For the first time since 1984, the St. Louis Cardinals will be wearing “victory blue” uniforms on the road for this upcoming season. Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith joined Team Presidents Bill DeWitt III and John Mozeliak, centerfielder Harrison Bader, and former Cardinal and current scout Kerry Robinson for the announcement this morning.
“A lot of the success we had in the 70s and 80s, were wearing those uniforms,” pointed out Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, who presented Bader with the new jersey. “It’s become a popular uniform again because a lot of the people when I’m signing autographs, they bring those throwback jerseys. I sign a lot of them and they’re very popular. I’m glad to see the organization has gone back to it.”
The road alternate uniform will debut on Saturday, March 30th at Milwaukee, and will be worn only on Saturday dates away from Busch Stadium. Often referred to as “powder” or “baby” blue, this new blue is not an exact match to any one previous uniform.
“There was a lot of color variation among years in the 70s and 80s,” shared DeWitt, who pulled some jerseys from the team’s collection to compare. “It was sort of like which one do you want to match or do you just want to try and do one yourself that is in that family. We sort of did the latter. It’s really close to one, but there’s one that’s sort of a little purpler and one that’s a little lighter. We found the balance between the two.”
DeWitt also shared that it was Robinson who encouraged the return of the blue uniforms a couple of years ago.
“I’m a uniform guy,” said Robinson, who now scouts the Southern League (AA) for the organization. “Kids love colors today. If you’re a kid and you’re a Cardinals baseball fan and you see some of the older people wearing a powder blue, you don’t even know what that is. So I thought it would be a good time right now, since kids like colors and they don’t know what the powder blue is to maybe marry the future and the current with the past teams. Those past teams were really good, so that’s a good history for us to go back to.”
Similar to the team’s first Saturday alternate unveiled before the 2013 season, the front of the powder blue jersey features “St. Louis” in script along with the player’s number. The jersey and matching pants have red piping and will be complimented with players wearing a red hat.
The button down jerseys will also not fit as tightly as those in the 70s and 80s.
“I saw some throwback videos of guys and they were like skin-tight, which honestly would be cool with me too,” said Bader. “But it’s a blend of the past and some modern touches, which really kind of fits in perfectly with what we’ve got going on.”
With Bader being representative of some of the younger players with speed and a focus on fundamentals, is it more than a coincidence that the timing was right to bring back the “victory blues”?
“Here again, the organization is probably at a point right now where we certainly want to relive some of that and you do have guys on the club that as I mentioned in the presser, it makes you look faster anyway,” Smith laughed. “But it’s one of those uniforms that I think can be intimidating as well. When people saw us in those uniforms, with the way that we played, the consistency with which we played, it has an intimidating factor. Certainly when you see this uniform here with the Birds on the Bat and the yellow, it can have that affect–hopefully it does, anyway.”
photo credit: Brian Stull/STLBaseballWeekly.com