Padres bring back the brown in 2020

Getty Images
8 Comments

Finally, some good news this offseason. The San Diego Padres are going to break out new uniforms for the 2020 season and they’ll be bringing back the brown.

That’s the report from the San Diego Union-Tribune, which says that the team notified Major League Baseball of a change for 2020 — it’s too late for 2019 — and conducted focus groups with new uniform prototypes this week:

Of the three home and three road variations shown to some 250 people who identified themselves as Padres fans, all the choices featured combinations of brown and gold.

The home uniform choices included a pinstripe white version and two solid white versions with brown lettering and gold accents. Road choices were a solid tan and brown uniform and two choices that included a rich brown jersey with tan and brown pants, one of which had pinstripes.

The Padres, of course, were famous for wearing multiple variations of brown and gold — really, brown and mustard, but I suppose they’re updating — from their inception as a major league franchise in 1969 through 1984. After that they went with only slight brown or gold accents and then just blue and orange until 2003. Since 2004 they’ve been almost exclusively in blue and white, with the only exception being a minor addition of gold accenting in 2016.

When the Padres began to move away from the old brown-based uniforms, it was considered a modernization move. Brown seemed so 1970s and they wanted an update. It certainly made some sense at the time, but it came at a cost: the team’s unique identity. No other team incorporates brown in their livery. Only the Padres did. By switching to blue and white they became profoundly generic. Their introduction of brown throwbacks for Friday night home games in recent years seemed to remind everyone how cool the old look could be.

Not that the Padres will, or should, go with a throwback look. For one thing, there were several different brown and mustard uniforms over the years, even if people seem to mash them all together in their memory. Some looked good. Some were not so good. It’d be a mistake for the club to just go live in the past. If for no other reason than because the Padres teams which wore those colors were usually bad.

But as we pointed out several years ago, it’s totally possible to revive the color scheme in a modern style, taking back the team’s historical identity while, simultaneously, looking toward the future.  We’ve highlighted John Brubaker’s work along these lines before, but in case you’ve never seen it:

Maybe they go with stuff like that. Maybe they go in another direction. Either way, here’s to something new in San Diego the season after next.