Got two really interesting communiquÃ©s involving minor league baseball yesterday. The first came from Benjamin Guest, who checked in with the following:
The Birmingham Barons, AA affiliate of the ChiSox, used to play at Rickwood Field, the oldest ballpark in the country. Back in the late Ã¢â‚¬â„¢80s, they moved out to a park in the suburbs of Hoover that has even less charm than the big league club’s new Comiskey, and Rickwood was slated for demolition. But the city of Birmingham didn’t have enough money to knock it over, so it’s still there. Once a year, the Barons hop in a time machine, go back to Rickwood, and throw on some awesome uniforms, (flannel a couple years back — dudes were bitching).
On Wednesday, they went back to the 1964 season, when the team was a KC A’s affiliate. The Barons wore the ’64 team’s road golds at home [here’s another shot], while the visiting Jacksonville Suns wore their home 1967 whites (Nolan Ryan was on that team). It looked pretty cool, if you can get past the Barons’ black helmets.
Man, I love that — not just throwback unis, but a throwback stadium! And speaking of stadia, that brings us to the other note I received yesterday, this one from Alan Duke, who wrote thusly:
About a month ago, I drove down to San Jose to check out Municipal Stadium and see the San Jose Giants play the Modesto Nuts. Misjudging traffic, I get there a little early and walked around the ballpark, where I noticed that most every sign had been painted by hand. In addition to the standard “Thanks for coming” and advertising signage, they have an extensive series of murals featuring the current logos from all the minor league clubs, as well as a comprehensive “history of baseball” timeline for the San Jose region. I particularly like the hand-painted team pennants (notice the painted tacks “attaching” them to wall). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a credit for the artist or team of artists. Highly recommended to check out when in the Bay Area!
Gorgeous stuff. Alan took nearly three dozen of these photos, which I’ve assembled into a slide show that you can see here.
Membership Update: Ãœber-thanks to all who made the first day of the official Uni Watch membership program such a smashing success. Scott Turner is busily preparing the first batch of membership cards, and I’ll start adding all of you to the membership roster shortly (it’s gonna take a few days, but don’t worry, it’ll happen). I truly appreciate the support, as well as all the kind words that many of you included in your membership orders — thanks again.
And one small update: If you go to the Membership page, you’ll see that I’ve added sneak peeks of the artwork from each of the three style guides available at Level Three.
Uni Watch News Ticker: “Thought you might find this old Washington Huskies photo interesting,” writes Patrick Woody. “It was, of all places, hanging by the bathrooms in a Seattle grocery store near the University. We were on vacation there during Memorial Day weekend.” … The Cool Base thing just does not look good (great screen grab by Tim Bennett). … Seth Horowitz notes that the Duke lacrosse player in this photo has a little “MP” notation on his helmet, an apparent shout-out to former coach Mike Pressler. … First, as I reported yesterday, Dan Ortmeier’s left-sleeve patch was missing; then, last night, as Chris Shastid points out, the Giants’ right-sleeve All-Star Game patch was missing from Fred Lewis’s jersey (and Ortmeier’s patch was still MIA). … Former MLBer Tom Brookens, now managing in the Tigers’ minor league system, is setting a fine hosiery example for the young ’uns (with thanks to Luke Larson). … Interesting note from Doug Steffenson, who writes: “Those of us who follow sailing have been following our ‘Super Bowl’ over the past few months, as the America’s Cup races have been taking place in Valencia, Spain. The Italian team Lunna Rossa is sponsored and outfitted by the design house Prada. Does a pricey designer mean better team uniforms? I’ll leave that up to the experts like yourself. Other teams, like the U.S. entry BMW Oracle, have crew names and numbers on the back of their racing unis.” I happen to have sailed quite a bit while growing up (my hometown was right on the Great South Bay, don’tcha know), and I can assure you that nobody dressed me up in Prada or slapped a uni number on my back. Can’t these clowns sail in cut-offs and sneakers, like everybody else? … One of the Baltimore Sun‘s sports columnists devoted his entire column today to the debate over the Orioles’ road jersey insignia. But as Matt French notes, “The writer is one smug son of a bitch, talking about the trivialities of ‘baseball laundry.’ ”