The Bulldogs wore four different jerseys (white STATE, white 85s, maroon 85s, "Nickelblack" black 85s) and five total combinations throughout their 2019 postseason run.
Black 85 over Black: 3-0 NCAAT Record, Regional Championship, Super Regional Championship
Maroon 85 over White: 2-0 NCAAT Record
50-style White STATE: 1-0 NCAAT Record
White 85: 0-1 NCAAT Record
Maroon 85 over Gray: 0-1 NCAAT Record
2019 Uniform Combinations:
50s-style White STATE
Gray Sleeveless Vests
Maroon 85 over White Pants
Maroon 85 over Gray Pants
Alex Wilcox Teal
Additions in 2019:
50s-style White STATE
Gray Sleeveless Jersey
Solid Gray Pants
Alex Wilcox Teal Jersey
2019 White Pinstripe Jersey
2019 White 85 Jersey
2019 Maroon 85 Jersey
2019 Black 85 Jersey
2019 White Pants
2019 Black Pants
2019 Black Hat
Subtractions from 2018:
Maroon MS Jersey
2018 White Pinstripe Jersey
2018 White 85 Jersey
2018 Maroon 85 Jersey
2018 Black 85 Jersey
2018 White Pants
2018 Black Pants
2018 Black Hat
Maroon 85 over White Pants
12 Games, 10-2 (.833) Record
The maroon 85 jerseys saw a few changes in 2019, including thinner sleeve stripes, the addition of the M over S logo to the sleeve, and a few other minor details. The changes, which resulted in the sixth iteration of the "maroon 85" design, were an overall improvement in my opinion, with the thinner sleeve stripes resulting in a better, tighter fit and the M over S logo on the sleeve giving the jersey a more complete, professional look.
Mississippi State wore the maroon 85 jerseys 19 times in 2019, more than any other jersey, though fewer than the amount of times that maroon jerseys have been worn in recent seasons (23 times in 2018, 40 times in 2017, and 27 times in 2016). Of the 19 games in which the maroon jerseys were worn in 2019, white pants were worn in 12. In those 12 games, the Bulldogs achieved an impressive 10-2 record.
Unlike recent seasons, in which maroon jerseys had been worn in every single Friday game, in 2019 the maroon jerseys were worn exclusively on days on which Ethan Small pitched (which were usually, but not always, a Friday.) In the regular season, Small wore the maroon 85 jerseys in every single one of his starts. There was only one regular season game in which the maroon 85 jerseys were worn but Ethan Small did not pitch; that was the second game of the Friday DH against Maine, after Small had pitched earlier that day.
The College World Series schedule complicated that precedent, as Mississippi State's opening game, in which Ethan Small was projected to and did start, was played on a Sunday. This caused a dilemma, as Mississippi State had worn (and was undefeated in) black in every single Sunday game in 2019. Small wanted to pitch in his usual maroon 85s, but gave in and pitched in black for the only time all season. Small didn't have a great outing, but the Bulldogs still pulled out the win. Later in Omaha, against Louisville, Mississippi State would wear the maroon 85 jerseys with JT Ginn on the mound, marking the first and only day all season on which the maroon 85s were worn but Ethan Small did not pitch.
12 Games, 9-3 (.750) Record
The white 85s were similarly updated in 2019, resulting in the fifth iteration of the design. The "white 85" has always been my favorite Mississippi State baseball uniform design, and I'm pretty confident in saying that this is the best that it's ever looked (the 2012-2014 look is the only one that rivals it.) It's simply a stunning baseball uniform; I was so happy to see it worn in Omaha this year, it looked even more incredible with the colorful College World Series patch.
At only 8 appearances, I thought that the 2018 version of the white 85s didn't see the field enough. In 2019, not only did the white 85s look even better, but they saw significant usage. At 12 appearances on the year, they tied the maroon 85 over white combination for the most games worn in 2019.
