Pirates Uniform History

I'm hoping to compile a complete visual reference for the Pirates uniform history, or at least the history as far back as I can accurately trace.  I'll also be including every instance of Turn Back the Clock jerseys, one off jerseys, and other unique uniforms from recent years.  If there are any games, uniforms, or anything else I missed please drop me an email and I'll update this page.

1882:  The Pittsburgh Alleghenys join the American Association as a founding member.  Wearing a white collared shirt and with blue? belt and socks, the uniform is fairly similar to what the team will wear into the Twentieth Century.

1888:  By at least 1888, the Alleghenys had added the city name to a version of their uniform.  Note the uniform appears to spell the city name "Pittsburg" with no h. Additionally, players wear neckties, though clearly the uniform is far from...uniform.

1890:  The club's uniforms display "Pittsburgh" lettering, though the caption spells the city name Pittsburg.  In 1891 the United States Board on Geographic Names decided the formal spelling should be Pittsburg, in accordance with a set of thirteen guidelines for place names adopted that same year.  Controversy over the name would continue until 1911, when the name was formally recognized as Pittsburgh.

1893:  The spelling on the team's uniforms appears to reflect the "Pittsburg" change, though it should be noted the caption above spells the city name Pittsburgh.

1896: The H is back, reappearing on the club's uniforms.  Color me confused.

1900:  In their first season after an essential merger with Louisville, the Pirates wear blue collared shirts and blue stockings.  For the time being, there is no city name listed on the uniform to confuse us.  The team appears to wear both solid blue caps with a white P and white caps with blue P and blue brim.

1908: The Pirates move their embroidery from the front pocket to the left sleeve, displaying an interlocking PBC design.

1910: The Pirates add a blue cadet style collar with blue continuing down the front.

1911: A P is added to the breast pocket of the home and road jerseys.

1912: The Pirates add pinstripes for the first time, sporting a pinstriped uniform with Pirates spelled vertically down the buttons.

1913: The Bucs continue to tweak the uniform, retaining pinstripes but removing the vertical Pirates lettering.  The home jersey is now pinstriped with small P's on the collar, while the road uniform sees the return of the 1910-11 blue strip down the buttons with small white P's on the collar.

1923: The Pirates disregard the term "Roaring Twenties" with perhaps the least interesting jersey set imaginable.  Both home and road uniform sets are blank on the front, save for piping along the buttons, and have a stylized blue P on the both sleeves.  Hats are blue with red stylized P, and are worn with blue and red striped socks.

1925:  The Pirates and Senators wear black arm bands during the World Series to commemorate the untimely death of Christy Matheson.

1933: The Pirates return red to their uniforms, introducing a new uniform set.  The home jersey features a stylized red P on the left chest, with blue piping along the front and blue and red stripes along the arms.  The road set had block lettered "Pirates" across the chest.  Both sets of pants pants have stripes along the sides and are worn with blue/red/blue socks and a blue cap with red P.

1936: Block lettered "Pirates' is added to the home jersey, identical to the font used on the road uniform since 1933.  The team wears solid blue socks.

1937: The team returns to blue/red/blue striped socks after wearing the solid blues for one season.

1938:  The Pirates add a script font to the front of the jerseys, with a curled P and underline flourish.

1939:  The Pirates add zippers to their jerseys.  Teams also wear a baseball centennial patch on the right sleeve.

But it appears the zippers weren't a constant, as evidenced by this button up from '39.

1940:  The Bucs remove wording from their jerseys, instead wearing the pirate logo on both the home and road jerseys.

The team maintains tweaks the cap style, maintaining blue cap with red P at home with the addition of a red line where the brim meets the crown.  On the road, the team wears a blue cap with white P and white line.  The team also adds blue socks with three red stripes.

1941:  The team makes slight tweaks to the uniform adding a red brim to both the home and road caps, though retaining the red or white striping for home and away, respectively.  The team also changes the socks to a red, white, and blue look.

1942:  The Pirates again change the uniform set, returning to the 1933-37 "Pirates" lettering for the home jersey, and wearing "Pittsburgh" in block letters on the road.  The caps are now blue with a white P.

