What is not certain? When or if we'll have baseball in 2020. What is certain? What MLB teams will be wearing in that event that we have baseball in 2020. Let us now attack the certain with the zeal of the newly converted.
This scribe is here to decree -- on stone tablets, from high atop Mt. Righteousness -- not only which uniform is each team's best look, but also how those best looks rank across the league. In simpler terms, we're ranking each team's best 2020 uniform from one to 30. Eligible for inclusion are each team's primary home and road uniform plus regularly scheduled alternates. One-off throwbacks are not eligible.
In order to prep you for the sources of outrage to come, here are some guiding principles that will animate these rankings:
- White, gray, or cream-colored jerseys are generally superior to jerseys of other colors.
- The greatest of these is cream-colored.
- Piping on the jersey is typically encouraged.
- Socks/stirrups are to be worn exposed; thus, ergo, and therefore: the design of socks/stirrups matters.
- I traffic in caprice because on this page I am powerful, and as such I may violate these principles as I wish.
Some opinions are facts. So it is with the rankings that follow. Thank you in advance for your unctuous agreement with all of them. Also note that most uniforms these days are quite good -- and none is truly terrible -- and as such a particularly ensemble can seemingly rank low on this list while still being generally laudable and in keeping with best practices.
Prepare to learn what you believe.
1. Brewers' home
For too long, the Brewers used their uniforms as an homage to gluten, but they've at long last brought back the "mb"/ball-and-glove logo on a permanent and primary basis. It says here that said logo is the best in all of sports, and now that it's set against a cream -- cream is better than white, recall -- backdrop the Brewers can lay triumphant claim to the best uniforms in MLB.
2. Cardinals' home
The birds on the bat paired with the interlocking STL is a part of baseball's iconography. That's with good cause. Here we have literal double birds. In road games, figurative double birds in the form of dual extended middle fingers should be used on the jersey logo, but that's another matter.
3. Tigers' home
Sometimes we just want them to play the hits. So it is with the Tigers and the "Olde English D." It's a timeless and distinctive look. If you don't like the Tigers' home hat, then ask yourself why you disagree with Magnum P.I. about something like this. Then go away and come back when you've decided to do and be better.
4. Athletics' kelly green alternates
Red and blue are very good colors but frankly are too ubiquitous within the MLB palette. That is why the A's are to be praised for their unique pairing of green and yellow. This arrangement is at its most soaring when the kelly green alternate jerseys are worn. A baseball jersey, a verdant Oxfordshire meadow in springtime, or redeemable U.S. currency? From certain angles, it's impossible to say. Bonus points for the white cleats, which peer-reviewed studies have shown to increase stolen base percentages.
5. Padres' home
Glorious. For reasons sufficient unto the saboteurs themselves, the Padres moved away from their "ground chuck and canned nacho cheese sauce" duds of yore. They eventually defaulted to blue, and as noted above we've got enough of that going around. Well, the Pads are once again embracing the look that all available gods intended for them, and, lo, it is well and good.
6. Twins' blue alternates
We're in peril of over-using the podwer/baby blue throwbacks, but the look fits here. The baby blues will be back in Minnesota for the Twins' 60th anniversary season. Those are nice looking stripes around the sleeves and neckline, and of course take note of the best sleeve patch in MLB:
That's "Minnie and Paul," the two representatives of the Twin Cities, exchanging pleasantries across the Mississippi River. To repeat for those in the back, that's the best sleeve patch in baseball right now.
7. Yankees' home
The Yankee pinstripes first appeared in 1915, and over that century-plus the colossus in the Bronx has paired dominance with slight variations on this home look. Attitudinally, it says: "We shall make a hash of you and use this imported silk pocket square to dust ourselves off afterward." The no names on the back of the jersey non-flourish is a little too self-serious, but this is the one franchise that's successfully made self-seriousness a touchstone.
8. Orioles' home
Is the smiling bird truly content, or is he momentarily sated by the suffering of his foes? Yes, is the answer. Among sentient and self-aware hat logos, the O's smiling bird is tops. Throw in the solid color scheme, and you've got a right-wise ensemble.
9. Dodgers' home
Two things make the Dodgers' home unis pleasing to both eyeball and spirit: the uplifting jersey font, which is also known as "the handwriting of puppies," and the red numerals. And by all means, happy recent birthday to Corey Seager.
10. Cubs' home
This has turned into a clean, classic look, fronted by a highly recognizable logo. Among teams not named the Yankees, the Cubs wear pinstripes the best of all.
11. Pirates' home
The Pirates' 1971 uniforms should obviously be their primaries; alas and alack, ours is an imperfect world. Even so, these are quality. Good sleeve patch, and the jersey font calls to mind corsair-like behavior on the high seas. Very naughty. All that plus stripes on the pants, which is a rarity these days.
12. Mariners' alternates
These are strong, vastly better than the standard M's uniforms. The blue piping on cream, the maritime-looking font -- It's just a great look that summons up the spirit of the franchise. This look reaches new heights when players expose the striped stirrups, but that's sadly a somewhat rare quality.
