RETAIL : Retro Uniform Styles Cover All the Bases at Anaheim Stadium

Compiled by Greg Johnson / Times staff writer

When it comes to fashion, classic designs usually prevail. It's no different in the sports world. For proof, head out to Anaheim Stadium and catch what the home and visiting teams are wearing.

"Nobody's got anything that's outrageous anymore, like the old Chicago White Sox who went to short pants or the old Houston Astro 'rainbow' uniforms," said Craig Gerber, director of marketing for the California Angels. "The clubs have gone to a 'retro' look, updating classic uniforms for today."

Change is apparently the name of the game when it comes to Major League uniforms. Only six of baseball's 28 teams didn't tinker with their uniforms before this season's first pitch.

The Cleveland Indians, who completed a three-game stand at Anaheim on Wednesday night, are sporting new garb at home and away, Gerber said, including black shoes that are worn only on the road. But the biggest change occurred in Houston, where the Astros replaced their "rainbow" uniform with a more traditional design.

It isn't a case of change for change's sake, Gerber said. Uniforms do get dated. As important, many fans get tired of seeing the same old thing.

Chicago's White Sox proved that a few years ago when a dramatic uniform change pushed the team's memorabilia and sportswear sales from dead last to No. 1. Two years ago, sales of Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies merchandise shot to the top--even though the teams had yet to play a game.

The sales explosion generated by the Rockies and Marlins benefited every club, Gerber said, because merchandise royalties are generally split among all Major League teams.

Before last year's Angels redesign, which Gerber described as "an updated look at a classic uniform," sales of the home team's merchandise ranked 27th out of 28 baseball clubs. According to the league's most recent figures, the Angels are a top-tier club when it comes to sales.

"The fans definitely like the new look," Gerber said. "I'm seeing more fans wearing the new hats and logos."

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