The Iconic Jersey:
Baseball x Fashion

June 12 – September 12, 2021

Spotify logoHear our Spotify playlist G. Yamazawa wearing the Heart Mountain Jersey
G. Yamazawa wearing the Heart Mountain Jersey. Photographed by Jillian Clark.

Coinciding with the opening of the new Polar Park Stadium, a groundbreaking exhibition at WAM will focus on one of the most recognizable garments in American culture: the baseball jersey. Inspired by the move of the Boston Red Sox's Triple-A Affiliate to Worcester, The Iconic Jersey: Baseball x Fashion will feature over 35 historic and contemporary jerseys and baseball-inspired fashion to trace the development, experimentation, and dissemination of the iconic American-style baseball shirt in the sport, on the runway, and in everyday life. Organized by Erin R. Corrales-Diaz, WAM's assistant curator of American art, the exhibition will explore the baseball jersey as an entry point into 170 years of baseball uniforms. Pioneering in its approach, The Iconic Jersey will be the first exhibition solely devoted to the baseball jersey in an art museum.

The Iconic Jersey examines the relationship between aesthetics and athletics, fashion and function, and nostalgia and modernity all through the lens of a singular garment. Clothing is a profoundly personal artform, accessible and intrinsic to our daily lives, and each garment has an aesthetic story to tell. For example, stitched into the bird-on-the-bat logo for Stan Musial's 1952 St. Louis Cardinal's jersey are the efforts of the women employed by R.J. Liebe Lettering Company, who embroidered the elaborate chainstitch by hand until 2003. The Heart Mountain Jersey was a collaborative design project between G Yamazawa and Runaway Clothing to honor the Japanese-American baseball players during World War II internment camps. A head-to-toe sequined Boston Red Sox outfit walked the runway during the Ashish x Major League Baseball 2017 capsule collection, a move the British designer felt brought a message of positivity during a moment of turmoil.

Displayed alongside contextual ephemera of fabric swatch books, logo designs, and historic photographs, these garments demonstrate creativity, craftsmanship, and culture that operate inside and out of the ballpark—and tell a fascinating story about the evolution of one of American's most enduring cultural icons.

Press Release

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support from the Fletcher Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Arthur M. and Martha R. Pappas Foundation, Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation, Lunder Foundation-Peter and Paula Lunder family, Murray Family Charitable Foundation, Red Sox Foundation, Larry and Stacey Lucchino, Renee and James Skeffington, Jr., Cynthia L. Strauss and Harry A. Sherr, and an anonymous donor. This project is also funded in part by the Ruth and John Adam, Jr. Exhibition Fund, Heald Curatorial Fund, Don and Mary Melville Contemporary Art Fund, Michie Family Curatorial Fund, and Hall and Kate Peterson Fund.

Related exhibition programming is supported by the Burrow Movie Fund, Amelia and Robert H. Haley Memorial Lecture Fund, Bernard G. and Louise B. Palitz Fund, and Spear Fund for Public Programs.

Exhibition sponsored by: Samuel Adams, Country Bank, Gilbane, Gatorade, and Webster Five.

Media Partner: The Boston Globe

WAM's mascot 'Helmutt' standing ready to bat, dressed in a 'WooSox' baseball uniform

Use our custom app to mix and match features to design one-of-a-kind jerseys for Helmutt!

Related Programs

Member Events

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Curator Talk

Thursday, June 24, 6pm
Program held on Zoom; contact TaraLeahy@worcesterart.org for the link.

Erin Corrales-Diaz, Curator of The Iconic Jersey: Baseball x Fashion; Tom Shieber, Senior Curator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum; Sarah Coffin, Curator of the Boston Red Sox.

Salisbury Art Series

Thursday, July 22, 5:30pm
Program held on Zoom; contact NancyJeppson@worcesterart.org for the link.

The Salisbury Society and Corporators are invited to a conversation with Larry Lucchino, Chairman of the Worcester Red Sox.

Home Base: Photographs of Local Baseball History

June 12 – September 12, 2021
Various locations around the Museum

Enjoy a nostalgic display of historic photographs of baseball teams and players from across the state.

