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The Best and Worst Uniforms of All Time: The Detroit Tigers

Nov 15, 2010, 1:00 PM EDT

Portrait of Al Kaline

The Best: As if there was any question. It looks good in any decade, and on any body type. Well, almost any body type. The whites seem brighter than any other team’s whites. The English D is perfection. It’s the perfect shade of blue. A hair darker than navy, it seems, even if it’s called navy. Aside from one crazy “what in the hell were they thinking?” year in1960, the Tigers have stuck with that look since 1934 (though the English D was in use as early as 1904).  With apologies to the Yankees and the Dodgers, this is the best uniform in baseball history.

The Worst: Putting an actual tiger on the back is a bit audacious. Pinstripes are just not right on the Tigers, but they do at least help show why I like their current look better than the Yankees. And I don’t care if it was 1903 and they were still trying to figure things out: a block D on Red was a sartorial dead end. But the all time worst, however, has to be the mid-90s orange-bill cap numbers. They looked like a USFL team in them.

Assessment: I already called them the best, so let’s dispose of an assessment here and talk about road uniforms for a minute. Personally speaking I like their doubleknit roadies of the 70s and 80s, probably because I grew up with them. Hardly anyone agrees with me on this, even Tigers fans who are my age. Even when I point out that they improved them at the very end, getting rid of the pullover, elastic waistband version, slapping a belt and buttons on them and taking them out of that 70s look. Downright sharp if you ask me. But still, people disagree with me. They like the current roadies the best, almost unanimously. They’re nice enough, but bah! Bah, I say!  I put them third, behind both the Alan Trammell-era grays and the 1960s number-on-the-sleeve jobbies, which I find totally cool for some reason.

  1. kingkaufman - Nov 15, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    I’m with you on those ’70s duds, though not till they de-70-fied them with the belt and buttons. That ’93 image is fine. Very similar to today’s, which I also like, but I like the teams that stick with the very traditional road uniform scheme: The name of the city in block letters. The logo-fied or script name of the city is OK — half the teams do this, including the Tigers. But I like the true-old school block letters, which, with at most minimal stylization in terms of the font, are rocked by Boston, New York Yankees, Seattle (a little logo action), Texas, Toronto, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati, Colorado, New York Mets, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

  2. heiniemanush - Nov 15, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    The Tigers home uniforms were always marvelous. The very brightness of the white stood out especially well in dark, cavernous Tiger Stadium. Their drab ’60s road uniforms are also fantastic, I wish they kept them. Speaking of Detroit, the Red Wings basic, blood red home uniforms are also amongst the best in sport.

  3. lessick - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    Back in the doubleknit era, the Tigers roadies were among my favorites.

  4. ramsbladdercup - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    Tigers + “almost any body type” Cecil Fielder?????

    • ramsbladdercup - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:29 PM

      Meh, dumb HTML tages..

      How about:

      Tigers + “almost any body type” != Cecil Fielder?????

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