1947:  The Pirates adopted what would ultimately be a "one-and-done" uniform set.  Dropping red from the color scheme, the Pirates sported a blue and white color scheme in '47.  The home and road jerseys both used a script font with stylized P similar to that used by the Phillies well into the 1970's, and blue piping on the jerseys.  The Pirates also revert to a button down front, ditching the zipper.

The dark blue hat featured a white stylized P identical to the font used on the jersey.

1948:  The Pirates implement perhaps the most radical uniform overhaul in team history, replacing the red and blue color scheme that have been utilized since the turn of the century with a black and gold color scheme, matching the colors on the city's flag.

The white home uniforms displayed "Pirates" in a stylized block font fairly similar to what is seen on Pirate home jerseys today.  The gray road jerseys said "Pittsburgh" in arched block font.

The cap became the now standard black cap with gold P, though the points of the P were less pronounced than they are today.  The uniform was rounded out with gold striped socks that would last for only one season.

1949:  The team removes gold stripes from its socks.

1953:  The Pirates introduce the batting helmet to baseball, wearing fiberglass lids coated with wool flocking to mimic the look of a cloth cap.  The caps were worn by fielders and pitchers, though it would be a few years before batting helmets became widely adopted across the Majors.

The Pirates return zippers to their jerseys for two seasons, returning to button down fronts in 1955.

1954:  The Pirates replace the city name on the road jersey with the team name, identical to the team name font on the home jersey.

1955:  The team returns to button down jerseys.

1957:  The Pirates adopt sleeveless vests worn over black undershirts.  Both the home white and road gray jerseys feature an arched, stylized "Pirates."  Gold stripes are added to stirruped socks.

1962:  The Pirates add television numbers to the front left of the jersey.

1970:  With the opening of Three Rivers Stadium, the Pirates usher in a new style of uniform.  The Pirates become the first team to wear synthetic double knit uniforms with a sash belt.  On June 28, the Pirates played a double header against the Cubs, closing Forbes Field in the first game wearing their traditional vests, the Pirates took the field for the second game of the doubleheader (and first game at Three Rivers Stadium) taking the field in the brand new doubleknits.  Because the double knits featured a mustard and black color scheme, the change meant an overhaul of the color scheme mid-season, rather than just a uniform change.

1973: Following the death of Roberto Clemente, the Pirates wear a commemorative patch throughout the season on both home and road jerseys.

1976:  Celebrating the national Bicentennial and National League centennial, several NL teams adopt Chicago-style pillbox caps during the 1976 season.  The Pirates adopt the caps on a full-time basis, adapting their mustard caps with two horizontal stripes along the crown.

The Pirates also wear a NL Bicentennial patch on the left sleeve of both home and away jerseys.

1977:  The Pirates introduce the famed bumblebee uniforms.  The Pirates introduce sets of gold, black, and white with black and gold pinstriped jersey/pants sets.  The jerseys are pullovers with no name on the back, and sansabelt pants.  The Pirates wear both gold and black pillbox style caps with opposite stripes.  It should be noted the gold caps from '77-84 are a much brighter, more yellow, gold than the mustard tone worn previously.

Combinations of these all these jerseys are worn at home and on the road.  For a mind-blowingly (nearly) complete breakdown of what combinations the Pirates wore on particular days from 1977-84, check out Buctracker.

1978: White on white pinstripes aren't worn on the road.  Various pairings of pinstripes with black or gold are worn, however.

1979: The Pirates add nameplates to the jersey set from the previous two years.  This season also saw the introduction of Stargell Stars on caps.

1980:  A white home jersey is added to the Pirates' menagerie replacing the white pinstriped uniform.  The jersey is worn with white pants and a black pillbox cap.

The white jersey is worn for every home game until September, when the Pirates first wore non-white on September 4th.  According to the Pittsburgh Press reports that Equipment Manager John Hallahan explained, ‘The players wanted to do it, so I figured “Why not?”'  From 1981-1984, the Pirates exclusively wear white at home, while continuing to mix and match on the road.

1985: The team eliminates the last remnants of the bumblebee days, returning to a white home and gray road uniform set, but retaining the black pillbox caps.  The team wears only black stirrup socks.

