By Phil Hecken
In the early 1900s, 1909 through 1914 to be precise, five major league teams — three National League, one American League, and one Federal League — dabbled with vertical displays of text on their buttoned placket.
In 1909, “CHICAGO” was displayed on the placket of the Cubs’ road jersey. In 1910 and 1911, the Chicago White Sox featured the abbreviated team nickname “SOX” on their home jersey placket. The word “BROOKLYN” was found on the placket of the club’s 1910, 1911 and 1913 road jerseys. In 1912, Pittsburgh’s home and road uniforms featured “PIRATES” on the placket of jersey. The 1914 Indianapolis Hoosiers of the Federal League donned jerseys with the word “FEDERALS” on the placket.
Not much photographic evidence of these unique jersey styles exists (in fact, a fairly thorough search yielded NO such photos of the Hoosiers), but the few pictures above, coupled with Marc Okkonen’s extensive research, reveal that for a very short period of time, a few teams used the vertical lettering. Why didn’t the style catch on? Who knows. Personally, I find it quite endearing, although that is certainly due in part to the rarity and brevity of the experiment. Obviously, this owes much to the fact that the baseball uniform was evolving rapidly at the time, and the collar styles capable of supporting the up and down style would soon morph into a more modern style. Could such a vertical nameplate ever make a come back? Would we even want to see such a beast? Perhaps it’s better to be left to that little five year period of baseball when it was still just a game.
Say it ain’t so, Joe. Say it ain’t so.
Thoughts on the GGEP: I particularly liked the Greatest Game Ever Played presentation last evening, and was so pleased to have Ricko’s input into yesterday’s article. I thought the colorization was good, although photos from this era indicate the Giants unis should have been more royal and less navy. Also, did it appear to anyone else that the stands and crowd shots (during game action) appeared to be left black and white? It seemed they only colorized the actual field of play. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this game. Should be out on DVD by Christmas, no?
Notes and asides: • Nailed my Heisman prediction…congrats to Sam Bradford •• HUGE NFL games today: Dirty Birds hosting Tampa (1pm)…Buffalo visits the Jets (1pm)…Denver at Carolina (4:15)…Baltimore welcomes Pittsburgh (4:15)…and the G-Men look to end the Cowboys season down in the Big D (SNF) ••• Sunday Benchies