Everyone knows about the White Sox’s one-game experiment wearing shorts in 1976. But you might not know that the Chisox weren’t the only professional baseball team to wear shorts, nor were they the first. That distinction goes to the Hollywood Stars, a triple-A team that paired pinstriped shorts with non-pinstriped pullovers in 1950. The outfit was worn for warm-weather games, usually on weekends, for two seasons. You can read a short account of what it was like to wear the shorts, from Stars player Chuck Stevens, here.
Those photos and text come from The Grand Minor League: An Oral History of the Old Pacific Coast League, by Dick Dobbins, a copy of which was generously donated to the Uni Watch library last week by reader Ken Clark. Much like Rain Check, which I wrote about a few weeks ago, this book is filled with some spectacular photos of jerseys, caps, and small details. Here are some highlights:
• At first glance, it looks like the 1956 Los Angeles Angels (who were a minor league team in those days) were using stretch gussets very much like the ones seen on today’s MLB batting practice jerseys. But it turns out that the Angels also used the gusset stripe pattern on their pants!
• Lots of great caps here. I especially like that the Oakland Oaks used an acorn-shaped logo.
• It’s hard to see, but in 1940 the Stars experimented with chenille lettering, which is a puffy, textured weave, sort of like a towel.
• Always cracks me up when I see little underarm ventilation eyelets on old jerseys. Like, yeah, I’m sure those holes made a huuuuuge difference. (Also: Note the odd stitching pattern along the seam.)
• Striped pockets — nice.
As for the shorts — which deserve a closer look — the real problem, it seems to me, is that the jersey and shorts don’t match. Like, was the fabric mill running a special on pinstriped flannel or what? Also, is that a satin belt? Yikes.
Finally, one last left-coast baseball note: Dave Eskinazi, who provided all the great photos in the Rain Check book, has an excellent photo project available on the web: a slide show documenting baseball’s early history in Washington state, filled with more photos from his amazing collection. You can see the exhibit’s home page, and click to begin the slide show, here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Excellent article here about Ohio State’s new jerseys. … Diacritical Update: We have a circumflex sighting, courtesy of Doug Brei, who snapped this photo of Rochester Rhinos player Matthew DelicÃƒ ¢te last Saturday. … Underbill Update: Leaving aside Andre Ethier’s goofy self-portrait pose, it’s interesting to see that he spells out his uni number on his underbill (with thanks to Lauro Diazzesati). … Italy has finally added the fourth star to their soccer crest.