Royals: Crown worthy or not? Best and worst KC jerseys

Kansas city Royals (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Kansas city Royals (Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Kansas city Royals (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO – AUGUST 29: Adalberto Mondesi #27 of the Kansas City Royals is congratulated by Whit Merrifield #15 after scoring during the 4th inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on August 29, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Royals have used “powder blue” as part of their uniforms since the early Seventies; it was the dominant color of their road uniforms for many years. The color choice lives on today in one of the club’s alternate jerseys.

Notwithstanding some of the efforts of today’s Commissioner (another topic for another day), baseball is a game of tradition and traditionalists. The game’s ability to withstand the tests of time is attributable in no small part to the facts that traditions are hard to break and those that control the play of the game are the most difficult to discard or modify.

For decades, baseball tradition shackled even uniforms–home teams invariably wore white uniforms and road teams wore gray. Jerseys sometimes bore no numbers and player names never appeared. Change came slowly to uniforms until the late Sixties and early Seventies, when designs became more colorful, numbers indispensable, and player names common. (There were and are exceptions–the Yankees’ uniforms never change and player names sewn to the back are a Bronx taboo).

The birth of the Royals coincided with the early days of uniform change, so their shift from gray road uniforms to a blend of blue and gray, and then to powder blue in 1973 came as no real surprise. Powder blue was a welcome change, pleasing to the eye but perhaps unsettling to uniform purists who couldn’t see the upside of the trend to color (nor the mega-boon to revenues the clubs would realize when they and Major League Baseball began licensing jerseys for retail sale).

The “Powder Blues” became a staple of Kansas City jerseys, first in buttoned version, then in the v-neck pullovers characteristic of the double-knit, beltless uniform craze of the Eighties, and then again when buttons and belts reappeared.

The Powder Blues have never been flashy; instead, they reflect the traditional conservatism of the club’s approach. Today, they survive as an “alternate” jersey–one worn only on certain days, such as weekend home games–and retain their classic design, with the script “Royals” across the chest in white with blue trim, small blue numbers with white trim on the lower front, and white numbers and player names trimmed in blue on the back. The powder blue jersey is classic Royal: understated and not flamboyant, and attractive and commendable in design and wear.

The Powder Blue alternate jerseys receive honorable mention for best KC jersey.