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  • Elastic waistbands on uniforms

    Just curious about the history of the (typically tri-striped) elastic waistbands on uniforms that were so ubiquitous throughout the 70s and 80s and then quickly disappeared. A few questions for those in the know:

    1. What was the first team to have an elastic waistband in lieu of a belt? (I know they didn't start coming into play until the uniforms started going poly in the early 1970s, but I'm not sure who was first)
    2. What was the last team to have an elastic waistband in lieu of a belt? (For some reason, I want to say the Tigers had one on their visiting uniforms into the early 1990s, but again, I'm not positive)
    3. What teams resisted the siren song of the elastic waistband all together? (I know the Yankees did, but I'm pretty sure there are a few other exceptions.)

    I know the Orioles got rid of their elastic waistband after 1988 when they switched away from the cartoon bird hat in favor of the ornithologically correct bird in 1989.

    Funny thing was that while by the mid 1990s elastic waistbands were a thing of the past in the big leagues, they were still commonplace in my little league uniforms at that same time.

  • #2
    There's a great article about the elastic waistband uniforms here. It has the answers to some of your questions.

    Originally posted by PeteU View Post
    Just curious about the history of the (typically tri-striped) elastic waistbands on uniforms that were so ubiquitous throughout the 70s and 80s and then quickly disappeared. A few questions for those in the know:

    1. What was the first team to have an elastic waistband in lieu of a belt? (I know they didn't start coming into play until the uniforms started going poly in the early 1970s, but I'm not sure who was first)
    That would be the 1970 Pittsburgh Pirates.

    2. What was the last team to have an elastic waistband in lieu of a belt? (For some reason, I want to say the Tigers had one on their visiting uniforms into the early 1990s, but again, I'm not positive)
    I believe the Reds in 1992 were the last one.

    3. What teams resisted the siren song of the elastic waistband all together? (I know the Yankees did, but I'm pretty sure there are a few other exceptions.)
    According to the article they were the Yankees, Phillies, Expos, Mets and Dodgers.

    Just in case you're interested, I made a post on my blog a while back trying to envision these teams if they had elastic waist bands. They look pretty shoddy, but hey, I'm an amateur. If you squint they can probably give you a good idea.
    Baseball Junk Drawer

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ian2813 View Post
      There's a great article about the elastic waistband uniforms here. It has the answers to some of your questions.



      That would be the 1970 Pittsburgh Pirates.



      I believe the Reds in 1992 were the last one.



      According to the article they were the Yankees, Phillies, Expos, Mets and Dodgers.

      Just in case you're interested, I made a post on my blog a while back trying to envision these teams if they had elastic waist bands. They look pretty shoddy, but hey, I'm an amateur. If you squint they can probably give you a good idea.
      Thanks for the resource, and thanks for the added effort of envisioning the last waistband holdouts as they could have been.

      In that list, it's odd to think of the Red Sox and Cubs--these days thought to be two of baseball's most "historic" teams thanks in good part to the stadiums where they play--as succombing to the tempting groovy ultra-modern fad that was the elastic waistband, but they went with it. And for some reason I thought the Phillies and Expos had used the waistband at some point during that era, but I guess I was mistaken.

      I do feel for fans of the Marlins, Rockies, Diamondbacks and Rays--they will never have seen the day where their team at least pondered the thought of replacing a leather belt with a stretchy piece of synthetic fabric. Even the Rays in their recent faux "1979 throwback" uniforms didn't dare to include the waistband as part of the get-up.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by PeteU View Post
        I do feel for fans of the Marlins, Rockies, Diamondbacks and Rays--they will never have seen the day where their team at least pondered the thought of replacing a leather belt with a stretchy piece of synthetic fabric. Even the Rays in their recent faux "1979 throwback" uniforms didn't dare to include the waistband as part of the get-up.
        I think it's interesting to note that recent throwbacks have been more focused on details. I remember several "throwbacks" a few years ago that had inaccuracies, including elastic waistband uniforms rendered with belts. Other mistakes included incorrect fonts and numbers on designs that predated uniform numbers. It's nice to see them taking these things more seriously.
        Baseball Junk Drawer

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        • #5
          The proper term for those pants are SANSABELT pants.

