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Chicago Cubs catcher Gabby Hartnett, 1937

The zipper, in its earliest form, was invented in 1891, but it was not until the 1930s that the handy fastener was added to the baseball uniform. The 1937 Chicago Cubs were the first big league club to switch from a button-down jersey to the zipper-front style, but other teams soon followed Chicago’s lead. The zipper fad reached its peak in 1940 and ’41, when half of all big league clubs had zippered jerseys. The last club to wear a zipper-front jersey was the Philadelphia Phillies in 1986.


Return to Timeline: 1921-1940


Dressed to the Nines: A History of the Baseball Uniform
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