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: Oklahoma State RB Barry Sanders
Our first jersey this week was worn by the man who some consider the best running back of all time, Barry Sanders. While at Oklahoma State, Barry put up some RIDICULOUS numbers in his senior year: 37 rushing TD’s, 2628 rushing yards, and 7.6 yards per carry. The shiftiest runner of all time ran away with the 1988 Heisman Trophy, and went on to have an absurd NFL career with the Lions as well. His orange #21 jersey will go down in college football lore forever because it’s associated with one of the greatest individual college football seasons of all time. It’s also just a great looking jersey in general with its simplistic and vintage design.
Basketball: Houston Rockets C Hakeem Olajuwon
Our basketball selection this week belongs to another legend of his respective game, Hakeem Olajuwon. Olajuwon, a University of Houston product, was selected by the Rockets in the 1984 NBA Draft with the first overall pick. He was part of the legendary 94-95 NBA Championship-winning Houston Rockets squad that swept the Orlando Magic in four games. Olajuwon is considered to be one of the best big men in NBA history, and his 1996-97 jersey is one of the classics that came out of that generation. The vintage logo just screams “90’s NBA basketball” (which, if you’ve been reading the Vault, you know I love), and the pinstripes give it a very unique and iconic look.
Hockey: 2009 Montreal Canadiens Third Jersey
Holy s**t, where to even begin with these monstrosities. Nicknamed the “barber-pole” jerseys, these sweaters were worn by the 2009-10 Montreal Canadiens to commemorate the franchise’s 1912-13 team. Look, I’m usually all for throwbacks, but this ain’t it. These are almost as bad as the Steelers’ bumblebee jerseys from a few seasons back. I feel like I might have had a seizure had I seen these flying around on the ice. The human ocular system can only handle so much, and these are migraines on skates. The team actually had a pretty good season in 2009-10, making it to the Eastern Conference Final. But they didn’t win it all, probably because the hockey gods said “no f*****g way we’re letting these bastards win” after seeing these candy-cane-wannabe sweaters.
Baseball: Myrtle Beach Pelicans “Diamond” (?) Uniforms
I’m really torn about the baseball entry in this week’s Vault. The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are a Single-A ball club in the Chicago Cubs organization, and they recently trotted out these diamond-laden jerseys. Minor league teams often have outlandish uniforms to drive up ticket sales, which are either awesome or horrendous. I really don’t know what I’d consider these. They almost look like a rip-off of the famous UNC Tar Heels diamond design, but not as classy. The colors are pretty cool, but I just don’t know if I’m sold overall. Don’t get me wrong, I’d get a kick out of it if I saw someone with this jersey on at the bar. But I don’t know if it really crosses the “so bad it’s good” line. Regardless, the play that put these jerseys in the spotlight was pretty f*****g cool. (Submitted by TFTB’s own Greg Macafee (who clearly isn’t as big of a baseball guy as Deke))
Soccer: 1995 Blackburn Rovers
Our last entry this week comes from the 1995 Blackburn Rovers squad, who won the 1994-95 Premier League title. Led by the legendary Alan Shearer (who was also the league’s leading goal scorer), Blackburn won the title by only a point over Manchester United. I LOVE these jerseys. Asics is kind of a dark horse when talking about quality EPL kits, and they hit it out of the park with this one. I love the collared look (even though I always hated playing in collared jerseys myself), and the half-and-half design is pretty sleek, which is hard to pull off. Plus, any kit with a beer or lager as the sponsor on the front of the jersey is an instant classic (cc: Liverpool’s old Carlsberg kits) and can almost definitely be seen in pubs across the UK to this day.
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.