Assessing the Indians New Uniform Tweaks

Last week, the Indians announced some changes to the uniforms for this season. Jon brought you the initial news, and I’ve been waiting to hear a few more details before discussing it here. I don’t know if I’m the most opinionated one on the site about uniforms or not, but I certainly do pay attention and probably voice my opinion more than the rest of the guys.

The changes aren’t major, but could definitely be an upgrade. The most notable differences to the Home white and alternate jerseys are the removal of the trim along the collar and down the button panels. That piping has been part of the Indians’ white and blue tops in some form since the team switched to the new wordmark and uniforms in the ’90s.

The Tribe’s 2011 uniforms

Another change is the outline around the script Indians. It will be more subdued, with only a two-tone approach. The white features a red script with thin blue outline, and the blue will have a red script and white outline. Another change that is hard to see from the top image is the outline around the neck. The white uniforms feature a “thin navy blue outline” and the alternates feature a “thin gray outline”.  The gray is more visible against the navy undershirt.

These changes most fans will get used to right away. They make the uniforms a little less formal. I’m not sold yet on the neck outline. Especially on the blue. If you wanted to get rid of the piping, why not make a clean break?

Paul Lucas’ Uni-Watch brought to my attention another subtle change. The font itself has been altered a bit. Take a look at this comparison. The new style matches the club’s official logo. Apparently that is what Kurt Schloss was referring to here-

“It’s really about brand continuity more than it is about retail,” said Kurt Schloss, Indians senior director of merchandising. “That’s one of the things we want people to understand. Retail doesn’t drive the uniforms. Instead, it’s about how we want the brand to look in the marketplace.”

That isn’t the end of the tweaks however.

I’ve been critical of the Tribe’s alternate cream uniforms in the past. It appears the team is taking some steps to improve many of the problem areas I had with the uniform. The first problem is with the size of the block letters. On a smaller player, the lettering consumed the bulk of the front of the jersey. This year the font will be reduced slightly to help with that issue. Another reason I haven’t been wild about the look is the mis-match of accessory colors. The Indians wore the red hats with blue socks and sleeves under these last season. The look just seemed awkward. This year the Indians will pair the red hat and cream uniforms with red socks and red sleeves underneath according to Terry Pluto.

I’d like to see these together, as I think the changes will greatly help. I bet it will still be my least favorite of the four uniforms, as I’m just not a fan of the cream in general. But perhaps they will look better.

  • Pale Dragon

    My problem with the home alternates is that the red on the uniform letters doesn’t match the red of the cap. Either lighten the jersey letters, or darken the cap. Also, the blue block C doesn’t stand out enough against the red. It needs a white or gray outline.

    Other than that, I like the changes. Nothing too major, and it still retains the simple, classic look of our uniforms.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    Dragon- I agree with you on the red cap, but apparently we are in the minority. It was the top seller for the Tribe last season.

  • http://exiledclevelander.wordpress.com AMC

    I’m fine with making the standard home uni more simplistic as I thought it was a bit too stylized in its last iteration. Have to respectfully disagree with you Rick about those cream unis. I love those things – I think they’re classic looking and wish they were the primary home uniform. I was thrilled with the new block Cleveland road uniform last year and think the cream home uniform matches that look. I’m also not on board with the red hat (I love the blue block C hat though, which I own), but the red hat should be ok if worn with red accessories.

  • BisonDeleSightings

    Count me among those that hate the weekend alternates. As Pale Dragon said, the C is barely readable and the Indians just don’t look right in red hats.

  • stin4u

    I love the home alternate uniforms but I still hate that god awful red hat.

  • B-bo

    The red hats will never stop being awful.

  • Matt S

    I like the tweaks for the most part. The double outline was unnecessary in my opinion, as was the piping. Hopefully part of the changes will be having the shade of red on the caps (and socks now I guess) match the shade of red in the lettering of the block “Indians”.

  • BW

    I’m ready to move away from Chief Wahoo after a drunken friend heckled some of the Native Americans protesters on opening day. I would absolutely love to see the script “I” on the hats instead. Seems reasonable to me to keep Wahoo only on the sleeve unless or until there’s a full phase-out.

  • Tbone

    Hat red hats
    Only time the blue jerseys looked good is with white pants at home.
    The away hat should be the home hat and vice versa.
    Wish they would go back to the 1948 Chief Wahoo, but I’m sure the PC police would storm the field.

    Does anyone remember them wearing pinstripes? I swear I saw a picture once of the Indians in the 40’s or 50’s. I think pinstripes are cool, but realize the Yankees sort of own that look.

  • SnakeLafleur

    Man, I have lived with the piping on those jerseys for most of my life and never thought anything of it. Now that I’ve seen the new jerseys without the piping, the old ones with the piping look disgusting to me!

    It’s hard to really say why, since it is just minor tweaks, but these new ones just seem much nicer on the eyes. They “pop.”

    Also, like many others here, I do not like the red hats or the Home Alternates very much. I don’t really know anyone who does in the current incarnation. I’d rather the Home Alternate uniform be more reminiscent of the “Major League” era Indians.

  • Pale Dragon

    @Rick: Isn’t the reason it was the top seller last season because it was the only new hat style?

    I don’t mind the concept of the red hat, I just think it could be improved.

