The Phillies have been around for a looooong time! Since 1883 to be exact. The Phillies are the oldest, continuous, one name, one city franchise in all of sports! As a proud Phillies phan I relish in being able to show that support by wearing my favorite jersey. I have always been a fan of the old school jerseys, the throwbacks. So I'm going to take you back to the beginning and break down the many jerseys the Phillies have worn and the many P's that have graced the Phillies cap. It is fun to take a look back at the rich history of the Philadelphia Phillies and the colors and uniforms they adorned. Join the conversation and let us know what you think is the greatest jersey in Phillies history, best logo, or maybe just your personal favorite!
Looking back at the late 1800's baseball teams looked more like a chain gang than a baseball team. With the striped conductor hats and the jumpsuit-esque uniforms. Early baseball jerseys were made of wool. It wasn't until the early 1940's that teams were able to make a lighter, cooler wool and cotton blend uniform.
The Phillies began play in 1883 at Recreation Park where they played four sesaons. From there, in 1887, they moved to the Philadelphia Baseball Grounds which later became the Baker Bown in 1913 when William Baker bought the team. Their very first uniform sported a red, Old-English letter P on the left chest. The jerseys were long-sleeve laced in the front almost all the way down to the waist. The sleeves buttoned in cuffs at the wrists. This style of jersey was popular from the 1870's to the 1890's. Looks to me like a very uncofmortable thing to be wearing in the dead of summer!
In 1902 the Phillies stepped their jersey game up and replaced the laced front jersey with buttons! The "P" also got a face lift to a more formal, bold P. The 1902 jersey was white with more of a burgundy red collar and a red P on the left chest. After experimenting with black and blue P's the Phillies thankfully stuck with the red P in 1902. Both their home and away jerseys were the same color as well.
1915 Home Uniform
The Phillies again experiemented with different colors; black, blue, and even green up until 1911 when they went back to red. Interesting note, in 1910 then owner Horace S. Fogel tried changing the Phillies name to the Philadelphia Live Wires!! It wouldn't be the last time they experimented with changing the team name. The Phillies sported the red, bold P and red collared jerseys in 1915 when they won their first pennant. The Phillies would go on to lose to the Red Sox and the Great Bambino. I just cannot imagine the Phillies with any other color than RED!!
1921 "Cubbie-esque" Unis
In 1921 the Phils sported a red and blue logo and jersey that looked reminicent of the Chicago Cubs. It was the first time the Phillies featured pinstripes on their uniform. The logo on the chest was a red P with a blue cirlce around it. The Phillies won 51 games in 1921 so I can't say the pinstripes were a great idea.
From 1925-1948 the Phillies went through an array of interesting uniform choices and couldn't quite find their identity, or their "P" for that matter. In 1925 the Phillies went back to the Old-English, script style P, instead of the bold logo P. The 1925 road jerseys were grey, while the home were white. In 1927 the Phillies road jersey featured a plain front with the script P on the left arm displayed in a diamond.
The Phillies played in MLB's 1st night game
1932 was the first year the Phillies jerseys featured a number on the back. One of the greatest hitters in club history, Chuck Klein, sported the #3 that season. Klein won the MVP that year for the Phillies.
In 1934 the Phillies jersey displayed more than just the logo P on the chest. Both the teams home and away jerseys featured the name "Phillies" on the front. A look that would stand the test of time for Phillies uniforms.
In 1935, the rich history of the Philadelphia Phillies continued as they took part in Major League Baseball's first ever night game versus the Cincinatti Reds at Crosley Field in Cincinatti. The Phillies were still sporting the 1934 look with the Phillies script across the chest. The Reds beat the Phillies 2-1. Another intersting side note: the first ever All-Star night game was held in Philadelphia in 1943 at Shibe Park.
1938 Chuck Klein Road Jersey
In 1938 the Phillies looked more like the Pittsburgh Pirates (just turrible) than the Philadelphia Phillies. In 1938 and again in 1942-1945 the Phillies foolishly ditched the red. '38 the Phils went Philadelphia Union on the city deciding to sport the Philadelphia colors of blue and golden yellow, with a big, ugly yellow P on the front left chest. We all know how that look went for the Eagles. The Eagles should never stray from green in the same way the Phillies should never stray from red! Although I must admit the grey road jersey with the Phillies written across the chest in yellow is not all bad! Still, red only please!
1938 was also the year the Phillies moved out of the dilapidated Baker Bowl 5 blocks west to Shibe Park, the home of Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics. Despite a beautiful park both the Phillies and A's finished last in their respective leagues. Shibe Park, later named Connie Mack was a legendary park, home to 8 World Series and 2 All-Star games.
"It looked like a ballpark. It smelled like a ballpark," said Phillies Hall-of-Famer Richie Ashburn. "It had a feeling and a heartbeat, a personality that was all baseball."
1942 Road Jersey
Like I mentioned previously, the Phillies again ditched the color red in 1942 and even ditched the name "Phillies." the 1942 "Phils" uniforms were about as boring as the team itself. The 1942 Phillies were historically inept scoring an almost all-time low 394 runs in 151 games. Coming in only second to the horrid 1908 St. Louis Browns with 372. The Phillies averaged 2.6 runs per game, in nearly a third of their games they scored one or zero runs.
Speaking on the 1942 uniform, it hadn't changed all that much other than the colors and design of the logo. In 1942 the home uniform sported a dark blue P on the front left chest, the 3rd different color used in the last 5 years. The road jerseys read "Phils" across the chest, simple but honestly I really dig this jersey! If Mitchell and Ness weren't so darn expesnsive I might buy one of these. I guess there is always the China (Yao Ming) knockoffs!
A side note on Mitchell and Ness: they are the oldest sporting goods company, established in 1904 in Philadelphia, PA. And their headquarters are even located on Broad Street. The first time a M & N label apperared on a Major League Baseball uniform was in 1938 for the Philadelphia Athletics. In the early 1940's Mitchell and Ness began to supply the Philadelphia Phillies as well.
1944 Phillies "Blue Jays" Uniform
1944 was another interesting year for the Phillies jerseys and "nickname." The Phillies were once again the Phillies but decided that they needed a new, fresh nickname. Before the season the Phillies ran a contest to decide what the secondary nickname would be. A woman ended up winning and decided on the name "Blue Jays." So from 1944-1945 the Phillies wore a Blue Jay on the left sleeve, along with a blue hat and blue socks.
The jerseys are not all that different from the Phillies current jersey with the signiature Phillies written in cursive across the chest. The major difference being the blue bird on the sleeve. It is a throwback that I see occassionaly around the ballpark.
Thankfully in 1946 the Blue Jay was gone and red was back! Students at John Hopkins University in Baltimore had petitioned that the Phillies had stolen their bird logo, good riddens! Who would have known that this stinking Blue Jay would come back to haunt the Phillies in 1993.
Speaking of the 1993 Phillies, stay tuned for "Part 2 of the History of the Philadelphia Phillies, the P, and their Uniforms."