If you're the kind of person who gets misty-eyed about anniversaries, you're going to love the 2018 MLB season. Eight teams will be marking various anniversaries via sleeve patches (it's not clear if this is a single-season record, but it's definitely in the running), and another team is marking an anniversary with its season-ticket designs.
In addition to all of the anniversary patches, we have the usual assortment of new alternate uniforms, holiday uniforms, throwback uniforms and more. With the regular season set to begin March 29, here's our annual rundown of what you can expect to see on the field this season, broken down by team.
Ready? Here we go.
Jump to team:
East: Atlanta Braves | Miami Marlins | New York Mets | Philadelphia Phillies | Washington Nationals
National League East
• You probably won't even notice it, but the Braves have made some extremely subtle tweaks to their color scheme (additional info here).
The Atlanta #Braves have changed their colour scheme for the 2018 season #MLB— Chris Creamer (@sportslogosnet) February 28, 2018
Plenty of details and images, as well as comments from @ColorWerx about the change here: https://t.co/mZblqEjAPy pic.twitter.com/fC0QcWc7i6
Derek Jeter unveiled the Marlins 25th anniversary patch for the upcoming season. pic.twitter.com/2XiOVCIO3u— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) February 7, 2018
In addition, the Marlins will honor their inaugural season by wearing 1993 throwbacks for a three-game series against the Padres on June 8-10.
• The Nationals have a new alternate jersey. It's officially listed as navy, but it looks almost black in photographs. It also features a chest script that's oriented at what seems to be a rather severe uphill diagonal:
Hello from Nats WinterFest. Here's the new alternate jersey. pic.twitter.com/rcwj57PtKI— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) December 16, 2017
In addition, the Nats are the hosts of this year's All-Star Game, so they're wearing commemorative patches on their jerseys and caps.
Nats wearing All-Star Game patch on jerseys and caps this year. pic.twitter.com/Oq7nWlsgCJ— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
• Fun news out of Philadelphia, where the Phillies will wear 1970s-1980s powder-blue throwbacks for select Thursday home games (the exact dates haven't been announced yet). Of course, the powder blues were originally worn on the road, so it'll be a bit odd to see the Phillies wearing that design at home, but the fans should get a kick out of it.
Phillies to wear powder blue uniforms at times this season https://t.co/W7Wu8DSlRe— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) February 13, 2018
Also: The Phils are one of the latest teams to go with a raised batting-helmet logo:
Best view I've seen yet of the Phils new 3D helmet logos pic.twitter.com/mpYtz2NVni— Ben Harris (@byBenHarris) February 27, 2018
Also-also: Pitcher Pat Neshek is poised to become the first player in MLB history -- yes, all of MLB history! -- to wear No. 93. He wore No. 17 last season.
And speaking of numbers, the Phils will not issue No. 34 this season, out of respect for the late Roy Halladay. No word about a memorial patch.
National League Central
Brewers have changed their primary logo designation this year. Old version on left, new version (which had been secondary logo) on right. pic.twitter.com/7ukuJW3IGA— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
Also: Third-base coach Ed Sedar decided to give No. 6, which he had been wearing, to newly acquired outfielder Lorenzo Cain. Sedar considered switching to No. 80, because it sounds like Eddie, but he ultimately decided to go with No. 0. It's not clear whether any other MLB third-base coach has ever worn that number, but it's definitely uncommon.
Also-also: The Brewers have made an annual habit of wearing Negro League throwbacks for one game each season. While this year's game has not yet been announced, reports out of Denver indicate that it will take place at some point during a series against the Rockies on Aug. 3-5, with the Rockies wearing throwback uniforms as well.
• No uniform changes this year for the Cardinals (which is good, because their uni set is just about perfect), but we have a single-digit pitcher alert for Luke Weaver, who wore No. 62 last year but is going with No. 7 this season. It's the same number he wore while playing at Florida State.
Cardinals P Luke Weaver going with the single-digit uni number this year. Wore No. 62 last year. pic.twitter.com/7aJ9Qdmexv— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 18, 2018
• No announced uniform changes this year for the Cubs, but their promotional schedule indicates that they'll be doing a jersey giveaway of the awesome late-'70s reverse-pinstripe design on July 24, so maybe they'll be wearing throwbacks that day. Hope so!
