The Best Throwback Uniforms in MLB History
One of the best parts about baseball memorabilia is how uniforms enable fans to celebrate the past.
Throwback jerseys are more than just tributes to a certain franchise or player — they’ve become popular fashion staples.
We scoured through over 100 years of baseball uniforms and picked out the top 20 throwbacks based on color scheme, design, uniqueness and their conversation-starter levels.
Agree with our choices? Disagree? Let the debate begin.
20. Pittsburgh Pirates, Pinstripe Throwback, 1977-79
Sure, the black and yellow bumblebee look is always a crowd-pleaser, but the pinstriped jersey is almost too ridiculous not to love.
The black "Pirates" across the chest of a white pullover looks pretty simple — especially given the franchise has rarely steered away from its usual font and shades of its two colors — but add in the yellow pinstripes, and these 1970s sets are simply amazing.
The team wore these specific getups from 1977-79, and the black striped hat was kept through the 1986 campaign.
Even better, the club has worn these uniforms numerous times on promotional “Turn Back the Clock” nights.
19. Atlanta Braves, Blue and White Throwback, 1974
The Braves moved away from the typical uniforms we’re accustomed to and went with a royal blue and white theme, featuring an oversized feather on the sleeves.
The red outline complements the blue "Braves" on the chest — and we’re always suckers for pullovers, as opposed to buttoned-down jerseys.
Overall, this installment cracked our list because the franchises wore this in 1974, when Hank Aaron eclipsed Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record by belting his 715th career long ball in his final season with the team.
18. Baltimore Orioles, White Vest Throwback, 1968-69
The Orioles have gone with all-black jerseys, all-white jerseys, all-orange jerseys. They’ve had "Baltimore" written across their chest and "Orioles" as well.
Go through every throwback the franchise has rolled out over the years, and you won’t find one false note.
We figured the team could use a compliment after their disastrous 2018 season.
Anyway, out of all those blasts from the past, nothing compares to the white vests, worn in 1968-69.
Do us a favor, Peter Angelos, and bring these beauties back.
17. San Francisco Giants, White Throwback, 1983
There’s something to be said about the current Giants home uniform. The off-white jersey is nothing short of gorgeous.
However, we can’t help but conjure up fun memories of San Francisco donning the white throwbacks with more bubbly fonts and a slightly different shade of orange that seems to pop more than the current version.
These jerseys came about in the early 1980s and were ditched by the new millennium.
In 1983, they took the place of an old all-orange pullover, which was absent of buttons and looked a little too similar to these Orioles uniforms.
16. St. Louis Cardinals, Baby-Blue Throwback, Early 1980s
Some professional sports teams are overly synonymous with their corresponding color — and the Cardinals embody that with their typical red lettering and accent features on their home and away getups.
But that’s probably why these baby-blue throwbacks are so special.
The shock factor of seeing St. Louis in this shade so far outside their color wheel is cool.
The black, white and red stripes around the v-neck collar and the sleeves are nice touches, too.
St. Louis wore these in the early 1980s — completely abandoning their usual pattern, as evidenced here — and never went back to them.
15. Philadelphia Phillies, Maroon Pinstripe Throwback, 1970-91
Now this is a memorable blast from the past.
The Phillies’ old white jerseys — comprised of thin maroon pinstripes, a thicker maroon line from the bottom of the sleeve to the neck, and a different version of the "P" than we’re used to now — were instituted in 1970.
The team wore them for 21 seasons and even won two National League pennants and one World Series.
14. Seattle Mariners, Trident Throwback, 1977
The Mariners introduced the royal blue and yellow jerseys that featured a trident in the "M’" back in 1977, the first season in franchise history.
So before the white uniforms with navy blue and aqua accents that Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner and other Mariners wore, there were these unique, yet simple jerseys that still look fashionable today.
And while we’re on the topic of the Mariners and throwbacks, we also loved their white cutoff jerseys from the late 1990s. The navy blue and metallic silver cap that went along with it was outstanding as well.
13. California Angels, Halo Throwback, 1971
There’s plenty of intricate details that push this jersey among the elite throwbacks.
In 1971, the franchise crafted these with several notable changes.
One, the team name was switched to all lowercase lettering.
Second, the halo was moved over the text.
Third, the main color scheme was switched from blue to red.
Fourth, a patch with the shape of California was stitched onto the sleeve, which also featured a halo over the top of the state and a star to signify Anaheim’s location.
If that’s not enough, these jerseys also marked the first time the franchise had numbers on the front of their jerseys.
If you’re an Angels fan, this is a must-have.
12. Brooklyn Dodgers, Scripted Throwback, 1945
Go back in history and peruse the older Brooklyn jerseys.
You’ll find pinstripes, powder blue, massive sleeve patches, and even long-sleeved, checkered buttoned-downs that look more like dress shirts than baseball attire.
The franchise had more creativity before the 1940s, but nothing can compare to the crisp white, scripted Brooklyn jersey that is a replica of the actual uniform the team wore ("Brooklyn" was on the away gray uniform).
Too much wonderful simplicity, too much history to not respect it.
11. Cincinnati Reds, Throwback, 1956
Some fans will argue the “Big Red Machine” pullovers from the mid-1970s belong on this list, but the franchise’s getups from two decades prior make the cut instead.
The cutoff vests, which the team actually brought back in the late 1990s, and the old-school logo make this concept a little too innovative to not have a place among the best throwbacks in history.
10. Chicago White Sox, World War I Throwback, 1917
The White Sox instituted these patriotic uniforms in 1917 to commemorate the United States’ involvement in World War I.
The red, white and blue color scheme, along with the flags on both sleeves are all nice touches, and the blue “cadet color” adds some flair to a simple, but well-done, jersey.
