Welcome to The Vault, the weekly blog post that takes a look back at some of the best (and worst) jerseys throughout sports history. Each week, a classic set of threads each from the sports of football, basketball, hockey, baseball, and soccer will be revisited.
All submissions are welcome by messaging @tftb_smalls on IG.
Football: Early 2000’s UConn Huskies
The first entry in this week’s Vault is… interesting. I’ve seen these jerseys resurface on the internet the past few days, so I figured I’d include them. The reason I’m including it is because through early 2000’s, the UConn Huskies football program was outfitted by Aeropostale. Yes, that’s right. Aeropostale, the brand that dominated the closets of all those middle schoolers at the mall, was the uniform supplier of a Division 1 football program. I’m really not sure how it happened, but I’m sure as s**t glad it did. In these jerseys, the Huskies went 2-9 in 2001, 6-6 in 2002, and 9-3 in 2003, improving each year. Dan Orlovsky was the starting quarterback on this squad before he went on to be a journeyman in the NFL, but outside of that, there aren’t really any other notable names on the UConn roster during this era. The Huskies later moved on to Nike uniforms in 2004, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that f*****g AEROPOSTALE provided their uniforms at one point. I wouldn’t say that the jerseys themselves were that bad. However, it’s still wild that it ever happened. I will say, however, that Pitt athletics were also outfitted by the brand at one point, but I’ll leave that alone for now out of respect.
Basketball: Northwestern Wildcats Senior Day Jerseys
The Week 6 basketball entry also strays from my usual formula, but these jerseys are so cool that I had to include them. It was announced a few days ago that the Northwestern Wildcats will be donning these 90’s-inspired uniforms for the program’s senior night against Wisconsin. The jerseys were designed by the seniors on the team, and were inspired by the teal Vancouver Grizzlies uniforms from the 90’s. The classic Grizzlies threads were listed in Sports Illustrated’s top 30 jerseys of all time, and it’s clear why. The program has also made it known that this “By the Players” concept will be a yearly tradition going forward. Currently, the Wildcats are sitting at 13-17, with a berth to the NCAA tournament way beyond reach. Despite the program having a rough year, these jerseys are dope and I firmly believe they will go down as all-time greats. The Wildcat logo alone is so amazing that I might have to pick one up for myself.
Hockey: Winnipeg Jets RW Teemu Selanne
This week’s hockey jersey belonged to the “Finnish Flash” himself, Teemu Selanne. This legend made his NHL debut on October 6, 1992 against the Detroit Red Wings and scored his first goal two nights later against the San Jose Sharks. His offensive explosion helped push the Jets into the 1993 playoffs, where they lost to the Canucks in the first round. Selanne would later be traded to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the 1995-96 season, where he continued to find loads of offensive production with linemate Paul Kariya. He helped the franchise make their first playoff appearance that year as well. Selanne also spent time in San Jose, Colorado, and Anaheim once again before retiring in 2014. By the time he retired, he was a ten-time All Star, one-time Stanley Cup winner, and is currently ranked third in NHL power play goals. The white Jets jerseys from the franchise’s first stint in Winnipeg are considered one of the all-time classic sweaters among hockey fans because of the vintage logo and crisp color scheme, and are still in high demand today.
Baseball: 1944 Brooklyn Dodgers
SATIN UNIFORMS?! You’re god damn right. The Brooklyn Dodgers rocked these pseudo-pajamas during their 1944 season. They went 63-91 that year, which was good for only 7th in the National League. While the season itself was somewhat forgettable, the Dodgers did have two Hall of Famers on the 1944 roster in Paul and Lloyd Waner. Nicknamed “Big Poison” and “Little Poison”, the Waner brothers were major pieces for the Pittsburgh Pirates through the 1930’s. These two were on the tail end of their careers in Brooklyn, however, which is when these satin beauties were worn. The Dodgers have honored these baby blue uniforms in recent years, although they were made out of a more modern material on these occasions. Honestly, I kinda wanna just slip this uniform on and go to bed, which must have been what the team was doing on the diamond in 1944, considering their record was so poor. (Submitted by TFTB’s own Deke Whiten)
Soccer: Holland M/F Ruud Gullit
Our soccer entry for Week 6 belonged to Dutch soccer legend Ruud Gullit. Easily recognized with his glorious dreadlocks and mustache, Gullit was the captain of the 1988 Euro winning Holland squad, where the Oranje beat those commie bastards from the Soviet Union in the final. After beating an impressive West Germany side in the semis 2-1, the Dutch side beat the Soviets 2-0 to win the European Championship. Two years later, Holland ended up losing to West Germany in the second round of the 1990 World Cup, as the Germans got their revenge and went on to win the tournament. In his club career, Gullit made the move from PSV to AC Milan in 1987 for what was a world record transfer fee at the time. After being promoted to the player-manager at Chelsea, Gullit led the club to an FA Cup win in 1997. The Holland 1988 Euro kit is one of the most sought-after kits of all time, and features the “diamond” style that would inspire many clubs’ kits throughout the 90’s. I also love the iconic Adidas logo on the chest, which along with the kaleidoscope-esque colorway, brings a strong sense of nostalgia. (Submitted by TFTB’s own Peter Krafcik)
If you have any jerseys that you’d like to see on the Vault, please feel free to message @tftb_smalls on Instagram. Input is always welcome.