The following tips are my own observations and opinions from years of baseball uniforms. They’re not gospel or meant to start a riot.
The first baseball team to ever sport uniforms were the New York Knickerbockers who wore blue knickers made of wool, flannel shirts and straw hats way back in 1849. It’s safe to say that things have changed a bit over the years…for the better.
Since my boys have been playing ball for eight years now, we’ve gone through uniforms of every style and color imaginable. And I’ve learned a few things along the way.
If you’re checking out different uniform styles, trying to decide what will be best for your kid’s team, here are a few things to consider before clicking the “place order” button.
1.White or Gray Pants: It’s easier to go with whites or grays (with a narrow stripe, if any) than those with really wide striping of Crayola colors down the legs. Here’s why. If your kid also plays rec ball or Little League, you’ll be better able to match the white or gray pants you already have with other jerseys than, say… the neon green and purple striped ones that don’t match anything else in the universe. If your player rips a hole in the knee or grows out of them mid-season, it’s much easier to run to Dick’s or Sports Authority for a new pair of whites or grays than to have to place an order for another pair of bright orange ones so you’ll look like the rest of the team.
NOTE: Team parents may be tempted to go with black pants to cut down on stain fighting. My younger son’s team did this last year. While I loved not having to scrub them, he often complained that they were too hot on the field. (Maybe it was just that pair.)
2. Stirrups Thinking about stirrups? This means two more accessories to keep up with that can potentially be lost in the depths of a bat bag, swallowed by the dryer or chewed up by the neighbor’s dog…which, in turn, means two more servings of mom guilt and feelings of inadequacy when your kid is the only one who isn’t wearing stirrups at the tournament because he lost one. And then there’s the headache of having to order replacements if one does get lost. Bottom line…just say no to stirrups. You don’t need that kind of pressure in your life.
3. Short Pants: If I wasn’t able to scare you out of stirrups and short pants in #2, just make to buy pants that are long enough. Watching a player constantly tugging his too short pants down over his knees is just painful. You might even want to order them a little too long in anticipation of a growth spurt. (Last year, my son’s knickers shrank severely after the first and only washing. We didn’t realize it until he started warming up to pitch. I had to rush home to get his other pants as he flashed his right knee to every batter.)
4. Vests: I like them because they’re versatile and can be worn with different undershirts depending on the temperature outside. If you live in the South and your team will be playing in a lot of hot and humid weather, choose vests made of flat back mesh or pin dot mesh. These materials are breathable and “moisture wicking” (which is an odd way of saying “keeps sweat off skin”).
Teams playing in cold weather might prefer vests made from 14 ounce solid polyester, according to Richie from Uniforms Express. However, heavier vests can sometimes be stiff and less comfortable than their mesh counterparts.
5. Pants Brands: According to a recent poll on the Baseball Moms Facebook group, the most popular baseball pants brands are Nike Swingman dri-FIT, Mizuno, Boombah and Victory. Whichever pants you choose, make sure they’re comfortable and fit well because your player will be spending a LOT of time in them. (Also, buying two pairs of game pants isn’t a bad idea.)
6. Jersey Colors: This is completely nonessential, but choosing a bright color that’s unique and stands out has one distinct benefit. Visibility! If you’re pulling into a crowded tournament facility with 10 fields and 30 teams milling around, it’ll be much easier to find your kid’s teammates if they’re all wearing bright yellow as opposed to navy blue. But, like I said, that’s pretty low on the priority list, unless your team has serious issues with nearsightedness.
7.Order Extras: When ordering team uniforms, be sure to get a couple extra jerseys or vests for substitute players to wear…or if a team member loses theirs.
Oh, and here are two more for free.
8. Ask the Players: With baseball teams especially, when picking out uniforms, we moms often get excited, dreaming up different color combinations and lettering fonts. But we have to remember that it’s the kids who will be wearing them. The boys might go along with pink, teal and purple striped jerseys, but, given a choice, they’d probably pick something different. Just remember, the kids should have a say. And you certainly don’t want them feeling self conscious that other teams might make fun of their uniforms. (And many of them will. I promise you.)
9. Choose a Reputable Company: Get lots of recommendations and referrals for a good company to order from. You don’t want the nightmare of an order screw up with your first tournament right around the corner.