They weren't worn much early in the season; splitting midweek games with the white pinstripes, the white 85s were only worn once prior to the start of conference play. However, once conference play began, they became the sole midweek home uniforms; by the end of the season, they had been worn in eight midweek games, all of which were wins. The white 85s made their 2019 SEC debut in the regular season finale against South Carolina, and were subsequently worn in two SEC Tournament games, including the 17-inning victory over LSU. In their final appearance of the season, the white 85s were worn in Omaha against Vanderbilt; it was the first time that the "white 85" design had been worn in Omaha since the originals in 1985.
10 Games, 10-0 (1.000) Record
With similar changes as the white and maroon 85s, the 2019 black jerseys were easily the best of the five different black jersey designs that Mississippi State has worn over the past 11 seasons.
The 2019 changes significantly improved the black jerseys, more so than with any other jersey. The smaller sleeve stripes and tighter fit helped prevent the "baggy" look on all three 85-style jerseys, but it was probably the most noticeable with the black jerseys. The color was much better on the black jerseys in 2019; the 2018 versions appeared washed out by the end of the season and didn't even match the color of the pants, creating what was honestly a pretty rough look. That was not a problem in 2019.
The black jerseys also had a couple of additional changes in 2019 that the maroon and white jerseys did not have. One of those was the addition of maroon outlines around the numbers/wordmark/logo, around the hat logo and pants stripe, and in-between the collar/sleeve stripes. The 2018 all-black uniforms featured absolutely no maroon, which at the time I said was a benefit, as maroon and black typically don't mix well. While that is true, I will admit that I was wrong on that front; the black uniforms look much better with the maroon outlines than they did without them.
The other big change was the addition of player names on the back of the black jerseys. The black jerseys were the only ones to feature player names in 2019, and were the first Mississippi State baseball uniform to feature player names since the white M over S jerseys in 2016. This is another thing that I'm a fan of; I've always said that if Mississippi State is to do black uniforms, there has to be something unique about them to give them a redeeming quality; player names do that here.
The other redeeming quality of the all-black uniforms, colloquially known as the "Nickelblacks", is the fact that, quite simply, Mississippi State wins in them. The Bulldogs first wore all-black uniforms back in 2015, in a win over Western Kentucky. After that one game, the black pants were shelved until they were brought back for a midweek game last season, that time in a win over New Mexico State. A few weeks later, they were worn in a rubber match against Ole Miss; Luke Alexander hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th to win the series, cementing the black uniforms as a good luck charm. They were subsequently worn in every single game 3 for the rest of the season, including the CWS-clinching game 3 of the Nashville Super Regional. In 11 appearances in 2018, the all-black uniforms finished with an 8-3 record.
In 2019, with the aforementioned upgrades to the all-black uniforms, they were an improved look that was already associated with success. Whereas in 2018, the all-black uniforms were worn in game 3s from the Ole Miss series onward, regardless of the day of the week (though it was always either Saturday or Sunday), they were exclusive to Sundays in 2019. In fact, the Nickelblacks and Sunday baseball games were mutually inclusive in 2019. That is, Mississippi State played 10 Sunday baseball games in 2019, and the all-black uniforms were worn in all 10 of those games, but only those 10 games. I love how they set up that schedule this year; it allowed for multiple weeks where black was not worn (due to either scheduled Thursday-Saturday series or weather-related rescheduling) and allowed for a "special" feeling on Nickelback Sundays. It was a much more nuanced approach than the "wear black every single weekend" one taken in the second half of 2018.
Not only did the Bulldogs match their 2018 success in black, but they topped it. In fact, Mississippi State was a perfect 10-0 on Nickelback Sundays in 2019, never losing a game despite facing some tough competition in Sunday games. Once again, the Bulldogs dogpiled as Super Regional champions in all-black, and this time they even picked up a win in Omaha while wearing the combination. Mississippi State is now 19-3 all-time while wearing all-black baseball uniforms, including 5-1 in NCAA tournament games.
