Uniforms come in all shapes and sizes and there are many, many different reasons to have legible, nice-looking uniforms.
Lest we forget, they’re not just a shirt they wear to display a number.
Fans align with players based upon numbers. Fans buy jerseys because a player wears a number.
Statisticians follow jersey numbers (and other garments) to do their jobs. Trust me, good-looking uniforms make statisticians jobs easier, trust me. Don’t believe me? Flip to an Eastern Michigan football game at night and see if you can tell me what numbers they’re wearing on any given play from the broadcast angle. It can’t be done.
Managers and coaches may recognize your number before knowing your name (okay, fine, maybe that’s only in little league).
Uniforms draw ire or praise from fans and rivals alike.
They’re more than clothes.
There is no baseball this summer, or at least for the time being, no sports at all. So it’s no wonder that we’re here debating top uniforms, rankings all-time plays and players, and just about anything else to keep us entertained in the sports world while no sports are on.
It’s also no surprise that the USC Trojans have cracked several top lists of best uniforms over the last month or so, and notably Baseball America just released their top 25 best uniforms in college baseball, featuring, of course, your Trojans.
The USC uniforms featured are none other than the ‘Southern California’s black’ as the article puts it. They cracked the list at No. 24 overall among the top 25.
Noticeably absent from that list was any other California team, save for UC Irvine’s pinstripe that found themselves just below USC’s black, landing at No. 25.
Baseball America had this to say about our black uniforms:
This top is actually just the latest in a line of sharp black jerseys USC has produced through the years. Black jerseys can be a difficult thing to do well if black isn’t in the primary color scheme, but USC does a really nice job of using it alongside cardinal and gold.
When outlined like that above, it does make sense. It’s a solid color combination as it’s done and represented as so. I’ve always been a fan of black uniforms when done right and when done so you can still read the nameplates, numbers and logos clearly on them.
Here’s how Baseball America landed at their rankings:
There’s something about baseball jerseys that just makes them ripe for debate. Maybe it’s something as simple as the fact that there are so many customizable pieces. There’s primary color, accent color, trim, patterns and the opportunity for subtle touches that draw a link back to the history of the program, history of the state or something else entirely.
Maybe it’s the fact that the relatively laid back pace of a baseball game gives an individual more time to admire (or despise) a particular look. When you watch a game on TV, for example, you can’t escape spending nine innings looking at the player on the pitcher’s mound. In basketball and hockey, and to a lesser extent, football, you don’t get those extended moments with the same regularity.
Maybe it’s the sport’s status as America’s Pastime that brings out debate between traditionalists who prefer timeless looks and non-traditionalists who lean toward edgier, more typically outlandish looks. Or perhaps it’s the idea that both of those sartorial viewpoints can coexist, making baseball quite the canvas of color and design.
If that’s the case, college baseball is the perfect such canvas. With more than 300 teams at the Division I level, there are more than 300 different approaches to uniforms out there. Some have more or less the same look they’ve had for decades, establishing strong brand identity with specific colors or combinations. Some have come back to throwback uniforms after years of using more modern looks. Others push the envelope in terms of design, drawing praise and criticism in equal measure.
Beauty is, of course, in the eye of the beholder, but we’ve assembled our ranking of the 25 best uniforms in college baseball. The list leans heavily on the traditional looks that help define college baseball itself, but still pays tribute to some of the better new entrants into the uniform space.
So there we have it. Here’s their top 25 as well:
1. LSU’s ‘Championship Gold’
2. Oklahoma State’s orange
3. Ole Miss’ powder blue
4. Mississippi State’s maroon
5. North Carolina’s Tar Heel blue
6. Clemson’s white
7. Tulane’s white sluggerbird
8. Miami’s orange
9. Notre Dame’s all blue
10. Arkansas’ cream
11. Arizona State’s white
12. Pittsburgh’s throwback blue
13. Coastal Carolina’s teal
14. Florida State’s garnet
15. Michigan’s cream
16. Texas’ white
17. Ohio State’s throwback gray
18. Washington’s white pinstripe
19. Texas A&M’s maroon
20. Iowa’s yellow
21. St. John’s skyline
22. Tennessee’s orange
23. Florida’s blue
24. USC’s black
25. UC Irvine’s pinstripe
Do you agree with USC’s black being in the top 25? Would you have them higher? Lower?