America's Fashion Pastime
Some would say, that modern day baseball started right here in Portsmouth, by a man, with the name Wesley Rickey... more commonly known as BRANCH RICKEY. No, this is not a bio on a man whose story has already been told in movies, played by Harrison Ford. A man who helped break color barriers in baseball by signing Jackie Robinson. Whose face appears on the “famous” murals in downtown Portsmouth… This is however, a blog about BASEBALL…becoming Americas Fashion Pastime.
“Your baseball pants are too tight” – no one ever.
So, as I sit here sipping on my Red Bird Ale from Brew Pub, I can’t help but wonder, where does this name, Red Bird come from? I grab my trusted iPhone and type it into Google…naturally... and what pops up but a bunch of stuff about BASEBALL. Now, I know the Portsmouth Locals already know what there is to know of Branch Rickey and the baseball history that comes from these very streets … but what this Zanesville native found most fascinating is the fashion sense that surrounds baseball and the influence it has on the things we wear today. As an owner of an apparel company, these things excite me…
Let’s work from the top down, shall we…?
Headdress: When baseball first started, batters were not required, nor did they choose to wear helmets. It wasn’t until 1952 Branch Rickey made a profound safety statement by finally encouraging that every batter be required to wear a helmet. Over time, the helmet style has changed. They grew thicker, even thinner at times, and once women finally made their debut in softball, they were adapted to fit their peppy pony tails…. Revolutionary, if I do say so myself.
Pop-Culture: What about the baseball cap? When you think of a New York Yankees hat... who do you think of? If you said Jay Z, you’re not wrong. As he said, he “made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can” Thanks baseball!
Plus, now that you mention it, how many rap, dare I say, "music" videos can you count where the rapper wore a baseball jacket… I ran out of fingers AND toes!
Modernizing Knit Couture: Think it’s a stretch? Hear us out… When you see these images (right), do you think “baseball tee” or raglan? If you knit, you will say raglan because it is an old design style used in that trade to give shoulders shape and your sweater a unique neckline …but if you’re like 99% of the population, you’d say “baseball tee.”
Neither are wrong, however the correct answer is raglan and it did, in fact inspire the said, "baseball tee". How fashion forward was baseball to choose this chic style for their attire? Early jerseys have inspired tee shirt shops such as 3rd & Court to design “baseball tees” and has proved to become very popular among all age groups. Can you spot the similarities?
Below the Belt: Baseball Pants… say no more fam.
For the Feet: High socks have made their way onto the fashion scene more than we know what to do with. Dawning a pair of high socks with tennis, or even heels now has its place on the runway at fashion week. FYI, by no means are we suggesting that you put on a pair of stilettos the next time you tug on those holey pair of ripped up Hanes…hell no.
We want to focus on is what they dawn on the outside of their socks, STIRRUPS.
Ladies, this one’s for you…
The stirrup sock may go down as the greatest baseball fashion accessory of all time. If you were a girl and a child of the 90’s there is NO WAY you could convince me you didn’t have stirrup pants. The first time I wore stirrup pants, was the first time I heard my beloved Grandma cuss because I couldn’t believe she was making me wear them. I HATED those things but she forced me to wear them to school because I had to match my embroidered vest and mock turtleneck…. I for sure won the “worst dressed” award that day. THANKS BASEBALL!
(Editor’s note: I have not heard my grandma cuss sense)
Back in the early days of baseball, your uniform was contingent on the position you played. Talk about high maintenance. This was before numbers dawned jerseys so we’re guessing this is so you could be easily spotted while on the field by your sweetheart. Also, wearing bow ties on the ball field was very popular and if we had to guess, guaranteed to decreased your error rate by at least half.
Branch Rickey encourages helmet, the helmet changed baseball – Branch Rickey was from Portsmouth – 3rd & Court is in Portsmouth – 3rd & Court makes baseball tees – here is our new tee design because we love baseball and fashion.