Oakland Athletics’ Were Pioneers In What Now Is A July 4 Uni-Debacle


Oakland Athletics’ Patriotic Uniform Are a Marketing Ploy

July Fourth, Independence Day for America, a day historically that has included day-long baseball on the TV and, if you’re lucky, your team playing at home and a trip to the ballpark – i.e. the O.Co Oakland Coliseum. But, one of the newer baseball related traditions I do dislike are those Independence Day themed uniforms for July 4th – which in the past has just been a themed cap – that are nothing more than an MLB marketing ploy to get gullible fans to purchase an item good for one day and that changes each season.

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MLB started this practice back around 2002 when players wore the American Flag on the side of their caps on July 4th and Memorial Day. It was a good idea and it did not interfere with the overall look of the team uniforms. But, come 2008, MLB executives came up with the idea for special caps for both days. And, since the Good Ol’ USA and Old Glory is red, white, and blue, a special red or blue cap based on the team’s standard cap was worn on the field. Not to be left out, the Toronto Blue Jays would wear a red cap (remember, the Canadian flag is red and white) with a maple leaf featured logo, which was not a huge deal since that is already on the Blue Jays Cap.

However, it is a lousy idea for teams like the Oakland Athletics, Colorado Rockies, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, and any others that don’t have red or blue in their color scheme as you’re trying to adjust your TV if you hadn’t heard the news.

Through the years, the cap design changed adding a predominately white cap with a red or blue bill, again conflicting with the non red-blue teams and basically looking nothing more than ridiculous. MLB execs in their brilliance even came up with the idea in 2014 to go with separate caps for both dates featuring a camouflage, or as a favorite site of mine describes it – “G.I Joe” design, to go along with the (“flag desecration”) red-blue and star for July 4.

I have to give credit when the teams at least got to keep their originally colored caps in 2012, but the team logo was a stars and stripes design.

Now, turn the calendar to 2015, and MLB now has a camo jersey design and cap for Memorial Day, which didn’t look too bad with the A’s color design – but still an absurd concept– and Stars and Stripes jersey with a red or blue American Flag background cap. Most of these designs are hideous – with the exception maybe of the Chicago White Sox only because it looks like their 1971 throwback – and especially since team’s pants and jersey striping remains the same, again are nothing more than a money grab where they will either be auctioned off later and/or fans will put down a couple of Benjamins for their own to just store it away in a closet.

Athletics’ hat, Photo Credit: Rich Paloma.

Those will remember that the Oakland Athletics, aside from any MLB input, actually started something similar back as 1998 before any other team did when, on July 4, they went full-goose-bozo and actually accepted the red, white, and blue designs. By replacing all the green and gold with the American flag on the right sleeve, complete with coordinating undershirts, belts, and socks, it actually didn’t look half-bad for July 4 games. In fact, in 2001, they had Oakland in the home white with navy and red outline. That same year the A’s asked the MLB if they could wear the jerseys for home games after 9/11, but they were rejected.

Let’s hope the MLB stops this insane money grab. However, this is unlikely because they even introduced All-Star Game caps for some-unknown-reason in 2014. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of our country and its flag. I just don’t think the National Pastime needs to be desecrated in an attempt to make more money.

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