Meanwhile: It's worth noting that pitcher Jen-Ho Tseng, who wore No. 39 last year, has switched to No. 1 this year. Tseng is unlikely to make the Cubs' final roster cut. But if he gets called up during the season and continues to wear No. 1, that would give the Cubbies the highly unusual roster distinction of having two pitchers with single-digit numbers (the other one being Carl Edwards Jr., who wears No. 6).
• Most MLB teams have been cutting back on the camouflage over the past couple of years. That trend continues in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates have scrapped their camouflage alternate jersey and replaced it with the olive-accented design that was worn for Memorial Day last year.
Pirates scrapping camouflage military-tribute uni this season. Replacing it with olive-trimmed uni like the one worn for Memorial Day last season. Old version on left, new on right. pic.twitter.com/IG4EKfugnt— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
Reds replacing camouflage alternate with olive-trimmed uni this season. Old version on left, new on right. pic.twitter.com/eH6wWH3PwJ— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
Also: It's not every team that has two separate baseball-head mascots, both of which are in current use, but that's the case with the Reds:
National League West
Here it is: Our 20th anniversary logo for the season, commemorating 20 years of Major League Baseball in the Valley of the ☀️. pic.twitter.com/JzVMkEvWjh— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) February 15, 2018
The logo will be worn as a cap patch during the D-backs' season-opening homestand and as a sleeve patch for the entire season.
D-backs adding 20th-anniversary sleeve patch this season. Will also be worn as a cap patch for season-opening homestand (March 29 - April 4). pic.twitter.com/uUTDgxDzaM— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
Also, the D-backs will wear six different throwback uniforms at various points in the season. (And no, that's not even close to a record -- the Cubs had 10 throwbacks in 2014.)
A look at the six throwback uniforms the Arizona D-backs will be wearing throughout the 2018 season #Dbacks #MLB— Chris Creamer (@sportslogosnet) February 15, 2018
This plus their 20th anniversary patch were both announced earlier today, check 'em out in our post here --> https://t.co/uJHGkRDCdK pic.twitter.com/xMO1pJrgrY
The D-backs are also dialing back their headwear portfolio by eliminating two caps with their old "D" logo:
D-backs eliminating these two caps from their portfolio this season. pic.twitter.com/zBndsVl8zT— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
Giants marking 60 years in San Francisco with this sleeve patch for 2018. pic.twitter.com/mrFxrRqwCy— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
The Giants are also going with a really cool format for their season tickets:
My 2018 Giants season tickets are here! Every single game ticket features a different player/image to celebrate 60 years of baseball in San Francisco. Such a fun concept! #sfgiants #sfgiantsstm #attpark pic.twitter.com/5ZfYJG2rSe— Dan Wong (@danwong) February 15, 2018
• If you were hoping for the Padres to restore brown and gold as their primary team colors -- or to make any other significant uniform changes, for that matter -- don't hold your breath. It won't be happening until at least 2020.
Padres won't feature brown uniforms until 2020, at the earliest https://t.co/eWW0tjfBD4— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) January 16, 2018
Meanwhile, on the equipment front, Padres catcher Austin Hedges has been experimenting with an unusual spring-cushioned mask:
The anniversary logo will also appear on a new cap with a silver "CR" insignia:
Comparison of Rockies' standard cap (top) and the "silver anniversary" version that the team will be wearing for 2018 home games. pic.twitter.com/F8jOEARgcd— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
Finally, although nothing has yet been publicly announced, reports indicate that the Rockies will wear Negro League throwbacks at some point during an early-August series in Milwaukee. Stay tuned.
The Rockies also have a new scoreboard, which is significantly larger than the old one (additional info here):
SAY HELLO TO YOUR NEW SCOREBOARD!— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) January 31, 2018
• 8,369 sq ft
• 258% larger than the old Coors Field board
• 784 60-inch televisions
• 6.8 million LEDs
• Uniquely Colorado Rockies shape
• Speaker enhancements on the lower bowl pic.twitter.com/dRMioPXnLr
American League East
• The Rays are marking the franchise's 20th anniversary this year (although they were called the Devil Rays back in the day) and have lots of uni-related items on tap, beginning with a home-plate-shaped sleeve patch.
