The St. Louis Cardinals unveiled a new alternate jersey Friday -- as well as tweaks to their regular home and road uniforms -- that is a nod to Cardinals uniforms from the 1930s and 40s.
The new Saturday-only jersey still has the classic birds on the bat logo.
But instead of featuring the team name in script hanging below the yellow bat, the jersey will say "St. Louis" for the first time since 1932.
Team President Bill DeWitt III said the alterations were something the Cardinals didn't take lightly.
"St. Louis fans love the Cardinals uniform and they love the history of the team," DeWitt said. "We didn't want to completely reinvent the uniform. But we were able to take some things that fans have suggested over the years and bring them together in a way that I think really works."
The new uniform top will also feature red piping around the sleeves and on either side of the row of buttons up the front.
It will be cream-colored instead of white.
The most obvious other change to the Cardinals wardrobe is that the team will cut back the use of the club's navy blue caps. In 2013, the Cardinals will wear their red caps during road contests.
Since 1995, the Cardinals wore their navy blue caps on the road as they did during the early 1960s.
DeWitt said some fans complained that the Cardinals' road uniforms didn't have enough red in them, prompting the change. The navy caps won't be eliminated, they'll just be saved for rare occasions. DeWitt said they'd likely be worn against other clubs who wear red caps to create some contrast in the teams' appearances. But the Cardinals may poll fans for other ideas about when to wear them.
It was actually former Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols who may have inspired the change away from the navy caps.
DeWitt said Redbirds players typically wore red sleeves under their road uniforms to represent the primary color until Pujols started to wear a black undershirt. After that, younger players started to follow the trend, which made the road uniforms seem short on red.
More subtly, the birds on the bat logo will be slightly larger on the new uniforms and it will be placed higher on the jersey front and the players' numbers will be a half-inch smaller. Also, thanks to improvements in technology, the chain-stitched birds on the uniforms will be more detailed so they will look closer in appearance to the birds on the Cardinals graphic logo than they have in the past.
This marks the first changes to their club's uniforms since 1998, according to team spokesman Ron Watermon. That's when the team added its blue Sunday cap with the red bill. In 1998 the Cardinals also tried to clean up the uniforms by removing players' numbers from the front of the jersey. After an outcry from the fans, numbers returned to the uniform after a one-year absence.
Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said the changes have been considered for several years. One of the biggest inspirations came when the San Francisco Giants adopted a traditional looking cream-colored jersey a few years ago. He said that uniform closely resembled the wool uniforms teams wore in the first half of the 20th century and made throwbacks seem much more realistic.
The Cardinals Official Team Store began to sell the new jerseys as soon as they were unveiled. That will be the only place to get the new jerseys until after Thanksgiving, when the jerseys will be available at other retailers.
Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 239-2626.