It’s spring and that can mean only one thing: Fashion Week. Milan. Paris. New York. London. Albuquerque.
You said what now? Albuquerque. How did the town Walter White made famous wind up getting mentioned along the fashionista capitals of the world? Well, I may not known Steve Madden from John Madden, but one thing I know for sure: when it comes to fashion in the spring, nothing beats an unusual baseball jersey.
Get it? Spring training? Spring fashions? Okay, whatever, here is my list of the top five baseball jerseys of all time. Fashion in this case mean something you would want to wear and it doesn’t cost more than your first car.
1. Albuquerque Isotopes
The only baseball team named after an episode of “The Simpsons” (to the best of my knowledge) is how the town where meth kingpin Walter White works its way into the fashion week stratosphere occupied by the far less interesting cities (from a baseball jersey perspective of Milan and Paris. The Simpsons episode titled “Hungry, Hungry Homer” revolves around a typically underhanded capitalist kingpin’s plot to sneak the Isotopes minor league baseball team out of Springfield and to the far more lucrative location of Albuquerque. Reel life became real life when Albuquerque named their actual minor league team the Isotopes. The fashion of the real Isotopes logo on their jerseys even mirrors the fashion of their animated inspiration.
2. Decatur Commies
Or a Decatur Commies jersey would be good too and, as you already know if you have read my political stuff, very apt. I so love this Decatur Commies jersey that I’ve written about it on a number of occasions. What makes this quite unusual bit of actual baseball fashion history even more amazing is that the Decatur Commies sported their unofficial nickname throughout the madness that was the era of McCarthyism (which is more than can be said for the decision of Cincinnati to change their name from Reds to Redlegs during the same period. What keeps the Decatur Commies baseball jersey from topping my list of spring (training) fashion icons is that Commies was, alas, short for Commodores rather than Communists.
3. Ethiopian Clowns
In a time when so many baseball jerseys looks like so many other baseball jerseys, the Ethiopian Clowns really did exhibit a display of spring fashion that set them apart. One of the lesser-known chapters of baseball history are the barnstorming clown teams of the Negro leagues of which the Ethiopian Clowns were one of the most interesting. These Clowns sported a number of different jerseys, but clearly the most memorably fashionable or fashionably memorable was their vibrant 1940 road jersey which featured a navy blue torso between bright red sleeves. So far so good, but hardly enough to qualify as spring fashion, right? Well, click here and take a gander at the face of that clown on the arm patch.
4. Des Moines Demons
Two things to love about the spring (training) fashion of this baseball jersey. One is that the Des Moines Demons jerseys are representative of the early baseball jersey trend of not featuring the numbers of players. So, you look at the front and back and, well, no number at all. The second thing to love about the fashion of the the Demons baseball jersey is the prominently featured red devil on the front holding a pitchfork and equipped with a long tail. Now, the mere appearance of a red devil on a baseball jersey would be enough to qualify the Des Moines team of the 1920s for entry into the spring fashion hall of fame. But, jeez, take a look at the size of that devil! He’s huge.
5. Barber’s Point Pointers
Barber’s Point Naval Air Station field a team in 1945 that sported a jersey not particularly memorable for the most part. Gray flannel not unlike a few dozen other teams of the period. Piping around the buttons and collar. A plain number on the back. But what makes the Barber’s Point Pointers baseball jersey a real spring fashion keepsake is the appearance of a stylized silhouette of a dog’s head just below the “ERS” in Pointers emblazoned across the chest. Gotta love that dog!