, like a dress shirt) and blue sleeve cuffs. The only difference between the home and away uniform was the base color of the jersey, for our purposes the road uniform was a touch more appealing. The rest of the uniform consisted of solid blue socks, and a half button shirt–with an Old English D, a slight variation that was changed in 1908, stitched on the front breast pocket of the shirt.
4. 1921-1924, 1926 Home White Uniforms
Ahh, pinstripes. People will balk at the Tigers use of pinstripes in their uniform, but it’s a good look. Pinstripes are a classic baseball look; the Yankees (most famously), the Cubs, the Phillies, the Marlins, the Rockies, the Mets, and the Padres–to name a few–at some point have donned the pinstripes.
The significant thing with this uniform is that the team reverted back to the use of the Old English D on the front pocket, after having moved to more of a block “D” for the previous three years. For one year (1925) the Tigers took the pinstripes away, but then quickly brought them back in 1926, before abandoning them for a completely different uniform and logo in 1927. However, the pinstripes would make one more appearance for both home and road uniforms from 1931-1933.
3. 1972-1991, 1993 Road Gray Uniforms
The classic pullover jersey, with the blue outlined in orange. These are jerseys, no doubt, Chris Sale would hate. Regardless, they worked for the Tigers. However, their later maturation of this uniform with buttons was, admittedly, better.
There is something to be said about the bolded word “Detroit” in block letters for every opposing fan to see while the team plays on the road. These jerseys could go down as the best of all time; however, there are two that I think are better.
2. 1960-1971 Road Gray Uniforms
Simple. Nothing is quite more simple than the Detroit Tigers road uniforms from 1960-1971. They are the pure definition of classic. No flash. No outlines. Two colors. Boom. But, the best feature of the entire uniform is scrawled across the chest, D-E-T-R-O-I-T.
The way in which these nondescript letters jump from the chest of the men wearing them offers one of the best representations of the city for which these boys play. The letters stand by themselves, strong and sturdy. They are not connected through a cursive script, but rather, like the skyline of the greatest city in the world, they stand by themselves. If the current Tigers resorted to using these uniforms, they would be the best road uniforms in the entire league.
1. 1934-1960, 1961-2016 Home White Uniforms
The home whites. Worn from 1934-1959, with a quick break in 1960, then again from 1961-2016, the Tigers home uniform has not changed much. And it is quite simply, the best damn uniform in all of sports. Yeah, the Yankees are classic and the Cowboys have their thing going on–but the Tigers, nothing beats that crisp white uniform with the navy colored Old English D emblazoned on the left breast. Call me a homer, I don’t care.
The Tigers tried different combinations of stirrups with these classic uniforms, going with two or three orange stripes around the calf (1947-1957), and they even toyed with a white stripe around the calf in 1937–that was short lived. However, the basic premise of the jerseys stayed the same. It is time tested and battle approved. The greatest uniform the Detroit Tigers have ever worn.
What do you think Nation, did we get it right?