"What I view this alternate jersey as is it's a little bit old and a little bit new," Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III said. "The components of it come from Cardinals eras in the past. All of those elements combine to create what I think will be an instantly familiar look to people. It's just that we have never seen all these elements together before."
St. Louis had been one of only four teams in Major League Baseball not to have previously worn an alternate jersey, though DeWitt said the process of creating one was ongoing for several years. After opting against making radical changes to the road jerseys, DeWitt went about finding the right design for a second home jersey.
One thing he especially liked was the off-white look, which has been incorporated by the Giants, Phillies, Braves and Indians. He sought feedback from many within the organization, including players, before finalizing the design.
"I walked down to the clubhouse earlier this season and canvassed some of the players as well as our tradition-minded staff and got the thumbs up," DeWitt said. "The idea of adding an alternate jersey is something that has been simmering for a while in terms of whether we wanted to enter or not."
Right-hander Trevor Rosenthal was at Friday's unveiling to model the new alternate jersey.
"I think it's great," Rosenthal said of the new look. "I think the guys in here are going to want to wear it a lot more than just on Saturdays. It's a unique look and I think it will really stick with the fans here in St. Louis."
The traditional home and road jerseys are also undergoing facelifts, the first for the organization since 1998. Those two uniforms, along with the new home alternate one, will feature more detailed embroidery as a result of improvements made in the manufacturing process.
Minor changes have been made to the "Birds on the Bat," including more detailed eyes and crests, as well as more pronounced beaks. The bat will have a three-dimensional quality, and the number on the front of the jersey will be a half-inch smaller than it was.
Aside from the jerseys, several other slight modifications will be noticeable in the Cardinals' look in 2013. Players will wear red caps and red belts on the road, instead of blue. The blue hat is not disappearing entirely, but the organization is still determining when it will be incorporated in the team's look.
Also, the Cardinals are expected to introduce a new batting-practice hat for the 2013 season. It, too, is expected to reflect the franchise's storied history.
The new authentic jerseys are available at the Cardinals.com Shop and at the Cardinals' team store at Busch Stadium. Those who purchase one at the team store will receive a free set of glasses featuring the St. Louis logo, while supplies last. After Thanksgiving, the jersey will be on sale at other local outlets as well.