Why Do the Boston Red Sox Wear Green Jerseys on St. Patrick’s Day?

An unfortunate result of Major League Baseball postponing spring training and the start of the regular games is baseball fans will miss one of the sport’s more intriguing uniform sets. As a way of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day every year, the Boston Red Sox don green jerseys and hats in their spring training games. Barring an unexpected change later this year, the coronavirus pandemic has likely postponed those iconic alternate uniforms to 2021.

While the general consensus is that baseball fans adore Boston’s green jerseys, there is always some confusion about why the Red Sox trade their red or white uniforms for green. Here’s why the Boston Red Sox wear green jerseys every March 17.

Why do the Boston Red Sox wear green jerseys on St. Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of St. Patrick, is a holiday that celebrates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. The city of Boston is known for its Irish population. For Mike Dee, Boston’s executive vice president of business affairs in 2004, this made the idea of wearing green spring training jerseys an easy choice.

“We want to start a new tradition,” Dee said at the time. “Obviously, St. Patrick’s Day in Boston means a lot more than it does in most places and we think it’s a nice way for the Red Sox to join in that celebration, albeit in Fort Myers.”

Boston’s typical St. Patrick’s Day jerseys are bright green with “RED SOX” in white letters outlined in red across the front. The Red Sox logo appears on the left sleeve. The uniform set is topped off with a green hat.

Boston has worn green in some form on every St. Patrick’s Day since. The Red Sox have often worn those green jerseys, though they’ve sometimes donned white jerseys with green hats and lettering instead.

The Boston Red Sox have also worn green jerseys in the regular season

The Boston Red Sox wore their St. Patrick's Day green uniforms in an April 2007 victory over the New York Yankees.
The Boston Red Sox wore their St. Patrick’s Day green uniforms in an April 2007 victory over the New York Yankees. I Elsa/Getty Images

The St. Patrick’s Day uniform made its regular season on April 20, 2007, against the rival Yankees. The Red Sox wore the green jerseys to honor former Boston Celtics coach and executive Red Auerbach, who died in October 2006. Boston needed the Luck of the Irish to rally for five runs in the eighth inning against Mariano Rivera and the Yankees bullpen for a 7-6 victory in Boston.

Alex Cora, who was named the Red Sox manager in 2018 and won a World Series title in his first season, had the game-winning hit against Rivera.

Boston wore the green uniforms a year later, again for basketball reasons. The Boston Celtics had just defeated the rival Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals and the Red Sox wanted to show their appreciation. This time, however, the Red Sox lost 5-4 to the visiting St. Louis Cardinals.

The Boston Red Sox aren’t alone in wearing green jerseys on St. Patrick’s Day

More baseball teams have joined the Boston Red Sox in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with green jerseys. The Red Sox were of 11 teams in 2018 who featured green in their St. Patrick’s Day uniforms, though only nine had the traditional green jerseys. The Kansas City Royals and Washington Nationals instead wore white jerseys with green lettering.

All MLB teams wore special green hats for their spring training games on or around St. Patrick’s Day. The Red Sox defeated Tampa Bay, which only wore the green caps, 4-3 in Fort Myers, Fla.