  • Desert Wahoo

    The changes made to the primary set are good. Funny thing was when I saw the new fonting and no piping it was a no brainer to me. So much simpler. The cream alts and grey away are very nice set. The greys have a 80′ s look and the cream have a 40′ s look to them. Get rid of the red hat though. Does not work visually at all.

  • Deuce

    I just hope that if this saves them a few bucks on material that they use those savings to fill some needs within the team. As of right now, the Indians are Cleveland’s best opportunity for the post season.

  • MrCleaveland

    According to the MLB Uniform Database

    http://exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/database.htm

    the Tribe wore pinstripes from 1958 through 1962. They looked really sharp.

    I wish the Indians would bring back the hat where Chief Wahoo is inside a C. Best hat of all time.

  • MrCleaveland

    The Tribe also wore pinstripes in 1970 and ’71, but they didn’t look nearly as good because they had some funky INDIANS font messing things up.

    For the 1921 season, Cleveland dropped the Block C on the left side of the chest for the home unis and the block CLEVELAND for the road and just went with WORLD CHAMPIONS on both. Gotta love that.

  • MrCleaveland

    Check that. The ’21 unis said WORLDS (no apostrophe) CHAMPIONS. I guess they were declaring themselves champs of the entire solar system.

  • mrcdebenz7

    alternate uniforms had a blue piping down the pants. wonder if they will make that red or just get rid of it?

    the mis match with the blue socks made me dislike the kit. now it should be perfect! red on red just like the 90s!

  • STBT

    Love the red hats…and I actually don’t know anyone that dislikes them. I like the changes, but I don’t usually get too caught up unless it’s something major.

  • enjoyradio

    I despise those red hats. Not only does the blue C get subsumed into the mass of red, but it also makes us too similar to the Reds, which is not something I wish to do.

  • http://www.fromoutofnowhere.com Reggie Ruckus

    Mr. Cleaveland is dead on about the 50’s era cap with Chief Wahoo inside the C. Thought that would make a fantastic road cap. I also, probably because it was the cap they wore when I made my first to the stadium in the early 70’s, love the Flintstones style C on the cap.

    As for the new design, I’m not moved by ‘em either way. Would be nice if they’d pick a design or a logo and stick with it. I saw nothing wrong with the uniforms they wore when they moved into Jacobs Field. Those home uniforms were heavy on the red and would make a much better alternate than the cream alternates. Hopefully those will look better with the red undershits and socks. They pale (no pun intended) to the road uni’s that came out last year.

    Would be nice too if they crapped or got off the pot with Chief Wahoo. Either use him or don’t use him but decide one way or another.

  • JT

    A white outline around the block C would help.

    Would someone show us how it would look.

    Thanks !

  • Goldenflash7903

    I am thinking that some of the reduction of color on the front of the jersey is for player comfort as much as style. Tackle Twill is really heavy and thick. Really not comfortable on a hot summer day. Also, the jersey is made of a performance fabric.

    As for the appeal, I like the script Indians over the block. I think the road Cleveland is boring. I am also a fan of the red hat, it is a nice pop of color other than the navy and white.

    My uniform sensibilities are a little skewed though, I reallly like Oregon’s football uniforms and all of Nike’s football combat UNis this year as well.

  • Henry

    Please just please get over Wahoo and make it go away. I get that it’s nostalgic and classic and reminds you of your childhood but its really pathetic and offensive and does nothing but make the city of Cleveland look like an backwards hillbilly town when we all know its really a wonderful, diverse and progressive city. Just stop it, give it up, move on and find something else. It really won’t hurt that much. If you really need to look at a disgusting racial stereotype, snatch up all the gear you can and preserve it in your home so your family can enjoy it forever but please stop torturing the general public with this inane 19th century stereotype.

  • Doc1188

    @Henry – I really wouldn’t mind if Chief Wahoo was eliminated for good. I can’t say if it’s offensive of not because I’m not a native american, but Wahoo WAS created in the 1950s, an era lacking civil rights, racial senisibility, etc. Wahoo wasn’t intended to be offensive, but its easy to see why he might be.

    Besides, I read in a Cleveland magazine that the Block “C” caps have surpassed wahoo in sales. And I think the Block “C” looks better.

  • ObieMassillon

    I agree on the red hat. If they have to keep it, put a white outline around the C. The contrast between red and blue is terrible. Additionally, why did they decide to shrink the wahoo down so small? It looks like it belongs on hot stove hats. The Jacob’s Field era wahoo was a good size.

  • Kildawg

    Sometimes, it’s the smaller changes that make a big difference. In our case, the uniforms are more appealing and mesh better with supporting hats, socks, and shoes. Liked the navy block C hat with red bill better than the solid red hat with navy block C for the awesome alt home jerseys. Now only if the Browns could find the color for their uniforms…

  • Goalie007

    I like the overall look, but I still can’t get used to the red cap they wear with the cream alts. It just doesn’t look right to me.

  • JT

    Maybe a sample of the red cap with a white outline around the C
    could be shown to Shapiro.I think that might convince him a slight
    change would be an improvement.I would like to see a drawing or picture.

  • Pastorofmuppets

    I’d like to see the red cap with the away grey uniform, and the blue block c cap back on the cream alts.