Thread Count: How Did Each of the Indians' Uniforms Fare Last Season?
Earlier this week, a website began to sell an Indians cap featuring the team’s “script I” logo, one the organization hasn’t used on hats since the days of their sleeveless uniforms and other combinations of the early-to-late 2000s, and rumors began to swirl that the team was bringing the “I” back to their uniform set.
The reaction was anywhere from yay, nay or who cares, they’ll just trade whichever player wears it, as per our usual arrangement. However, it didn’t take long for the organization to debunk the possibility, indicating the cap wouldn’t be part of their on-field look in 2020, and we all moved on to the next crisis.
Still, given the polarity of opinions on rumors of the script I’s return, it’s clear that the look of uniforms, jerseys and hats hold significant value to most of us. They can remind you of your childhood, become iconic with just one victory or manage to wreck your afternoon with just a glimpse (not to mention: Chief Wahoo’s name still appears from time to time in Twitter mentions or comment sections).
There are entire Twitter feeds devoted to uniforms and player numbers. Ther are websites that track how often each club sports their unique look. This stuff matters, OK?!
On a related note, the Indians updated their uniform set last year by introducing a home red jersey and midnight navy road jersey with “CLEVELAND” in block letters, also making changes to their home cap and completely removing Wahoo from their on-field look. And in the biggest shock since the sun came up this morning and water remained wet, opinions on the changes weren’t initially hard to come by. But since we’re about a year removed from the reveal, what better time to revisit those views, offering a chance for anyone online on a Thursday night to cast a vote for their favorite current Tribe uniform set — you know, providing a conclusive, totally scientific and not biased in any way cross section of the fan base and their opinions.
The poll suggests Tribe fans prefer the club’s red edition, and the players appear to agree with that sentiment, having sported their home red uniforms 44 times last year, according to SportsLogos.net, which tracks each team’s threads and more. But why stop there? With a few weeks to go until the Indians report to Goodyear, Arizona -- and us currently in the downtime between online quarrels -- let’s revisit some uniform trends from last year in a no nonsense, totally serious sort of way.
The Indians’ red uniforms weren’t just their most preferred look of 2019, they also finished with the highest winning percentage among their regular quartet of choices (no, we’re not counting Players’ Weekend or any other holiday threads), according to SportsLogos.net. The Tribe won 26 games and finished with a .591 winning percentage in their red jerseys, with their home whites finishing second in winning percentage (.581). Yes, you could make a case that the home uniforms will always hold a slight edge because of a potential home advantage, but stop trying to ruin the narrative, would you?
Despite the success of the red uniforms — and this has nothing to do with the randomness of opponent, who was pitching or any other factors, duh — the Indians were actually at their best when they didn’t wear their usual jerseys. The club went 9-2 when some element was different, be it their all black Players’ Weekend uniforms or when they sported different hats for holidays like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
Then, there was the cap they wore in honor of Independence Day on July 4 against the Royals and on July 6-7, 2019 against the Reds. They outscored Cincinnati 18-3 in that pair of weekend battles, finishing 3-0 overall in the red cap, begging the question: What did they do with those hats and can they be reused? What a missed opportunity...
On Saturdays, we wear red
The team’s use of their red uniform on Saturdays was their highest uniform total of any day of the week, sporting the new threads 10 times. Meanwhile, while Tiger Woods was saving his red for Sundays, the Indians were wearing their road navy most often in 2019.
Here was their top uniform choice on each day of the week.
MONDAY: Red (6)
TUESDAY: Tie - Navy, Gray, White (6)
WEDNESDAY: Tie - Red, White (7)
THURSDAY: Navy (7)
FRIDAY: Tie - Red, Gray (7)
SATURDAY: Red (10)
SUNDAY: Navy (8)
Cleveland has enough overcast days throughout the year to make you think you're looking through the Instagram of a wannabe photographer, but the Indians decided to take that forecast with them on the road as well, winning just 44.1 percent of their games in their gray visiting uniforms. It’s no coincidence why, too, given that their 4.1 runs per game total was their lowest of any combination, and their 4.4 runs allowed per game were the most in any of their normal threads.
Their updated midnight navy uniforms, by the way, fared much better on the road, finishing with 24 victories and a winning percentage of .571. So, while we’re focused on reasons why the 2019 club finished shy of the postseason for the first time since 2015, we can look past a lack of depth or injuries or the Twins exceeding expectations and blame it all on the road grays, Cleveland's Krptonite
Look good, play good
The navys must have provided extra swinging room for the offense, who scored five runs per game when sporting that combo. The pitchers, however, must have found it easier to repeat their deliveries in the reds, allowing a team-low four runs per game in those jerseys.
What's that? That doesn't seem like a plausible theory? Well, have you considered -- WHAT'S THAT OVER THERE?! *sprints off*
Best of times, worst of times
The best day for the Tribe may have been when they scored 19 runs against the Yankees on Aug. 14, sporting their road navys. The low point, however, was when they were outscored by a combined 26-0 against the *ahem* rebuilding Orioles on June 28-29 in Baltimore. The second game of that back-to-back trouncing came while also sporting the navys, proving that those uniforms are just as prone to having a bad day as the rest of us.
And you didn't think you could learn a life lesson from a jersey, did you?
Special thanks to SportsLogos.net, which provided all of the information for this piece through their uniform tracking site.