The San Diego Padres take a lot of heat for their uniform fashion. Why? I have no idea.
I think the Padres have worn some of the most gutsy and visually appealing uniforms in the MLB. Recently, ESPN ranked the jerseys of every team in every sport.
The Padres ranked 103rd out of 130.
There has also been significant backlash against the camouflaged jerseys worn to honor the troops. These are worn during every Sunday home game when the Padres host some of America's finest. San Diego has a large military presence and honors them as such.
Jim Caple of ESPN had a controversial quote when he ranked the Padres as having the worst uniforms in MLB:
Say this for the Padres—they're dependable. You can pick almost any time in their history and their uniform would be among the game's ugliest. Their current uniforms aren't bad at all except, of course, for the camouflage alternate tops. Are the Padres honoring the military or playing paintball? I'm sorry, but I don't think it makes me a member of the Taliban to point out you can salute our servicemen without wearing an ugly jersey.
I'm here to defend the Padres! We don't have the worst uniforms in sports, but rather, some of the best.
The "classy" brown jerseys.
After some years of intense brown and mustard, the Padres elected to go a bit more conservative while still keeping the classic brown.
But 1985 was a great year for other reasons. The Padres finished third with a respectable 83-79 record. However, our roster was full of some all-time greats like Goose Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Kevin McReynolds, Al Bumbry and Gary Templeton.
And what Padres fan won't appreciate the fact that Bruce Bochy was one of the catchers on the roster?
This may be the Apple fanboy in me, but doesn't white just make everything look cleaner?
The team was full of pitching greats: Gaylord Perry, Randy Jones and Rollie Fingers. Not to mention Dave Winfield manning the outfield. Again, the team's record (84-78) wasn't anything special. However, Gaylord Perry became the first pitcher ever to win the Cy Young Award in both the AL and NL.
More conservative than the brown jerseys, the 1998 road jerseys still had that San Diego funk with the blue and orange. The 1998 team was truly magical and the highlight of my childhood, but I'll save more of that for later...
In 1998, the Padres completely dominated the NL West, coming up two wins shy of 100 for the season. They went to the World Series, eventually losing to the Yankees
The ultimate throwback retro jerseys.
Unfortunately, I have few memories of these jerseys, or else they would probably take the top spot.
Highlights of the season included the Padres winning the NL West, Tony Gwynn winning his first the batting title, and the signings of both Goose Gossage and Sandy Alomar Jr.
However, 1984 was also the year in which long-time owner Ray Kroc passed away from heart disease. The team went on to commemorate his life and what he did for the franchise by wearing RAK patches on their sleeves and having signs in the stadium for years to come.
Unfortunately, these jerseys changed a year later to the aforementioned brown-and-pinstripes.
Truly the pinnacle of my childhood. Going to games at Jack Murphy Stadium, later renamed Qualcomm, were the highlights of my summers, and no summer was better than 1998.
The Padres lineup was straight filthy:
1. Quilvio Veras - 2B
2. Steve Finley - CF
3. Tony Gwynn - RF
4. Ken Caminiti - 3B
5. Greg Vaughn - LF
6. Wally Joyner - 1B
7. Carlos Hernandez - C
8. Chris Gomez - SS
9. Kevin Brown - P
If seeing that lineup doesn't bring a smile to your face, you might want to reevaluate your Padres' allegiance. I still remember Greg Vaughn's walk-up song, Nuthing But a G Thang, by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.
The only thing that marred this incredible season was the four-game sweep to the Yankees dynasty in the World Series—I went to Game 3.
I remember they had a T-shirt giveaway one day—the shirt had a cartoonized team picture and the hat had the initials of the entire roster. I've literally searched high and low for this shirt and haven't been able to find it. If anyone out there knows, or is selling this shirt, please let me know.
As I briefly mentioned in a previous article, the new O'Malley ownership should make another alteration to the team's jerseys and go back to a more retro look. I'm in favor of bringing either orange or brown back into the color scheme, and maybe even some pinstripes.