MLB will get a whole new look when teams take the field at the end of August

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The New York Yankees have famously stuck with various traditions throughout their long history, including this one: They are the only team among the major North American pro sports leagues whose players have never worn their names on their jerseys.

But that is about to change.

MLB announced Wednesday the details of Players Weekend, which will take place on Aug. 25 through 27. The promotion will include new uniforms, with most players — including those on the Yankees — wearing nicknames instead of their last names.

The Players Weekend program has several unusual uniform-related components. Here’s a detailed look, going one element at a time:

1. New jerseys and caps. All 30 MLB teams will wear bright-colored jerseys with contrasting sleeves. The jerseys will be pullovers, not button-fronts. There will also be a new set of bright-colored caps, many of which feature either slight modifications to the teams’ familiar cap logos or, in some cases, new logos that have never appeared on a cap before. The Phillies’ cap, for example, features a blue Liberty Bell.


2. The nicknames. Players have been encouraged but not required to wear nicknames rather than their surnames. It’s not yet clear how many will play along, but several teams have already posted tweets indicating that most of their rosters are on board.


And yes, the Yankees will be participating. Rookie slugger Aaron Judge, for example, will wear “All Rise” on his jersey:


Additional nicknames being planned for Yankees players can be seen here.

This won’t be the first time MLB players have worn nicknames. A’s owner Charles Finley encouraged his players to do it back in the 1960s and ’70s, most of the Braves did it in 1976 and there have been other examples scattered thoughout MLB history. In fact, although Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard will wear “Thor” on his back for Players Weekend, former Twins pitcher Paul Thormodsgard already wore that nearly four decades ago.


Nicknames have also popped up in other leagues, most notably for select NBA games during the 2013-14 season. But Players Weekend appears to be the first time that nicknames will be used by a major sport on a league-wide basis.

3. The MLB logo. Players Weekend is scheduled to coincide with the culmination of the Little League World Series, so the jerseys and caps will feature a new logo that shows a player’s evolution from youth to adulthood. The design draws inspiration from the Little League and MLB logos.


4. The sleeve patch. The new logo will also be featured on a “Thank You” sleeve patch that will appear on every jersey. The patch includes a blank space on the bottom where the player can write in the name of a mentor or other important figure who helped him achieve his dream of playing in the big leagues.


5. The socks. Players who choose to cuff their pants up high will reveal a new sock pattern. The design, which will be the same for all 30 teams, is as bold and colorful as the jerseys and caps:

In addition, the usual color restrictions on shoes, batting gloves, compression sleeves and other accessories will be relaxed, allowing players to express themselves a bit more. The move is reminiscent of the NFL’s decision to allow custom-painted cleats during Week 13 of the 2016 season.

In addition to being worn on Aug. 25-27, the new uniforms will also be worn on Aug. 20 when the Cardinals and Pirates face off in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, home of the Little League World Series.

Paul Lukas was nicknamed “Luke” when he was growing up. If you like this column, you’ll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, check out his Uni Watch merchandise, be added to his mailing list so you’ll always know when a new column has been posted, or just ask him a question? Contact him here.



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