Watching the Blue Jays a bit this spring, I got to noticing that two of my favourite players, pitchers Casey Janssen and R.A. Dickey both wear their socks and pants in the traditional manner—knicker- bocker pants that end at the knee and full stockings. This is the way all baseball players used to look, before a kind of creeping sartorial laxity spread through the game. Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Al Kaline all showed some leg so to speak. As much as I admire Jose Bautista, I look at those pant bottoms almost under his cleats and despair. Writing in the Village Voice Paul Lukas was an early chronicler of the phenomenon. He describes the 1990’s as “the most chaotic decade in lower leg history.” He wrote, “Sowhat is to be done? For starters,the low-pants look has got to go. This style not only makes players appear as if they’re wearing footie pajamas, it also dishonors baseball’s hosiery heritage—leg wear is an integral part of a team’s color scheme,which is why we have franchises called the White Sox and Red Sox. So let’s begin by bringing pant legs back up to mid-or upper-shin.”You can trace the beginnings of long pants louche-ness to the great Willy Mays in the 50’s and 60’s. He wore his baggy pants about half way down the calf.Likewise muscular Tiger and Indians outfield-er Rocky Colavito showed a similarly disturbing trend around the same time. Thankfully, in addition to Janssen and Dickey there are other major leaguers keeping the classic tradition alive—
Chase Utley, Rajai Davis, Evan Longoria, Ryan Zimmerman—all upholding the their socks, so to speak. Jose Reyes wore long socks when he was a Met but as a Blue Jay has abandoned classicism for the PJ look. Steroids or not, A-Rod could still hit them out of the park wearing high socks, why can’t David Ortiz show some class? He’d look and, I daresay, feel a whole lot better rounding the bases showing off those red socks for which his storied team was named.
Written by: John Best