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Ugliest Throwback Jerseys in Sports

Sean HojnackiFeatured Columnist IVDecember 30, 2016

Ugliest Throwback Jerseys in Sports

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    It could be my imagination, but it seems that pro sports in the U.S. has become obsessed with re-introducing a variety of throwback jerseys.

    I don't know if this is a marketing ploy or not, but it has certainly led to an array of eye-gougingly terrible uniforms.

    Of course, some old jerseys would just be too preposterous to trot out these days, like the Chicago White Sox in shorts circa 1976.

    Other throwbacks seemed unspeakably awful when they were first thrown up (is that the inverse verb tense?)—like the Pittsburgh Steelers "bumble bee" uniforms—but then they started to grow on me in a weird way.

    And then there's the garish jerseys that beautifully define an era, like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers "Creamsicle" getup.

    But here, for your viewing pleasure, are the ugliest throwback jerseys ever worn in the NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA.

Houston Astros

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    Ah yes, the "rainbow guts" of the Houston Astros.

    There should be a rule about these: If Nolan Ryan is not pitching, don't wear them.

    And why are the player numbers on the crotch of the pants? Were pants thieves common?

Miami Heat

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    Remembering the ABA can be fun. Some teams (like the New Jersey Nets) looked great when they dusted those jerseys off. The Miami Heat are not one of those teams.

    Paying tribute to the creatively named Floridians, they wore these jerseys in 2012 (they also made Shaquille O'Neal wear the road version in 2005 and he drove the bus in it).

    Never have two pastel-colored stripes (magenta and orange, not pink) done so much damage to a superstar's appearance. LeBron James' glasses are another story. Fortunately, basketball has the simplest jerseys of all pro sports, so it can't go too wrong.

    The stripes are only on one side, so this is the best angle for it. While these colors do jive with the vibrant and colorful city of Miami, they do not jive with the Heat. Stick to the all-black and all-white jerseys, or go with the Alonzo Mourning era '90s throwbacks.

Washington Redskins

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    When the Washington Redskins showed up wearing these abominations in September of 2007, the New York Giants started running in terror.

    That run continued all the way to a Super Bowl victory, so we can credit the Redskins' super-ugly uniforms with spurring that super ride. Thanks, Washington.

Los Angeles Clippers

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    The Los Angeles Clippers astutely moved from Buffalo in 1978. They headed to southern California and changed their name from the Braves because San Diego has very few Native Americans.

    After a six-year pit stop in "America's Finest City," they went north to infringe on the L.A. Lakers' turf.

    That was a bad idea for about 27 years, but it's paying dividends now with Lob City.

    These jerseys are pretty awful, but they're well suited for the city of Buffalo. Just keep them out of L.A.

Vancouver Canucks

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    This picture of Tony Tanti playing for the Vancouver Canucks comes from a time when the team had merely incorporated elements from the ugliest hockey jersey of the previous 60 years.

    From 1978 to 1984, Vancouver donned these outrageous jerseys. At least they mollified fans by making the 1982 Stanley Cup finals.

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Who knew colors were so vibrant in 1933? The Philadelphia Eagles, who have many nice throwback jerseys, wore these on September 23, 2007. Why, I ask, why?!

    Can't they just wear the kelly green uniforms all the time?

San Diego Padres

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    The San Diego Padres have experimented with their rich history of ugly jerseys numerous times over the past decade. They sported these uniforms on July 1, 2011 against the Seattle Mariners.

    Fittingly, they were shut out by Jason Vargas and lost 6-0.

Denver Broncos

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    On October 11, 2009, something horrible happened. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the most diabolically dressed NFL game in modern history.

    The refs wore some sort of orange-striped uniforms. Even the cheerleaders' outfits were retro.

    Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos came out looking like, well, I can't even begin to describe it.

    They were just abominable, with their vertically striped socks with the stripe going all the way up the pants and the helmets that look like those brown "leather" helmets except they had a number on them. And Kyle Orton was playing QB. Yikes.

    These are so ugly they have to be from the '30s, right? Nope, 1960.

Chicago Bears

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    As part of the NFL's 75th anniversary, many teams dusted off their extremely old throwbacks. That was a bad idea.

    These Chicago Bears uniforms from the 1920s make you realize what caused the Great Depression.

Montreal Canadiens

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    On February 1, 2009, the Montreal Canadiens wore their infamous "barber pole" uniforms against the Boston Bruins.

    This was to commemorate the team's 100th anniversary, so they trotted out their jerseys from 1912. They have a maple leaf on the chest (isn't there already a team that wears that?) and the letters "CAC," which stands for Club Athletique Canadien.

    Let's see, 1912...wasn't that the year the Titanic sank? Well, that's probably unrelated. Anyway, these jerseys made Bruins winger Shawn Thornton mad.

    As Thornton said about the uniforms, "I was really concerned about it in warmup. When there were 23 guys skating around, I was dizzy and I didn't know if I got enough sleep or what. It wasn't as bad once there were five guys out there" (per Associated Press, via ESPN).

    Fan reaction was swift and uniformly severe. These were so ugly, the team scrapped plans to wear them later that season. Although, in Montreal's defense, bygone barbers were expected to perform bloodletting and tooth extraction, so it is fitting for a hockey team.

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