Discover the History of Umpire Shirts

Posted by The Staff on February 8, 2018, 12:29 pm

Learn About Umpire Shirt History

Do you know the history of the umpire shirt? If not, discover the rich history of the umpire uniform.

What is more American than baseball? Few people, even in other countries, will argue against its designation as America's national pastime.

The history of baseball is actually an important part of American history. It's even changed the colloquial language we speak. Political shows talk about "hardball" and "softball" questions. When we're guessing, we think in terms of the "ballpark". Even asking for "a rain check" is a baseball reference.

It's so ingrained in American culture that we don't even realize how much influence it has over our daily lives.

If it can affect history, and affect language, why couldn't it affect clothing? If you're passionate about America's most patriotic sport, check out this rich history of the umpire shirt.

The Suits

The traditional umpire look, especially from the 19th century until the mid-20th century, was all about professionalism. What better way to communicate that than by using suits as the umpire uniform?

Old pictures of umpires show them decked out in matching pants and coats, a collared umpire shirt, ties, and hats.

While that certainly reflects their professionalism and legitimacy as a profession, can you imagine how uncomfortable and restrictive it could be? They know how to sacrifice for success.

The Hats

Of course, this part of the uniform began with Victorian and bowler hats. Obviously, these styles of hats can be quite cumbersome. As the 20th century rolled around, sunshade hats helped protect the umpires' eyes without making them look ridiculous on the field.

Today, we see umpires in common university-style and Boston-style hats that perfectly suit their profession.

The Blazers

We can still see some evidence of the traditional umpire suit on the field today. The current umpire blazer is a great example of how the umpire uniform has evolved.

The classic suit jacket eventually gave way to a lighter, and slightly more causal, blazer look. The tie that accompanied the suit also disappeared. The uniform certainly moved into items with more comfortability.

Later on, fans could see large sports coats able to accommodate carrying sports equipment. Other colors were experimented with, and while blue is the tried and true color of both the American and National League, umpires are now allowed to wear the color they like.

Additionally, the windbreaker style jackets that emerged may not look as formal, but they help keep umpires warm and allow them to move around more freely.

The Pants

The distinguished suit slacks from back in the day have kept their appeal even in modern day umpire uniforms. Of course, they've had to become larger to make room for the umpire's shin guards.

A common stereotype between team managers and umpires consists of kicking dirt on the umpire - a stereotype that originated with the white slacks they used for awhile.

Now, umpires wear a darker gray color to prevent the dirt stains that naturally occur in their line of work.

The Importance of the Umpire Shirt

At Fifth Region Officials Supplies, we provide assistance with any and all referee or umpire apparel or equipment needs.

If you have any referee or umpire related questions, don't hesitate to contact us and see how we can help!