If you’ve ever watched a Yankee game, you may have noticed that the players don’t have their names on the back of their jerseys. At the beginning of the sport, players didn’t even have numbers. In the early 1900s some teams experimented with numbers on uniforms — just on the sleeve. It wasn’t until the 1929 season when the Yankees were planning on wearing numbers on their back, but due to a rainout, the Indians were actually the first team to wear jerseys with numbers on the back. When numbers were first introduced, a player’s number normally corresponded to the player’s spot in the batting order. This is why Babe Ruth was 3 and Lou Gehrig was 4. The addition of numbers made it so players could be easily identified, and if you didn’t know who they were, the team would sell you a program.
Jerseys pretty much remained the same until 1960 when the White Sox added names so that the players would be easily identified on TV. Many teams followed suit and added names to their jerseys over the years which really impacted the game program market, but one team has not. That team is the New York Yankees.
Never in the history of the team has a player — aside from those stupid Player’s Weekend jerseys — worn a jersey with his own name on it. The idea here being that the pinstripes speak for themselves and the logo on the front is more important than the name on the back. This thought process has led to 27 World Championships, so it seems to be working. The area where it isn’t working is off the field.
Unless you are born and raised in the Bronx (I am) it is very easy for someone to criticize your fandom. With so many fans around the world, the Yankees have a ton of bandwagon fans that decided to support the Bronx Bombers the day that biracial angel took over at shortstop in 1996, or when Jay-Z put on the hat, or a million other times there was an opportunity to hop on the bandwagon. While it may seem great to have more people supporting our team, I believe it sets us up to be criticized more by opposing fan bases, and the best way to identify these people is by the name on the back of their jersey.
Since the Yankees have never worn their names on the back of the jersey, why would you? Many people give a variety of excuses and I want to shut them all down now, so we can live in a better world.
Excuse 1: The jerseys with names are cheaper
This just isn’t true. If you go to Modell’s they have the jersey’s right next to each other for the same exact price.
Some people like to point to prices at and around the stadium. To that I ask, why would you buy a jersey outside the stadium in 2019 when you can buy one online and have it shipped for free? It’s not like you get to the stadium and they won’t let you in without a jersey. That’s just poor planning, leading to unnecessary poor decision making. Plus, why the hell would more fabric cost less money? I mean think about that for one second.
Excuse 2: I really want to support this specific player
I mean what the hell are we even talking about here? If you buy a 99 jersey, everyone knows it’s because you like Aaron Judge. He’s the only Yankee to wear 99 and EVERYONE LIKES AARON JUDGE. But you know who people don’t like? You, because it looks like you bought your first Yankee jersey when you became a fan in 2017. Also, it makes financial sense to buy a jersey with no name, because you get to wear it again. If you bought a 25 for Giambi, it worked for Tex and now for Gleyber, and that frees up money for you to buy additional jerseys, THAT YOU CAN WEAR FOREVER.
On top of that, the players don’t give a flying fuck that you got their jersey with the name on the back. They never look in the stand and think “Wow he got my name instead of a real jersey, we should be friends.” The players don’t care about you and they will all likely play somewhere else at some point.
Even worse is getting a first name, which is too dumb to get its own category. Like what was this old fart thinking?
Excuse 3: I want a jersey with my name
Puke city. I mean do you think they might sub you in the game and having you name on the back of the jersey will help all your new fans figure out who you are? They aren’t short on players today and even if they were, you wouldn’t be in the proper uniform, because of the name. On top of that, people just think you’re a jerkoff. Look at my co-host on George’s Box, Keith. A zero with his own last name? Impossible to see that and not just hate him before knowing anything about him. (He’s a good guy).
Excuse 4: My boyfriend/girlfriend got it for me
That’s very nice of them and I guess “it’s the thought that counts,” but that thought should come with a receipt to be able to return this gift and get something good. If there is no receipt or they got the jersey in some shady way that won’t let it be returned, just explain that you can’t wear it and hope they get better for next year. Plus, you need to take a little ownership here and educate your significant other on you interests properly.
If none of this will work, just end it. This person clearly doesn’t understand tradition or values, and this won’t work in the long run. They will only make you worse. Plus, its 2019 and you can get a new boyfriend/girlfriend in likes 20 minutes on an app.
Excuse 5: I buy my jerseys cheap from China and they come with names
You can’t afford to be a Yankee fan. Just buy a shirsey, because that’s in your price range. You should own that rather than try and pretend you have jersey money. Or just don’t buy anything and save up for a real jersey and now not only do you not look like an asshole, but we’ve worked on goal setting, and now you’re a better person.
Excuse 6: It’s none of your business what I wear
Yes, it fucking is. If I saw you doing heroin, you would want me to stop you. (Yes, I am trained to use Narcan and hope to one day save a life on Periscope). If I saw you drunk walking into traffic, you would want me to stop you. If I saw you doing anything stupid, you would want me to try and stop you. That is what I’m doing here. I am trying to stop you from looking like an asshole that other fan bases can easily criticize and call a bandwagon fan. There is no logical reason to wear a jersey with a name on the back of it other than “I just want to,” and that is just you wanting to make a stupid decision. So as a humanitarian, I am here to help you. I’m a community leader and what many would consider a hero.
Those are 6 common excuses I get on Twitter when I look to tear down people wearing jerseys, and I knocked down every single one of them. There is no excuse to be wearing a jersey with a name on it if you want to be considered a real fan of the New York Yankees.
With next year’s new Nike jerseys coming, many people are up in arms about the Swoosh on the jersey, so go out now and buy a jersey with no name and you will have that forever with no swoosh and everyone can be happy.
If you disagree with anything I have said here, check me on Twitter and I will gladly set you straight.
Also, I would like to dedicate this blog to Frank Marco’s girlfriend Teela. I’ll see you July 20th babe. (Buy tix)
I’ll see the rest of you at the parade.