          Also, the material was/is not a "elastic". Sansabelt pants have an inner belt. The striped top section was just an extra piece of material that covered the belt mechanism and fastened with snap buttons.
          I see great things in baseball. It's our game - the American game.
          - Walt Whitman

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          • #6
            More Sansabelt trivia

            The Orioles wore sansabelts but always wore button front jerseys (except for their orange alts)

            The Mets wore belted pants but had v-neck pullover tops

            The Tigers only wore sansabelts and pullovers on their road uniforms

            The first team to abandon sansabelts were the 1978 Red Sox.

            The last team to start using sansabelts (that were visable) were the 1982 White Sox.

            In 1970 the Pirates adopted sansabelts

            In 1971 the Orioles and Cardinals adopted sansabelts

            In 1972 the Red Sox, Angels, Indians, Tigers, Brewers, Twins, A's, Rangers, Cubs, Reds, Padres, Cardinals and Astros adopted sansabelts

            In 1973 the Royals adopted sansabelts

            In 1976 the White Sox adopted sansabelts (but you never saw them because they wore their shirts untucked)

            In 1977 the Giants, Mariners and Blue Jays adopted sansabelts

            In 1980 the Braves adopted sansabelts (the last team to do so)

            In 1983 the Royals and Giants abandoned sansabelts

            In 1984 the Padres abandoned sansabelts

            In 1986 the Indians and Rangers abandoned sansabelts

            In 1987 the White Sox, Twins, A's, Mariners and Braves abandoned sansabelts

            In 1989 the Orioles, Angels, Blue Jays and Astros abandoned sansabelts

            In 1990 the Brewers, Cubs abandoned sansabelts

            In 1991 the Pirates abandoned sansabelts

            In 1992 the Tigers and Cardinals abandoned sansabelts

            In 1993 The Reds abandoned sansabelts
            I see great things in baseball. It's our game - the American game.
            - Walt Whitman

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            • #7
              Time for a sansabelt comeback?
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Phantom Dreamer View Post
                Time for a sansabelt comeback?
                Sure, and while we're at it let's bring back the leisure suit, short shorts for the NBA, the Ford Pinto and Leif Garret.
                I see great things in baseball. It's our game - the American game.
                - Walt Whitman

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jnakamura View Post
                  Sure, and while we're at it let's bring back the leisure suit, short shorts for the NBA, the Ford Pinto and Leif Garret.
                  Elastic waistbands allow for more stripes to the uniform, IMHO, not a bad thing. In 1997, the Mariners celebrating their 20th anniversary, wore their '77 uniforms in a game, complete with the elastic waistbands. A glorious look. In 2007, celebrating their 30th anniversary they played a game wearing the '77 uniforms, and wore belted pants. It wasn't the same. In 2011, the Mariners played a game wearing their 1984 uniforms and wore the sansabelts with stripes! A great time for all.

                  We want sansabelts and we want the return of the pullover jersey! Love the stripes!
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Phantom Dreamer View Post
                    We want sansabelts and we want the return of the pullover jersey! Love the stripes!
                    Who is this "we" you speak of?

                    Show us a poll that shows fans want their teams to return to this style uniform--MLB's version of the leisure suit.

                    9150280-Barry-Bonds.jpg
                    I see great things in baseball. It's our game - the American game.
                    - Walt Whitman

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                    • #11
                      Double Vision!

                      Originally posted by jnakamura View Post

                      Show us a poll that shows fans want their teams to return to this style uniform--MLB's version of the leisure suit.

                      [ATTACH=CONFIG]118124[/ATTACH]
                      That is just outstanding. The Pirates have never looked better! Stripes galore! I love it. Sansabelts and the pullover jersey need to comeback ASAP. Just a terrific look. Thanks for sharing.
                      Jason Vargas pitched a CG shutout wearing the pullover and sansabelt! Full endorsement.
                      Last edited by Phantom Dreamer; 01-08-2013, 03:50 AM.
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                      • #12
                        the elastic is a horrible look, could you imagine sabathia in it? would not look good at all

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                        • #13
                          Never knew there were belts in there. In LL there were no belts in there. If your pants were too tight you were screwed.
                          "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Cap78 View Post
                            the elastic is a horrible look, could you imagine sabathia in it? would not look good at all
                            Sabathia's a terrible example. He wouldn't look good in anything. He's a fat slob who looks awful in Yankee pinstripes.
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                            • #15
                              Sansabelts primed for a revival!

                              Mariners wearing throwback uniforms without and with sansabelts. The sansabelt look enables more horizontal stripes to be included in the team"s look. They're alright.
                              The Ultimate Baseball Look

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