The Phillies have been one of the few teams to not have alternate uniforms in the last 15 years; the White Sox have their solid black jerseys, the Diamondbacks have their solid red and solid black, and on and on throughout the league. The Phillies have had an alternate hat the last few years, but it’s only worn during the three weeks of interleague games.
For 2008, the Phillies will have a third uniform which will hopefully go over better than their 1979 “Saturday Night Specials” which were worn only once. Basically, the new uniform is the home uniform minus the pin-stripes (and the right arm number) plus a new hat inspired by the 1946 design (the modern “P” is slightly different). Well, in terms of being really picky, the vertical strip on each pant leg is blue-red-blue with the normal home uniforms missing the stripe (would look too busy with the pinstripes) and the current away uniforms having white-red-white stripes on the outside of each pant leg. Notice the blue stroke around all of the copy, the blue-red-blue at the edge of each sleeve and neck as well. These details are reminiscent of the late 90’s Blue Jays uniforms.
The verdict? I like them – I’ve always been a fan of the ill-fated, solid blue alternate hats worn for about a month in 1994 because the 1993+ uniforms have always been very, very red, with no other colors except the blue stars dotting the “i’s” and the blue button on top of the hat. Blue’s seen in the batting practice jerseys and hats, but they’re definitely not the image of the team. I would prefer the brim to be solid blue to match the rest of the hat instead of being red, but it is an obvious throwback to the hats of the late 40’s. (I think a better choice would be solid blue with the stylized logo of the current alternate hats but with a white “P” and red star to create a disturbingly complete symmetry between the home and alternate hats, but oh well – that combination would probably be a bit much, if not unnecessary.)
I guess it comes down to whether these new alternate uniforms are more interesting than the 70’s/80’s maroon design. The Brewers wear their wildly popular 80’s uniforms on Friday night home games, and I’m sure that lots of Phillies fans would like them to do the same, but let’s leave those for turn-back-the-clock games instead of being a normal part of the rotation. The 2008 Phillies Alternate Uniforms get four stars: they’re obviously not a risky choice, and I’m sure lots of people will buy a replica when they’re available, so good work to the design team responsble for not copping out and settling on just a solid red jersey with white pants to match pretty much every other team in the league.
If you’re at all interested in uniform-related stuff, be sure to check out http://uniwatchblog.com, a daily-updated blog on the topic.