ATLANTA — Hank Aaron recognized the look. Just not the feel.
The Atlanta Braves unveiled a new alternate home uniform Monday that is based on the attire worn when the team moved from Milwaukee in 1966, with Aaron as its biggest star.
“It’s a beautiful uniform,” he said during a ceremony held at Turner Field in the 755 Club — which is named after Aaron’s career home run total. “And it’s not wool. Those first uniforms were wool.”
The cream-colored uniforms feature the customary Braves script across the front, but without the tomahawk that is below the nickname on the regular home white jerseys. There is a patch on the arms with two crisscrossing tomahawks and the year “1876” — when the franchise was founded in Boston.
Chipper Jones, Dan Uggla and Brian McCann were on hand to model the uniforms.
“I love it,” said Jones. “You have to keep things fresh. Everyone gets excited when they break out something new.”
The new uniforms will be worn during weekend home games. The alternate red jersey that had been worn on Sundays since 2005 now will be used for Friday night games in Atlanta.
The regular home whites will be reserved for games Monday through Thursday.
During the ceremony, Jones sat next to Aaron, who broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974 and held the mark for three decades until surpassed by Barry Bonds.
“This harkens back to the days when my man here was terrorizing the big leagues,” Jones said, pointing at a smiling Aaron. “It’s a classic look.”
While modeled after the ‘66 design, the uniform contains one subtle difference that will be apparent to fans: the patch on the arm replaces the “screaming warrior” that was deemed racist by some Indian groups and was dropped by the team in the 1980s.
The biggest improvement from Aaron’s era is the material, a cool-based blend that is especially vital to a team that plays its home games in the often brutal Georgia heat. When the Braves moved to Atlanta, the uniforms were made of wool flannel.
“The weight of the uniform is huge to a lot of us,” Jones said. “It can get awfully hot in Atlanta.”
Aaron was amazed at how much different the uniform felt compared to the one he wore in the ‘60s.
“Heck, I think I could still play a bit in these uniforms,” quipped Aaron, who turned 78 on Sunday and was walking with the aid of a cane while he recovers from recent knee replacement surgery. “We used to play doubleheaders in those old wool uniforms. Did we like ‘em? We didn’t know any difference. We just wanted a big league uniform.”