The Best and Worst Uniforms of All Time: The New York Yankees

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The Best: Wow, this is tough!  Do I go with 1937? 1947? 1957? 1967? 1977? 1987? 1997? 2007? 2017?  OK, that last one was merely speculative, but there you go.  The point is: there are so many options!

The Yankees, obviously, know what looks good and how to stick with it.  With the exception of an occasional patch, some updated fabrics, and differences in tightness and looseness depending on the fashion of the time, their uniform has been unchanged for 74 years.  You don’t mess with perfection, and the Yankees’ uniform is perfect. In 20,000 years, when alien archeologists excavate the ruins of our planet and try to piece together the important aspects of our culture, they will find the Yankee uniform and hold it up as the ideal. It is baseball. And no matter how much you hate the Yankees, if you don’t admit it, you’re lying.

The Worst: This is all relative, of course.  Pfun Pfact: they first put the interlocking “NY” on the uniforms in 1905, but it was an offand-on thing for years thereafter, and didn’t stick for good until 1936.  Still, they never looked bad. Even in dark blue. Even without pinstripes. Though, I suppose, we have to pick one of those for the worst of all time, because the Yankees look freakin’ weird without pinstripes.

Assessment:  I have a personal, idiosyncratic favorite that is not the New York Yankees — we’ll get to it on Monday — but you could put any ballplayer in history in a Yankees uniform and they’d look pretty damn spiffy. Even guys like David Wells.

Cardinals encourage players not to hide injuries

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In Major League Baseball, players are routinely pressured to play through injury and pain. Sometimes it’s just a minor ache, and sometimes it’s a very serious injury. The pressure comes from everywhere: the players themselves, their peers, coaches, front offices, media, and fans. Players who develop a reputation for landing on the disabled list are described as “soft” and “fragile.” Players who battle through the pain get talked about as “gritty” and “dedicated.”

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are trying to encourage their players to be more honest about their health. The culture surrounding this is tough to change, but manager Mike Matheny wants his players to come to him if “anything that is off.” As Goold notes, Alex Reyes and Matt Bowman revealed they were, in Bowman’s words, not “entirely forthcoming.” Carlos Martinez said he pitched tentatively because he was “scared” of re-injuring himself. Matheny also called pitcher Michael Wacha “a great liar” when talking about his arm health.

Matt Carpenter has also played through injury and takes pride in it. He’s an example of the old mentality the club is trying to pierce through. Caarpenter said, “I’m a believer in if you’re getting paid to do a job and you’re capable of doing the job — even if it’s 85 percent of your best — I feel you have the obligation to be out there. That is the mentality I’ve always used. I could have very easily, at times last year, sat on the [disabled list], but I felt like I could still go out and do my job.”

Goold points out that players approach dealing with health issues differently depending on where they’re at in their careers. A young player who just got called up has pressure to stay in the big leagues and appear in games, so he may not want to address a health issue. A player who has already secured a multi-year contract may have less pressure on him and thus may be more willing to come to the trainer’s room.

I’ve long believed that player health will be the next arena in which front offices will separate themselves from the pack. Analytics had been that battleground for a while, but with every club now having an analytics department in some capacity, front offices will have to find value in new ways. Limiting the amount of time that players miss due to injury would be a significant boost for a team and it will start with players being forthcoming about what’s bothering them rather than trying to fight through pain.