1987:  For the team's 100th anniversary, it introduces a new logo.  The logo resurrects the Pirates logo used from 1936-47, replacing the blue in the color scheme with black and muting the presence of red.  The logo is contained within a diamond with a new, more ornate, Pirates script.  The logo is never featured independently, always with the diamond and script font.

The logo patch is added to the left sleeve of the home and away jerseys.  The Pirates also reintroduce the classic solid black cap with gold P.  The cap points on the stylized P are more pronounced than previous versions.

It does appear that some of the retired gold batting helmets were worn during spring training.  However, I haven't seen any evidence they ever saw regular season use.

1988:  The Pirates wear block letter RSC on the right sleeve of their home whites for Pittsburgh Mayor Richard Caliguiri, who died in office in May.  Caliguiri had spearheaded a public/private consortium that purchased the team in 1985, keeping it in Pittsburgh.

1990:  The city name returns to Pirate uniforms for the first time in 36 years, with a slanted script "Pittsburgh" added to the road grays.

1991:  The team makes minor alterations to its uniforms, returning to a more classic button-down jersey and belt.

1994: The Pirates wear All-Star game logo patches on their sleeve all season.  The inclusion of red in the logo scheme would be cited as precedent for integrating red into the team's color scheme from 1997-2008.

1995: At the request of General Manager Cam Bonifay, nameplates are removed from the home jersey, presumably because there are no players worth knowing by name on the team.  Both jersey sets also feature a FANS patch on the left sleeve, hoping the patch would carry magical powers and cause people to forget the strike-shortened 1994 season.  It had some success, as fans did manage to forget the club for the better part of the next decade.

1996: Player names are returned to the back of the jersey by the new ownership group headed by Kevin McClatchy.

1997:  The Pirates introduce a new logo and uniform set, including the introduction of a third jersey.  The team introduces a new logo, nicknamed Jolly Roger, integrating red into the color scheme in both the Pirates bandana and the triple layered stylized lettering.  The home whites remove striping around the sleeve, and remove striping from the pants.  Road grays are now pinstriped and reintroduce the cursive "Pittsburgh" script worn during the early '90's.  The uniform is paired with either a solid black cap with bold P, or a gray alternate road cap with black brim and black P.  A third jersey is introduced to be worn at home.  The jersey is black, featuring gold numbers and lettering with red accents.  The home alternate is worn with a third cap, featuring a red brim and red accent around the P.

1999: The Pirates introduce a new batting practice cap, a trend that will plague us for in the next millennium.  The cap is black with the Pirates logo on the front, while coaches wear the same hat with a red brim.  The Pirates also begin phasing out the gray road cap, wearing it only during Sunday road games.  The traditional all black cap is worn with the road grays during all other road games.

July 27 - As part of a league-wide promotion, the Bucs wear a futuristic uniform against the "Mercury" Mets.  The Mets were kind enough to return from their intergalactic stadium to host the game on earth in Shea Stadium.  The Pirates wore a solid red pullover jersey of roughly similar to a vest cut with truncated black sleeves.  Players wore a gold undershirt with standard length sleeves.  The jersey features the Pirates jolly Roger with gold accent bandana prominently on the front of the jersey with vertical numbers and a sideways nameplate on the reverse of the jersey.  The standard pinstriped gray road pants were worn.  The team also wore a black cap with gold upper brim and red under brim, identical to the alternate cap that would be introduced in 2001.

The Pirates may have also worn the jerseys at home at some point.

2000: The jersey set remains unchanged, save for the introduction of a patch commemorating the final season at Three Rivers Stadium.  The patch is worn on the right sleeve of the home white and alternate black jerseys.

May 29 -  The Pirates commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1979 World Series team, wearing the bumblebee double knits.  The Bucs wore yellow jerseys with black pants, while the opposing Astros wore their typical road uniform.  This was the first appearance of the bumblebees in a TBTC game.

July 30 - The Pirates sport 1960's throwbacks, the first TBTC appearance for the sleeveless vests.

2003:  In the annual Spring Training uniform update, the Pirates add a yellow brim to the ST/BP cap, and gold striping to the shoulder and sleeve area.

