I've been watching a lot of baseball, also listening to and shrieking along with the games. My reactions are somewhat different than my husband's, he really watches the ball. I look at the players, wonder how they are feeling and muse about what they are wearing. You might be thinking, "Uniforms, they are wearing uniforms!" Well, yes but sometimes they have on different ones and my husband tells me they are "throwback uniforms." Which means there are facts about the history of MLB Baseball uniforms and sewing. I researched them so as not to be so nervous during the game.
1.When - According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame uniforms were first adopted by the New York Knickerbockers in 1849, a year before the sewing machine was patented and led the way to mass production of baseball uniforms.
2. First change - The 19th Century Baseball Uniform Database shows and reports that the Cincinatti Red Stockings were the first team to switch to knickers rather than pants. Make sense, you could then see those red stockings! And less fabric to sew.
3. Numbers - The first numbers were sewn onto the left sleeves by the Cleveland Indians in 1916, swtiched to the back in 1929 and on all uniforms by 1932. These facts and other interesting items can be read here.
4. Dresses - Oh yes, short sleeved belted dressed which were sewn to be no shorter than 6 inches above the knee were introduced in 1943. This was a fun fact to discover while reading this post which included information about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
5. Who - Majestic Athletic has the exclusive contract with MLB since 2005. They are part of a company that was begun by Mary Capobianco in Bangor, PA in 1950. She sewed blouses and women's clothing. Her son branched into uniforms, good idea! Her granddaughter, Nicole, is director of on-field fitting, still in Bangor. Read more cool things here.
6. Fabric - There is an entire site which tells you how they sew/make the uniforms, I loved it. Included in there is the information that the fabric is a technical fabric now. It resists moisture, keeps them cool and stretches 4 ways. It may, but I am not sure, hit the ball.
7. Names - Names were not originally on baseball jerseys but Bill Veeck started sewing them on in 1960. Why? You can't read them from the stands but you sure can when you are watching on TV. A handful of teams still shun the names, you can get all the details at this ESPN site.
8. Who sews WS Patches - The very same people who sew the uniforms, the folks that work for Majestic. Fox even had a segment on it, watch it!
9. Other sewing - I found a fascinating post about the sewing that is done throughout the season. It is no small feat to keep up with new players, repairs etc. You can read it here and even see some sewing errors.
10. Pictures - Oh yes, not only does MLB keep statistic on everything, they also keep pictures. Here's a database with all kinds of pictures, just type in what team and year and look to your heart's content.
11. Cleaning - You are smart to wonder about that. White uniforms with blood, sweat, tears, dirt and grass. CNN has an entire story about it complete with their secret weapon!
12. Sew your own - Why not? You could order one already made but the fabric is also available. Get the fit you want! Check out what's available.
Makes you want to go to a ball game! Here's a classic rendition of the song.
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Take a look at my last Fact post.