This is the 35th season that Major League Baseball has honored St. Patrick’s Day by wearing green uniforms. Historically, it’s been a concept I’ve found kind of cool – especially since it was started by my Cincinnati Reds back in 1978 with these sweet, emerald colored threads.
“The idea was a publicity stunt cooked up by Cincy general manager Dick Wagner, who managed to keep the whole thing a secret until the day of the game,” Lukas wrote on Friday. “When the Reds’ players saw the emerald uniforms, many of them were not amused. Johnny Bench reportedly quipped, ‘Did we get traded to Oakland?’ Davey Concepcion was blunter: ‘I’m not wearing that. I’m Venezuelan, not Irish.’ (Footnote: Yes, he eventually gave in and wore it.)
The green uniform has obviously gained in popularity during the course of the last three decades. Throughout the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues today, some teams will be sporting subtle, St. Patrick’s Day-themed accessories.
Lately, we’ve seen the Ireland-themed celebration go more and more over the top as individual clubs try to set themselves apart from the growing green mob.
In Ft. Myers, Florida, the Boston Red Sox are literally painting parts of the field green. Check out these bases, complete with a fresh coat of green featuring white, stenciled shamrocks that the Sox used in today’s game against the Cardinals.
For some, like Lukas, the St. Patrick’s Day baseball celebration has run its course. They think it’s time we shelve the gimmicky uniform designs, ball caps and accessories altogether.
St. Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays that’s all about light-hearted fun. People take off from work, attend parades, and day drink on green colored beer like they never left college. Baseball is the perfect compliment to that kind of party.