In amateur baseball, what's old is new once again.
Specifically, the socks.
The striped two-piece socks known as stirrups are making a bit of a comeback in big-league baseball and that has translated to the amateur game, as well. Nearly every team has at least one player wearing the old-style socks.
For example, Alexandria's outfield duo of Reid Smith and Jerrod Zens recently decided to rep the old-school look. Smith and Zens debuted their new socks in the state tournament for the first time Wednesday at Cadwell Park in a 15-7 second-round win over Canton. Zens said the socks showed up just in time for the game and they gave the blue socks trimmed in white and red a shot.
"To me, it's just a fun, old-school look to the game," Smith said. "It kind of reminds you of how players wore their uniforms years ago."
Even though he's playing for the only Iowa team in the tournament, Larchwood's Travis Feekes said one of the great things about South Dakota amateur baseball is that players and fans understand the history of the game.
"I'm kind of a traditional baseball player," Feekes said. "South Dakota is a place that appreciates the traditions of the game and the socks are a great reminder of how the game used to be played."
Feekes wore red stirrup socks over white in the Diamonds' second-round victory over Freeman on Monday, a game in which he had a key RBI double.
"I feel like if you look good, you play good," he said with a laugh. "I'm not saying I look good, but (the socks) cover up for a lot of mistakes."
The same could be said for Winner/Colome infielder Reed Harter, who admitted he was never a high-sock guy. The last time he wore the socks at his knee was in "Little League."
"But I started looking around and saw some designs I liked and figured I would give them a shot," he said.
"I tried it out and I love them. A lot more air comes through them and they look pretty sweet, too," Harter said. "Our jerseys are kind of like the old (Houston) Astros look and it's kind of fun. They're pretty sharp."
For much of the 1900s, stirrups were a standard part of the baseball uniform, especially in the professional game. But as styles changed and rules about uniforms in baseball were loosened, the two-piece sock went away, replaced mostly by players wearing their pant legs down to their ankles, with little to no sock showing.
Slowly, the socks have returned to baseball. In the majors, the socks have become a method of personal expression, with more colors and patterns now back in style once more.
On the powerhouse Alexandria Angels, Smith said he didn't know if he would be able to convince any of his teammates to join the striped-sock look. But he's not afraid to set a trend.
"We kind of saw some of the other guys in the tournament wearing them and we thought that might be a good look," he said. "I think we've got something that works for us."