By Phil Hecken
What if … your favorite baseball team had different colors? Specifically, what if, instead of adopting the colors they currently wear, instead they chose the predominant colors from the city (or State) flag for the colors in their uniforms? Recently, reader Hungry Hungry Hipster had been doing “city flag jerseys” (I think they’re soccer kits, but I suppose they could be for any number of sports), and that got me to thinking — what if baseball teams had adopted the colors of their city and how might those teams look if they were dressed in those colors with todays uniforms? While you know I am not a graphic artist, I spent the greater part of a week attempting to see how major league teams would look if they donned a bit more local flavor. I think what follows turned out OK.
Aside from a quick and interesting history lesson in some city’s flags, I learned a couple of other things about how teams would look dressed all local-like. Some teams don’t look all that bad, some don’t look all that good, and some don’t look all that different (as we’ll see). I’d even go so far as to say that some teams look better sporting city flag colors. It will come as no surprise that the Steel City already dresses its teams in city colors, while others bear a striking resemblance (whether this is intentional or not is a debate for another day).
Aside from adding stirrups and sock stripes, and in most cases removing the “PLAYER” name from the jersey (and an occasional patch), I attempted to faithfully recreate a teams current uniform scheme, so as to better give a visual perspective. In each case, I’ll note any changes I made to a uniform (some were necessary) but what follows is a “What If…” segment. Lets begin with the junior circuit:
Baltimore: The Orioles, whose name is ornithologically derived, are obviously black and orange. It’s a classic uniform, no doubt. But the flag of Baltimore is yellow/gold (for the most part) and not all that far off from the current Orioles colorscheme. Adding the yellow and dropping the orange everywhere but on the bird logo and that of the shoulder patch yields this uniform. It’s not a bad look at all. On the stirrups I added the yellow/gold sanitaries, instead of white and some stripes as well. Hard to argue removing the orange in favor of the yellow, but it’s not a bad combo if you used the Baltimore City flag colors.
Boston: OK. The “Red Sox” is obviously in reference to hosiery the Boston team (usually) wears, so it’s very tough to make any kind of case for putting the Boston City flag colors on the Red Sox uniform. But I gave it a shot, just for shits and giggles. Obviously, you’d need to keep the “Red Sox” patch on the shoulder, so I left that alone, but here’s how the road uniform would look in the aqua (?) and yellow of that city’s flag. Not good. And the home uniform? Not much better, although that’s not a completely horrible color scheme. Just not on a team called the “Red Sox.”
Chicago: OK, here it starts to get very interesting. The women’s professional soccer team, the Chicago Red Stars already use the city colors (not to mention the flag itself) as the basis for their uniform. And, as you will see later this week, the Chicago White Sox have reinvented themselves about 100 times over their history with different uniform schemes and colors. So how might the White Sox look wearing a uniform sporting their city’s colors? Well … here is how they would look if they used the blue element in their uniforms. And, here is the red element. But what if we combined the two? Well then, you’d have something like this. Whoa. I’ve seen that look somewhere before. Did the 1970’s White Sox chose the colors from their City flag for their uniforms? Hard to say, with absolute certainty, because they’d worn red before in their history and also powder blue, but never at the same time. Was this a semi-conscious effort, or just dumb luck? Or perhaps, one from column A and one from column B. Either way, it’s food for thought.
Cleveland: Here is an example where the current uniform colors are almost identical to the colors of the Cleveland flag. So the uniforms wouldn’t look all that much different. Did the powers-that-be who came up with the current uniform color scheme reference the city flag? Probably not, since the red, white and blue in the flag have often been used in the teams uniforms, but then again, maybe that was intentional. But either way, the Indians wouldn’t look too much different than they do now. That being said, here’s the road uniform (with stirrup stripes attempting to mimic the flag pattern) and home uniform (for the home, I picked up the green “laurels” from the city flag for additional effect).
Detroit: Wow. Lots of colors in that city flag. Too many to really put onto a uniform that is currently only two colors (not counting white or gray as a color). But we can use the red and blue and try to work them in there. What you get is a home uniform that takes on a full additional color from it’s current state. Looks kind of busy, even though it’s only one more color than they have now. However, that same effect, even with the addition of yellow in the Old English “D” on the cap, looks much better when applied to the road uniform. I might have overdone it a bit on those away uni stirrup stripes, but I wanted to see how the socks would look if they mimicked the flag’s pattern more closely. Probably should have kept them plain dark blue.
Kansas City: I’m actually not quite sure which flag is correct for this fine city, and since it’s very similar to this flag (in terms of the color scheme), I used both. Being partial to those cities which choose to incorporate the colors of the flag of the United States into their city flag, I rather like how the Royals might look if they were to sport the Kansas City flag’s colors. The blue goes from “royal” to “navy” and the gold becomes red. Here’s the home uniform and the road uniform in city flag colors. I kind of like this. There is a slight problem in reconciling the team name (“Royals”) and removing the royal blue color from the uniform. But it’s interesting.
Los Angeles: Ah ha … the first true quandry i faced, because the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim aren’t technically from Los Angeles. But this is the flag of the City of Anaheim. And it’s pretty boring. So I chose the LA flag for the Angels. I probably should have worked with a few more combinations than the one I eventually chose. But since the Angels refuse to acknowledge any city at all on their jersey, they only get one mockup. The stirrup stripes might have been a bit much, but again, I wanted to replicate the city flag colors on them.
Minnesota: Yet another slight bit of complexity here, since the Twins are one of those teams who don’t have a “city” in which they play (at least officially), but a state. So, do I use the State flag’s colors, or those of Minneapolis or St. Paul? Gotta go with what’s on the front of the uniform, of course, so that’s the Minnesota State flag. And, since the flag is predominantly blue, that means the Twins uniforms will have that as their main color. I actually like home uniform better with the blue lettering than the current red. As far as the road uniform, I stuck with the red with blue outlines for city name and numbers. However, since pinstripes do not belong on road uniforms, I had to remove them.
New York: The “New York” comes from playing in New York City, so we’ll go with the New York City flag here. But, don’t dey play in da Bronx? Yep. But the flag of Bronx County looks almost identical, at least from a color perspective. So, for those fans of the Mets (or any team really, but especially Mets fans) who hate the Yankees, you may want to look away. Here’s the vanuted pinstripes using the NYC flag colors. There’s not much difference using the colors of the Bronx flag, but here is that rendering. After ‘creating’ this, I couldn’t even bring myself to do an away uniform.
Oakland: Now this is really interesting. The colors of Oakland’s flag are pretty similar, eerily so, to those of the Athletics. Why so eerie, you ask? We’ve already seen that some teams may (or may not) have chosen to incorporate their cities flags’ color scheme into their uniform, so why is Oakland so special? Because, the A’s sported their color scheme since they played in Kansas City! And I highly doubt Charley Finley knew when he introduced the world to yellow and green on a baseball uniform that he’d be moving his team to Oakland. Or did he? Certainly something to ponder, if nothing else. Anyway, here’s the A’s home uniform and their road uniform in city flag colors. Looks so different from their current get ups. (Note to self…NEVER put stripes on the A’s socks again.)
Seattle: That is an, um, interesting flag. Lots of swirly stuff (what’s that? waves you say? gotcha). And what color is that, anyway — teal? aqua? OK. It’s that City’s flag, and it’s in two colors, so lets work with it. I tried to render this uniform using just the teal and white, but it looked awful. So, I re-added the current blue for a bit of color contrast. Here’s what we get. I give you the Seattle Mariners in city flag
gory glory. This would be one team to whose city flag colors I would never recommend changing.
Tampa (Bay): For the Rays, I had to render their flag in both the Tampa colors and those of St. Petersburg as well. The Sunshine State’s west coast seems to have some very interesting flags, don’t they? I really dig that St. Pete flag, but with FIVE dominant colors, there’s no way to render the uniform with all of them (so we’ll stick to the socks). Anyway, lets tackle the Tampa version first. With four colors in their flag, and none more dominant than another, I thought I’d just use them all. Probably not a great idea, but it’s not like the Rays have any great uniform history to begin with. I think their original had more colors. Anyway, with that in mind, I didn’t feel so bad putting four colors in their current uniform. As for the St. Pete version — I got all all five colors in there, albeit two of them were relegated to the stirrups. Interesting and colorful, if nothing else.
Texas: Well, not much to say or do here. The Texas Texases wear their State flag on their uniform, so it’s no surprise their colors stem from it. Both the home uniform and the road uniform don’t change under the “city flag colors” renderings.
Toronto: Rounding out the junior circuit is the only team from north of the border. The Toronto flag is kinda cool, though. And since there is no black in it, I get to render the BLUE Jays in a more appropriate
color colour. The nice blue and red in the flag aren’t exactly new colors for the Jays, but they are slightly different from what they have now, or what they wore in the past. So, here’s the home uniform and the road uniform. I’m NOT liking the beveled numbers however (and the letters are no picnic either). Just for the hell of it, and since the Jays once wore powder blue on the road, I thought I’d see how they look if we rendered their uniform in the colors of their flag. I probably should not have. Because here’s what I came up with. Not good. I do think the “Toronto” and the numbers look better when rendered in a solid pattern however. But that’s about the only good thing I can say.