As someone who thinks that black pants should never be worn on a baseball field (and would still like to see the black pants ditched ASAP in favor of white/gray pants), even I was able to embrace the winning ways of the Nickelblacks this season. The upgrades made this offseason were a big part of that, so kudos to those who made that happen.
50s-style White STATE
9 Games, 8-1 (.889) Record
Based on the design worn from 1950 to 1958, the white STATE uniforms were a new addition to Mississippi State's baseball uniform lineup in 2019. The solid white uniforms feature a button-up jersey with "STATE" arched across the chest in a block font. The sleeves feature a single, thick stripe, matching the pants stripe. Otherwise, with the M over S logo on the sleeve and State of MS outline and player number on back, they match the design of the Bulldogs' other white jerseys.
Worn as the primary "Game 2" uniform in home weekend series, the 50s-style White STATE uniforms were worn 9 times in 2019. They were worn in every home regular season weekend series except for the Maine series, in which a Friday doubleheader was played due to expected rain on Saturday. They were worn once in the postseason, in the the opening game of the Starkville Regional against Southern. They finished with a stellar 8-1 record in 2019, with the lone loss coming against LSU.
8 Games, 4-4 (.500) Record
The only uniforms to return verbatim from 2018, the Gray Pinstripes are the longest-tenured baseball uniforms in Mississippi State's lineup. Worn since 2016, the Gray Pins were in their fourth year of use in 2019, and were the only uniforms to be worn for Jake Mangum's entire career. They're the longest running Mississippi State baseball uniforms since the 2010-2014 maroon 85 and white vest jerseys were worn for five seasons.
Serving as the Bulldogs' primary gray uniform and game 2 road jersey in 2019, the Gray Pins were worn in 8 games, including two doubleheaders (at Florida and at Texas A&M.) At 4-4, the Gray Pins were the only uniforms that did not finish with a winning record in 2019; the fact that .500 is a low point for uniform records is a great indicator of just how good Mississippi State was in 2019. It's worth noting that the Gray Pins were not worn after May 4th; the Bulldogs were at home for the most part afterwards, and only even wore gray (vests) once after that date.
Maroon 85 over Gray Pants
7 Games, 4-3 (.571) Record
After a three year absence, solid gray pants returned to Mississippi State's baseball uniform lineup in 2019. Since 2016, one of my biggest pet-peeves about State's baseball uniforms has been the fact that they continuously paired maroon jerseys with white pants on the road, which is a baseball taboo. Traditionally, the home team wears white pants and the road team wears gray pants.
As such, the return of solid gray pants was one of the more satisfying uniform changes of 2019; after three years of white pants being frequently worn on the road, Mississippi State wore gray (or occasionally black) pants in every road game and every neutral site game in which State was the designated "away" team. There was one game in 2019 in which State was the designated "away" team but wore white pants: game two of the Starkville Regional against Central Michigan, but I don't have a problem with that since the game was played on the Bulldogs' home field.
The maroon 85 over gray combination was worn 5 times in the regular season to a 4-1 record. It was worn twice in the postseason: in the SEC Tournament loss to Vanderbilt and in the final game of the season in Omaha against Louisville. In all, the combination finished with a 4-3 record in 2019.
White "State" Pinstripes
5 Games, 4-1 (.800) Record
Mississippi State's primary white uniform in 2017 and 2018 returned in 2019, with a few small tweaks. The altering of the M over S sleeve logo, movement of the Adidas logo, and enlarging of the State outline on the back resulted in the seventh white pinstripe uniform design in program history, though at a distance it was virtually indistinguishable from the 2017/2018 version.
The fan-favorite white pinstripes were the Bulldogs' primary midweek uniform early in the season, and were worn in four midweek wins (including one over Super Regional team ECU) within the first month of the season. They were later worn in game 3 of the LSU series on March 30th. They were not worn again after that, and were mysteriously absent for the final three months of the season.
