You're sitting in the stadium, waiting for your favorite baseball team to take the field. The grass is green, the air is warm and the crowd is cheering, in anticipation of the start of the game. Suddenly, the crowd gets louder, and as the team charges out of the dugout, the sun reflects off their crisp uniforms. Looking around the stadium, you see that many of the fans are wearing their team's colors. Some fans may be wearing their favorite team's hat, while other might be wearing the same jersey as the players. One thing is for sure: a uniform can help define a team.
Home and Away: Pro baseball teams have different uniforms for both home and away games. Typically, home uniforms are white with some trim that reflects the team's colors. The Pittsburgh Pirates, for example, have a white uniform with black and yellow trim. The word "Pirates" is written across the chest in black letters with yellow borders. When the Pirates travel, though, they switch to their road gray uniforms. The uniforms are similar, but the writing on the chest says "Pittsburgh." Starting in the 1800s, traveling teams felt that they were representing their home city. They put the name of their home city on their uniforms so that their opponents and fans would know where they were from.
Classics: Some baseball uniforms have been around for a very long time. One of the most famous uniforms ever is the New York Yankees. The Yankees began wearing their classic home white uniforms with blue pinstripes in the 1930s. No other baseball team has had the same uniform design longer! Sometimes, a new expansion team will borrow elements from an old team's uniform. The New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers both moved from New York City to California in the 1950s, becoming the San Francisco Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Several years later, in 1962, the New York Mets started playing baseball in Queens. The Mets combined the Giants' orange color with Dodger blue to create their blue and orange uniforms.
Numbers: Today, every team has numbers on the backs of their jerseys. Most teams put the players' last names on their jerseys, as well. But many years ago, baseball uniforms didn't have numbers on the back. The Yankees were the first team to put numbers on their uniforms in 1929. At that point, the numbers reflected the batting order. That's why Babe Ruth wore No. 3 and Lou Gehrig wore No. 4; Ruth hit third in the lineup and Gehrig followed, hitting fourth. Over the years, uniforms have changed and players now choose their own numbers.
Uniforms come in all different styles and colors. There are simple jerseys such as the blue and white pinstripes of the Yankees, but there are also fancier uniforms, like the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays. Those uniforms have more colors and the team name is written in different styles. There is one thing that all uniforms have in common, though: they let you know what team is taking the field.
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