Top 5 Jerseys in Philadelphia Sports History
We’re in the second week of February and things for the most part, are pretty dead in the Philly sports world. The Super Bowl is over, Flyers games are postponed this week due to COVID-19, Phillies Spring Training doesn’t start until next week, Embiid is dominating, and everyone in Philadelphia hates Carson Wentz, while Wentz seemingly hates everyone right back.
That being said, we’re bringing over The Philly Phive, which originated on the Wolves of Broad Street, a podcast I host with fellow TLL contributor Sam Glavin. The Philly Phive has always lacked one component: visual aids. We have always wanted to do Top Five Jerseys, but the podcast medium would not do these beauties justice. Bear in mind, these are in no particular order to minimize controversy.
1. Eagles: Kelly Green Home (1985-1995)
We’ll get one of the more obvious choices out of the way early with these classic threads. It’s no secret everybody in Philly loves these jerseys, myself included. Worn by legends like Reggie White, Randall Cunningham, and Jerome Brown, the kelly green look is as iconic as it gets. The vintage logo alone makes Eagles gear from this era a must-cop. Modern fans rock with the midnight green, don’t get me wrong, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a die-hard fan that doesn’t have at least one item sporting the old school color scheme. Along with that, pretty much every single Eagles fan has been pushing for a kelly green alternate jersey over the past decade. We’ll see if the franchise can finally do something right when the NFL drops the one helmet rule that has prevented these jerseys from seeing the field for the first time since 2010.
2. Union: Bethlehem Steel Throwback (2014)
Hearkening back to the early days of American soccer, the Union paid tribute to Bethlehem Steel FC. It’s a travesty the Union only wore this kit for one season. The Union are by far the little brother franchise here in Philadelphia, but this jersey is one of the best ever produced in the city. I’m not ashamed to say I own this jersey, although it is now two sizes too small. The kit is actually made better by the Bimbo logo, which cannot be said for the club’s newest kit. The black and white contrast is incredibly clean. Plus, the oversized club crest is reminiscent of classic soccer kits from history. I know it’s difficult to justify wearing these jerseys for more than just the one year, but I still think it’s a travesty they haven’t used the design or something like it recently.
3. Flyers: 2012 Winter Classic
The Flyers have had more or less the same look since the team’s inception. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? However, there have been some pretty sweet variations on the classic orange and black. Despite never winning a Winter Classic on the scoreboard, the Fly Guys caught a win with this on-ice look in 2012. Tweaking the colors ever so slightly was refreshing, and the Keystone State alternate captain patch looked a beauty on eventual captain Claude Giroux. Plus, the retro lace-up v-neck provided another example as to why hockey jerseys are unmatched. These uniforms were so widely loved, the Flyers realized they could not be left as a one-off. Thus, they revived the look as an alternate uniform for the 2014-2015 season. They were only worn for 12 games, but they still have that same staying power.
4. Phillies Powder Blue (Eternal)
I have always been a strong proponent of the powder blue uniforms for the Phillies. Currently, the only jersey I own for the team is a powder blue Scott Kingery (don’t ask). Originally worn from 1973-1988 as the Phillies’ road uniform, these baby blue bad boys were reintroduced into the lineup, retro logo and all, in 2018. Honestly, I’m surprised it took the Phillies so long to make that move. Granted, it took them years to get a competent bullpen, so I guess a 30-year wait for this jersey is just par for the course. Ideally, the Phillies will hold onto these in some capacity for the foreseeable future. Worn by Phillies legends like Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt, these powder blues should be here to stay with what is hopefully the next crop of all-time Phillies.
5. Sixers: Black “Dazzle” (1997-2009)
Need I say more? Yes, black is not a traditional Sixers color, and there may be some better-looking iterations from a strictly aesthetic standpoint, but these are easily the most beloved jerseys by my generation of Sixers fans. Allen Iverson was already a standout talent, but when the 76ers changed to the black jerseys with that famously shiny material, he stood out even more. No Sixers team has enjoyed the success of the Iverson era since it happened. These jerseys represent not only the razzle-dazzle that defined The Answer’s time in Philly, but also the last time the Sixers truly competed for anything (until this 2020-2021 season). Their appearance in the 2001 NBA Finals is more than enough to warrant a place in this list. Old school fans get a pass for disliking these jerseys, but stupid people (i.e. Jack Connell) do not. Look at them. How can you not love them?
Honorable Mention: Phillies’ Saturday Night Specials (1979 and 2019 reboot)
Anyone that doesn’t like these is either old enough to remember when the Phillies had never won a championship or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (no taste). These jerseys are awesome and literally nobody can convince me otherwise. Sure, they’ve been worn in only two games 40 years apart (both of them losses), but they really are not as bad as the haters say. If I could, I’d buy this whole jersey set so I could wear it as a tracksuit sit and sit on my porch with sunglasses and a cigar.
Alright folks, that’s gonna do it for this list. If you want to hear more Philly Phives from me and Sam, be sure to check out The Wolves of Broad Street, only on The Liberty Line.
Mandatory Credit: Eagles Pro Shop