I have yet to see a reason as to why they were seemingly removed from the uniform lineup mid-season. They clearly had a reduced role in 2019, but I had expected them to continue to split midweek games with the white 85s, be worn in the Saturday game 3 at the end of the season, and perhaps make a couple of postseason appearances. I'm sure that there is a perfectly legit reason as to why they disappeared, but that has not been made public. It will be interesting to see if they re-surface next season.
Note that a similar thing happened to the white pinstripe jerseys in 2014; they were worn three times early in the season but did not appear after the March 9th win at Arizona. The pinstripe pants continued to be worn occasionally with maroon jerseys that season, but the tops were never worn again (State completely re-vamped its uniform lineup in 2015); this season, the pinstripe pants were never paired with maroon jerseys, before or after the jerseys stopped being worn.
Gray Sleeveless Vests
3 Games, 2-1 (.667) Record
The last new uniform that the Bulldogs unveiled in 2019 was a new gray sleeveless vest. First worn in the March 20th game at Samford, the gray vests are the fourth sleeveless design in program history. Also the first solid gray uniforms since the 2015 90s-style gray script jerseys, these feature the M over S logo (in maroon and outlined in white) on the right chest due to the Adidas logo being on the left chest.
Overall, these are pretty "okay." It's a look that Lemonis and Coordinator of Baseball Operations Roger Rodeheaver brought from Indiana. They don't really look bad; I don't hate vest uniforms in general, and the color balance between gray and maroon is excellent. The "flipped" front doesn't inherently look any worse, it just looks "wrong" to have the M over S logo not be on the left chest. Honestly, they're a decent secondary road option, but there's better things State can do with a solid gray jersey, namely the aforementioned 90s-style script design.
Given that the gray pinstripes were still the primary gray uniform in 2019, the gray vests were very much a secondary option. As such they were only worn three times throughout the season, but still managed to finish with a winning record at 2-1.
Alex Wilcox Teal
1 Game, 1-0 (1.000) Record
In what was easily the most thoughtful one-off baseball uniform Mississippi State has ever worn, the Bulldogs wore teal jerseys against Arkansas Pine Bluff on March 6th. The teal jerseys with white shoulders were worn in memory of Alex Wilcox, a Mississippi State softball player who passed away in June 2018 from ovarian cancer. After the game, the jerseys were auctioned off to the public, with all proceeds donated to the Alex Wilcox Excellence Fund.
The Bulldogs defeated Arkansas Pine Bluff 14-1 while wearing the teal jerseys; they join the 10-0 Nickelback uniforms as the Bulldogs' two undefeated looks in 2019.
For more Mississippi State's postseason baseball uniform history, visit the Postseason Uniform History page.
As I have in the past, I conducted a series of Twitter polls this past week in order to gauge people's opinions on State's 2019 uniform lineup. Thank you to everyone who participated; this year's polls had far more votes than any polls I've run in the past! All of last year's polls received between 338 and 465 votes; the least voted in of this year's five polls received 650 votes, while the most voted in received 1,267 votes!
Best White Uniform
White "State" Pinstripes 50%
White 85s 30%
50s-style White STATE 20%
Best Gray Uniform
Gray Pinstripes 80%
Gray Sleeveless Vests 20%
Best Maroon Jersey Combination
White Pants 68%
Gray Pants 32%
Best Overall Uniform
White Pinstripes 37%
Maroon 85 over White 31%
Gray Pinstripes 10%
White Pinstripes 61%
Maroon 85 over White 39%
Though the gap is closer than last year, the white pinstripes are clearly still the majority of people's favorite uniform. The white 85s are pretty well liked, but not to the level of the white pins. The 50s-style white STATE jerseys are also generally regarded as a solid look, but are a clear #3 in the white jersey pecking order.
People overwhelmingly like the gray pinstripes more than the gray sleeveless vests; they voted the maroon 85 over white combination as better than maroon 85 over gray, but many expressed happiness that gray pants are back for road games. In the overall polls, the all-black "Nickelblack" uniforms garnered 22% of the vote, much higher than the 9% they received last year; winning 10 games and never losing in a uniform will do that. The maroon 85 jerseys were the clear second-best uniform in the public's eye; they received 31% in the overall poll and 39% in the runoff with the white pinstripes.
