Powder blue is back.
Following several teams experimenting with the retro shade during the Players Weekend event these past two Augusts and with clubs like the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals wearing them as regular alternate jersey options for several seasons now it looks like a re-birth of the baby blue is well underway.
This afternoon the St. Louis Cardinals joined the club, bringing back what I think is one of the most underrated uniforms in the history of baseball – their powder blue road uniforms from the 1970s and 80s. Now, it’s not exactly the same as the original look – of course, it’s now a button-up jersey rather than the skin-tight t-shirt style, but it also reads “St. Louis” across the chest rather than “Cardinals”, a suitable update and also one which matches their Saturday home alternate uniform. The jersey also introduces red piping down the front and around each sleeve, the changes give the uniform a more 2019 feel than 1982 despite the base colour.
“Like a lot of things with the Cardinals, you’re always looking forward but you’re also always looking back,” Cardinals team president Bill DeWitt said in the official release. “The neat thing about this jersey is that it does both. It recalls earlier eras, but it’s the modern feel and look and material.”
“The restoration of powder blue on the road makes a lot of sense for those teams that wore them decades ago—it represents a nod to their visual DNA that’s entirely at home in the digital age,” author/designer Todd Radom told SportsLogos.Net, “at the peak of the movement nearly half of MLB clubs wore powder blue on the road, a familiar neutral hue whose time has come again.” Radom is also the author of Winning Ugly, a recent book focusing on the ugliest uniforms in baseball history.
St. Louis’ Triple-A farm club, the Memphis Redbirds, wore powder blue as their primary road jersey colour the past two seasons including during the clinching game to win the championship in 2017. The Redbirds overall set, for the most part, mimics the colour scheme used by the Cardinals, their fab powder blue roadies could have played a small part in the team’s decision to bring it up to the big leagues.
The Cardinals will wear the new powder blues for 13 road games in 2019, all of which will be played on Saturday. They will make their debut on March 30th at Milwaukee, appropriately enough the Brewers are the club they played and defeated while wearing the powder blues in the 1982 World Series.