They say the clothes don’t make the man. But show up in a baby blue tux to a job interview and they will get you the boot.
You already see where I’m going, don’t you? No, I’m not going to say that the Cubs uniforms are to blame for not winning a World Series in well over 100 years. But I am going to argue that they aren’t helping. Specifically, I’m going to say that the royal blue and red of the Cubs uniforms has to go.
Taking a look at all 109 World Series winners we see that 63 percent feature a single color — either black, navy blue or red — and white as the look of their home uniforms. We’re going to look at home uniforms since gray is common to most all teams road uniforms. (By doing this, we also take the Cubbies off the hook for the god-awful baby blue with white pinstripe roadies of the mid-1970s to early ’80s because, Holy Crap, who thought of those?).
We can boost this single color scheme argument by including the Dodgers. Their uniforms are almost entirely blue and white, except for the red numbering on the front. Don’t we think of the Dodgers as blue and white? I do. So if we throw their World Series wins in, we’re looking at 69 percent of world champs with a simple one color and white home uniform scheme.
Sure, there are really valid arguments against the use of this data. You could say, “Everyone used simple color schemes in the early 20th century.” Or you could say, “The whole data set is skewed by the Yankees who have won almost half of the simple color scheme World Series.”
To that I say yes and OK. But … I also say that I’m arguing that the Cubs uniforms aren’t helping, not that they are causing them to lose. Therefore, I think it’s safe to say that the Yankees uniforms aren’t causing them to win, but they aren’t hurting.
And then there are the red teams too. The Cardinals have won the second most World Series and have always kept it simple and have always featured red.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 22, 2014
And that brings us to the interior design section of the argument — what colors mean. Generally, I would say it’s a load of crap. The frickin’ Marlins won a World Series in teal for crying out loud. But lots of really smart people study this stuff and have come to some consensus on what colors mean. And there’s no denying that black, navy blue and red are not only the most winningest colors in MLB history but also that adding in regular old blue we have by far the most popular colors of uniforms in baseball history.
I’m sure in 1903 it was easier to make black, blue and red dyes for uniforms. But it’s not a stretch at all to make green. And they weren’t making green uniforms. And maybe that goes toward color meaning.
Red cars, we know, get more speeding tickets. That’s mostly because red is reserved for sports cars, but it’s also because even a red Buick is perceived as more aggressive. Red is traditionally a color of strength, war, energy.
Now think of the Yankees. You may hate them for winning, but you have to admit they conjure images of class, sophistication, success. The Bronx Bombers have been wearing navy blue or black for their entire existence. Black is thought to mean power and elegance and navy blue inherits those qualities along with those of its cousin blue blue.
Blue is thought to convey trust and loyalty. So navy is really a classier, more powerful version of trusty old blue.
So what do these colors mean for the Cubs? Well, it means the blue and red scheme fits the lovable losers motif to a tee. Royal blue like your pet dog — loyal, loving, faithful, sometimes a bit regal but also capable of slobbering all over your shirt. Then lets throw in a little red, not enough to be dangerous, but just enough to bark at strangers and never actually bite them. Who doesn’t love the family dog? We all do. But the family dog has never won the World Series.
And neither have the Cubs wearing royal blue and red. The 1907-08 Chicago Cubs, who won back-to-back championships and who should have won another one in 1906, wore black and white. And they were the class of the league.
I say let’s call on that noble past and fall into line with the historical data on winning and ditch the royal blue and red. It’s just not a winning combo. If you take out the Dodgers, the Braves have won a couple with a form of that scheme but they couldn’t even stay in one town, jumping from Boston to Milwaukee before finally settling in Atlanta. The Pirates did it in 1909 and then figured out it didn’t work and switched to their iconic jerseys. The Reds and White Sox even won with blue and red but changed, the Reds going to — surprise, surprise — just red, and the White Sox going through a variety of looks and colors — including wearing shorts for a game that requires sliding on dirt — before changing to, that’s right, black and white before breaking a loooooong World Series drought.
I don’t think the Cubs should simply go back to the black and white look. I’m voting for navy blue and white because it balances the power and elegance of past Cubs titles with an acknowledgement of where we’ve been since. There’s something quietly powerful about withstanding losing for all these years.
But now it’s time to dress for the occasion, and that’s winning another World Series.
Tell us what you think. Take the poll to the right and/or email your opinion, possible uniform picture, whatever to Cubs Fan Therapy.