The New York Yankees have arguably the most iconic uniform in sports, one that has gone practically unchanged over the last 90 years. Any modification is significant and the Yankees made one recently that came with almost no fanfare.
Nearly one-third of the way through the season, the Yankees changed the paint on their batting helmets, from glossy to matte.
The change is being made just to the batting helmets on the road. Here is how the new helmet compares to the old version, which will still be worn during home games.
According to Billy Witz of the New York Times, Rawlings sent a sample to the Yankees this spring. It wasn't until after the regular season had started that equipment manager Rob Cucuzza showed the prototype to some players. They liked it and with the permission of the general manager Brian Cashman, Cucuzza ordered a set.
It wasn't until recently that the order arrived.
According to Cucuzza, the decision to not change the home helmets was an aesthetic one.
"I like the way it fits with our uniform; it looks good with the gray," Cucuzza told the New York Times. "I don't think it looks good against white. We won't wear them at home."
Outside of just being odd that a team that never changes their uniform actually changed their uniforms and that the Yankees did it mid-season, this move is also odd because it is trendy. The Yankees have never been a team to follow the herd, so to speak, and yet, changing to a matte helmet is something that has become popular at all levels of baseball and across several sports.
A trend that started in the college football ranks, it has spread to baseball. The Padres and Diamondbacks are two teams that have switched to matte helmets recently.
Interestingly, as a few fans have noted, the new matte helmet is reminiscent of the helmets worn by the Yankees in the 1960s. Those helmets were not nearly as glossy as the helmets typically seen today.
In an age when sports teams change uniforms like they are changing underwear — a move that is not unrelated to producing more revenue by getting fans to buy more jerseys — the Yankees have always avoided any temptation. This is not the dramatic overhaul typically seen, but it is also just as jarring.
RANKING THE BEST (AND WORST) MLB UNIFORMS:
MLB uniform rankings
The Yankees quietly made a big change to one of the most iconic uniforms in sports
30. San Diego Padres
Did you know the Padres made a bunch of changes to their uniforms a few seasons ago? No? That’s probably because they have the most nondescript jerseys in all of pro sports. They’re bland, safe, and not particularly memorable. And that’s a shame, since the Padres have a totally unique color scheme just sitting there waiting to be used again. They wear the brown occasionally as a throwback, but it’s way beyond time to bring them back full time.
(Photo by Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)
29. Houston Astros
The Astros: when uniform redesigns go terrible wrong. Their current set is nothing special, a boring look that doesn’t do justice to the team’s colorful history. It’s almost as if they were too concerned with making the uniforms look like throwbacks and ended up looking like they tried too hard. The cap with the star and ‘H’ logo is nice, at least. But the Astros have such a fun, weird uniform heritage it’s too bad they don’t do more to call attention to it.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
28. Arizona Diamondbacks
Purple and teal may have been a lousy color combination, but at least it was unique to Arizona. Then they went to red as their primary color and made their look totally generic. The wordmarks on their uniforms look off, too: the lettering looks almost cartoonish and makes the whole thing look too busy. Just a totally forgettable uniform.
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
27. Tampa Bay Rays
Their primary logo looks like it should belong to a solar panel company. Their uniforms look like a generic team’s uniforms you’d find in a baseball video game that doesn’t have an MLB license. And since they use a little sunburst logo on the jersey, does that mean the team name refers to rays of the sun? Or is it still the fish? Either way, their entire uniform set is a sterile, boring mess.
(Photo by Yuki Taguchi/MLB Photos)
26. Cleveland Indians
Cursive lettering at home, block lettering on the road, except for the cream colored home alternate that has block lettering, but not the blue alternate that has cursive lettering. Got that? The Indians have been tweaking their look for a while now and the results haven’t been great– they need to pick a look and stick with it. And if they’re really moving away from using Chief Wahoo, can they at least come up with something better than the generic block ‘C’ logo they’ve saddled themselves with?
(Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
25. Milwaukee Brewers
No team needs six different jerseys, which is what the Brewers currently have at their disposal: a home, a road, a home alternate, a road alternate, a different alternate, and a throwback. It’s just too much, and it might be time to ditch the look they’ve had for 15 years and go back to their ’80s look. The glove and ball ‘MB’ logo is still one of the best ever, it’s time to bring it back for good.
(Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
24. Texas Rangers
For some reason, none of the Rangers’ four different jerseys actually say ‘Rangers’ on them; instead, they all say ‘Texas.’ That’s really strange, considering it’s not a very long name and could easily fit on the front of a home jersey. The lettering they use is unnecessarily complicated too, with points and curves that look out of place. They could use some streamlining.
(Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
23. Minnesota Twins
They’ve updated their look but they don’t quite hit the mark. They’re perfectly nice and acceptable but seem almost sterile in a way– there’s nothing special about them. It’d be nice if they used their throwback alternate as the primary home jersey, since it has character. It’s a shame they didn’t retire the ‘Twins’ wordmark they use on their actual home uniform since it looks outdated.
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
22. Colorado Rockies
They haven’t changed their look much since they entered the league in 1993, and there’s something to be said for that. The home jersey is a modern classic, striking the right balance between too much purple and just enough. The same can’t be said for their road jersey that doesn’t use enough purple and looks generic, or for their purple nightmare of an alternate jersey that takes things a bit too far. They could both use a redesign.
(Photo by Yuki Taguchi/MLB Photos)
21. New York Mets
Just when the Mets do something smart and finally ditch their awful black jerseys and black trim, they go and add a camo alternate jersey because…uh, they really support the military? Who knows. Camo jerseys aren’t a great look to begin with and it doesn’t make sense for teams to add them to their regular rotation. And it’s too bad, because the Mets have sharp home and road designs. Their blue alternates are nothing special, though, and bring the whole set down a notch.
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
20. Miami Marlins
Love it or hate it, the Marlins have a uniform that is uniquely theirs and they get points for that. It’s a shame they don’t wear their road greys anymore since it’s such a nice looking jersey. In fact, none of their jerseys are particularly bad. They all very much read South Beach in their color scheme and appearance. It’s a shame they didn’t fully embrace the South Beach look and use neon pink as one of their colors. People would’ve lost their minds.
(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
19. Atlanta Braves
Their home and road uniforms are classics, but the Braves have way too many alternates to choose from. Do they really need a retro alternate home jersey when their regular home jerseys are retro-inspired to begin with? Plus there’s the blue-on-blue jersey that just doesn’t look right, and the red one with the ‘Braves’ wordmark in a stars and stripes pattern for some reason. Just too much.
(Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)
18. Seattle Mariners
Their new throwback jersey is quite nice, but they’re another team suffering from uniform overkill. They already have teal and blue alternates to go with the new throwback, so why not get rid of one of those? They all seem unnecessary. Plus they made slight changes to their road jersey that makes it seem too busy. A nice uniform set, but a crowded one that could use some trimming.
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
17. Washington Nationals
A great color scheme and a logo that references DC’s baseball past give the Nats a very nice set of tools to build a great uniform. It’d be nice if the home uniform actually said ‘Nationals’ on it instead of the cursive ‘W’ though. And their blue alternate with the ‘W’ logo in stars and stripes looks a little garish. Definite room for improvement here.
(Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
16. Cincinnati Reds
A very clean, classic look that would be even better if they’d drop the black drop shadow from their uniform lettering and dump the overly ornate number style. Both of those things only serve to bog the whole look down, but those could easily be fixed. One of the best alternate jerseys in all of baseball, too.
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
15. Los Angeles Angels
Another nice set that has arguably become the franchise’s defining uniform. The one issue is their alternate, which uses red lettering on a red jersey; not exactly a great look. It’s still a solid set, though it’d be funny to see them try to fit ‘Los Angeles of Anaheim’ on the road jersey. They’ll probably keep the ‘Angels’ wordmark instead.
(Photo by Matt Brown/Angels Baseball LP/Getty Images)
3. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies’ uniforms are always underrated, and it’s hard to see why. Another modern take on a classic look, it’s tough to find fault in any part of their uniform– even the pinstripes work for them. The numbers on the sleeves are also a nice touch, something that is unique to the team without feeling like a gimmick. And their cream colored throwback alternate jersey is beyond fantastic.
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
2. New York Yankees
What can you say? The jerseys have barely changed in 100 years and they won’t for the next 100 years. Even if you don’t like the pinstripes, you have to respect the history and tradition of the Yankees’ uniforms. The road jersey is still a thing of beauty, simplicity at its best. And there’s something to be said for them not giving in and adding an alternate jersey all these years.