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Throwback Uniforms: Pirates and Reds (1979)


For the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates, who won the World Series in seven games over the Baltimore Orioles, the Pirates held a reunion for the old players and managers. Phil Garner, Bert Blyleven, Bill Madlock, Chuck Tanner, Omar Moreno, Bruce Kison, Don Robinson, and the wife of the late Willie Stargell were a few of the names present. The opposing Cincinnati Reds decided to dress in their vintage uniforms from the era as well, giving the game a particularly old-school feel.

But could the current Pirates wear the older Pirates' duds and get away with it? And what about the Reds'? Were their old uniforms the design equivalent of slamming the car door on your hand, or were they like finding out that Megan Fox is your next door neighbor? The answers to both questions are no, but to find out to what extent, read on after the jump...


To honor the '79 Pirates, outfield box seats were discounted at $19.79 -- a nice deal considering the fans actually got to see the Pirates win (12-2). The 2009 campaign was the Pirates' 17th consecutive losing season, a major league record.


On their way to beating the O's in the World Series, the Pirates swept the Reds in the National League Championship Series. For their part, the Reds haven't done much since 1979 either. Unlike Pittsburgh, they did win a title in 1990 -- a year after the whole Pete Rose fiasco. But they haven't made the postseason in 14 years and have had just one winning season during that time.


The Pirates weren't afraid of filling out the jersey, were they? I kinda dig the Pirates conductor's hat, but the rest of it just doesn't mesh right. It almost looks like the team ordered black jerseys and white jerseys and were missing half of both, so they just combined them.


Here we get a good look at the old Cincinnati uniforms. Dusty Baker took a pretty big fall, didn't he? Ten years ago, he was right there with Bobby Cox and Tony La Rusa as one of the most respected managers in the N.L. Then he went to Chicago and couldn't get it done. A decade ago, you'd never believe he'd be coaching the Cincinnati Reds.


We finish up with a look at the Pirates uniform from the side. Give it up to the Pirates fans, you can tell from the photo that they filled the stands pretty damn well. I don't care if the seats were discounted, you have to be awfully dedicated to watch two bad teams play on a Sunday afternoon, knowing full well that management is just going to sell off all the good players.


I'm no fashion designer, but I know a bad-looking uniform when I see one, and those Pirates jerseys definitely qualify. Thick yellow stripes on a white shirt with black pants? Those wouldn't look good on a Long John Silvers waiter, let alone a Major League Baseball player who is performing in front of thousands of fans. Like most road jerseys, the Reds' ones were pretty basic. However, they look almost exactly the same as the ones they wear now, thirty years later. The mark of consistency is the mark of a good jersey, so they get a high score. Pittsburgh? Not so much.

Final Grades:

Classic Pirates home uniform: D

Classic Reds away uniform: B

Photos taken by Keith Srakocic, Associated Press