CINCINNATI -- So long, sleeveless jerseys. Farewell, pinstripes. Goodbye to you too, black caps and helmets. Welcome back, Mr. Redlegs.
Anticipated for months, the Reds unveiled their new uniforms for 2007 on Friday at Redsfest. It was the club's first major uniform change since 1999. "These are sweet," Reds catcher David Ross said. Cincinnati will feature three different uniforms styles -- for home games, road games and a red-colored alternate jersey top. The Reds front office, headed by chief executive officer Bob Castellini and senior director of business operations Phil Castellini consulted with Major League Baseball on the uniform renovations. "It was about how do you wrap up the tradition of the franchise and get a look that will last you hopefully, a decade or two at the same time?" Phil Castellini said "We are not a team that plans on doing a new uniform every two years just to sell merchandise. We want to be like the Yankees and the Cards, where it's the same uniform year after year. We want the core base to be the same so that your kids, my kids and their kids remember the Reds with that uniform." The home look will feature white uniforms with red trim on the front and red piping on the side of the legs. On the left sleeve is a logo of handlebar mustached "Mr. Redlegs" carrying a bat. It was an acknowledgement of a logo the Reds used during 1950s and 60s before the baseball headed "Mr. Red" was ushered in during the late 1960s. As in past generations of their uniforms, the "wishbone C" with "Reds" remains prominent on the left front side. The uniform number is on the right side of the chest. An old-fashioned font was created that will be unique from all other Major League lettering styles. Also returning is the all red cap with the familiar "wishbone C" logo on the front. The new lettering font is also emblazoned on gray road uniforms with "Cincinnati" across the chest in the color red. The caps will be similar to what was worn at home from 1999-2006 -- red with a black bill. The alternate home jersey is red with white trim and the "wishbone C" and "Reds" on the chest For the first time since 1992, the Reds are going without the sleeveless vest jerseys. Also gone are pinstripes and the heavy leaning on the color black -- especially on the road uniforms. Players offered their seals of approval. "I like sleeves a lot better, personally. I never liked sleeveless," Ross said. "I like the old-style look they've got going," pitcher Brandon Claussen said. "I'm a sleeves guy too because I'm not known for my big guns or anything." Reds players showed off their new duds during a special fashion show for fans at Redsfest inside the Duke Energy Center. Brandon Phillips, Todd Coffey and Chris Denorfia served as models for each look. Coffey did his trademark sprint from the bullpen, but this time it was on the fashion catwalk. "I like it. It's all right by me," Phillips said of the new jerseys while wearing the new alternate top. "The sleeveless look never bothered me. We should be happy to wear a uniform in Major League Baseball. As long as we go out and win in them, we should be all right. It could be a T-shirt. As long as we win, I don't care." Just before the start of the uniform fashion show, Bob Castellini was enthusiastic about the final results. "I like it. It's what we wanted," Castellini said. "We've got the players to buy into it. A lot of people -- from Johnny Bench to players and scouts and all the people that bleed red -- saw these uniforms and there was a consensus. There wasn't a lot of argument. It's what everybody came to. It's like revisiting the 'Big Red Machine' with a little more modern flare. We have the traditional with the 21st century." Obviously, there is no data that indicates that wearing new uniforms equate to improvement in the win-loss column. But many felt the Reds new jerseys looked like winners. "These are playoff uni's," Ross said.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.