Ranking The 25 Best Uniforms In College Baseball
There’s something about baseball jerseys that just makes them ripe for debate. Maybe it’s something as simple as the fact that there are so many customizable pieces. There’s primary color, accent color, trim, patterns and the opportunity for subtle touches that draw a link back to the history of the program, history of the state or something else entirely.
Maybe it’s the fact that the relatively laid back pace of a baseball game gives an individual more time to admire (or despise) a particular look. When you watch a game on TV, for example, you can’t escape spending nine innings looking at the player on the pitcher’s mound. In basketball and hockey, and to a lesser extent, football, you don’t get those extended moments with the same regularity.
Maybe it’s the sport’s status as America’s Pastime that brings out debate between traditionalists who prefer timeless looks and non-traditionalists who lean toward edgier, more typically outlandish looks. Or perhaps it’s the idea that both of those sartorial viewpoints can coexist, making baseball quite the canvas of color and design.
If that’s the case, college baseball is the perfect such canvas. With more than 300 teams at the Division I level, there are more than 300 different approaches to uniforms out there. Some have more or less the same look they’ve had for decades, establishing strong brand identity with specific colors or combinations. Some have come back to throwback uniforms after years of using more modern looks. Others push the envelope in terms of design, drawing praise and criticism in equal measure.
Beauty is, of course, in the eye of the beholder, but we’ve assembled our ranking of the 25 best uniforms in college baseball. The list leans heavily on the traditional looks that help define college baseball itself, but still pays tribute to some of the better new entrants into the uniform space.
1. Louisiana State’s “Championship Gold”
For LSU, the gold jerseys aren’t just uniform tops, they’re a tradition in and of itself. Dating to the famous 1996 team that won a national title in walk-off fashion, the Tigers bring these uniforms out for use in series clinchers and championship games, and they featured prominently in the 1996 national title game, the 2008 team’s 23-game winning streak and the final game of the 2009 national championship series.
2. Oklahoma State’s orange
Oklahoma State’s iconic font and bat logo on these jerseys can also be found on various other color tops, but the orange really stands out. This top was worn by college baseball greats like Pete Incaviglia and Robin Ventura during their time in Stillwater, but three decades later, it still stands up as a sharp jersey top and not just a piece of nostalgia.
3. Mississippi’s powder blue
The Rebels debuted these jersey tops in 2016, and they were an instant hit among players and fans alike. They’re a unique look, and the red letters really pop against the blue. After just a few years, these already feel like iconic tops.
4. Mississippi State’s maroon
Speaking of iconic, MSU’s maroon tops fit the bill. Not only is maroon a somewhat unique color, but the font on the front of the jersey takes you back to some of the glory days of Mississippi State baseball. From Will Clark to Jake Mangum, legends of all different eras have made this a good look.
5. North Carolina’s Tar Heel blue
No school is as closely tied to a specific color as North Carolina and its particular shade of blue. Although UNC has toyed with various uniform combinations through the years, this shade of blue is always featured heavily. As a simple top with few frills, this jersey showcases the color well.
6. Clemson’s white
This jersey top is part of a very specific iconic look, the Clemson white top with white pants and white cleats. But even on its own, the jersey is great. Clemson’s orange and purple colors work well together and really pop against the white top.
7. Tulane’s white sluggerbird
A specific take on the classic idea first put forth by the St. Louis Cardinals, Tulane’s “sluggerbird” is a favorite among college baseball enthusiasts. The Green Wave showcase this logo and font on a number of different tops, but the white is the best of the bunch.
8. Miami’s orange
This jersey puts a fresh spin on a quintessential Miami look. They closely resemble jerseys used by the Ron Fraser era Hurricanes (topped off with the classic script M hats), but it’s original enough as to not make it a total throwback copycat.
9. Notre Dame’s all blue
Matching jersey tops and pants have sprouted up everywhere in college baseball, but Notre Dame has pulled it off better than any. The blue and gold is an iconic color combination and the design details on the sleeves really put it over the top.
