On Sundays, Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay goes old school and wears the old uniform socks. He will tweet “#HighSockSunday” to announce it. Several of the other Cardinals players will wear the high socks on Sunday as well. But what Jon calls high socks are actually called baseball stirrups. I wondered about when and how stirrups came into use, so I did a little research.
Back in the late 1800’s, players started wearing knickers, which are pants that end right below the knee. Baseball teams wore solid color socks, called stockings. The Boston Americans changed their name to the Red Sox due to the red stockings they wore. The Cincinnati Reds were once called the Red Stockings. In 1895, the Orioles were the first team to wear striped stockings.
Stirrups began to be worn by players in the early 20th century. The dyes used for the colored socks were not colorfast, and there were fears that if players got spiked that the colored dye would get into the bloodstream. So players would wear a white sock under the colored socks, which supposedly would block any leaking dye. These white socks became known as sanitary socks. But it was soon discovered that the material of both pairs of socks together were too thick and caused the player’s shoes to fit improperly. So some smart person (I couldn’t find out who) came up with the idea of the stirrup sock.
During the 1910’s and 1920’s, players began pulling the stirrup sock higher so more of the sanitary sock showed. By the 1940’s, the stirrup look was incorporated into the stocking itself. Eventually, however, players’ pants got longer and longer until they came down to their ankles (and past). Stirrups eventually fell out of favor, although Jay and other players are bringing the old school look back.
Personally, I am not a big fan of the long pants, especially the way they puddle around the ankle. The puddling makes the pants look sloppy, like lounge pants. Do these pants only come in one length? Men’s dress pants and jeans come in different inseam lengths. Surely they can make uniform pants the same way. I think the stirrups add a professional touch to the baseball uniform.
Our new kitty even has high socks, and of course, his name is Sox. Here’s a photo:
Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted. I think my muse went on vacation. I hope to be back on schedule soon, and I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. See you next time!
“Dressed to the Nines: The History of the Baseball Uniform, ” Baseball Hall of Fame, http://exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/stockings.htm
“Hosiery History,” The Village Voice, http://www.villagevoice.com/2001-06-05/news/hosiery-history/
“Baseball stirrups,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_stirrups