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Baseball Uniforms of the Polyester Sansabelt Era

Updated: May 17, 2020

Last week, I wrote about one of the ugliest uniforms ever (late 70's White Sox) and it got me looking thru my baseball collection again at uniforms in this era. The double knit polyester pullovers with Sansabelt pants were very popular in the MLB in the mid 70's-80's, which happen to be the peak years of my baseball card collection.

Let's have an MLB Sansabelt era fashion show now, shall we? Starting with the American League:

The Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles uniforms haven't changed that much throughout the years. On the left is a road uniform from the 1976 season and the awesome Steve Stone card is 1978 hair and mustache perfection.

The Boston Red Sox: These Red Sox unis were from the '78 and '75 seasons. Left was the home white, right was gray with BOSTON across the chest. These tight pants made Fred Lynn's legs look sooo long!

The New York Yankees: The Yankees were one of a few teams that didn't go for the Sansabelt and pullover look. Their uniforms (here for years '77 and '78) look remarkably the same as they do now, but perhaps without the tight knit of Reggie's pants.

The Toronto Blue Jays: One of the many teams with a baby blue road uniform, these from '77 and '78. I'm a fan of the Blue Jay logo and road blue combo on Alan Ashby.

The Chicago White Sox: These dreadful uniforms are from '76 and '77. What more can I say except thank goodness they are just a memory.

The Cleveland Indians: These are from '80, '79 and '82. Notice that after 1979, the C logo on the cap changes closer to the modern C logo.

The Detroit Tigers: The home uniforms (pic from the '74 season) stayed pretty classic. The road grays ('78) added colored bands around the arms and down the pants.

The Kansas City Royals: These are from the 1979 season. Former Piebutt manager, Clint Hurdle (can he fit anymore chew in that mouth??) wears the road blues and Larry Gura wears the classic home whites.

The Minnesota Twins: These two are from the 1979 season. The Twins also had road blues.

The California Angels: Nolan Ryan's 1973 home uniform, Rod Carew's 1979 road jersey.

The Houston Astros: Yeah, I know they played in the NL back in the 80's but If I'm going to put the most atrocious uniforms in one place, it will be in the American League. These uniforms, from the '79 and '81 seasons, gave the White Sox a run for the money for ugliest uniforms. Also, Joe Niekro looked like he had his hair done for picture day.

The Oakland A's: From left: Road yellow from 1975, road green from 1979 and home whites, also from 1979. My favorite color combo that's not blue and white. Loved the classic yellows.

The Seattle Mariners: Road blues and home whites from the 1979 season. Look how fit and trim Bruce Bochte looked here. Can you imagine Bartolo in Sansabelt? It's so unforgiving!

The Texas Rangers: Home whites from the 1974 season, road blues from the '81 season.

Onto the National League:

The Atlanta Braves: All are road uniforms here - 1980-1979 red-1979 gray. After the 1979 season, the Braves finally adopted the Sansabelt pants that were the rage with other teams and kept them until about 1987.

Also, the best name in my collection: TONY BRIZZOLARA

The Cincinnati Reds: The Reds' uniform logos have always stayed pretty true to form. Here were home jersey from 1976 and road grays from 1980.

The Philadelphia Phillies: I love this era of Phillies uniforms. Good color combo with a simple, stylish logo. At left is a road uni from 1973 and home uniform from 1979. They also kept the belts, the contrast which I love, especially with the blues.

The New York Mets: These are from the 1978 season. Still belted but I hate the rounded collars.

The Chicago Cubs: These are, from left, home uni from 1976, away and home from 1979. I get flack from my CubsDNA compadres when I say that the baby blues are one of my least liked Cubs uniforms. I can't pinpoint a specific reason why, but I just don't think they were flattering on many players. (OK Staci, maybe just on Jake.)

The St. Louis Cardinals: Outside of the Sansabelt pants, their home and road uniforms from '79 and '81 look very much like their present day ones.

The Pittsburgh Pirates: One of the funnest uniform combinations ever. The card on the far left is from the 1973 season. Then from left, 1979 yellow away, 1979 home and 1980 black away. The caps and color combos rival the A's from this era.

The Milwaukee Brewers: These are from the 1979 season. This Brewers cap logo has always been a favorite, and the most clever use of initials.

The San Francisco Giants: 1979 home and 1980 road black uniforms.

The San Diego Padres: One of my least favorite color combos. No one looks good in brown (sorry UPS delivery guys!). Here's Rollie again, in 1978 home whites peeking from his jacket, and 1979 away uniforms. Also, it's really weird seeing Ozzie Smith in other than a Cardinals uniform!

The Los Angeles Dodgers: Like the Yankees, the Dodgers didn't adopt the Sansapants style and have kept their uniform logos pretty unchanged over the years. Here's Billy Buck from 1976 and Reggie in away grays in1981.

The Montréal Expos: RIP Expos, but thanks forever for the Hawk. Tim Foli in home whites in 1975 and the Hawk in road blues in 1980. He would become a Cub seven years later and forever a favorite.


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