An ode to shorts: Baseball’s hairiest legacy

CHICAGO - 1976: Pitcher Rich 'Goose' Gossage, of the Chicago White Sox, throws a pitch during a game in 1976 at Comiskey Park in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by: Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CHICAGO - 1976: Pitcher Rich 'Goose' Gossage, of the Chicago White Sox, throws a pitch during a game in 1976 at Comiskey Park in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by: Diamond Images/Getty Images) /

The Chicago White Sox will forever live in baseball infamy for violating a 100-year fashion faux pas.

August 8, 1977. The day the Chicago White Sox made history by realizing it’s too hot to be wearing pants outside while running around.

On that day, the White Sox became the Black Shorts, trading their pants for Nair’s favorite fashion.

The White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals, 5-2 on that day, setting off a trend that would last…two more games. Chicago went 2-1 while wearing shorts, retiring them after a 6-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

The idea to wear shorts came from Sox owner Bill Veeck in an effort gain publicity. Which begs the question, how come more owners don’t have teams wear shorts in 2018?

Tampa Bay has been last in attendance since 2012. They were averaging 19,255 fans in 2012. They averaged 15,670 fans in 2017. During that six-year stretch, they’ve made the playoffs just once.

It’s hot in Tampa. My wife is from Tampa and I have to visit my in-laws at least twice year, usually in the winter for the holidays. I don’t pack anything that goes past my elbows or knees because it’s 75 degrees in Tampa in December. That’s December.

Baseball isn’t played in December because it’s too cold out. It’s played in July and August when it’s 100 degrees in most parts of the United States. It’s certainly over 100 degrees in Tampa in July. Yet, Brad Miller is out there wearing long pants trying to field ground balls and rounding the bases.

Now, you might be says, “Well, the Rays have a domed stadium. So, they can keep it cool.” Look, it’s not my fault that the Rays built the only non-retractable and smallest stadium in baseball. Maybe, if they built a stadium that took advantage of the outdoors, the players could wear shorts.

Let’s move 300 miles south to Miami. The Marlins don’t have a domed stadium, play in weather that is just as warm than Tampa, and field a team that is worse than Tampa.

Why aren’t they wearing shorts?

Giancarlo Stanton would still be in Miami if he could show off his thighs once every two weeks.

There’s a myth that baseball don’t wear shorts because they would scuff up their legs when stealing bases. Sorry to disappoint you, but the 1977 White Sox went 8-for-8 on stolen bases while wearing shorts. It’s a proven that if players wear shorts, they are guaranteed to swipe a base. Miami had 91 stolen bases last season and were caught steal 30 times. They would have had 30 more stolen bases had they worn shorts.

Leg hair does not slow you down the way long pants do. You can’t trip over leg hair.

And that’s the real reason why shorts will never make a comeback in baseball. Leg hair.

Baseball hates hair.

Look at the four major sports that don’t require a helmet. Baseball, soccer, tennis, and MTV’s The Challenge. Only one sport requires their participants to wear a hat. Imagine Roger Federer covering that gorgeous mane with a Nike hat or Cristiano Ronaldo covering those beautiful frosted tips or Johnny Bananas, wait, he’d probably wear a hat as long as he could market it.

It’s a known fact that hats make you bald. Look at all the retired players turned analysts. All bald. And if they’re not bald now, they’ll be bald within five years.

Moving down the body, you will notice that very few MLB players have facial hair. One reason is because, according to Yankees fans, everyone wants to play for the Yankees, and you can’t have facial hair in New York. The other reason is because facial hair is itchy in 100 degree weather.

Which brings us to the legs. Baseball players are already balding, facial hair is bothersome or frowned upon, armpit hair is just gross.

Leg hair is the only sacred thing left in baseball.