Good look at the 20th-anniversary sleeve patch that the Rays will be wearing this season. pic.twitter.com/jgg9vDUfwn— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
In addition, the Rays will wear 1998 throwbacks, featuring the team's infamous rainbow-gradation chest lettering, for four games. The dates are March 31 (20 years to the day after the franchise's first game), June 9, June 23 and Sept. 8.
Rays will celebrate 20th anniversary by wearing 1998 throwbacks on March 31, June 9, June 23, and Sept. 8. Cap is navy (to match team's current color scheme), not black like the original 1998 cap. pic.twitter.com/QkmeHgQDsY— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
Although not yet officially announced, expect to see the Red Sox wearing their "Boston Strong" uniforms on Patriots' Day (April 16 vs. Orioles, 11:05am starting time). pic.twitter.com/tV3YAR132V— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
American League Central
• Nothing new for the Indians this season, but there will definitely be changes in 2019, when the team will be retiring its controversial Chief Wahoo logo.
• The Royals are celebrating their 50th season by adding patches to their jerseys and caps. Would've been better if they waited until their 50th anniversary, because the 1969-2019 date range would have been more satisfying (that's the difference between an anniversary and an ordinal, kids), but it's still a handsome patch design.
Royals adding 50th-season patch on jerseys and caps for 2018. pic.twitter.com/3CVbMBOtcK— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 18, 2018
Also: The Royals always honor the Negro Leagues by wearing Kansas City Monarchs throwbacks for at least one game each season. This year's game will be on May 6, and the throwback cap has been revealed, with the full uniform to follow shortly:
The @Royals will take the field for this year's Salute to the Negro Leagues on May 6 wearing this sweet 1920 Monarchs cap! Stay tuned to find out how you can pre-order! @JPosnanski @MLB @MLB_PLAYERS @JayHarrisESPN @mellinger pic.twitter.com/8BewiRBSvr— negroleaguesmuseum (@nlbmprez) March 22, 2018
• For half a century now, the old English D logos on the Tigers' jerseys and caps have not matched. Some fans have viewed this as an annoying inconsistency; others (including your friendly uniform columnist) have seen it as an endearing eccentricity. Either way, the team's uniforms will now be uniform, because the cap logo is going to be used on the jersey. In addition, the logo on the cap is being enlarged (additional info here).
Side-by-side comparison of 2017 (left) and 2018 Tigers home uniforms, showing new jersey logo (which now matches cap logo) and larger cap logo. pic.twitter.com/hVTujCp1hU— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
Side-by-side comparison of 2017 and 2018 Tigers caps, showing larger logos. Old versions on left, new on right. pic.twitter.com/c3n52NLlKB— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
Also: Two members of this year's Baseball Hall of Fame class are former Tigers, and the team is retiring both of their numbers. Jack Morris' No. 47 will be retired Aug. 12, and Alan Trammell's No. 3 will receive the honor Aug. 26. Additional info here.
Also-also: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Tigers' 1968 World Series title, so the team turned to ace graphic designer Todd Radom to celebrate the '68 squad on this year's season tickets (additional info here).
Also: Pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez has taken No. 57 as a salute to fellow Venezuelan and former Twins great Johan Santana. Rodriguez previously wore No. 52.
American League West
A's will wear sleeve patch this season to mark 50th anniversary in Oakland. pic.twitter.com/7Q1JemXqqq— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
In addition, the A's have new Kelly green alternate jerseys and caps, which they'll be wearing for Friday home games. Interestingly, the jerseys have an "Oakland" insignia -- unusual for an A's home design (additional photos here).
A's will wear new Kelly green jerseys and caps for Friday home games this season. pic.twitter.com/LhQ5OvCtew— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
Mike Trout, who got beaned by a pitch over the weekend, is the latest high-profile MLB player to add the face guard to his helmet. pic.twitter.com/pJ29DwFLrb— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 15, 2018
The C-Flap will also be getting a lot more exposure this year via Giancarlo Stanton, who'll have a much higher profile as a member of the Yankees. We'll take a closer look at the C-Flap's unusual and little-known history in an upcoming Uni Watch column.
