The Iconic Jersey:
Baseball x Fashion

June 12 – September 12, 2021

Runaway Clothes x G Yamazawa, Heart Mountain Jersey, 2017
Runaway Clothes x G Yamazawa, Heart Mountain Jersey, 2017

Coinciding with the projected opening of the new Polar Park Stadium in spring 2021, 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.

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support from the Fletcher Foundation. Additional support is provided by Larry and Stacey Lucchino, Cynthia L. Strauss and Harry A. Sherr, and the Murray Family Charitable Foundation. This project is also funded in part by the Don and Mary Melville Contemporary Art Fund, Ruth and John Adam, Jr. Exhibition Fund, Hall and Kate Peterson Fund, Heald Curatorial Fund, and Michie Family Curatorial Fund.

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

Selected Images

Manufactured by Majestic Athletic, Ltd., Worcester Red Sox Jersey, 2019Manufactured by Majestic Athletic, Ltd., Worcester Red Sox Jersey, 2019
Manufactured by W.A. Goodman & Sons, Houston Astros Uniform Shirt, worn by Joe Niekro, 1983Manufactured 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