The conversation-piece element of these get-ups is off the charts, too.
The team began wearing them two years before the infamous “Black Sox” incident in which eight players — including "Shoeless" Joe Jackson — were caught betting against their own team in the World Series and later banned from the sport for life.
9. Cleveland Indians, Throwback, 1933-35
There’s a lot to love with this one.
The use of a thick, red band around the collar and down the buttoned front and the Indian head logo’s placement on the sleeve are two different features baseball fans are used to.
Cleveland wore this style of uniform from 1933-35 and then transitioned to jerseys that look very similar to their current ideations.
8. San Diego Padres, Brown Throwback, 1980-84
We have to admit the newly established color scheme for the Padres is pretty nice.
It’s only fitting a team in that area would incorporate shades of sandy white, navy and light blue and some yellow in a logo. Their new jerseys are, well, plain, but nothing to complain about.
Go back in history, though, and San Diego donned some amazingly different uniforms.
The brown and yellow alternates are strikingly different from anything we’ve seen. As a matter of fact, no other North American sports franchise has used the two colors together to form their identity.
But, wait, there’s a twist in the story here.
Apparently, we might have to take these off this list in a couple years because the franchise is reportedly trying to reestablish them.
According to a report, Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler confirmed to a local radio station earlier this year that the team won't be able to undergo a serious change to their uniforms until 2020.
We’ll see what the future holds, but if it means one of our favorite throwbacks of all time is coming back on a permanent basis, sign us up.
7, Tampa Bay Rays, Hunter Green Throwback, 2001-07
The light blue, navy blue and yellow colors of the present jive well with the Tampa Bay way of life — lots of sunshine, and even if the team isn’t that great, at least the uniforms are bright and cheery.
This wasn’t the case with those very 1990s jerseys the expansion franchise started with — probably because the white, black and gray get-ups, decorated with a spectrum of blue, aqua, green, lime and yellow lettering — were all, uh, hideous.
You may have forgotten about these, but Tampa Bay did do something right when it ditched the word "Devil" and the drastically horrible color combinations and went with a more toned-down hunter green combination for home, away and alternate installments.
Our favorite is the white home jersey, which were cutoff buttoned-downs and complemented by green undershirts with a sting ray on the left sleeve.
These rosters might have been historically bad, but the 2001-2007 jerseys were heavily underrated.
6. New York Mets, Championship Throwback, 1986
In 1986, the Mets got rid of the buttons and debuted this pullover, which also included a slick 25th anniversary patch.
The thick blue and orange sets of stripes down the arm, under the arm and down the pant leg added some flair without going overboard like some franchises will do.
Not only is this a sweet uniform that pops, but it’s become iconic in the baseball world because Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter and the rest of “The Bad Guys” won the World Series that fall.
We have to give credit to the 1987 road jerseys, too, which featured "New York" in scripted letters for the lone year in history.
5. Oakland Athletics, Yellow Throwback, 1972
Like the old Montreal Expos uniforms, there’s no possible way this list would be complete without these babies.
What’s not to love?
The striking yellow.
The shade of green that stands out on top of another vibrant color.
The pronounced, larger numbers.
Most of all, the simple color scheme that differentiates the franchise from every other is what holds up even today.
No other team rocks the green and yellow — the look belongs to the A’s, and the A’s alone.
4. Montreal Expos, Baby-Blue Throwback, 1969-91
This list wouldn’t be complete without these — and you know it.
Nothing drastically unique here, but the old Expos logo has too much history to overlook it.
Plus, the baby blue mixed with a darker shade of blue, and then the subtle infusion of red and white makes for a simple, beautiful throwback.
The white version of this uniform isn’t too shabby either.
3. Houston Astros, Rainbow Throwback, 1975
There’s a lot going on here. And that’s why this throwback is nothing short of fantastic.
Come to think of it, there’s never been anything like the Astros’ so-called “Rainbow” jersey, and that very uniqueness shoots this look way up our rankings.
The horizontal rainbow of orange is interrupted by a large star — representing the Lone Star State — and is complemented by the team name in simple font.
Notice the absence of the player’s number. That was found on the pant leg, above the “sans-a-belt” waistband.
Designed by advertising agency McCann Erickson for rollout during the 1975 season, the rainbow uniforms were met with a healthy degree of skepticism, according to a Houston Chronicle report.
Apparently, former Astros shortstop Roger Metzger said, "I think there were three or four of us who looked at each other and wondered if they (management) were really serious.”
2. Boston Red Sox, Throwback, 1908
These Boston Sox jerseys are nothing short of stunning.
The white and gray uniforms featured a pull-down collar, three-quarter sleeves, a tilted red sock.
The look is a stark contrast the old logo of the Boston Americans, who used a blue "B" and "A" in Old English-type font as their identity before adopting the Red Sox name after 1907.
And the uniform still is a classic.
1. Chicago Cubs, Throwback, 1908
Think of the 1908 Red Sox jerseys and 1908 Chicago Cubs jerseys as 1B and 1A for the heated argument regarding the nicest MLB throwbacks in history. Is it hard to decipher between the two? Absolutely. We gave the Cubs the nod for No. 1 overall because of the backstory behind them.
The Cubs pullover-style jersey has it all: simplicity, bold color contrast and, most importantly, an amazing story.
The Cubs’ home getup features a full pull-down collar accompanied by several buttons down the front, a brown bear standing on its legs while holding a bat, and the blue color that stays true to the shade we’re used to seeing today.
While wearing these uniforms, the franchise won the World Series by defeating the Tigers in five games — and then the “Curse of the Billy Goat” struck and the team went 108 years without another title.
Not a bad conversation piece if you decide to invest in buying this unique, historic ensemble.