No Gray Area
March 17, 2008 | Kevin Zdancewicz

Jake Peavy

With nice weather finally sticking around, it’s feeling a lot more like spring lately and that means one thing: baseball season. With that in mind, I thought we could take a look at a one-of-a-kind jersey in the Major Leagues. When the San Diego Padres redesigned their logo and uniforms in 2004, they introduced a fancier word mark and a new secondary color: tan. But the Pads didn’t stop with simply replacing orange on their hats and uniforms. They went a step further by using khaki-colored jerseys and pants as the team’s road set. As it stands right now, San Diego is the only team in the MLB that does not have a gray away uniform option.

Non-traditional jersey experiments are not recent phenomena by any means. While wearing white at home and gray on the road has become the custom, there have been various attempts to replace gray uniforms with those of another color. For one, eleven MLB teams used powder blue road uniforms for some range of years in the 1970’s and 80’s with varying degrees of success. Basically, the style looked good for teams with blue already in their color scheme, but not so much for others. And this definitely cannot be overlooked. Another idea amounted to using a primary team color as the base for the uniform. These solid color jersey sets were mostly disastrous and seldom lasted more than a few seasons.

I liken San Diego’s look more to the powder blues than the solid color sets. Since tan is a more subtle color than, say, bright red, the Padres’ road uniforms achieve the goal of being unique without being unsightly. The sand-colored uniforms are a way for the Padres to bring the beaches of San Diego with them on road trips. It’s an interesting method of creating a connection with the residents of the city that the team represents and standing out from the rest of the league.

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