13. Astros' home
The following observation has nothing to do with lawless behavior: The Astros are the opposite of the NFL's Patriots. The Patriots years ago swapped out the best uniforms in the NFL for some of the worst. The Astros in contrast swapped out some of the worst unis for their current arrangement, which is among the best. Viva la blue paired with orange. Good piping, too.
14. Giants' home
The Giants were early adopters of the "cream renaissance," and that background color elevates their home unis from "inoffensive" into the cherished territory of nifty.
15. Phillies' home
The red pinstripes work nicely, and the blue star dotting the i's is a winning touch. The same goes for the numerals on the sleeves. People love the Mike Schmidt-era throwbacks, but these are better uniforms. And by all means, happy recent birthday to Jose Alvarez.
16. Nationals' alternates
The Nats, holders of both belt and title, have fairly bland uniforms, but this season they'll put their spring training uniforms into the rotation as an alternate choice. That's a heavyweight championship decision on their part, in large measure because of the excellent lids:
That's way better than their usual home uniforms.
17. Rangers' home
The change in jersey script on the home uniforms is a welcome one. It's made better by the fact that they're keeping the "lawman vs. claim jumper" font on the backs of the jerseys. It's a nice mix that works better than anything Texas has sported in some time.
18. Blue Jays' blue alternates
It's not quite as strong a use of the baby blues as the Twins' alternates above, but these are still quite fetching. This was the Jays' road look for the first 14 years of their existence. You can almost smell the aromas of Rance Mulliniks issuing forth from them.
19. Royals' home
As Thales of Miletus once wrote, "The only reason cursive writing should exist is for the jerseys of sports uniforms." Centuries later, this remains true. On that note, please appreciate the uplifting, billowy "Royals" on the jersey front. That's in addition to the fitting colors (Royal blue, natch).
20. White Sox's road
The script on the road jersey calls to mind the Bulls uniforms early in Michael Jordan's career, which is largely why the road unis win out in the case of the South Siders. There's an ongoing documentary about Jordan, by the way. Did you know that? Jeff Hornacek was in it briefly.
21. Reds' home
Solid enough. The Reds should permanently adopt the sleeveless look that Ted Kluszewski and his pythons that you manifestly cannot buy in a pet store elevated to high art, but in lieu of those the current home duds clear the bar of adequacy. The numerals opposite the logo on the front of the jersey is an underused arrangement. And by all means, happy recent birthday to Amir Garrett.
Truly, the NL Central is the powerhouse among divisions when it comes to baseball couture.
22. Red Sox's home
If this weren't a flagship franchise, then these might seem kind of rote and predictable. Things as they are, though, it's near archetypal as baseball unis go. To state the obvious, it's essential for the Red Sox to expose their red socks.
23. Braves' alternates
The Braves' usual home and road unis are too busy. That red piping running straight through the red jersey script makes it look like an iron-on job from a distance, and all of that is on top of a red tomahawk. The alternate home creams are much less of a mess, and thus you agree that they are superior.
24. Indians' road
Boring or pleasingly spartan? This scribe leans toward the latter. The Indians' road uniform admittedly looks like it was produced during lean times in which a creativity ration was in force, but somehow it works. "We have come from Cleveland to play baseball," it says. "No more, no less."
25. Mets' home
These are fine, innocuous, perhaps wholesome. But they could be better. Liven it up with orange hats, and swap out the pinstripes -- looks like you're aping big brother across town -- for some jersey piping. Again, though, fine, innocuous, and perhaps wholesome.
26. Marlins' home
Given how many different colors the Marlins can lean into, the use of so much black in the accents is disappointing. We've got some solid flourishes, but these should be much livelier than they are. The jersey script is commendable, but we the people require more garishness.
27. Angels' road
28. Rays' home
It's one of a number of current uniforms that falls under the phylum of "sure, sure, seems fair enough." The initial Rays look -- the one that called to mind a crab operating a fishing charter off a discarded surfboard -- should come back. If you go by the "first do no harm" principle of sports fashion, however, then these would seem to be in apathetic compliance.
29. Rockies' home
These seem harmless enough at first blush, but what makes them among the worst is the missed opportunity of it all. The Rockies should have purple hats. It would be unique among MLB franchises, but instead they go with boring, ubiquitous black. The purple pinstripes are a good touch, but it's not enough. Additional points off for the weak outlined jersey font. When you have the opportunity to fall into the loving arms of a color like purple, you take it. Embrace the purple hats and vault up these rankings, baseball team of Colorado.
30. Diamondbacks' home
These are benignly dull -- the sort of thing that would come out of a focus group populated by IT consultants and conducted at the Ramada by the airport. Since the D-Backs have a rich tradition of changing colors, then why play into some local flavor and adopt Arizona State's look? Better colors, evocative of a brat with stone ground mustard. Also, do the right and good thing and put a snake on the hat.