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White Sox 1976 uniforms worth revisiting ... with a tailor

Throwback jerseys still polarizing after 39 years, but a size too big this time

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David Banks/Getty Images

Adam Eaton had one of his best games of the season on Thursday night, going 3-for-3 with an HBP and three runs scored in the White Sox' 4-2 victory over the Mariners, but he wasn't crazy about the way he looked doing it.

His face before the game said it all ...

... but he added some actual words after:

"I’m short and I have long legs for how short I am, so when I have the size that I usually wear [not tucked in] doesn’t look good," Eaton said. "I thought they were cool if we were able to tuck them in. We had to go authentic, so we weren’t able to tuck them in. But if we were able to tuck them in, I’d wear them again. Untucked? I’m sorry."

Eaton shouldn't be sorry, because he had a reason to dislike them. That's not necessarily a knock on the old ones, though.

For starters, the revival jerseys looked like they were cut for the ample gentleman. They flared out, loose and billowy on even the taller (Nate Jones) and broader (Carlos Rodon) players who were the closest to successfully pulling off the getup. Guys like Eaton and Tyler Saladino looked like they were running around in nightshirts by comparison.

That didn't seem to be the case when looking at photos and videos of the South Side Hit Men, give or take a year. Round up the examples from smallest to largest -- Harry Chappas in spring training, Bucky Dent and Ralph Garr running, Chet Lemon at the plate, Oscar Gamble swinging, this video of Richie Zisk ...

... and those look like uniforms that weren't worn straight off the rack. Here's a better example showing the way Carlos Rodon's jersey draped off him during his delivery, next to Steve Trout's:

Carlos Rodon Steve Trout

I'm guessing that Majestic didn't really have a template for a jersey that was meant to just hang out there. Perhaps if the White Sox revisited this idea after ordering a "slim-fit" version, the players wouldn't feel the need to take drastic steps like tucking shirts into pants.


Or maybe they're just ugly. And that's cool, too. Watching the White Sox go to work in these uniforms actually enhanced the victory, as it gave the Sox a classic ragtag-band-of-misfits vibe, and that's always easy to root for. Beyond that, this aesthetic is a big piece of franchise history, and it's nice to see that such a nod to the past is still in play.

I couldn't come around on the original editions as a great idea, though, mostly because they were adopted as the primary look for six whole years. It works way better as a concept car. If you took in a Plymouth Prowler at the Chicago Auto Show as one automaker's stab at future trends, it was worth a bit of your time. If you saw one on the road, you might've wondered who the hell would actually buy one.

Along the same lines, I saw more value in evaluating this uniform for its parts instead of the sum. There are a lot of crazy ideas going on here, and they deserve to be considered on their own merits for their potential incorporation into more palatable contemporary designs.

Colors: OK, but I don't see much of a difference between navy and black when paired with the (non-)color white, so I still prefer the accenting like the red on the 1950s uniforms.

Cap: Unremarkable.

Collars: I'd like to revisit the idea on jerseys that were better tailored to the players. As it stood, combining them with the untucked, oversized jerseys made it look like a golf shirt that was purchased from a big & tall store's going-out-of-business sale ("It's so cheap. Maybe it'll shrink in the wash?").

Lettering: Now this I liked. When I was in Montreal a couple springs ago for the exhibition game, I was struck by how well the Expos jerseys from 1980 held up, and how nobody else adopted the font. Same thing here. I imagine they wouldn't stand out enough with pinstripes as is, but it's still cool.

Pants: The best part of the uniform. It shouldn't be so rare to see the Chicago White Sox prominently displaying white socks.