• As has become standard practice for defending World Series champs, the Astros will celebrate their title by breaking out a set of gold uniforms. They'll wear them for the first two home games of the season -- April 2 and 3.
Astros will wear gold-accented championship uniforms for first two home games of the season -- April 2 and 3. pic.twitter.com/BjbrRLu4ou— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 18, 2018
• The Mariners switched to matte-finish batting helmets last season, so it was surprising to see them wearing the glossies for Cactus League games this month. Turns out that's just a spring training thing, because they already had the old helmets on hand at their spring facilities. They'll go back to the matte helmets when the regular season starts.
And speaking of M's headwear: Some people think the team's latest BP cap, which has been worn throughout spring training, is bad luck. Manager Scott Servais doesn't necessarily disagree and says the M's might stop wearing the cap when the regular season starts.
• As usual, all uniformed personnel will wear No. 42 for Jackie Robinson Day on April 15. But this year there's a new wrinkle: A "42" patch will appear on jerseys and caps.
New for 2018: In addition to all uniformed personnel wear No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day (April 15), they will also wear a new "42" patch on their jerseys and caps. pic.twitter.com/pm32Jofr7f— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
• Teams will once again wear commemorative uniforms for various holiday weekends, although MLB is easing off the accelerator a bit this year. Mother's Day and Father's Day, for example, will still feature pink and blue caps, respectively, but teams will wear their regular jersey designs this time around (with pink and blue ribbons), instead of the pink- and blue-lettered jerseys we've seen in recent years.
The design for Memorial Day is extremely similar to the one from last year, albeit with darker caps:
And the Independence Day uniforms are similar to those from last year, with a few tweaks, including the addition of "We the People" to the caps' underbrims -- which, unfortunately, does not really have anything to do with Independence Day.
Here are all of the MLB 2018 Independence Day caps. League logo added on right side this year. Graphic by @sportslogosnet. Additional info and photos: https://t.co/ykNvv9YLCG pic.twitter.com/BDoy1bsnG4— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
MLB's new Independence Day caps have "We the People" underbrim. Nice idea, but Independence Day celebrates the ratification of the Declaration of Independence, while "We the People" is from the preamble to the Constitution (ratified 12 yrs after Declaration). Bad civics. pic.twitter.com/7Jqse81ogK— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
Independence Day jerseys will have star-spangled chest marks, plus American flag sleeve patches. Group graphic by @sportslogosnet. Additional info and photos: https://t.co/ykNvv9YLCG pic.twitter.com/gA48xXGXdE— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) March 19, 2018
And, of course, all of these holiday uniforms will include matching sock designs, at least for the players who choose to go high-cuffed.
• No official word yet on the All-Star Game BP jerseys or game caps, but the designs appear to have leaked via a video game:
And here's an additional All-Star uni quirk to keep in mind: Although this year's Midsummer Classic is being played at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., the National League will be the visiting team, and NL players will wear their road uniforms. That's because there was a spate of NL teams that got new stadiums in recent years and wanted to host the game, but the designated home league alternates each season, regardless of which stadium is hosting it. (The same thing happened in 2016, when the game was played in San Diego but the American League was the home team.)
• Although nothing has yet been announced, it's likely that Players Weekend, which debuted last August and featured brightly colored pullover jerseys with nicknames on the back, will be back for another installment this year. Stay tuned.
• With MLB instituting new rules limiting the number of mound visits, expect to see catchers respond by wearing playcalling wristbands.
• Following the lead of a few teams from last year, all 30 MLB clubs will have extended protective netting in their ballparks for 2018.
• Finally, if you want to look ahead to next year, Under Armour will be taking over the MLB uniform contract from Majestic, and the Under Armour logo will be appearing on the chest of each jersey (similar to the look in college baseball), not on the sleeves like the Majestic logo. So if you're not a fan of the increasing encroachment of corporate logos on team uniforms, enjoy this season while you can.
And there you have it. Did we miss anything? If so, you know what to do. Now let's play ball.
Paul Lukas wishes the Tigers had changed their cap logo to match the jersey logo instead of the other way around. If you like this column, you'll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook and sign up for his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, check out his Uni Watch merchandise or just ask him a question? Contact him here.