Tag Archives: Uniform

Baseball Uniforms and Superstition

Background information: MD is a 21-year-old student at University of California San Diego. From a young age, he played baseball and was very involved in the sport throughout his childhood and young adult life. According to MD, baseball is a very superstitious sport, and athletes in general can be very superstitious.

MD: Baseball players are very superstitious about what we wear too, like accessories and the way we wear our socks or pants. Like for example, you can change the way you wear your arm sleeves, or wear different batting gloves. Even down to what our hairstyles are might impact the way you play a specific game. And once you find something that works well for you, you’re supposed to wear the same thing every game.

Me: How does what you wear affect how you play? What is the belief related to your clothing? 

MD: Depending on how well we play wearing a specific outfit or accessory, we’ll either make sure to wear the same thing every time, or never wear something again. Like, if I roll my socks all the way up before a game and play really badly, I’ll never wear them like that again. But if I use a certain glove and play really well, I’ll always wear the same glove.

Me: Did you have a specific way you would wear your baseball uniform to make sure you played well? 

MD: Um…I just switched it around pretty often – I would have streaks of playing well with one thing, and then when I felt like I should change it, I would switch it up and see what would happen, and if I would play well or not. We tend to blame the way we play on superstitions like this, instead of our actual, like, athleticism. Instead, we would blame it on how we wear our socks, or something like that (laughs). Baseball players are all about rituals.

MD had quite a few baseball-related superstitions that he could think of, which goes to show just how many pieces of folklore athletes engage in as part of their pre-game rituals. He emphasized the fact that, rather than blaming the way a person plays on their own ability, they often turn to folklore and established beliefs to explain why the game happened a certain way. Folklore acts as a way to explain the unexplainable for many different groups throughout history, so to see that baseball is a very modern example of this was interesting.

Superstitions Amongst College and Professional Athletes in the Locker Room

Nationality: American

Primary Language: English

Other Language(s): None

Age: 80

Residence: New York City, USA

Performance Date: April 9, 2017 (via Skype)



Robert is a 80 year old man, born and raised in New Jersey who is a retired business executive.  He played varsity level college basketball at the University of Florida and in the National Basketball Association with the New York Knicks.


Interviewer: Good Morning. Do professional athletes have superstations when they are active players?


Informant: “Well basically if you had a good game you never change your socks for the next game, you wear the same jock.  if you had a particular outfit that you wore to the game and it was a bad game then you would change the outfit and if it was a good game maybe you would wear it again the second day.  And those are some of the superstitions. If you were parked in a specific spot and you did have a good night then you would want that same spot. Then you would arrange everything you could to make sure you got the same spot all over again.


Interviewer:  So this is your recollection when you played ball in College as well as professionally for the New York Knicks.


Informent: Correct


Interviewer:  Was this about all players?


Informant: Most players all have superstitions. Some of the guys would before the game have warm ups. They would want to be the last one to shot the ball in the hoop before the game started. So they kind of hang out when everyone is getting ready to go to the bench before the game started and then they would take the ball and shoot the little jump shot just cause that was a superstition and they wanted to have the last shot.


Interviewer:  When did you first start observing these superstitions?


Informant: When I was in college at the University of Florida. Most ball players have a superstition. I mean it goes into how you put your uniform on, the same way. If you had a good game you always wondered what made you have a good game.


Interviewer: And ah did it ever play out to the point that where your superstition reinforced your belief?


Informant: Yes. You would have the superstition and if you hit three or four in a row you would say that’s it, that’s it, and then you would keep doing it until it changed. When it changed you would look for another superstition.


Thoughts about the piece:  

Anyone who has played or even been a spectator of sports observes silly rituals that are important to fans and players. This professional basketball player took the rules of luck seriously. For other sports superstitions that famous athletes believe see: http://www.mensfitness.com/life/sports/10-most-superstitious-athletes