Fans watching any of the fourteen Major League Baseball games on Monday may have noticed a small red flower patch on each player’s jersey.
The patches are poppy flowers and are being worn for the Memorial Day 2021 holiday in the United States, in recognition of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, losing their lives in service to their country.
The poppy patch was first worn on Major League Baseball uniforms on Memorial Day during the 2019 season as a subtle and mournful uniform tribute. Prior to 2019, Memorial Day was a head-to-toe camouflage cap, jersey, and sock design worn across the entire league, and usually done so for the entire four day weekend. The league has instead shifted the camo look as a tribute to living military members and their families to Armed Forces Day weekend (which was held two weeks ago) by simply wearing camouflage caps and matching socks.
The 2021 Memorial Day patch is the same as what was worn two seasons ago, it’s a simple red poppy and green flower with “Lest We Forget” across it on a black banner in white, worn on the upper left part of the jersey.
So, why a poppy flower patch?
The origin of wearing a poppy to remember fallen soldiers can be traced back to the poppy flowers which were spotted growing over graves during the First World War, inspiring the famous “In Flanders Fields” poem.
While its use is certainly less common in the United States, it’s a regular sight to see poppies on shirts and jackets in the United Kingdom and right here in Canada during the first eleven days each November, a tradition that goes back several decades.
The American Legion in the U.S. asks those wishing to honour the war dead by wearing a poppy on National Poppy Day, the last Friday before Memorial Day, though this is one tradition which appears to have not caught on quite yet.
Those of you who routintely scream “it’s a cash grab” whenever the league does anything to their uniforms may be surprised to learn that none of the special poppy patches or the Memorial Day jerseys will be