Pittsburgh Pirates’ Uniforms

Pittsburgh Pirates’ Uniforms

In 1948 the Pirates’ colors changed to black and gold to match the Pittsburgh flag and those of the little known (at the time) Pittsburgh Steelers.  They weren’t the first team to change their colors, but they were one of the first to do it permanently, joining the San Francisco Giants as the only pre-expansion teams to change their colors entirely.  In the 1950’s the Pirates began using sleeveless jerseys and while they again weren’t the first, they did a great deal to help make the look popular.  They were the first to adopt the pullover spandex uniform in 1970, as a way to mark the move into Three Rivers Stadium, leading most other teams to do the same over the next decade.

The National League celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1976 and some NL teams wore classic pillbox style hats to commemorate the auspicious season.  The Pirates adopted the hats permanently and alternated between black and gold until settling on black in 1985. By 1977 the Pirates were one of the first teams, along with the Oakland Athletics, to have entirely separate “third jersey” options to their uniforms.  The two caps, two undershirts, three jerseys, and three pants that made up the total wardrobe were freely interchanged, sometimes with unfortunate results, on a day to day basis until 1985.

A simple gray and white uniform selection was established in 1985 and the pillbox style hats were retired in 1986.  The Pirates returned to button-down uniforms from the spandex pullovers in 1991, one of the last teams to do so.  They changed to vested jerseys in 2001 during which time the home jerseys had “Pirates” printed on them while the away jerseys showed “Pittsburgh”.  In 2009 the team adopted all sleeved uniforms except for pinstriped vests to be used for Sunday home games.


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