By Phil Hecken with Jeremy Brahm
I’m joined again by Jeremy Brahm, the UW Pacific Rim Correspondent, and expert on all things Asian, particularly baseball. We previously (and by we, I mean Jeremy) discussed the current KBO teams and their sartorial stylings (if you missed it, you can check it out here). But wait, there’s more. In fact, a lot more. I’ll let Jeremy explain:
After helping Bill Jones with a gumball helmet project on Japan, he asked me if I had any information on the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), and I replied, “I do not really know that much about it.” But, after doing some research over a weekend, I have found that Korean professional baseball has only been around since 1982 and that there are only eight teams, with a few changes in names and sponsorships, which of course have led to different uniform combinations. This is the second of a two-part series on the KBO and I will continue with the defunct teams.
In the first season there were six teams, and only the Samsung Lions and Lotte Giants exist under the same name. The other four teams were the Haitai Tigers, MBC Blue Dragons, OB Bears and Sammi Superstars. This is where we will start our journey.
Haitai Tigers: Based in Gwangju on the Southwestern corner of the Korean peninsula. Haitai is a dessert and snack manufacturer and owned the Tigers until July 2001 before KIA Motors sponsored the team and becoming the KIA Tigers. Haitai won nine titles during that their ownership.
Here is what their original home uniforms looked like with Haitai in Hangeul on their chest in black with orange outlines. Notice how the Hangeul looks kind of like a possible Canadian phrase, OH EH. Their hats were black with a white outline around an outward serif black H with a yellow/orange T under the crossbar on the H.
And then their road uniform was very different from a color standpoint: Red tops with black lettering with white outlines and black pants with white and red hemlines. To me this has to be one of the worst top/bottom combinations for baseball. The picture in the upper right corner is what the KIA Tigers look like now.
In 1993, the Tigers went to a very conventional logo for their home uniform, a script Tigers with a thick red stripes yoke and a black collarbone stripe. The hat and helmets added a red brim to the black and changed to a cursive capital H. While their road uniform remained the same, with Haitai written in block lettering in Romanization with white outlines, but Tigers is in Hangeul in white lettering. It looks a bit better than the old road uniform, but not much.
Next is the MBC Blue Dragons (Chungyong) and they were based in the capital of Seoul. MBC is the acronym for Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation which is one of the leading media conglomerates in South Korea. MBC owned the Blue Dragons from 1982-1989 before LG bought the sponsorship rights in 1990 and becoming the LG Twins.
The Blue Dragons had a wide range of uniforms in their time in the KBO. Here is what they looked like when the team was accepted to the league. The pictograph on the uniforms says “Blue Dragons”. But the team never wore these uniforms on the field. This was their first home uniform in 1982.
It was white with Chungyong (Dragons) Romanized in blue and blue raglan sleeve with SEOUL in white on the right sleeve and an interlocking M (Munhwa) and S (Seoul) cap.
Their road uniform was a blue base with SEOUL in yellow with MBC letters in red (M), green (B) and dark blue (C).
This a replication of the 1983 home uniform, from a throwback day, it still had the blue raglan sleeves, but a new chest design. The team added Dragons in Hangeul in a large font to the chest.
There road uniform was blue with white raglan sleeves and SEOUL and Dragons in Hangeul in a large font across the chest and SEOUL on the right sleeve.
In 1985, the home uniform had changed to a white base with two broad stripes in blue and yellow crossing the chest. Dragons were in Hangeul in white lettering with blue outlines. Also added was a blue number over the stripes on the left chest. The huge Dragons chest script was smaller but centered on the stripes.
In 1986, the home uniform chest Dragons text was shrunk and placed on the left side of the stripes. Also the team had a dragon patch on the left sleeve. It may have used in other seasons as well, but I cannot get a close shot and also the old KBO logo is similar in shape. Also the hat and helmet for both the home and road changed from the MS to a side locking MC (Manhwa Chungyong).
Next is the OB Bears, who were based in Daejeon before moving to Seoul in 1986. OB is short for Oriental Brewery and OB owned the Bears until 1999, when their sponsorship rights were acquired by the Doosan conglomerate and becoming the Doosan Bears.
The Bears did not really change their look in the league. I think that they look like the Expos with their three colored hats. White front panels with blue OB, red panel, then the rest of it dark blue.
In 1982 the Bears won the first league title in these uniforms. White base with OB in blue with blue numbers and white pants with blue and red stripes. Their road uniforms were dark blue with OB in white and white pants.
Here is a picture of the Bears in Hangeul in training. The only other difference of the uniform that I could find was where OB Bears was spelled out on the home and road uniforms. What is a little odd is that the B in OB and B in Bears were of a different size.
There is also a picture of a player with a red panel at the front with a white outline around the blue OB on the hat with smaller white panels, but I do not know the date of this picture.
Next is the Sammi Superstars who were based in Incheon near Seoul. Sammi was a steel company and kept the team until 1985. The Superstars borrowed from the Astros, Cardinals and Expos during this short timeframe.
Here is the home uniform in 1982, a white base with a blue star with a white S over the heart and SUPERSSTARS spelled out in block letters with a star inside the A. Also had blue, red and black sleeve stripes with a blue hat with a red brim and a white star with a red S. They are all over the place with this uniform.
Here is a small picture of the 1982 road uniform. Blue base with the team logo patch on the left sleeve, red, yellow and green sleeve stripes.
The 1983 home uniform was changed but retained the hat.
I have also seen a picture with a different design and I can’t figure if this was also used in 1983, but it was used in 1984. Added red and black yoke stripes and changed the script for Superstars to Hangeul. Also they dropped the three color stripes and had them matched to the yoke. Plus they made the star on the shirt a black star with a red S under the script.
