The story of the Atlanta Braves’ uniform history is as rich and layered as the history of the franchise itself. It’s the story of the oldest continuously operating professional sports team this country has ever seen.
Founded as the Boston Red Stockings in the spring of 1871, the team was incorporated as a charter member of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players. They were the forerunner to the National League, and one of only two NL charter franchises that still exist today.
The team tried on a handful of other names – including the Beaneaters, Doves, Rustlers, and Bees – before becoming the Braves in 1912. Years later, they even switched back to the Bees for a few years.
The Braves spent almost 50 years in Boston and then did a 12-year stay in Milwaukee before finally transitioning to their current home in Atlanta. Throughout their long history, the Braves are the only franchise to have fielded a team in every recorded season of professional baseball.
Logo and Nickname History
1912–1915: The first logo of the Boston Braves features a red Native American cartoon head in a traditional headdress.
1916–1920: The cartoon Native American image is placed on a blue background.
1921–1924: The logo changes to a simple, Old English letter “B.”
1929–1935: The team reverts to a cartoon-style logo, with a turned head and more elaborate coloring.
1938–1944: A new name takes hold – the Boston Bees – once again represented by an Old English letter “B.” The name change only lasts three seasons, but the logo remains largely the same for a while.
1945–1955: The cartoon Native American logo reappears with another turn of the head, a more detailed face, and slightly altered coloring.
1956–1965: Two years into their Milwaukee experiment, the Braves change to their most debated logo: a red caricature of a Native American with white teeth, a mohawk, and an earring. This is commonly referred to as the “laughing Indian” or “screaming Indian” logo.
1966–1967: The team’s first logo as the Atlanta Braves draws inspiration from the Milwaukee era, but uses more realistic colors.
1968–1971: The team adds the word “Braves” to their logo, scripted in blue font with red trim.
1972–1984: The coloring of the Indian head changes to a simple two-tone design with a blue background. The “Braves” script is altered to match this coloring.
1985–1986: The logo is slightly modified with a larger Native American head, new coloring, and the word “Braves” placed higher up.
1987–1989: The blue background and the “Braves” script become slightly darker.
1990–Present: Atlanta’s modern logo has removed the Native American cartoon for good, but they keep the scripted “Braves.” The team name sits above a tomahawk to pay tribute to the Natives.
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1913: The Boston Braves use a traditional, white, button-down uniform with a red letter “B” on the chest. They also wear blue caps and red-and-blue striped stockings. Unfortunately, the team is commonly confused with the American League Boston team, now known as the Red Sox.
1916: A new circular logo with a Native American cartoon against a blue background replaces the “B” on the chest. A solid blue cap is used on the road.
1930: The team name is incorporated into the logo on the front of the uniform, with the Native American cartoon head placed between the letters “A” and “V” in “Braves.” The color scheme is red and yellow. The cartoon logo also takes the place of uniform numbers on the back of the uniform, until a league-wide rule mandates the numbers in 1935.
1938: The team rebrands itself as the Boston Bees for three seasons. The Bees wear a pinstriped uniform with a yellow, block-letter “B” and matching blue and yellow stockings.
1941: The team changes things up on their home uniform, returning to the Braves name. They opt for a simple white and blue color scheme with a large, Old English letter “B” on the chest.
1945: The letter “B” on the home uniform is replaced with the team name in a simple, bold font. The Native American chief logo appears on the left sleeve.
1946: The logo features the name “Braves” scripted over a tomahawk with a red and blue color scheme, similar to the team’s current look.
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1953: Upon the team’s move to Milwaukee, an “M” replaces the “B” on the cap, and numbers are added to the front midsection of the uniform.
1963: The team removes the tomahawk from the logo and shades the uniform darker.
1968: The Braves spring for a fresh look for their new home in Atlanta, adding pinstripes to the uniform and removing the front numbering. The letter “A” replaces the “M” on the cap.
1972: The classic gray road uniform changes to a vibrant blue uniform, with the “Braves” logo scripted in white with red trim. Numbers return to the front midsection of the uniform. Notably, the team’s alternate logo, devoid of any racially sensitive depictions, first appears on the left sleeve.
1979: The road uniform returns to a traditional gray look with blue sleeves. The uniform is a T-shirt style without buttons, an MLB trend of the decade. “Atlanta” replaces the team name on the front, written in blue font with red and white trim.
1980: The Braves, a little late to the powder blue MLB craze of the ’70s, finally switch to the bright side.
1987: The Braves return to button-down-style uniforms and gray road uniforms that feature the familiar tomahawk below the city name. This look mirrors the team’s modern home/away uniform combo.
2005: The team introduces a red alternate uniform with blue and white secondary coloring.
2008: Alternate navy blue road uniforms with gray pants are introduced. The uniforms feature “Atlanta” on the breast in navy blue script with a white outline.
2012: In tribute to the team’s earliest days in Atlanta, the Braves unveil new alternate uniforms in a cream shading with numbers on the front of the uniform.
2013: The Braves wear a gray throwback uniform for select games. The uniform has minimal detailing with red font and a red trim along the sleeves.
2014: The Braves honor the record-breaking 1974 season of Hank Aaron with throwback uniforms.
2014: The Braves celebrate the 1969 season with an all-gray tribute uniform. The team name appears in dark blue shading with red trim.
2016: A clean and sharp white home uniform, reminiscent of 1946, but modern in its elegance.
Looking Back to Look Forward
In a day and age when the use of Native American alternative names, insensitive depictions, and especially unbecoming cartoons have been widely criticized, the Atlanta Braves have largely remained above the fray by being proactive in their changes.
Despite being the team’s official logo until 1990, the Native American chief hasn’t appeared on a uniform since 1972. It’s never appeared on the team’s hat, which has been marked with a simple letter to represent the home city since the days it showed a “B” for Boston.
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This kind of modern sensitivity keeps any push for a major change at bay.
Then again, the oldest organization in professional baseball has a tendency to shake things up just when everyone gets comfortable. With a brand new ballpark called SunTrust Park opening next season, who knows what the Atlanta Braves will be wearing.
Are you ready to shake things up with a fresh Atlanta Braves look? Check out our selection of Braves gear on Fanatics.com.