2006:  The Pirates add a commemorative 2006 All-Star game patch to their home and road jerseys, featured prominently on the right chest, featuring the ASG logo designed by artist Burton Morris.

Following the death of sitting Mayor Bob O'Connor, the Pirates add a patch to the left chest of their home and road jerseys.  The rectangular patch is black with BOB in gold block lettering.  The patch is worn from September 11th through the end of the season.

2007: A new alternate red vest is introduced, phasing out the black alternate that had been around since 1997.  The vest, to be worn on Fridays, is worn with a red brimmed cap with red button, similar to the one worn during the late 90's.  As a Pirates press release at the time said, "Black, gold and red are our colors. This is consistent with our color scheme and it fits with the team: youthful, exciting and improving."  The jerseys were immediately met with negative reaction from the fans, and would be phased out by the next season.
The Pirates also introduce a pinstriped Sunday alternate.  This marks the first time since 1969 that the team's entire jersey set is sleeveless.

2008: The red vest experiment receives overwhelming backlash, and is reduced to only being worn during select Friday home games.  They wore the vests only 5 times (4/25, 5/23, 6/20, 7/25, 8/29).

April 15 - Jackie Robinson Day at Los Angeles.

May 3 - The Pirates suit up as the Homestead Grays to take on the...Homestead Grays?  The Grays played some of their home games in Washington, D.C.'s Griffith Stadium during the 1930's and '40's.  The Pirates wore the traditional Grays road uniforms, while the Nationals wore a Grays home white jersey with red lettering.

June 28 - The Pirates wore Crawfords jerseys at home against the Devil Rays.

July 4 - Continuing it's effort to sell as many hats as possible, the Pirates donned a dark blue cap with red, white, and blue P in their game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

July 5 - The Crawfords showed up in Milwaukee to play the Milwaukee Bears.  The Pirates wore the red pinstriped Crawfords road grays with script name.  The uniform was paired with a red block C cap, though the C was thinner than previous versions and had a thin black outline.

July 6 - Apparently somebody really liked the 4th of July caps, because they came out again on July 6th.

2009: The Pirates unveil a new jersey set at Piratefest, returning sleeved jerseys as the primary home and road uniforms.  The Pirates entirely remove red from the color scheme, removing red from the batting practice cap and doing away with the red alternate home vest.  The new alternate jersey is a black jersey with a gold P on the left chest, which is worn both at home and on the road.  The new alternate is also unique for its triple stitched numbers and mono-color gold nameplate.

The team also begins phasing out the 1997 Pirate logo, focusing on the gold P as the primary logo, with new Pirate President Frank Coonley stating, "It's our history and our tradition, and we are rebuilding our history and tradition."  In short, 'ole Jolly Roger got the boot after over a decade of losing seasons.

The team had petitioned MLB to remove both the Sunday pinstriped vest and red vest, but were only approved to eliminate the red vest.

March 16 - The team mixes up their Spring Training unis with green St. Patty's Day caps.  It appears the caps were snapbacks.

April 15 - Jackie Robinson Day

June 14 - The Pirates and Tigers commemorate the 1909 World Series with turn of the century throwbacks.

June 26 - The Pirates wear Homestead Grays thowbacks for a weekend series against the Kansas City Royals.

June 27 - The team wears the same Grays throwbacks the next night.

August 21 - The Pirates break out the bumblee uniforms against the Reds

2010: The Pirates eliminate the pinstriped Sunday vest, marking the first time since 2000 the entire jersey set includes sleeves.

July 4 - This year's 4th of July caps are white, featuring a red, white, and blue P and red brim.  Paired with the white home jersey, it looks good - though the red brim looks out of place after so recently being purged from the Pirates color scheme.

June 26 - The Pirates sported all black in the bumblebee unis for the first time on the road in Oakland.  This is the only time the Pirates have worn black throwbacks to date.

August 12 - In a bit of an anomaly, the Pirates wore their white bumblebee throwbacks on the road in San Diego.  The Bucs wore the white pinstripe tops with black pants, the third appearance for that uniform combo.

