Why Is The American Flag Backwards On Baseball Uniforms?

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Have you ever looked at a baseball uniform? If so, you may wonder why the flag is backward on them. Let our experts explain why this is the case.

So, why is the American flag backwards on baseball uniforms? Well, it is because the way the flag would be flown when heading into battle. If the American flag was carried into battle, it would fly backwards. This would give the impression that the flag is the ‘wrong way around’. Basically, the display of the flag is as a battle flag. 

For everything that you need to know about the display of American flags on baseball uniforms, read on. Our experts have plenty of information to share with you.

Why is The American Flag Backwards on Baseball Uniforms?

Baseball uniforms will have the flag displayed backwards. The direction of the flag on baseball uniforms would be the same as if it were displayed on military uniforms. To understand the reasons for this, you need to think back to a time that the American flag would be carried into battle.

When the flag was carried into battle, the flag carrier would hold it on a pole. As the military marched forward, the flag would fly backward in the wind. As long as the flag was doing that, you would know that you were advancing on the enemy and, more importantly, making advancement to promote American ideals. 

Baseball teams likely have the flag displayed backward as it shows that they are marching forward. Obviously, they are not marching into a war, but they are marching into a game that they hope to win. We are sure that some teams may also display the flag this way as a tribute to the military. This theory is based upon the reasons as to why the flag started to be incorporated onto baseball uniforms in the first place.

It is worth noting that displaying the American flag backwards is technically against the law. However, baseball teams cannot be punished for breaking this law as it would be punishing them for speech.

Can Other Countries Have Their Flag on Baseball Uniforms?

In the MLB there seems to be no rule that states that only the American flag can be displayed on baseball uniforms. However, High School baseball does state that only the American flag can be worn on their uniforms.

However, it is unlikely that another country’s flag, outside of Canada, would be displayed on a baseball uniform. This is because the rules state that each player on a team must be wearing the exact same uniform. This means that if another country’s flag was displayed, every other player would also need to display that flag. There is a next-to-no chance of this ever happening.

It is worth noting that some American teams have opted to display the Canadian flag on their uniform for ‘one-off’ events. Generally speaking, if an American team plays a Canadian team on Canada Day, then the American team will have a Canadian flag on the uniform to honor the day. It is not a requirement, though.

Why Is The American Flag on Baseball Uniforms?


Around the time of World War I, the American flag started to be displayed on various uniforms for major sports. This isn’t really something that ever changed. In fact, sporting events just ended up getting a lot more patriotic. Although, the flags never really took hold in baseball at this time. Instead, the teams would wear red and white colors.

The first time that baseball teams started to wear the American flag on their uniform properly was in the 1990s during the first Gulf War. The intention was to show respect for the troops.

After 9/11, baseball teams started to include the American flag on their uniform as a tribute to those that died in the attacks. As time went on, more and more teams started to adopt the American flag patches. From that point on, the flags have remained a staple part of most MLB uniforms.

It is worth knowing that the MLB actually encouraged the use of the American flag on sports uniforms. Any team that displayed the American flag, particularly in their team’s logo, received an incentive from the league in the form of having a cap designed for their team.

All money from the sale of baseball jerseys and hats displaying the American flag on July 4th are donated to various veteran’s charities by the MLB.  It is believed that the MLB has contributed $30-million to these charities over the last few years.

Related Questions

Does the American flag on baseball uniforms violate the flag code?

Yes. Technically, displaying the flag backward on baseball uniforms is prohibited. The law also states that the flag cannot be worn on sport uniforms. While the flag code is part of the law, it is not legally enforceable. As a result, no baseball teams will be punished for displaying the flag in this way. It has also been happening for so long that nobody really minds. 

Can a player refuse to display the American flag on their uniform?

Technically, yes. However, there would likely be so much fallout from refusing to display the flag that no player would dare refuse. Teams may even opt not to let them play if they refused to display the American flag.

See Also:
What Arm Do You Wear A Baseball Sleeve On?
Why Is The MLB Draft In The Middle Of The Season
What Do MLB Teams Do with Used Baseballs?

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