Project Rundown: The Bucs’ sartorial switch

I was looking through the Pirates uniform history in the 1970s on Dressed to the Nines and noticed something that seemed peculiar to me. In 1970, the club had two distinct sets of home and away uniforms: The traditional sleeveless vests the team wore through the ’60s and the pullover double-knits familiar through the ’70s. And then it struck me: Did they change uniforms when they changed ballparks?

Indeed they did. As the club’s website points out: “The Pirates became the first major league club to adopt the new double-knit fabric uniforms, which they debuted at the first game at the new Three Rivers Stadium. The jersey became a pullover with no button or zipper. The pants contained a built-in sash belt. The cap crown was mustard yellow with a black bill. Within two years, nearly every other club was wearing a double-knit uniform. ”

The Bucs’ last game at Forbes Field was on June 28, 1970, and they opened Three Rivers Stadium after the All-Star break, on July 16. With the new stadium came a new outfit for the players. Obviously, teams have opened ballparks midseason — the Blue Jays at SkyDome in 1989 and the Mariners at Safeco in 1999 to name two — but they didn’t change their uniforms at that point, wearing one version to close out the old stadiums and a new design to open the new place. I’m not aware of any other instances of a team making a midseason uniform switch, and I e-mailed Paul over at Uniwatch and he hadn’t heard of any, either. Interesting stuff.

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