Wearing the jersey of your favorite team is a time-honored tradition of many sports fans. It doesn’t matter whether you’re loyal to the city blazoned across the front or the star player on the back, wearing a jersey to a game (or even just around town) shows that you’ve clearly committed to following the team through the highs and the lows. The jersey is more than just a piece of clothing — it makes you feel like part of the team.
Unfortunately, not all jerseys are created equal. As you’ll see, sometimes mistakes are made — and not just by boneheaded fans, but even by equipment managers and uniform manufacturers. Please enjoy the following ten examples of terrible jersey fails!
10. Torotno Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays had a tough couple of decades after winning back-to-back World Series in 1992 and 93. They wouldn’t return to the MLB postseason until 2015, actually. So while we might have been able to forgive the equipment staff for phoning it in during some of those less memorable years, this fail comes from the 1994 season. You know, when the Blue Jays were two-time defending World Champs. They may have been a good baseball team, but spelling apparently wasn’t a top requirement for team staff that year. Here’s poor Joe Carter trying to pretend like nothing is wrong.
9. John Wall and The Kentcuky Wildcats
The Kentucky Wildcats are of the most consistently competitive teams in NCAA basketball, but the same cannot be said for whoever is in charge of their jerseys. In this promotional photo, which included future NBA All-Star John Wall, legendary coach John Calipari, and were made by Nike of all companies, someone managed to screw up the word “Kentucky,” which really shouldn’t be that hard. It’s a simple word that it spelled exactly like it sounds. Too bad Wall is now stuck with this photo of him in a “KENTCUKY” jersey.
8. Washington Natinals
Washington, D.C. is the NATIONAL capital of the United States. The baseball team there, after arriving from Montreal in 2004, were aptly named the Washington NATIONALS (as was the team that played there from 1969-1976). However, in 2009, a jersey gaffe resulted in not just one, but two separate Washington players proudly wearing pristine white button-ups with the word “NATINALS” on them. At least the team never managed to spell “EXPOS” wrong before the team moved.
7. Ryan Kseler
Ryan Kesler was drafted 23rd overall by the Vancouver Canucks in 2003, and played the first nine years of his career for the Canadian team before being traded to the Anaheim Ducks in 2014. In that time, he became a fan favorite for both his ability to produce points and his knack for agitating opponents and getting into their heads. There were plenty of “KESLER” jerseys seen around GM Place (now known as Rogers Arena) during that time. But this “KSELER” jersey, seen on this presumably oblivious fan on a local bus, is one of a kind.
6. West Virgina
It’s one thing to get a jersey wrong during a regular season game. But if your team manages to actually win something, it’s definitely a good idea to spellcheck the championship merchandise. When West Virginia won the NIT Tournament in 2007, these championship shirts came awful close to being a NSFW disaster. First of all, Virginia was missing a very important third letter ‘I’ on the shirt. If you pronounce the remaining letters phonetically — well, you get the point.
5. Rob Gronowski
We admit that Rob Gronkowski’s last name is a bit of a mouthful, but Gronk can’t Gronk without the ‘K’ at the end. The ‘K’ really brings the whole nickname together. Anyway, this jersey (which we can only hope is one of those cheap Chinese knock-offs and not an officially licensed NFL product) tragically omits the all-important letter ‘K’, preventing whoever wore it from truly achieving frat-boy-Gronk levels of Gronkiness. We’re guessing that every missing letter on a Gronkowski jersey drastically reduced the wearer’s ability to shotgun beers or party with bikini-clad chicks. That’s our theory, anyway.
4. Richard Hamiltion
Richard Hamilton was a three-time NBA All-Star and helped lead the Detroit Pistons to a championship in 2004. Before that, he won an NCAA championship with UCONN in 1999. You’d think with all that success, people would be more familiar with his name (which isn’t a difficult one to spell, by the way). Too bad that the Pistons equipment guy goofed up big time by adding an extra ‘I’ to Hamilton’s jersey, resulting in a name that would sound like “Ham-Ill-Shun” when said out loud. Oops.
3. Gretzky #49
We know that this is another fan jersey, but it’s just so damn wrong that it has to make the list. Here is what looks like a middle-aged man wearing a Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers jersey. Normally, that would be fine. After all, Gretzky won four Stanley Cups in a decade while playing the Oilers and is still revered as probably the greatest player in the history of the NHL. Except that even non-hockey fans know that Gretzky famously wore #99 (which he choose because a teammate was already wearing his preferred #9 — Gordie Howe’s number — when he was a rookie). Gretzky definitely did not wear #49. Ever.
2. The Angees
We can understand mixing up letters or maybe even forgetting some. But this spelling of “ANGELS” is something else altogether. Shown on fringe player Adam Riggs, who only played four seasons the Majors before finishing his career in Japan, this jersey was worn in 2003 when the Angels went a woeful 77-85. Perhaps out of shame of both the record and this brutal jersey fail, the Angels would change their name shortly after — going from the “Anaheim Angels” to the “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.” That’s a lot of letters to screw up.
1. Ted Kluszewski
This one is just all kinds of wrong. Ted Kluszewski was a first baseman who spent 14 years in the Big Leagues, mostly with the Cincinnati Reds, in the late 1940s and into the 50s. In 1959, Kluszewski was traded to the White Sox, who apparently were having trouble keeping jersey letters in stock. In fairness, the White Sox were one of the first teams to put player names on the backs of their jerseys, so maybe they just needed a little practice to get it right.
Regardless, that’s definitely a backwards (or upside down) ‘Z’, plus someone thought it was a good idea to substitute an ‘X’ in there at the end, instead of a ‘K’. Double fail.