So how would I rank State's 2019 baseball uniforms? I think that the proper way to do this (and uniform rankings in general) is not in a best-to-worst list but by grouping jerseys into tiers. Bulldog Graphics and I had a conversation about this on Twitter back in March, and I haven't really changed my opinion since:
50s-style White STATE
These are above-average college baseball uniforms that are better than a number of uniforms State has worn in the past and would be the best in many current college baseball uniform sets. They aren't quite on the level of State's three "elite" uniforms, but nobody's complaining when these uniforms are worn.
Gray Sleeveless Vests
These aren't great, but they aren't total train wrecks either. As I noted above, the gray vests would look better "flipped" and aren't as good as State's other gray jersey designs. That being said, there isn't anything egregious about them. On their own, the 2019 black jerseys are by far the best black baseball jerseys State has ever worn. The fact that they're always worn with black pants brings them down into "bad" territory, but their pristine record brings them back up to "okay."
Overall, 2019 was a very good season for Mississippi State baseball, both in terms of on-field results and uniforms. With three elite-level jerseys and two more really good ones, Mississippi State consistently looked great in 2019. Two years removed from wearing the maroon M over S jerseys 40 times in a single season, the uniform distribution was really good in 2019. Six of the Bulldogs' jerseys were worn 5 times or more, and the same uniform was very rarely worn in back-to-back games. The main exception to that rule was the 4 weather-induced regular season doubleheaders; unlike the past two seasons in which State had always changed uniforms in-between doubleheader games, the Bulldogs always remained in the same uniforms for game two of a doubleheader in 2019. The two other exceptions both involved postseason play: the white 85s were worn in the regular season finale as well as the SEC Tournament opener, and the Nickelblacks were worn in the final game of the Starkville Super Regional and then in the opening game in Omaha.
I know this has been a lot of information; s/o to anyone still reading this, but hopefully this is the last year for a while in which there's a lot of turnover with State's baseball uniforms. With the new coaching staff this year, State had 7 brand-new jerseys and 9 total combinations; that's a lot. Hopefully most of those uniforms will remain unchanged over the next few seasons, and the future uniform recaps will just be repeating how great most of State's uniforms are rather than noting countless tweaks like this year's was. Particularly, I hope to see the maroon and white 85s remain unchanged for the next few years, and hope that some form of white pinstripes (be it the script "State" or "M over S logo" versions) remain in the uniform lineup. I expect that the 50s-style white STATE uniforms and Nickelbacks will both return in 2020. It will be interesting to see if the all-black uniforms fade away over time or remain a staple on Sundays for years to come. Normally trends like that would fade away, but with a 10-0 record this year and two Super Regional dogpiles in a row, this one might have some staying power.
I feel like this is the third year in a row that I've said gray pinstripes might not come back, but next year would be their fifth year of use. It seems unlikely that they will remain unchanged next year, but at this point it wouldn't surprise me if they continue to stick around. Their obvious replacement would be the gray sleeveless vests, which saw limited use in 2019 but could conceivably be the Bulldogs' primary gray uniform in 2020. I hope for future uniforms, they find a way to get the Adidas logo back on the right chest; it just looks so much better to have the M over S logo on the left chest with that design. What I would like to see with State's gray uniforms is a return to the 90s-style gray script uniforms. That style was last worn in 2015; hopefully it returns sometime within the next five years.
2019 was a great year for Mississippi State baseball, and I enjoyed it from start to finish. Can't wait to see what's in store next year, both in terms of uniforms and on-field production. Hail State!
