The New York Yankees’ legendary on-field look has been remarkably consistent since the era of World War I. The home jerseys are white with navy blue pinstripes. They have featured the iconic interlocking NY on the left chest since 1936. The road uniforms are gray, and they feature a block-style decoration that reads “NEW YORK.” There were four seasons—1927-30—when the road uniforms featured lettering that read “YANKEES.”
When the club made the transition from flannel to doubleknit material in 1973 they added a white outline to the typography on the road jerseys, along with minimally decorative sleeve trim. This very minor tweak represents the greatest permanent change to the Yankee uniform over the course of the past three quarters of a century.
Imagine my surprise when I came across the following item, published in The Sporting News in February 1976:
I reached out to Marty Appel, who was the Yankees’ public relations director at that time. He said that the item surprised him and that he had no recollection of such a proposed change.
What are we to make of this? Close your eyes and imagine Bronx legends from Reggie Jackson to Derek Jeter wearing pinstripes every single game. Sometimes too much of a good thing is no good at all. The home pinstripes, viewed as sacred vestments by many, somehow seem more important due to the fact that they are reserved for home use only.
William Faulkner famously said that “the past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past.” Perhaps George M. Steinbrenner and the Yankees were channeling their 1916-17 ancestors who did feature pinstripes on their road uniforms, as seen in this 1916 Chicago Daily News photo.