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The Best and Worst Uniforms of All Time: The Pittsburgh Pirates

Nov 10, 2010, 4:30 PM EDT

Pirates bumble bees

The Best: When I wrote this up a couple of years ago I was clearly suffering from some sort of stress-related malady, because I picked the 1960s vests as the best Pirate uniform.  That’s not the worst thing ever because the Pirates did vests pretty well, all things considered, but I realize now that no vest should ever be picked as a team’s best look. So, with all apologies to Clemente, Mazeroski and the rest, I’m going to give the title of best ever Pirates uniform to the longer sleeved traditional look they adopted in 1948. Which, with the exception of a big ugly arm patch, is what they wear today. The Pirates look great, actually. At least when they’re standing still and not, you know, trying to play baseball.

The Worst: While there had been a couple of very, very minor taste lapses in their history (Blue sleeves? Pirate head?) I don’t think it’s controversial to say that the late 1970s Pirates were an abomination unto all that is Good and Holy.  And that’s the case even when they tried really, really hard to look cool.

Assessment:
If we did this bracket-style, the 70s Pirates and 70s A’s would almost certainly meet up in the awfulness finals. Which, for Pittsburgh at least, is kind of a shame.  Really, they’ve got well over a hundred years of downright sharp and respectable uniforms sullied by a few short years of dreck, clouding all of our memories. Alas.
  1. Mark Armour - Nov 10, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    You were right the first time. I love the 1960s vests.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Nov 10, 2010 at 4:39 PM

      Close second for me. Easily the best looking vested-team. I just developed an aversion to vests on principle over the past couple of years. Which probably makes no sense. I mean, why should principle impact a raw aesthetic judgment? Must think . . .

      Either way, if you ask me about it again next year I may have to go back to the vests. I’m really torn on this one.

      • fivetoolmike - Nov 10, 2010 at 4:45 PM

        It’s cool: I hate scarves and turtlenecks. Really, though: the Pirates vests are all kinds of awesome, even if they’re the only MLB team that’s pulled it off.

  2. sdelmonte - Nov 10, 2010 at 4:48 PM

    When I was a kid, I loved that the Pirates held onto the NL centennnial/US bicentennial caps for a while. It was different and steeped in history. Weird in retrospect how ugly they are.

  3. Jack Marshall - Nov 10, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    Always loved the pillbox hats with the accumulated stars. My favorite quirky feature ever, narrowly edging out the original Angel caps with the halo.

  4. oldtimefamilybaseball - Nov 10, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    Say what you will about the Pirates late 70s uniforms, but those pillbox hats are the greatest thing to ever grace the diamond.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 11, 2010 at 12:05 PM

      Agreed, they’re excellent!

  5. mvd513 - Nov 12, 2010 at 4:36 AM

    Really dont get you. Except for the odd shape of the hats, the yellow and black attack is probably one the greatest uniforms of all time.

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