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Promotions Watch: 2018 MLB Throwback Nights

Rays Anniversary Jersey

In one of the better promotional trends for 2018 Major League Baseball, several teams will feature throwback nights. The promotions in the works will allow fans to see a unique mix of retro-inspired uniforms, while simultaneously paying homage to history.

For some clubs, throwback nights will be a recurring promotion. The Philadelphia Phillies will feature Throwback Thursday during Thursday home games at Citizens Bank Park. As part of that promotion, the Phillies will wear 1980’s-style powder blue uniforms—replicating a look that the club sported decades ago.

The San Diego Padres have traditionally been active when it comes to promotions that honor their history, and that trend will continue this year. Select home games will be included as part of Wayback Wednesday, with this year’s theme being the celebration of the Padres’ 1998 National League champion club. Along with on-field uniforms inspired by the team’s 1998 look, Wayback Wednesdays will feature numerous giveaways, ranging from a replica 1998 NL Championship trophy (June 6) to a pennant (August 29).

The 2018 throwback slate is also shaped by franchise anniversaries. As our own Jarah Wright covered in a recent story, teams are taking broad measures to celebrate milestone anniversaries, and nights featuring throwback jerseys are a major part of some of those efforts.

The Tampa Bay Rays will wear an original gradient Tampa Bay Devil Rays design jersey for select games as part of their season-long celebration of their 20th anniversary, while the Miami Marlins plan to sport teal-pinstriped jerseys as part of their 25th anniversary weekend in June. For their 50th season in Oakland, the Oakland A’s will wear green jerseys during Friday home games, an homage to a look from their early years in Oakland.

Much like the Padres, the Arizona Diamondbacks have made throwback uniforms one of their traditional promotional offerings over the years. That trend is arguably being taken to a new level this year, as the D-Backs will wear throwback jerseys at various points to honor their 20th anniversary. The slate of throwback uniforms planned for 2018 include designs from the 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2011, and 2017 seasons.

Few uniform designs can match the level of nostalgia generated by the Houston Astros’ colorful looks of the 1970s and 1980s. The team is planning to bring back its look from 1979 as part of Turn Back the Clock Night. Scheduled for August 10, Turn Back the Clock Night will see the Astros and the visiting Seattle Mariners take the field in their 1979 uniform designs, while several other elements—including in-game entertainment and fireworks music—will give Minute Maid Park a 1970’s vibe.

Speaking of the Mariners, they are offering their own twist on throwback nights. In 1998, the Mariners turned ahead the clock to imagine what baseball may look like in 2027—an offering that saw the Mariners and visiting Kansas City Royals both wear futuristic uniform designs during a game at the Kingdome. Turn Ahead the Clock Night will be on display at Safeco Field on June 30, when the Mariners and the Royal meet for the 2018 edition of Turn Ahead the Clock night.

Any roundup of vintage uniforms would not be complete without a mention of the Royals, and their annual celebration of the Negro Leagues. This year’s Salute to the Negro Leagues will take place on Sunday, May 6, when the Royals host the Detroit Tigers. Both teams will don uniforms that pay homage to Negro Leagues teams from their cities, with the Royals sporting Kansas City Monarchs uniforms and the Tigers honoring the Detroit Stars. Proceeds from an auction of the jerseys will benefit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. As part of that promotion, the first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a Kansas City Monarchs Vintage Hat.

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