NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For the first time ever, the Yankees will play in jerseys bearing their names later this month.
No, the Yankees aren’t permanently shedding their long-standing tradition, but rather participating in Major League Baseball’s Players Weekend promotion. From Aug. 25-27, players will wear alternate jerseys inspired by youth-league uniforms. The athletes can express themselves by placing a nickname on the back of their jerseys if they choose.
The players also may use uniquely colored and designed spikes, batting gloves, bats and more. They’ll also wear specially designed caps and socks, as well as a patch where they can write the name of a person or organization that was instrumental to their development.
“The journey from youth leagues to Major League Baseball is one that players don’t take alone,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a news release. “Major League players have been supported by family members, coaches and organizations that helped them develop their unique skills and overcome challenges to reach the highest level of the sport. These games will allow the players to thank those who were important in their lives while showcasing their personality in a fun way that fits baseball’s community-driven focus.”
In its announcement Wednesday, MLB made a point of mentioning that the Yankees, the only team in U.S. major pro sports that does not print names on the back of any of their jerseys, will participate. “Just imagine if this happened years ago, with the sight of Bambino, Joltin’ Joe and the Mick over their numbers,” the news release reads. The Yankees host the Mariners on Players Weekend.
Some of the jersey nicknames already have been revealed. Yankees star rookie Aaron Judge will wear “All Rise,” while third baseman Todd Frazier will sport “The Toddfather.” Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes will don “La Potencia” (Spanish for “The Power”) while Michael Conforto will use “Scooter,” a nickname given to him by teammates for reasons even he doesn’t know.
“It’s pretty cool — especially for me, someone who played in the Little League World Series,” Conforto said. “It’s cool that at the highest level you can still connect to all the kids that are playing the game that we love. For MLB to have an event like Players Weekend dedicated to that is pretty cool.”
“Any time you can benefit and help people out in any way, that’s what we’re here for, to inspire people and help people out,” Judge said. “We’re all blessed to be in this situation to play Major League Baseball. Anything we can do is pretty rewarding.”