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New MLB uniform honors military for Memorial Day

Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Anthony L. Taylor meets Alexei Ramirez, White Sox shortstop, during the Chicago White Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles game at U.S. Cellular Field, July 4. Service members from each branch of service were honored on the field during the game in front of an audience of more than 22,000 during the Independence Day celebrations. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. David Lietz/Released)
April 16, 2019

Major League Baseball plans to incorporate some special edition uniforms for 2019, including Memorial Day uniforms to honor the U.S. military.

The new line of uniforms will debut in May, which is also Military Appreciation Month, for Memorial Day and will honor the fallen heroes and military personnel throughout the month, Yahoo Sports reported.

Instead of the camouflage hats and jersey accents used in the past, the Memorial Day uniforms will now include a poppy patch with the phrase “Lest We Forget,” used for the last century to commemorate the fallen.

Another change is that the new uniforms will not be sold in retail and will remain exclusively for the players on the field. However, commemorative hats and socks will be offered for sale, with the profits donated to military charities.

Between May 17 and 19, teams will wear camouflage-tinted jerseys, with camouflage hats and special socks, to commemorate Armed Forces Day. An emblem featuring five stars for each military branch will appear on the hats. The Armed Forces Day uniforms will be available for sale to the public, and all of the royalty revenues will go to charity.

A new line will also be introduced in July for Independence Day and proceeds will again be donated to military charities.

Melanie LeGrande, Major League Baseball’s vice president of Social Responsibility said, “From Major League Baseball’s perspective, it was important for us to ensure that we were being appropriate to the spirit of Memorial Day. It’s a great opportunity for us to celebrate and support the military, to honor those who have been lost, and to understand their memory, their commitment, and how we feel about military families who have lost a loved one.”

LeGrande said Major League Baseball decided to save major uniform changes for Armed Forces Day, “when it’s more appropriate,” and instead added the subtle poppy patch for Memorial Day.

All of the 30 clubs will also wear one of their historic team emblems with the side highlighting their own American or National League logos.

“We’ve heard from players, from fans, clubs, stakeholders, and we wanted to make sure we were being respectful and understanding the public perception that is out there,” LeGrande told Military Times.

The donated funds from the commemorative hats, socks, and Armed Forces Day uniforms is one way that Major League Baseball is using to give back to the military and their families.

“We don’t want to earn revenue on things that are supposed to honor those that we lost. We want to continue to raise funds, but we want to do it in a way that’s respectful,” LeGrande said.

MLB plans to hold “celebratory and commemorative activities” in their community outreach program, such as “throwing out the first pitch, inviting our service members [to the game] and ensuring people in the stands understand the importance of the day,” LeGrande said.

“It’s so very important for us to be able to amplify this message and to let our fans know that we want to serve those who serve us,” she added.