Monday, June 4, 2007

Why Do Baseball Managers Wear Uniforms?

This "tradition" goes all the way back to the 1850's. Rounders, a sport which contributed to the invention of modern day baseball, was played by amateurs acting as both players and self-appointed coaches.

According to The Straight Dope...

In baseball, the "captain" was almost uniformly a member of the team until after the turn of the century. Most teams may, indeed, have had men serving as "manager," but their job was not to guide the team on the field; rather, the manager took care of travel arrangements and served more as a team's traveling secretary than anything else.

After the turn of the century, those guys who had formerly been captains of their teams, unwilling to depart from the game entirely when they were no longer capable of playing it, began to be sought after to manage the teams on the field. This would seem sensible, as these folks had years of experience with the nuances of the game, and leaving the decision-making to someone in the dugout allowed the players to concentrate on ... well, playing.

Apparently, the habit of wearing a uniform wasn't something the new managers were too keen on abandoning - so they didn't. The notable exception was Connie Mack (pictured above), legendary manager of the Philadelphia Athletics, who in his later years never left the dugout. Why? Because in their infinite wisdom, the Lords of Baseball had decided that if it was good enough to be a tradition, it was good enough to be a rule. Mack liked suits. Baseball didn't like anyone not in a uniform on the field.

This rule, however, appears to be more of a league edict than a "rule." The only reference to such things in the official rules of major league baseball is a 1957 rule requiring coaches to be in uniform, specifically referring to first and third-base coaches. It's suspected that the rule has been interpreted to mean any person whose presence on the field fills a coaching capacity.

...So, essentially, it all boils down to tradition???? If so, then why don't the pitchers hit in the AL? Why are double-headers only reserved for make-up games? Why have day games nearly become extinct? Hmmmm....sounds like the convenient answer to me.

Personally, I think these managers look absurd. Put them in more professional attire...and maybe their behavior will follow suit (yes, that means Ozzie Guillen, Lou Pinella, etc). You don't think such a move has helped the image of the NBA (the players' dress code)?? Think again.

Seriously, imagine Andy Reid in shoulder pads every Sunday? Imagine Lawrence Frank showing up to the Continental Airlines Arena in short shorts every night? Sounds ridiculous, right? Exactly!


Simply Suds said...

So you want them to wear more formal of attire? So do base coaches have to be more formal while out on the field too? They would look like jerkoffs. And managers, unlike other sports, actually have to go on to the field during game play (granted time is called, but its in the middle of an inning usually). You want to see Jim Leyland walk to the mound in a shirt and tie ? I'm me out.

Chieftain said...

To be honest, I'm not sure what they should be wearing. But, I'm sick of seeing their fat gunts tucked into spandex. Most of them are 60+ years old for Christ's sake!

Maybe something similar to Bilichick's or Jon Gruden's Sunday attire.