Free Public Programs

Children's program: Meet the author

Saturday, July 24, 10am
Program held on Zoom and Facebook Live. Register now on Zoom.
Free

Matt Tavares, children's book author and illustrator (including Zachary's Ball, Growing up Pedro, Henry Aaron's Dream, Becoming Babe Ruth, and There Goes Ted Williams) talks about his creative inspiration.

Community Day

Saturday, September 12, 10am to 4pm
Free

Join a full day of baseball fun for all ages.
Sponsored by Webster Five and the Red Sox Foundation.

Art Talks

All programs will be held via Zoom and Facebook Live. To attend via Zoom, register using the links below. Free for Members; $5 for nonmembers.

Thursday, June 17, 6pm

Talk: Todd Radom, author of Winning Ugly: A Visual History of the Most Bizarre Baseball Uniforms Ever Worn (2018), gives an entertaining talk on graphic design for professional sports, the aesthetics of baseball, and the dynamics of brand loyalty between consumers and professional sports franchises. This program is offered as part of the 2020-21 Master Series, sponsored by AbbVie.

Thursday, July 15, 6pm

Film: Showing of The Other Boys of Summer, a documentary about racism, segregation, and civil rights in America, told through the lives of the Negro League baseball players. Followed by Q&A session with film director Lauren Meyers and Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Program held on Zoom – Register now.

Thursday, July 29, 6pm

Talk: Anika Orrock, author and illustrator of The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and illustrator of the children's baseball book, Birdie Can Too!, gives insight on the history and design of the women's uniforms.
Program held on Zoom – Register now.

Thursday, August 12, 6pm

Talk: Paul Lukas is a journalist, storyteller, and media artist, and author of “Uni Watch,” the sports world's only media project devoted to uniform design, talks about uniform trends through the years. His work has appeared in The New York Times, GQ, Fortune, Gourmet, Saveur, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, ESPN The Magazine, Spin, Glamour, The New Republic, The Financial Times, ESPN.com, and Slate.com, among many other publications and websites.
Program held on Zoom – Register now.

Thursday, August 26, 6pm

Talk: Emma McClendon, fashion historian and author based in New York City, speaks about her Fashion Institute of Technology exhibition, Uniformity, which explored the dynamic history behind a variety of uniforms, considering their social role and their influence on high fashion. Currently teaching in the MA Fashion Studies program at Parsons School of Design, her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Economist, CNN, Vogue, WWD, The Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal among others.
Program held on Zoom – Register now.

Studio Class Program: Online Lecture

Instructor: Liz Ives
August 24, 2021 6pm-7:30pm
Program held on Zoom – Register now
$10

During this lecture and discussion, we will cover the changing ideas of historic sportswear. By examine everything from jousting armor to hunting habits, and Victorian tennis dresses to 1920's bathing suits, we will touch on the ideas of tribalism, the luxury of free time versus passive participation, gender rolls, and public versus private performative sport. Inspired by the Worcester Art Museum special exhibition The Iconic Jersey: Baseball x Fashion.

Press

Hypebeast.com
Worcester Art Museum Examines the Baseball Jersey's Iconic Connection to Fashion
By Brycen Saunders, June 16, 2021

The Guardian
The Baseball Shirt: Cultural Icon and Fashion Accessory – In Pictures
By Sarah Gilbert, June 1, 2021

Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Worcester Art Museum steps up to the plate with new exhibition 'The Iconic Jersey: Baseball x Fashion'
By Richard Duckett, May 30, 2021

Selected Images

Wright & Ditson, Boston Red Sox Uniform Shirt, worn by Jesse Tannehill, 1908, wool flannel
Wright & Ditson, Boston Red Sox Uniform Shirt, worn by Jesse Tannehill, 1908, wool flannel, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, B-176-61. Courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum/Milo Stewart Jr.
Manufactured by W.A. Goodman & Sons, Houston Astros Uniform Shirt, worn by Joe Niekro, 1983
Manufactured by W.A. Goodman & Sons, Houston Astros Uniform Shirt, worn by Joe Niekro, 1983, polyester National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, B-50-83
MIZIZI, Ghana Baseball Jersey, Polyester
MIZIZI, Ghana Baseball Jersey, Polyester, courtesy of MIZIZI International, LLC. Courtesy of Kwesi Yanful (@kwesithethird) with Creative Direction by Temi Thomas (@temithomas_)