August 21 - The Pirates sported Pittsburgh Crawfords uniforms at home, facing the Mets wearing New York Cubans uniforms.  The Pirates wore the red pinstriped cream jerseys with red caps.

2011: The Pirates add a right sleeve patch to their jerseys after the death of Chuck Tanner.  The patch features a black circle with gold border and Stargell Star with Tanner's number 7 inside.

July 4 - This year's 4th of July caps feature a white front panel, red, white, and blue P, and red sides.  The caps are nearly identical to the 2011 version, with the addition of the red backs.  The caps look frighteningly close to being trucker hats.

June 21 - The Pirates celebrated the 1971 World Series team in a game against the Orioles.  The Bucs wore the white double knit jerseys with sansabelt pants.  This was the first appearance of the early-mid 70's uniform, which would later become the team's Sunday alternate.

2012: For the first time since its inception, the Pirates altered the logoman image worn on the top rear collar of the jersey.  The team replaced the black/red color scheme with a black/yellow logoman tag.

May 27 - The Pirates wear camo jerseys and black caps with a camo P.

June 9 - The Pirates wear Homestead Grays throwbacks agains the Royals, sporting their Kansas City Monarchs unis.  Both teams wear their regular batting helmets.

September 18 - The Pirates inexplicably bring back the mustard 1971 cap worn earlier in the year and pair it with the team's black alternate jersey for a home game against the Brewers.  With their all but lost after a second straight post All-Star break collapse, what better time to test out some new uniform options for next season.

May 19 - The Pirates again donned Negro League throwbacks, wearing red pinstriped road grays of the Pittsburgh Crawfords against the Detroit Stars.  The team wore a wore Pittsburgh in straight block letters, rather than the usual script "Crawford."  The team also wore a gray pinstriped cap with red block C and red brim.  This was the first appearance for both these styles in Pirates TBTC uniforms.

2013: The team announces a focus group will be formed to help design a new primary logo for the 2014 season, replacing Jolly Roger.

The Pirates make their first postseason appearance in two decades, wearing their black alternate jersey exclusively, both home and away, throughout the playoffs.

During the Wild Card game, Bench Coach Jeff Banister distributed modern Stargell Stars to all players, which most players wore the star above the post-season logo on the left side of the cap.  The 5-point black stars contained a black P.  MLB nixed the stars after the Wild Card game due to greed licensing concerns, though many players continued to wear them in non-visible areas on their hats during the NLDS.

2014: Nothing comes of the team's talk of debuting a new logo for 2014.  Instead, the team announces that the gold P will become the primary logo, replacing Jolly Roger.  A Post-Gazette story notes, Initially, the team planned to replace the most recent incarnation with another Pirate.  After consulting focus groups of fans, however, the Pirates decided on the P."  The change has little practical impact, the team retains the Jolly Roger sleeve patch on their jerseys, and had been using the gold P in marketing and apparel for a number of years.

The uniform set remained consistent from the previous year, though the team returned to more frequently wearing traditional white/gray, with the black alternate worn about once per series.

May 26 - In an effort to sell merchandise show their love of America, the Pirates wear one-off Memorial Day uniforms.  The Pirates wore their black alternates with the traditional yellow inner number replaced with a desert camo pattern.   The hats feature the same camo pattern on the crown with a gold P and gold brim.

June 22 - As part of the Cubs' 100 Year at Wrigley celebration, the Pirates and Cubs wore
1954 throwback uniforms.  The uniforms feature a more curved look to the city name on the jersey front, and no nameplate on the reverse.  While the jersey is basically just an altered version of the Pirates typical road uni, the pants feature only a single black stripe rather than the y/b/y/ triple stripe.

June 28 - The Pirates wasted no time busting out another set of throwbacks, wearing a new version of a Pittsburgh Crawfords jersey at home against the Mets, wearing the unis of the Brooklyn Royal Giants.  The Pirates uniform draws on the cream Crawfords jersey worn in previous seasons, but adds red armbads and a block letter C on the sleeve.  The team also added in a cream hat with red banding not previously worn and knee high red socks that likely aren't historically accurate, but looked great.  In an effort to avoid confusing Pirate fans attending their one game a year, the Bucs still wore their black batting helmets.

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