Tuesday, June 6, 2017

When is the Color Black a Bad Uniform Color?

Photo credit: news.sportslogos.net

A day before the start of the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers revealed a new set of logos and wordmarks for the 2017-18 season. Aside from a few font and logo changes, the Cavs will be introducing black as an official part of their color scheme. Black is a pretty divisive color in sports uniforms. Some think it adds an element of intimidation and sleek styling to a team’s identity, while others find it shoehorned into an otherwise perfectly fine color combination. It works for some teams (the Raiders, White Sox and Giants) and not so much for others (the Clippers and Mets). Regardless of your stance on black in sports uniforms, here are five instances where teams went too far with the look.

Photo credit: imgur.com

1. New York Mets (1998 – 2012)
The Metropolitans were one of the bigger teams to jump on the black bandwagon back in the late ‘90s, almost relegating their crisp orange and blue colors to window dressing. They had a dizzying number of alternate looks, all featuring black to varying degrees and styles. In 2013, they finally went back to their roots of orange and blue, and the baseball-watching world is all the better for it.

Photo credit: sanfrancisco.cbslocal
2. San Francisco 49ers (1996 – 2008)
This one can’t definitively label 2008 as the ending year, since the Niners still parade themselves in an all-black snoozer of a uniform from time to time. Still, ’08 was the year they dropped the egregious use of black drop shadow on their uniforms and went back to the clean, crisp red and gold of their glory days. You’ll still see some thick black on their logo, but the regular uniforms remain black-free. The football gods are pleased.

3. Kansas City Royals (2002 – 2006)
It only took four seasons of ugly uniforms to sour fans of this once-proud franchise. The Royals began dabbling in black drop shadow, jerseys and caps before the 2002 season, relegating the clean blue to a secondary color. They saw the light in 2006, however, and reverted to blue, eventually adding a 1970s- and 80s-inspired light blue jersey in 2008.

4. Buffalo Sabres (1996 – 2006)
Photo credit: sabreslegends.com
Classic blue and yellow is an underused, underappreciated color scheme in pro sports. After nearly 30 years of beautiful uniforms, the Sabres traded it all in for a busy logo with a black and red color combo. They even dropped swords from their primary logo entirely, making them look like a team called the Buffalo Buffalos. After a brief attempt at a new logo with blue and yellow in the late ‘00s, the team reverted to their classic logo of a buffalo with crossed sabres. You don’t mess with perfection!

5. Houston Astros (2000 – 2012)
We mentioned this one in a previous blog post about drastic color scheme changes, but it deserves double the exposure. Houston had spent a few years in navy and gold before this change, but 2000 saw a full team identity overhaul. Granted, they limited the amount of time black was front and center on their uniforms, but its presence was there in some capacity for an agonizing 12 years. They shifted back to navy and orange in 2013 and now they’re the best team in baseball. Coincidence?

Photo credit: baseballessential.com

We certainly didn’t cover all the instances of black creeping its way into uniforms (looking at you, Cincinnati Reds), but these are a few that we just couldn’t forget to mention. What do you think of the Cavs wearing black regularly next season? What do you think of black being included in sports uniforms? Share with us in the comments below!