Mississippi State came into 2019 with Omaha expectations and met those expectations. Coming off of an unexpected Omaha run in 2018, Mississippi State hired Chris Lemonis to be its 18th head coach in program history, and fourth in four years. The roster was loaded coming into the season: superstar Jake Mangum elected to come back for his senior season, Cole Gordon decided to come back for a fifth year, Ethan Small returned to school poised to be the team's ace pitcher, JT Ginn turned down a first-round MLB draft pick to come to school, Elijah "Big Hit Mac" MacNamee would be a senior, and the talented freshman class of Rowdey Jordan, Tanner Allen, Justin Foscue, Jordan Westburg, and Josh Hatcher would be sophomores. Everything was lining up for a special season in Starkville, and a special season it was.
Along with featuring a loaded roster and marking the start of Lemonis's tenure, 2019 was also notable for the opening of the completely re-built Dudy Noble Field. After playing a limited home schedule through construction in 2018, it was refreshing to play a full home slate in a beautiful new ballpark this season. As a student who was able to attend almost all of the home games, it was really fun being able to walk around and sit in different locations throughout the stadium; the New Dude provides such a wide variety of ways to enjoy a baseball game. Not only is the new stadium beautiful, but Mississippi State was dominant in it. The Bulldogs finished 2019 with a 37-5 (.881) home record, including 11-4 and four series wins in SEC play, as well as 5-0 in postseason play as State was able to host (and sweep) both a Regional and Super Regional in the first year of the New Dude.
Mississippi State started out the season dominantly, as Ethan Small and JT Ginn lived up to the hype, mowing down non-conference opponents with ease. The Bulldogs entered SEC Play with a 16-1 record and finished the regular season with a 25-1 non-conference record, and a perfect 15-0 record in midweek games; it was the first season since 2013 in which Mississippi State never failed to take care of business in the midweek. The Bulldogs' lone regular season non-conference loss in 2019 was in the Friday game against Southern Miss, which the Golden Eagles won 1-0 in 10 innings; State would win on Saturday and Sunday to win the series. State would not lose another game to a non-SEC until the final game of the season, when they were walked off by Louisville in Omaha; including tournament games, State finished the 2019 season with a 30-2 record against non-conference opponents.
The Bulldogs also saw success in conference play in 2019, finishing with a 20-10 SEC record and an SEC West Co-Championship. Mississippi State won 8 out of 10 SEC series in 2019; the only two series the Bulldogs lost all season were at home against LSU (State seems to have a mental block against the Tigers on the baseball diamond) and on the road at Arkansas (In their worst weekend of the season, State was swept by an Arkansas team that is as dominant at Baum as the Bulldogs are at the Dude). Highlights of the SEC season included sweeps over Alabama, Georgia, and Ole Miss and series wins over Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and South Carolina. The sweep in Oxford was a particularly highpoint; when combined with the Governor's Cup victory (the Bulldogs' fourth in a row), the sweep gave State a 14-2 record against Ole Miss over the past four seasons.
The Bulldogs' regular season accomplishments earned them a top-8 national seed in the NCAA Tournament. It was the second time since the format was enacted in 1999 that the Bulldogs had been named a top-8 national seed; just as they were in 2016, they were named the #6 national seed. In the 14th ever Starkville Regional (5th in the current 4-team format), Mississippi State defeated Southern, Central Michigan, and Miami en route to the 9th overall and 3rd home Super Regional in program history. In the 2019 Starkville Super Regional, State swept the #11 national seed Stanford in two games, advancing to the College World Series for the 11th time in program history and second season in a row.
In Omaha, Mississippi State scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to walk-off Auburn and win their third consecutive opening-round CWS game. Unfortunately, that is where the run ended, as they were defeated by eventual National Champion Vanderbilt in the winner's bracket game and were then walked-off by Louisville in the ensuing elimination game. The Bulldogs finished the 2019 season with a 52-15 record (the second highest win total in program history), yet another Omaha appearance, a slew of records for Jake Mangum, national awards for Mangum, Ethan Small, Justin Foscue, and Tanner Allen, and tons of memories for fans, players, and coaches alike to cherish.