Welcome to the return of 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. This week, we’ll take a look at some of the classic jerseys that belong to the franchises that are no longer with us (R.I.P. in peace).
All submissions are welcome by messaging @tftb_smalls on IG.
Football: Houston Oilers
I realize I’ve already featured Warren Moon’s Oilers jersey in an earlier edition of the Vault, but you can’t talk about extinct NFL franchises without bringing up the Houston Oilers. After producing legends like Moon, Earl Campbell, and Bruce Matthews, the Oilers were responsible for many of football’s great moments through the 80’s and 90’s. If you haven’t been able to pick up on my fondness of powder blue uniforms by now, I guess you haven’t been tuning into the Vault up to this point. Powder blue has always looked and will always look incredible on a uniform. Because of that, the Houston Oilers jersey is the first jersey included this week.
Basketball: Seattle SuperSonics
The franchise that eventually made its way to Oklahoma City to become the Thunder is the basketball selection for this week’s Vault. The city of Seattle was devastated when the team moved across the country, and its not surprising after the talent that was on display at KeyArena over the years. Guys like Shawn Kemp, Ray Allen, and Kevin Durant (who was originally drafted by the SuperSonics) are just a few names to don the green Seattle jerseys. I personally like the forest green and red editions of the 90’s because of that vintage 90’s NBA look I’ve become so fond of.
Honorable Mention: Pittsburgh Condors
Had to thrown in some Pittsburgh love too by including the ABA’s Pittsburgh Condors jersey. Incredible.
Hockey: Quebec Nordiques
The hockey selection this week belonged to the Quebec Nordiques, the franchise that eventually became the Colorado Avalanche. Producing Hall of Famers like Guy Lafleur, Mats Sundin, and Peter Forsberg, the Nordiques hold a special place in hockey history (and that’s not even mentioning the Good Friday Massacre against the Canadiens). Before the team was sold to a group of investors in Denver, they had already begun building the team that would eventually win the Stanley Cup in the Avalanche’s inaugural season. Even though it was a cruel twist of fate, the Nordiques’ sweaters will always stand the test of time. The logo is clean, and the fleur-de-lis logos on the torso are a unique addtion.
Honorable Mention: California Golden Seals
The “Golden Seals” was actually the name of a professional sports franchise. That is all.
Baseball: Montreal Expos
These old Expos uniforms might be my favorite MLB jersey of all time. Wanna know why? B***h you guessed it. POWDER BLUE IS KING. The sleek Expos logo doesn’t hurt either. Before the franchise began their downward spiral in the 90’s and moved to DC in 2005, they churned out studs like Tim Raines and Vlad Guerrero. The Nationals actually recently wore these as throwbacks, and they looked gorgeous. They really cannot be beaten.
Soccer: New York/New Jersey MetroStars
The final selection in this week’s Vault comes to us from the NY/NJ MetroStars of the MLS. The MetroStars were part of the inaugural MLS season in 1996 and eventually became the New York Red Bulls, which they still go by today. Although they never won an MLS title, they did have players like Roberto Donadoni and Tim Howard grace the pitch wearing their logo. Howard actually used his MetroStars performances to springboard across the pond to Manchester United. I personally LOVE the jerseys sported by the club. I’m a sucker for the vertical stripes, and the logo has a late-90’s/early-2000’s vibe to it. Plus, these were worn back when the jerseys were entirely too baggy. What a time to be a professional soccer player in America.
Honorable Mention: Chivas USA
Who would’ve thought that a subsidiary of a Mexican league team based in LA that shared a stadium with the LA Galaxy wouldn’t end up doing well in the long run? Jerseys were at least kinda cool.
DISCLAIMER: I’m still in my “college student-to-real adult with a career” transition, so I can’t promise that the Vault will go back to being a weekly installment quite yet. I’ve really missed doing it, and I apologize for not keeping up with it. Life sometimes gets in the way. I’m working to get back to a regular writing schedule, so please bear with me. Good things are coming.