Well, there you have it. The American League rendered in the colors of the flags of their cities. (Please don’t beat me up too bad for the graphics — I’m NOT a graphic artist, nor do I claim to be one — I just wanted to give an idea of how these things would look). I’m NOT saying I’d advocate any of the teams change their colors (well — maybe one, but I’ll have more on them this week, along with some guest artists). But as an exercise
in futility, I thought it might be interesting to see how the leagues would look if they took their colors from the flag of the place they play. I’ll be back at some point with the National League. But that’s all for today. Let me know what you think!
Last evening, the Crew & Bravos engaged in a little Negro League throwback game. Ever vigilant, Brewer fans extraordinaire Johnny Okray and Nicole Haase were all over this, with Johnny sending me some pics and Nicole actually attending the game and taking a few pics from the stands. Johnny begins:
I know you know the Brewers threw back to the 1923 Milwaukee Bears, and the Braves threw back to the 1919-52 Atlanta Black Crackers today for a Negro League tribute of sorts. I say “of sorts” because I bet those teams never wore their unis as baggy as the guys do today. Anyways, I just wanted to send you a picture of the mound today. The Crew always like to change their mound logo when the uni changes, and today was no different. Here are a few more:
The hat looks awesome, but when are they going to make throw back shoes?. Other wise this picture would be awesome!
Next up is Nicole, who was at the game, and has a nice little writeup on it:
The Milwaukee Brewers hosted the Atlanta Braves in their third annual Negro Leagues tribute game. The Brewers wore the 1923 uniforms of the Milwaukee Bears and Atlanta wore the 1926 uniforms of the Atlanta Black Crackers.
Only Nate McClouth and Casey Kotchman of the Braves and Prince Fielder (shown here with Kotchman) ruined the look by not wearing high pants/socks. Kotchman appeared to have elastic in the bottom, but wore them at the ankle. Taking it a step better, in this picture of the guys in the dugout, on the far left you’ll see Jeff Suppan wearing real stirrups to complete the look.
Full gallery here.
Thanks Nicole! Also, be sure to check out her website, which is awesome, and which she bills as “Sports…from a chick’s perspective.” Great stuff.
In case you missed it yesterday, it’s almost that time again — time for round two of the Uni Tracking we began at the beginning of the season, and you guys so aptly displayed graphically and in print in May and June. Response to the first call for “uni trackers” was tremendous, and I’m interested to see how everyone’s team is faring now that we’re almost 2/3rds of the way through the season. So, if you’re one of the many insane dedicated people who put yourselves through this exercise, contact me this week and I’ll think about how we’ll go about round 2 of the tracking. I think we need to keep the “replies” a bit shorter, but we still need the important info. I’ll come up with “guidelines” in the next week, and let you know when the next round (figure the second weekend in August) will transpire. Thanks to everyone who has participated thus far. I look forward to your updated tracking and trends. When you send me your email, please put Uni Tracking in the “subject” line. Judging from the number of e-mails I got on this (all of one), I’m hoping interest in this is not waning. Simply contact me and let me know if you’re still interested — I’ll get back to you with the “specs” when I come up with them. OK? OK???? OK.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: OK. Today’s scoreboard should NOT be that difficult, since you should be able to narrow everything down right from the get go. The scoreboard itself, the teams, and the player pictured are all clues. It’s just a matter of narrowing it even further. And that shouldn’t be all that difficult. Ready? Guess The Game. As always, link to Retrosheet of Baseball Almanac, and tell us what it was about the picture that led you to your answer.
Since we had ARATT (“all Ricko, all the time”) yesterday, we’re only going to have one Sunday Benches today. I’m pretty sure the boys of Benchies don’t wear their city uni colors on their softball uniforms, but hey, you never know. So, with that introduction, I present you with Sunday Benchies for today. Enjoy.
The MLB Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is today, and the Hall will be welcoming Rickey Henderson, Jim Rice and Joe Gordon (from “pre-1943”) days. You can read more about it here. Will be interesting to hear Rickey’s speech — and whether he’s just Rickey being Rickey … Brinke Guthrie (
“eknirb” “=bg=”) notes that the San Francisco Giants will honor Sue Burns, their deceased senior general partner, on Monday. … And finally, Doug Keklak (“Kek”) draws our attention to this trip down memory lane. Thanks, fellas.
OK. That will do it for today. Enjoy your Sunday.