On KTRS last week, Bill DeWitt Jr. said the organization was kicking around the idea of replacing the 'CARDINALS' on the road uniforms and changing it to 'St. LOUIS' under the Birds on the Bats.
I'm kind of a sentimental guy when it comes to stuff like this, so it probably strikes my ire more than most. The only reason teams generally change their uniforms is a) to create a pseudo new era that differentiates from an older one or, in most cases b) to make more money. People by a grey Pujols jersey in 2004 and they have no need for a new one as long as he is with the team. Change the uniform and they have to get the newest incarnation.
Now, as to the change itself. The Birds on the Bat with Cardinals on it has appeared on the chest uninterupted since 1933, sans one season. That season was 1956. In 1956, the Cardinals unveiled a new uniform that featured only the Cardinals script across the chest with a 'Batting Bird' on the sleeve.
This uniform was so widely rejected that the man who designed it was fired and the Cardinals returned to tradition the next year.
There have been modest changes to the uniform over the years.
- 1951: Yellow bat added.
- 1957: Piping removed from uniform
- 1956: Red bill removed from blue hats.
- 1962: Uniform number moved to front of uniform.
- 1964: Red hat added to home uniform
- 1965: Red hat used exclusively
- 1971: Pullovers with red/white/blue sleeve stripes added
- 1976: Pillbox hat.
- 1976: Powder blue road uniform
- 1979: Uniform number moved from front to sleeve
- 1981: Uniform number moved back to front.
- 1985: Grey road uniforms return.
- 1992: Pullover uniforms replaced by button up uniforms.
- 1992: Blue hat returns on the road.
That's it. Sans adding the Sunday alternate hat, the uniforms have remained the same since 1992. Not only that, but the chest wordmark has been the same (other than a tad modernization) since 1951.
Sixty years of tradition. The Cardinals refuse to wear BP jerseys during spring training because of tradition. They don't have a third uniform because of tradition.
I know to some, this will be exciting. "Hey, NEW UNIFORM!" but for me, it's a bit sad. Marketing is the only reason you do this. The Cardinals already have the STL on the ballcap, it's not like people are confused as to where the team hails from.
I hope this doesn't happen. In the case of someone like Baltimore, the city name returned to the chest where it had been prior to Peter Angelos buying the team. This, however, would return the city name to the front of the uniform for the first time since 1933.