As I did with the National League, here are the American League jerseys, ranked from 14 on down to one.
Again, there aren’t too many critcisms to levy on the primary home and road jerseys for each team, though I did think it was a bit interesting that I was a bit more critical of some of the choices teams have made in the American League versus the National League. Is it just the extra time I’ve been able to spend studying them? A strange dearth of taste in the junior circuit? Is it really all the fault of the Rangers and Blue Jays?
It’s hard to say. What is important is that there are some great looking uniforms in the league, which includes one team who hasn’t changed much since 1901, my favorite team in the land, and my favorite baseball jersey of them all.
14. New York Yankees
I know it’s classic, it’s sharp, it’s virtually unchanged since the 1920s, and it’s the last jersey free of corporate manufacturer logos. But I have a deep, ugly, visceral reaction every time I look at this. Anything that makes me feel that bad must live in the basement. If not in real life, the Yankees will finish in last place here.
13. Cleveland Indians
The Indians’ style has gotten better through the years, with the colors and classic lettering getting slight tweaks into what we have today: a home uniform reminiscent of a dominant winner (the Indians of the 1990s) and a road uniform that calls back to the last Cleveland squad to win the World Series.
Why such a low ranking, then? Because Chief Wahoo still lives on the sleeve and the main cap. Perhaps its fitting that a sports city as miserable as Cleveland continues to celebrate a not-so-vaguely racist caricature on their annual march to last place.
12. Toronto Blue Jays
Once the owners of a great, unique look, the Blue Jays (or the “Jays,” as they seem to insist) just have a giant mess on their hands, with a home jersey that doesn’t match the road, and on the home kit, a number and font that are huge and not very appealing.
11. Texas Rangers
Or, as I refer to them, the “Texas Texases,” since there’s no sign of “Rangers” here. In their favor, though, this whole arrangement does feel very Texas, which I suppose is the point.
10. Tampa Bay Rays
An upgrade from most of the old Devil Rays uniforms, but still, rather generic overall. The whole thing feels like a cross between the Dodgers and the Royals, without feeling as memorable as either. The sunburst, also, still looks like an ink splatter to me.
9. Los Anaheim Angels
There’s a lot of red, paired with a red cap and red socks, which is fine, I suppose. I don’t have any problem with either jersey here, really. I just like the next ones more.
8. Kansas City Royals
Very few changes for the Royals through the years, except for the old powder-blue road jerseys traded in for gray in the early 1990s. For some reason, I still look at these and expect a winner. That’s the effect George Brett had on me, I guess.
7. Baltimore Orioles
Recently, the Orioles traded in some of the black on their jerseys for more orange and put “Baltimore” back on the road shirt, creating a look that was more reminiscent of the Brooks Robinson heyday. It’s sharp, classic and entirely theirs.
6. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners went through several uniforms in their first 15 years as a club, but when they decided on this set in 1993, they struck gold. It’s teal, but it’s never felt hokey or gimmicky. It does what a great baseball uniform should do — it gives the team an identity and links them to their home city.
5. Chicago White Sox
After bouncing around with colors and wild styles, the White Sox picked this, a throwback to their most successful days, in late 1990 and never looked back. The slanted “SOX” logo on the chest and pinstripes look great, and even better is the script “Chicago” on the road jersey. Here’s another team that should never change.
4. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers’ use of the Old English “D” on the left chest goes back more than 100 years, and even if the road jersey changes every decade or so, the home shirt has been remarkably consistent and classic.
3. Minnesota Twins
There isn’t a thing to quibble with about the Twins these days. Their home jersey has stood the test of time, while the road jersey, introduced last season, is just about perfect, and I’d venture to say that it’s my favorite road uniform in the league. If they ever decide to switch full time to the alternate home jersey, however, just zoom the Twins to the top of the American League.
2. Boston Red Sox
Except for a few tweaks and that period in the mid-1970s, it’s been essentially the same since Ted Williams patrolled left field in 1939, its number font is classic baseball, and it’s sharp all around, from the fancy font to the stripped-down look of the road uniforms, which were adopted for the 2009 season. It’s hard to quibble with anything here, and I wear my white Jason Varitek jersey to almost every game I see in person. Obviously, I love it.
1. Oakland A’s
Here we have my favorite uniform set in all of baseball. The green and gold colors are fantastic, the numbers understated and sharp, the elephant on the sleeve is cool, and the script on both shirts sit just right. In a word, the whole thing is perfect. The only thing that could ruin it is a move out of town or, worse, contraction.
But that’s not likely. What is likely is that baseball uniforms will, for the most part, continue to look classy and cool, and I’ll always have something to nitpick and obsess over. Because I didn’t have enough of that in my life, obviously.