Names On New York Yankees Uniform Insulting to Fans and Tradition
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: A fan wearing a Derek Jeter jersey stands outside of Yankee Stadium prior to his last game there on September 25, 2014 the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

With names being added to the ever-so-sacred uniform of the New York Yankees, has baseball gone too far?

At the end of the month and for the very first time in franchise history, the New York Yankees will wear a jersey with a name on the back in addition to a number.

August 25 marks the beginning of the inaugural Players Weekend in Major League Baseball. It also marks the official end of a sacred tradition in baseball.

Every Yankee purist knows the only thing that belongs on the uniform is a number, a bold NEW YORK if the team is away and an iconic interlocking NY if the team is home. That’s it. No last names, no nicknames no other logos, no silly fonts.

Yes, the Yankees have, in recent years, worn modified versions of their iconic uniform. These special event uniforms have been used on Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day and Independence Day.  

Some may argue that if the Yankees can alter the uniform for those days, why not for Player’s Weekend?

First of all, the special event uniforms are a way to honor others. The pink for mothers, the camouflage for veterans, light blue for fathers and the stars and stripes for the country. The nicknames are there to honor what? Player’s egos? That is not worth breaking an over hundred year tradition for. 

Next, the Yankees aren’t completely changing their uniform design for the special events. The alterations of colors on a uniform don’t take away from it. The NY is still there. The New York is still there. The pinstripes are still there. The names are still not there.  

Fans who have this anti name on jersey point of view may give off the “old man on the lawn” vibe. They don’t like change, they’re boring, they need to get with the times. It goes on and on. But believing in tradition shouldn’t make someone boring and it shouldn’t make them no fun.

The New York Yankees don’t wear jerseys, they wear uniforms, hence the almost exclusive usage of the word. Aaron Judge wears the same uniform that Joe DiMaggio wore. Derek Jeter wore the same uniform Mickey Mantle wore. The single, solitary difference is the number on the back. Each number writes a new chapter in that same iconic uniform’s legacy.

But from August 29 to 31, the Yankees will wear jerseys. These jerseys won’t even have the player’s last names, but rather nicknames. This just adds insult to injury. It won’t read “Gregorius” above 18. It’ll say “Sir Didi.”

The Yankees were established in 1903. It is 2017. So for the first time in 114 years, a Yankee will have a name on their back in a game and it won’t even be their last name? It’s insulting to the fans and the tradition. 

The lack of names on the uniforms stood out. In a sport filled with players, there stood a team. There was always one collection of 25 or 40 men depending on the time of year that all wore the same thing. Nobody needed to stand out. They were identical. They were uniform. It was team first. It was about the logo on the front, not the name on the back.

To some, this may seem like an overreaction to three days, but it goes much deeper than that. It goes back 114 years. What if Babe Ruth had “Babe” on his back, or Phil Rizzuto had “Scooter” on his?

Sadly, these nicknames are only the start. When Under Armour begins making MLB’s uniforms, each will feature the company logo. So soon the N and Y won’t be the only inter-locking lettering the players represent. Fans should enjoy the classic look now because if something as simple and iconic as the New York Yankee uniform isn’t sacred, then what in baseball is?

Contributing Yankees Writer | Sports Reporter for Centenary University’s “The Quill” | Centenary University ‘19