Here is the batting helmet, but what is up with their back panel? Who has the time to paint a back panel like that? Otherwise their helmet which looks like the Kintetsu Buffaloes in Japan of that same time.
Now we’ll move onto the teams that came into being later in the 1980s, Binggrae Eagles, Chungbo Pintos and the Pacific Dolphins.
The Binggrae Eagles came into the league as an expansion team in 1986. They had probably one of the loudest uniforms, let alone road uniform, in the history of mankind. Orange shirt and pants with white pinstripes and black and white pant and collar bone stripes also with white lettering with black outlines. The back had black lettering and numbers.
The home uniform was tame by comparison with a white base and orange pinstripes, orange and black shoulder stripes, and orange lettering with black outlines and black numbers.
Hanwha bought the sponsorship rights in 1994 and became the Hanwha Eagles.
Chungbo Pintos were an instant ramen maker that purchased the sponsorship from Sammi in the 1984 offseason and renamed for the 1985 season. In 1985 home uniform was white with red raglan sleeves and white and red sleeve stripes. Chungbo was in Hangeul with green lettering and Pintos was in white lettering on the right sleeve. The red cap had a white interlocking C (Chungbo) and P (Pintos).
In 1986, the Pintos became the first team in baseball history to have vertical stripes, not pinstripes, WIDE RED STRIPES, on their white home uniforms. Here are the road uniforms, which were red based with white pants. The team also had blue lettering and numbers on the stripes, which were almost unreadable together.
The Pintos were so bad that Chungbo did not renew their sponsorship and it was taken over by Taepyeongyang (Pacific) Corporation and renamed the Pacific Dolphins in 1988.
The home uniform had a white base with a black wide stripe and green small stripes with white Hangeul lettering. While the road uniform was a black base with a white wide stripe and green small stripes with red Hangeul lettering. The cap was a black cap with a green brim and a Dolphin with fin rotating.
After realizing that these uniforms were ugly, the Dolphins went with a more conventional look in 1989. Their home uniform had an all white base with green lettering and green and yellow pant stripes. Pacific was changed from Hangeul to pictograph on the front of the uniform. Their road uniforms looked like the Oakland A’s with a green base and white pants with green and yellow pant stripes. The cap for home and road became green with a yellow D/fin.
In 1993, the team changed the lettering back to Hangeul on their home and road uniforms.
Lastly were the two teams that came into the KBO in the 1990s that do not exist anymore, Hyundai Unicorns and Ssangbangul (SBW) Raiders.
The Hyundai Unicorns were created after Hyundai bought sponsorship of the Dolphins after the 1995 season.
The Ssangbanguwool Raiders came into the KBO as an expansion team in 1990, but as Ssangbanguwool went bankrupt in 1999 the team dissolved after the season.
When they joined the league this was their home uniform. Yellow lightning bolt across the chest under RAIDERS in yellow also, both outlined in black. I can’t find their road uniform from 1990, I would guess that it was either a grey or black base uniform. Their last home uniform was a white base with black lettering and a yellow outline. The Raiders script was replaced with Ssangbanguwool in Hangeul.
And that concludes Jeremy’s look at the defunct KBO uniforms. Thanks Jeremy.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: You guys are too good, so undoubtedly, you will not be stumped. This one might be easy, but then, it may be slightly more difficult. Clues are on the scoreboard, of course, but there are clues on the field of play as well. Don’t forget, if you solve it (when you solve it), post the link to the answer and maybe talk us through how you came to your answer. Some of these require different techniques than others. So, here we go: Guess The Game
Ok, we have four Benchies today, then we’ll have three more tomorrow — that’s like a week’s worth. They’re all new, and based on some of the comments recently, a couple are very topical. Enjoy!
Stirrup Club News: UW DIY OCDer Robert Marshall checks in with this (pardon his spelling, grammar and lack of punctuation):
the red sox stirrups came in early, and are all ready to go. unfortunately, i won’t have the hour to spend in the post office as they weigh and print out the postage for the nearly 70 envelopes one at a time until monday, but we can get started on the next one today. i have faith in your brain-pan’s capacity, so this month we are going to try two stirrups with a missouri theme. if we handle this okay, we will continue to do two at a time. even if you have ordered before, read the directions carefully, there were more then a few people who ordered the first ‘rup who failed to do things properly on the second ‘rup. athletics and/or cardinals anyone?
And finally, I’m “lucky” enough to get the MLB “extra innings” free preview (thanks to Johnny O for the tip). You should all check to see if you have it because it’s serendipity times two. I could turn off the Mets while they were losing 10-0 to the Bravos, and didn’t have to watch the Yanks. There was some very good stuff on, especially seeing Nyjer Morgan in red stirrups and catching Vin Scully on the PTDodgers feed. But, flipping through the channels, though, I stumbled upon the Red Sox at the Blue Jays. Now, the Blue Jays apparently still do their “Flashback Fridays” because they were dressed in their powder blues. But they’re the home team. And they either don’t let the visiting team wear white or the visiting team has no reason (other than to appease the Blue Jays’ ‘throwback home/away’ uni jones) to pack home unis for a road trip. But — I’m guessing most teams also don’t want to wear their all gray uniforms against all powder blue uniforms the Jays sport, so they’ll wear their gray pants with an alt jersey. Well — here’s what last night’s game looked like. Awful. I know the powder blues are the “home” uni, but having grown up in an era when that was ALWAYS the away uni, it looks horrid when the opposing team is ALSO wearing their away uni. Something’s gotta give.
Anyway, I’m going to nominate that for the “worst uni matchup of the season”. There may have been worse, but I can’t think of any. But I bet you guys can. What do you think has been the “worst uni matchup” (category: MLB) of the season thus far? I’d love to know what you think.
Whew…another short weekend post. I’ll end it here. Everyone enjoy your Saturday!