Just Another Tequila Sunrise

This blog is meant to be an offshoot of Jason W. Fuller’s “Long Live The Rainbows” site, which followed the history of the Houston Astros’ unique baseball uniform style worn between 1975 and 1993.

A journey 35 years in the making

The fall of 2009 marks the 35th anniversary of the unveiling of a baseball uniform that has appeared on more than a few 10 Best and 10 Worst athletic jerseys of all time. 

The Houston Astros’ futuristic-looking uniforms inspired awe, hatred, and a few double-takes for these double-knits.

But even then, they did get off to a bit of a rocky start. The original logo, a stylized capital A with a star and a contrail in it, was too close to a corporate logo being used at the time, so the cap from the previous season, an orange cap with a blue star and a white capital H, was retained. In addition, the white star on the front of the uniform was changed from white to blue, and the number on the pants was moved from the mid-thigh up to the hip area.

Professional teams throughout the Astros farm system — the Dubuque Packers, the Charleston Charlies, the Daytona Beach Astros — would adopt Rainbow Guts. Oddly enough, the short-season single-A team in Columbus, Ga. did not.

Medalist/SandKnit, which made pro sports uniforms at the time, put the design in their catalog and called it UltraStripe. High school and college baseball teams, and recreational and Little League teams started wearing them.

For close to a decade and a half, after the Houston Astros stopped wearing the full Rainbow Guts uniform and started adopting a toned-down version with a rainbow pattern across the tops of the sleeves and shoulders, the design was forgotten — a discarded relic along with the lava lamp, fondue pots, Jeno’s pizza rolls, and the polyester leisure suit.

However, when hip-hop artists started wearing them in their music videos, demand skyrocketed. Numerous knockoffs and variations started appearing on store shelves, especially in urban areas in the northeast U.S.

Even up until 2009, there are still teams wearing what are colloquially called “Rainbow Guts,” or “Tequila Sunrise,” patterns. A high school in Idaho, colleges in the Southeast, and a one-off charity auction to raise money for breast cancer in Grand Rapids.

This site is meant to reminisce, reflect, share ideas, and help out reseachers. Perhaps it may help a collector or dealer discern an authentic from a fake in the game-worn market.

Let’s take this journey together.