As part of a project for ESPN the Magazine, highly-acclaimed fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger has attempted something that should never, ever be considered. A re-design of the historic, and most recognizable, uniform in all of sports. The pinstripes worn by the New York Yankees.
Change the Yankees' uniforms? I know this was just a hypothetical project proposed by a magazine desperate for attention to a designer who could not help but take a stab at the challenge. Without even looking at the merits of Hilfiger's design for the Yankee unifom my response is simple. This is something that should never, ever be done. Period.
The classic elegance of Yankee pinstripes is part of baseball tradition, too much of which has already been messed with. Does a uniform really mean that much? With the Yankees I believe it does. The classic pinstripes, with no name on the back and the interlocking NY on the cap and the uniform blouse, are Yankee trademarks.
If you look at what Hilfiger has done, he has messed with both of those things. No interlocking NY -- in fact, I have no clue what that symbol on the blouse and cap is, but it certainly does not scream 'Yankees.' Oh, and names on the back of the jerseys? What's up with that, Tommy? If you are a baseball fan, you know your Yankees without needing to read the jerseys.
Hilfiger also reinvented jerseys for three other historic sports franchises -- the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers and Montreal Canadiens. Nice try, Tommy, but I can't imagine fans of any of those teams being thrilled about what you have come up with.