Sunday, May 17, 2020


Source: SB Nation

So, when Johnny Damon retired from baseball, I had a nice, home #18 jersey in my closet. I hadn't worn it in years. After the fanfare of Derek Jeter's last season, that #18 jersey became more and more relevant as Didi Gregorius filled some big shoes left by the Yankee Captain.  #18 was alive and well for some time but now, it's not all over again as Didi headed to the Philadelphia Phillies this off season.  I guarantee #18 will come back in season again with the next guy in to choose a very precious low number commodity in the current Yankee lineup and my #18 jersey will live on. Why am I saying all of this?  Well, I read a nugget today about Yankee traditions and one of the first items was the tradition of the Yankees not wearing their names on their jerseys, home or away.  But is it just tradition or is there another reason?

According to Sporting News, in a piece they wrote ahead of the Yankees break from tradition in support of Players Weekend for the Little League World Series, "So, why don't the Yankees have names on their jerseys in the first place? There's no real clear answer anywhere, but the best guess is that it's just tradition. When other teams joined the trend of adding names, New York abstained." Actually, it is a heck of a lot more than that.

Source: Newsday

Simply, players wore numbers that indicated their place in the batting order. Babe Ruth batted third and wore #3 and Lou Gehrig batted fourth and wore #4. While other teams began putting names on the backs of jerseys in the 1960s, the Yankees did not follow the trend, and instead chose to stick with tradition. Many companies create jerseys with Yankee names sewn on the back for fans to purchase and you may even have one at home. The shops around the Stadium have a plethora of them. Yet, no official Yankee uniform has ever had names on the back.

Teams also stuck with this "no name" on the back of the jersey as a way of selling score cards and programs, so fans would know who was in the field and at the plate for each game.  It was actually considered one of the first baseball souvenirs, next to, of course actually catching a ball in the stands and getting it autographed.

Another reason for no names in later years as more and more teams added names to the back of jerseys was that the the Yankees administration's stance of there was no one player who was the standout of the team.  It is a team effort first and individual records second.  Tell that to egocentric players today!

A third "official" jersey was tossed around for years.  As Fansided reports, "No one is asking for nicknames or a totally different color scheme. But would it be so much of a crime to wear the navy-blue tops during the season every once in a while, considering they’re worn all spring and throughout Yankee Stadium anyway?The pinstripes are beautiful. They should, and probably will, remain forever. But a third Yankee uniform won’t kill you."  We call those "shirseys" actually!  You can buy them almost everywhere around the Stadium and outside of Stan's you can grab up some vintage ones.

Now with the added Nike "swoosh" to the jersey, the first change in decades has come to the Yankee uniform.  It will be interesting to see, however, if the Yankees decide to "give in" and create something more than a Mother's or Father's day spin on the pinstripes and grey road jerseys.  Maybe the shorten season will have more surprises? Who knows. Raising more money with a new jersey could be another kind of sales bait after all.

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof


  1. All teams should be required to have names on their jerseys. In the case of the Yankees, its just a sign of their arrogance and superiority complex. Get with the program so we can know who’s who when watching a game. As we say at my alma mater, we recognize you by name and not a number.

    1. It's called tradition something most teams don't have.

  2. tradition is plainly THE Yankee way! may it always continue to be that way.

  3. Leave well enough alone. Yankees tradition is more important than people's fashion and critics comments. A true Yankees fan understands what that means. Go Yankees

  4. I think the Nike Swish is too much. Yanks shouldn't use their uniforms to advertise for companies, especially ones who grossly underpay their foreign labor.


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