Unless the Phillies take a lesson from Tug McGraw, there will be no St. Patrick’s Day jerseys for the Phillies.
Nike won’t continue Phillies’ St. Patrick’s Day Tradition
Nike took over the production of MLB jerseys in 2020. They are now restricting teams to 4 different jerseys plus 1 exception for “City Connect” uniforms. That means that the tradition of a green Phillies jersey on St. Patrick’s Day will end with a whimper.
The shame in it all is the Phillies’ tradition started with the Phillies’ legendary closer, Tug McGraw. On March 17, 1977, McGraw made a statement about his love for St. Patrick’s Day. He entered a Spring Training game with a Phillies’ jersey that had been dyed green.
Of course, the umpire made McGraw change but allowed him to keep his green socks. Two years later, McGraw would sport a green undershirt and socks.
McGraw’s green spark created a tradition for the Phillies that eventually created a green flame that spread to the rest of Major League Baseball.
Now, that flame is being snuffed out by Nike.
For a league that is constantly trying to keep the game fun and interesting, cutting a wacky tradition that’s gone back over 40 years seems to be counterintuitive.
Baseball is a sport that touts itself on its own history. Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, and Ken Griffey Jr. may all be out of the sport, yet are completely engrained in its roots. Tug McGraw may not be on that level but it sure feels like Nike is ripping out the roots.
Unlike weeds, the green St. Patrick’s Day uniforms could return in the future. Whether Nike will recognize their mistake will remain to be seen.
Until then, maybe a couple of Phillies could give a visit to their local craft store and load up on green dye.
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire