On this day 36 years ago, the Chicago White Sox decided to make the... interesting decision to be the first and only team to wear shorts during a Major League Baseball game. This Softball look was inspired by White Sox Owner Bill Veeck's wife Mary Frances. Mrs. Veeck defended her creation as a practical one.
"They were not totally a gag thing," she said. "It got very hot in Comiskey Park."
The look, featuring some extremely short navy shorts paired with the traditional high "White Sox", was used in the first half of a doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals. The White Sox, behind a strong start from Terry Forster and save from Goose Gossage won 5-2. Undeterred by their new shorts, the White Sox even stole five bases in the game.
However, the shorts would remain the story after the game. Gossage later commented on the look:
“Wilbur Wood and Bart Johnson looked like they were oversized kids. Bart looked like a 6-foot-5 baby. But I’ll tell you who looked the worst was Jim Spencer, ’cause he had no legs. I mean, your legs were white, sticking out of that dark blue color. It was bad. We were sitting there thinking, ‘What are we doing?!’
The White Sox would only wear their shorts twice more in that 1976 season before retiring the look permanently. The shorts have never been worn in a game since, but remain a relic of the zany marketing schemes of Bill Veeck.
Sadly, Mitchell & Ness does not have any authentic shorts to offer you. But we do pay tribute to the era with the black collared jerseys of the White Sox. Check out this Carlton Fisk jersey: