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Battle of the uniforms: 1969 vs 1981

This week features the tightest battle yet.

Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Paul Nordmann/Getty Images

A few weeks ago I posited the question: What is the best Cardinals uniform ever?

Well friends, there is only one way to find out: Battle Royale.

So, to determine the best Cardinals uniform ever, I have, with your gracious assistance, created a bracket where each uniform will duke it out until we have a winner.

(Many of you have asked about the alternate jersey the Cardinals debuted in 2013. Don't worry, folks. I have a plan. Trust the system.)

Here is the bracket, updated to reflect the winner of last week’s matchup:

We have our first upset! It was a minor one, with the nine seed taking down the eight seed eighty-eight votes to sixty-five, but it is an upset all the same. This is why we play the games, folks.

This week the voting continues with...

This week is sure to be a heavy weight bout with two sentimental favorites up against each other. It is a retro classic versus a timeless classic, both lovely in their own way, and both representing the period of their inception perfectly.

To get to this point, the 1981 uniform handily took down the the 1903 uniform 353 votes to seventy. Voters clearly preferred the pullover with the gorgeous red and blue piping and the Birds on the Bat over the novelty of the blocked "St. L" lettering. There might also be some nostalgia for the 1981 uni, as the Cardinals experienced a wave of success in in this style, which seems to perfectly represent the Runnin’ Redbirds of the Whiteyball era that wore it.

Notable achievements:

  • This season marked the 100th season of the Cardinals playing in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Keith Hernandez won a Gold Glove
  • The Cardinals finished the season at 59-43, the best record in the NL East, but missed the playoff due to strange rules with the strike that tallied the teams record separately for each half of the season

Though if success is what is desired, the 1969 uniform may be king of them all. This uniform was truly adopted around 1962 - when the players numbers began appearing on the front of the jersey - though with slight modifications to the birds on the bat over the years until the version we see above modeled by the lovely Steve Carlton. The Cardinals would essentially stick with this version to this day (with perhaps a much-maligned addition of "googly eyes"). The birds are a bit smaller than the present day’s version and these uniforms were wool, giving them a more rugged, durable look. The hat, of course, is the same iconic hat we know and love. Simplicity is key with jersey - it doesn’t try to do too much, there is no piping or gimmicks. It is the perfect combination of white space and design, which is why it is a classic uniform that has truly stood the test of time.

St. Louis Cardinals World Series Ring Ceremony Photo by Scott Rovak/Getty Images

Notable achievements:

  • 1964 was the year the Cardinals acquired Lou Brock. The Cardinals would go on to face the Yankees in the World Series that year. Bob Gibson pitched three games of that series with thirty-one strikeouts across those games. He earned the MVP. His battery mate, Tim McCarver, also put up good numbers with a .478 series average with a double, triple, homer, and five RBI.
  • The next two years belonged the Dodgers until 1967 when the Cardinals returned to the series, besting the Red Sox in seven games.
  • The Cardinals repeated as National League Champions in 1968, but lost the series to the Tigers in seven games.
  • 1969 was one of the final years in this uniform and the last year before AstroTurf was added to the stadium.
  • Harry Caray was also fired in 1969, marking what truly was an end of an era.
  • Bob Gibson and Curt Flood won Gold Gloves in 1969.

Vote below for the best!

St. Louis Cardinals Uniform and Team History | Heritage Uniforms and Jerseys

The Evolution of the St. Louis Cardinals Jersey

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