#Shortstops: The Irish Wore Pinstripes

Part of the SHORT STOPS series
Written by: Gabrielle Augustine

On Nov. 17, 2018, Yankee Stadium converted into a gridiron for Notre Dame to host Syracuse. Although it was not the first time Notre Dame played football in the Bronx, this particular game was part of the university’s Shamrock Series – a tradition started in the last decade where the Irish play occasional home games outside of Notre Dame Stadium.

It was the second time for Notre Dame to play in the new Yankee Stadium – they beat the Army 23-3 in 2010 – but the university has a long relationship with playing football games in The House that Ruth Built. Notable moments in the stadium include the Irish winning their first national championship in 1929, a scoreless tie with the Army in 1946, and a loss to Syracuse in 1963.

Leading up to the 2018 matchup, the university announced their uniforms for the game would feature pinstripes, the first time for the design to appear on a college football uniform. Designed by Under Armour, with approval from Notre Dame and the Yankees, pinstripes were included on the pants, jersey sleeves, and within the logo on their helmets. The navy blue helmets were perhaps the most surprising to Notre Dame fans since they did not feature nearly as much gold detailing as found on the traditional Irish helmet.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated the week of the game, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick noted that there had been immediate reactions to the uniform and helmet final looks. He said: “There’s an interesting dynamic to this because you’ve got two major sports identities fans love to hate here, combined. No one is neutral about the Yankees and no one is neutral about Notre Dame.”

This helmet, donated by the university to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, was worn during the game by tight end Cole Kmet, who also plays for Notre Dame’s baseball team.

The Irish defeated Syracuse 36-3, for the sixth win of the nine times the two teams had faced off against each other. Kmet, then a sophomore, recorded a catch for 17 yards to help his team to the win.

As for his Notre Dame baseball career, the southpaw hurler had a 2.89 ERA during the 2019 season and is playing both sports again for the 2019-2020 school year.

Gabrielle Augustine is a curator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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Part of the SHORT STOPS series