10. Arkansas’ cream
Arkansas combined two uniform design concepts we’ve seen a lot lately, the cream color and throwbacks, and knocked it out of the park with this jersey. Like the Ole Miss powder blue, these jerseys haven’t been around long, but they’re already fan favorites.
11. Arizona State's white
There are few jersey fonts more iconic than the “Devils” across the front of an Arizona State jersey. The Sun Devils have experimented with some other jerseys through the years, but some version of this top continues to come back to the forefront time and again.
12. Pittsburgh’s throwback blue
Lately, Pitt’s sports teams have adopted the color scheme and fonts from the glory days of the football program, and that has produced this outstanding jersey top, with the school’s dark blue and gold giving way to a royal blue and yellow.
13. Coastal Carolina’s teal
Coastal Carolina doesn’t have the longstanding color and logo association of some of the historical powers on this list, but in a relatively short period of time, it has made its teal one of the most recognizable colors in college baseball.
14. Florida State’s garnet
From the start, the garnet and gold color scheme makes for some striking jerseys, and while the Seminoles’ all gold uniforms might have more historical cache, the garnet top with the iconic interlocking “FS” on the chest is the best the program has to offer.
15. Michigan’s cream
In part because the maize and blue is simply an iconic color combination, Michigan has a strong overall collection of jerseys. Part of the appeal is also that they offer sharp jersey tops without a lot of frills. In the case of the cream jersey, a throwback look tops it off.
'Thirty-Nine Years Of Heaven:' Paul Mainieri Reflects On End Of His Career, LSU' Season
With a 15-6 loss to Tennessee on Sunday, LSU was eliminated, bringing an end to Paul Mainieri's coaching career.
16. Texas' white
Not unlike Miami’s entry on the list, this is a great example of a traditional look with a modern twist. The white jersey with burnt orange letters is a classic look for a program with a ton of history. But the Nike swoosh and an updated font take it to the next level.
17. Ohio State's throwback gray
Road uniforms don’t get the same shine as home whites and alternates, but Ohio State managed to put a really sharp road gray uniform on the field. Like rival Michigan, the famous Ohio State color scheme can really shine on a simple offering like this.
18. Washington's white pinstripe
Although Washington is a program that has experimented with various looks in recent years, it has time and again fielded teams with attractive jersey tops. The purple and gold color scheme really helps create a distinctive look, and that’s showcased well with this pinstripe top.
19. Texas A&M's maroon
Like SEC mate Mississippi State, Texas A&M does an outstanding job using maroon, a relatively unique color in college sports. The script lettering on the front sets it apart and the small touches, like the stripes on the collar and sleeves, really add something.
20. Iowa's yellow
Teams with yellow in their color scheme often use it to go for bold looks. At times, leaning heavily on yellow can lead to certain jerseys being a bit on the garish side, but in this case, it really works for the Hawkeyes.
21. St. John’s red skyline
Relatively simple jerseys can be elevated when unique details draw a link back to the school or community. On this top, the lettering and numbering contains a watermark of sorts of the New York City skyline.
22. Tennessee's orange
Orange is another jersey color that can really pop if used well, and Tennessee does so with this top. Extra points are awarded here for the use of the more casual “Vols” on the jersey rather than “Tennessee” or “Volunteers.”
23. Florida's blue
Orange and blue is a really strong color combination for baseball jerseys and Florida does it really well. With all of the success the Gators have had in these tops, they are also quickly becoming an example of an iconic jersey in modern times.
24. Southern California's black
This top is actually just the latest in a line of sharp black jerseys USC has produced through the years. Black jerseys can be a difficult thing to do well if black isn’t in the primary color scheme, but USC does a really nice job of using it alongside cardinal and gold.
25. UC Irvine's pinstripe
Like the Tennessee top, UCI gets extra credit for putting more of a nickname on the front of the jersey, and in this case, it’s a version of its already unique Anteaters name. The nickname on a traditional pinstripe look takes it over the top.