The teasing began with a Tweet back on Nov. 9.
With a photo of their Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith rounding off one his iconic back handsprings, the St. Louis Cardinals promised “A big announcement is coming soon ... you’re gonna flip!”
All was revealed Monday with “The Wizard,” current outfielder Harrison Bader, and all the Cardinals brass on the Fox Sports Midwest Live stage at Ballpark Village.
The Cardinals are bringing back the disco-era powder blue uniforms.
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The throwback color has been combined with the Saturday alternate uniforms — with red piping and “St. Louis” instead of “Cardinals under the birds on the bat — that where revealed in 2012. The powder blue iteration will be worn on 13 Saturday road dates this season, said team President Bill DeWitt.
“There’s a lot of history in this color,” Bader said to Smith. “The guys are looking forward to represented them the way you guys did.”
The blue on the new uniform is not as stark as the “victory blue” that served as the Cardinals’ everyday road color from 1976 through 1984. Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III associated that deeper color with Lou Brock’s record-breaking 893rd stolen base, the careers of Cardinals Hall of Famers Ted Simmons and Willie McGee, and the World Series championship club of 1982.
The Cardinals have worn those uniforms on special throw-back dates over the years.
Bringing back the a more muted version of the blue for more regular use was the brainchild of Kerry Robinson, a former Cardinals player and current professional scout who grew up in north St. Louis County. Robinson said he always liked the uniforms growing up and rooting for the likes of Smith and catcher Darrell Porter.
“As a pro scout that last few years, I travel a lot and I see a lot of Cardinals gear,” he said. “Over the years I’d see fans wearing the throw-back powder blue. I’d ask them about it and, almost 100 percent, they thought it would be a good idea to bring them back.”
DeWitt wasn’t so sure.
“To me, it represented that era and I felt like it should stay in that era,” he said.
But DeWitt asked Major League Baseball’s contracted uniform provider to produce a prototype. He had the new uniform modeled in different lighting conditions and paired with different hats and undershirts. It was feedback from the players that convinced him, he said.
“It kind of sat in my office and I kept looking at it and some months went by,” said DeWitt. “I thought ‘I should ask around’ and some of the guys in the clubhouse were like ‘Dude, you need to do that.’”
Monday’s big reveal was open to the public and included attendance prizes, giveaways and discounted lunch at Ballpark Village. The Cardinals closed the campaign as they began it — with a Tweet.