DETROIT -- The Tigers have long been known for their iconic Old English D, but their star players have garnered some attention in recent years for their unique looks, from Miguel Cabrera's bright footwear to Victor Martinez's big orange compression sleeve on the road. Later this month, their individual looks will be in the spotlight thanks to a Major League Baseball promotion.
MLB and the MLB Players Association are presenting the inaugural Players Weekend on Aug. 25-27, when all players will wear colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs as well as specially designed caps and socks. Players can put a nickname on the back of their jersey, rather than their last name, and wear uniquely colored spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, sleeves and catching masks.
A preview of the promotion will take place on Sunday, Aug. 20, when the Pirates and Cardinals don alternate uniforms for the first MLB Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa. The Tigers will get their chance the following weekend in Chicago, where they'll face the White Sox in a three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Tigers have been bouncing ideas and requests off each other and off clubhouse manager Jim Schmakel for a while.
"I know everybody's having fun talking about what guys are doing on the back of their jerseys," Michael Fulmer said. "Whether or not some of it goes down, I don't know. But it'll be a good time. It's something different. I don't think it'll be a bad thing."
It'll also go for a good cause: Game-worn jerseys will be auctioned at mlb.com/auctions, with all of the net proceeds donated to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, a collaboration between the MLB and MLB Players Association focused on improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the U.S. and Canada.
Toward that end, each jersey will include a sleeve patch, where each individual player will mark the name of a person he wishes to thank for helping to advance his career. It could be a family member, or a coach, or a friend.
"Any time we can raise some money for charity for the future of the kids, it's a blessing for us," Fulmer said. "It's going to be their world in the future anyways."
Others take some explanation. Ian Kinsler's nickname of "Bootsie" goes back a decade to his early years in Texas; he spent a month on the disabled list in 2007 with a stress fracture in his left foot.
"That was the nickname [former Rangers manager] Ron Washington gave me," Kinsler said. "He called me that through my career in Texas, and then when I got here, we got David Price, and then he started calling me that. I don't know how he found out about it. And then [Tigers hitting coach Lloyd] McClendon and Wash are really good friends, so McClendon started calling me that."
Fulmer's nickname of "Fulm Piece" goes back to high school.
"I don't really have a nickname. It's kind of like high school days," Fulmer said. "I didn't know what else to resort to."
Some ideas didn't make the cut. Alex Wilson and Justin Wilson were going to go with "Dale" and "Brennan" in honor of the main characters in the Will Ferrell movie "Step Brothers," but Justin Wilson's trade to the Cubs last week left Alex Wilson on his own. He's still working on an alternative.
Other nicknames that some Tigers are expected to sport on the back of their jerseys on Players Weekend:
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.