PITTSBURGH -- Prior to the start of the weekend's PirateFest activities, the Pirates unveiled the four uniforms that will be used in 2009.
The changes were made in large part to identify closely with the team's history and tradition. Among the changes are the elimination of the team's alternate red jersey and the introduction of a new black, button-down jersey to take its place.
The new black alternate jersey, which will be worn on select home and road games, is adorned with the classic gold "P" on the left chest. The Pirate "P" is making a return onto the jersey for the first time in 74 years. It was back in 1935 that a "P," which was red and located on the left chest, was last found on the jersey.
The standard gold "P" logo now used was first introduced in 1948 when it was sewn onto the team's solid black caps.
"The Pirate "P" had a storied history," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said at the team's annual Hot Stove luncheon for the media on Friday. "Some of our great early teams wore the "P" on the front or sleeve of the jersey."
Those storied teams included both the 1909 and 1925 World Series championship teams. The 1909 team wore a white "P" on their blue caps. The 1925 club had the Pirate "P" on the sleeves of its jerseys.
In addition to the new uniform, the Pirates have also reintroduced sleeves to their home and road jerseys. The team has worn sleeveless jerseys as part of both the home and road uniform since PNC Park opened in 2001. Similar sleeveless uniforms had also been worn by the organization's World Series championship 1960 team.
However, the decision to go back to a jersey with sleeves was again part of the effort to identify with the uniform style of the most successful Pirates teams in the organization's history. Four of the five world championships won by the Pirates were won by players that had sleeved jerseys.
"It's our history and our tradition and we are rebuilding our history and tradition," Coonelly said.
Other than the addition of sleeves, the team's white home jersey and gray away jersey remain unchanged.
The Pirates have decided to keep the sleeveless pinstriped jersey as well, only to be worn for Sunday home games.
"The sleeveless jersey also has a special place in our history, having been worn by the great 1960 Championship team and for much of the Hall of Fame careers of the great Roberto Clemente and Bill Mazeroski," Connelly said.
The color red, which was brought back into the uniforms in 1997, is now gone altogether. In addition to the red jerseys no longer being worn, the red line on the team's batting practice cap has also been removed.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.