The team uniform unites teams of all sports across the world. They’re imperative for differentiating one team from another, especially crucial in fast-paced competition wherein split-second decisions require you to quickly differentiate from your teammate and your competition. A blaze of red is quite easy to differentiate than a blaze of white when running 10 yards per second.
Team uniforms and logos today are loved and celebrated by fans and players as a symbol of unity to be protected and revered. Team logos and symbols represent entire cities, which identify with and hold as close to their hearts as their national flag. But where did the simple concept of the team uniform come from which we take for grant it today?
Team uniforms were first employed in professional baseball. Namely, the New York Knickerbockers were the first ones to don the matching threads in 1849. Consisting of blue wool and flannel shirts, complete with straw hats, these prototypes were a fry cry from the sleek, user-friendly adaptations we see the pros wearing today. It wasn’t until the league adopted the concept of uniform requirements did we see any similarity to modern conceptions of the uniform.
By the turn of the twentieth century, among the signature components to the baseball uniform was added; stockings. Whether red, blue, black or white, stockings were fundamental to differentiating one team from another. Then the league added city abbreviations of the location the team represented to the baseball cap.
With the introduction of abbreviations on the caps, the logo was born. From abbreviations came mascots and symbols. Professional football applied the team uniform concept for their players, soon followed by hockey and basketball. Ever since, the idea any team would be complete without their own uniform colors or logos is unthinkable.