In a multiple part series, Rick and I, two of the bigger jersey junkies at the site, have been tackling our opinions on the Cleveland teams’ uniforms, logos, and color schemes. You can find our takes on the Cavaliers and Browns’ uniform schemes at the following links. Today, we’re discussing the Indians’ uniforms. Here’s a look at some of our favorites and ones we’d rather forget.
Rick: Ok. Maybe we should start by talking about the current set. What do you like and what don’t you like?
Kirk: Overall, I like the current set of uniforms for the Indians. The block C is winning me over. I love the “faux throwbacks” that they wear on Sundays and special occasions. I LOVE the road grays. I really enjoy the blue alternates (always have). My biggest beef is the piping that they took away two seasons ago. It looks strange without it.
Rick: If anyone has read my comments over the past few years, you know I really don’t care for the cream uniforms at all. I don’t like the cream color, I don’t like the font of the Indians on the chest, and I don’t like the extreme lack of blue in them.
Kirk: It’s an interesting debate. Is this franchise’s primary color red or blue? What should it be? In the ’90s, it was red. In the 2000s, it was primarily blue. Now, it seems they’re going back to red as the focus.
Rick: Primary is one thing, but even in the ’90s, blue was still a big part of the uniform. Even on the white uniforms with red script, socks, and undershirt, there was still blue piping and blue hats.
Kirk: Personally, I think the red is best. I’m guilty of being nostalgic toward the ’90s, but if those ’90s home uniforms weren’t the best uniforms in franchise history, I’ll eat my hat. I like the navy uniform tops a lot, but there’s something about the red sleeves and socks that do it for me.
Rick: I’m not against having one color dominant on one uniform and not the other, like the blue alternates, but those creams just drive me crazy.
Rick: I like the ’90s uniforms, and even the current renditions without piping I like.
Kirk: Back to the home alternate for a moment, the faux throwback is an interesting move to try to pull off. The Indians in essence manufactured a throwback-style uniform without names on the back and added the cream color which doesn’t gel with their historical choices. To me, it is aesthetically pleasing, though it DID take me a while to get used to the all-red hats. It’s a little bit like your dislike for the CAVS font on the home gold alternate, isn’t it? Too plain and no history there, am I right?
Rick: Somewhat similar. I am a complete font junkie. The font/color/style combo is so important, and on those two uniforms in particular I feel like the font was an afterthought. I’m not against a plain font per se. The script Cleveland on the road uniforms is pretty plain, but it works.
Kirk: I can agree with that. It’s not my favorite part of either uniform set. I like the elements external of the font for both. I think both could be improved with more popular typefaces from each team. Let’s talk about font though. Do you like the Indians cursive font? I’m a huge fan of it myself.
Rick: I do like it. Like the Cavaliers’ font, it is original. You don’t see that ‘I’ anywhere else. I’m actually one of the few people I think that don’t mind the use of the script I on the hats.
Kirk: Now that I don’t like. I think the cursive I isn’t strong enough to stand on its own. Cursive Indians is great, but I’d MUCH prefer the block C to any and all use of the cursive I alone. You look around and see Detroit’s distinct D, Boston’s B, and New York’s NY. I like having something to match up with those in a way.
Rick: I don’t feel strongly enough about the script I to fight for it, I suppose. Unlike the Cavaliers’ script. So fair enough.
Kirk: The Block C seemed too simple when I first saw it. But, it’s admittedly grown on me. It’s bold looking, and it has the distinct notch in it. It’s a unique shape for a C (not like the Cincinnati C that we wore during the ’40s and ’50s which I am NOT a fan of). It looks amazing on polos, hats, and shirts with a red C against a navy background.
Rick: Well, speaking of the C, that brings me to my favorite throwback uniforms, the old navy with the C. I love those.
Kirk: Those were really neat. I’ve written about this before that regardless of anything that happens with the team’s logos in respect to Wahoo, I would be all for having those throwbacks. The all-navy look pops, but the white numbers and belt are just enough that it doesn’t look like they’re wearing a onesie. The black socks look awesome with them too!
Rick: What would you think about the blue top with the white pinstripe pants or vice versa?
Kirk: If you went half and half, I think you’d have to go pinstripe pants with blue top. But, I’d prefer the all-navy look. It would be a very unique item to add to a uniform portfolio.
Rick: I would love to see those more than once a season. The all blue is a neat look, unlike the all red of the ’70s. That was a disaster.
Kirk: Yes, that gets the nod for the worst uniform in my book. Ugly, just ugly. And the C is second-worst on the hierarchy of C’s after the Reds-style C
Rick: So, if Wahoo was out of the picture, what look would you want to the team to go with instead?
Kirk: You mean when, right? If Wahoo was out of the picture, I think you could do it without changing the uniform set much at all. If I were calling the shots, I’d have a home uniform very similar to the ’90s with the white and red sleeves and socks, putting some piping back in. I’d keep the road grays (which we need to talk about, because they’re phenomenal) as is, and I’d have two alternates, one of which would be the all-navy look and one which would be the navy top look that they’ve consistently had since entering Jacobs Field, adding back the piping, of course. If we’re talking about what mascot/team name I’d change to, that is another can of worms.
Rick: I don’t have the desire to get into the new nickname discussion. I agree that very little would have to change in regards to the uniforms if there was a change made away from Wahoo. I would like to see the script I make some kind of return. I think though that a new logo would have to be designed. I don’t think the block C is strong enough to be the primary logo.
Kirk: I would tend to agree with you, except that this is an area where they would have to be very careful. I’m not crazy about having two of my three sports teams without a very exciting logo. However, look at the Tigers and how often they use the actual Tiger logo in their uniforms. Maybe a stylized feather would do it? I don’t know if there’s an easy answer. If they did change the name (something I don’t think will happen nor should it in my eyes), my first vote would probably be for Spiders, followed by Blues. Keep all the same colors and fonts as you can.
Let’s talk about the road grays, because they really are a great look. I like how they are almost identical to the look the team had in the 1948 era (see: Bearden pic). I didn’t even realize that until some months into the new look a few years ago. The Cleveland font is plain looking, but it is distinct enough for me.
Rick: I love the socks in that Bearden pic. Those should be brought back for the grays.
Kirk: Those are pretty nifty. I’m a high socks kind of guy when it comes to baseball uniforms.
Red on red with white stripes, THE HORROR, it’s a candycane disaster! The red’s too bright, and the navy is too dark. And of course, these happened to be a one-year tryout during the 1997 World Series run.
Rick: What drives me crazy is that most managers will wear the coats in the middle of August during a day game because they don’t like the fit or look of wearing the jersey. Just let them wear some kind of team gear.
Kirk: It is an interesting world we live in where managers have to dress like they could pinch-hit, NFL coaches can dress like a homeless person, and NBA coaches have to be in a suit.
Kirk: You’ll notice that Tito often wore the long sleeve shirt in both Boston and here in Cleveland instead of the jacket most of the season. He’s bucking your trend for you.
Rick: I’m all for bucking that trend.
Rick: Yeah, that was pretty arrogant, huh?
Kirk: Hey, it’s not much different than the Heat uniforms Tuesday night 85 years later. I’ll finish by saying that even though the red/blue uniform combo is the most common duo in all of sports (and in baseball, there are 11 TEAMS with it!), I think the Indians make it their own with several different logos and styles, and I wouldn’t change it.
(Photo: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)