By Phil Hecken
Forty-five years ago, in 1965 to be precise, the newly-named Houston Astros played host to the Philadelphia Phillies in the first ever regular season game in the newly-opened Eighth Wonder of the World, the Houston Astrodome (The first ever game in the Astrodome was played on April 9, 1965, in an exhibition game staged between the Astros and the New York Yankees). But the 1965 regular season began when the Phillies visited Houston on April 12th. Fittingly, the two teams are celebrating the occasion with the Astros hosting a “Turn Back The Clock” game.
According to the press release of the event, both teams will wear 1965 uniforms similar to the ones worn during the Astros first-ever regular-season game in the Astrodome. How similar? That remains to be seen. But the “Astros uniforms will feature the original shooting star jersey top and navy blue cap with orange star.” As an added bonus, the Phillies will play along.
So, if all goes according to plan, the teams should look something like this when they take the field this evening. It should be a gorgeous matchup, particularly if the teams elect to wear proper hosiery for the occasion. So, lets take a look back at what the teams actually wore in 1965, to whet our appetites for the game (as an added bonus, the entire nation has been treated to the free preview of “MLB Extra Innings,” so everyone, at least in theory, should be able to watch this game).
In 1965, the Phillies wore a gray wool flannel uniform, with “Phillies” across the chest and a red cap with a white “P”. Sleeves and stirrups were red, as was the script “Phillies” (outlined in white) across the chest. Unlike today’s uniform, in 1965, the Phillies script was more ‘pointed’, and the stars dotting the “i”‘s were also red (and not blue). Also, in 1965 the uniforms were devoid of all piping, but, like their modern cousins, the 1965’s featured chain stitched lettering. Really, just a beautifully simplistic jersey, especially for the standards of the day.
Here are some additional shots of that uniform (as seen on Dick Allen, Johnny Callison and Clay Dalrymple). It should be noted that that particular uniform was worn from 1950 thru 1969, when the Phil’s would get new uniforms in preparation to their move from Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium to Veterans Stadium. The Vet was supposed to open in May of 1970, but cost overruns and delays would eventually keep the Phillies from moving in until April 1971.
In 1965, the host Astros would begin wearing a new set of uniforms, having moved from Colt Stadium into the newly constructed Astrodome (note Colt Stadium in the distance). We’ll get into the Astrodome itself another time, but when constructed, it was the first completely enclosed domed stadium in the world, featuring clear glass panels in the roof and a natural grass surface. When the Astrodome opened on April 9, 1965, it used a natural 419 Bermuda grass playing surface specifically bred for indoor use. The dome’s ceiling contained numerous semitransparent panes made of Lucite. Players quickly complained that glare coming off of the panes made it impossible for them to track fly balls. Two sections of panes were painted white, which solved the glare problem but caused the grass to die from lack of sunlight. In fact, for most of the 1965 season, the Astros played on green-painted dirt and dead grass. By 1966, newly installed “artificial turf” had replaced the original grass. Why they couldn’t just play at night when there was no glare is a good question, but with double-headers, late setting sun towards the solstice, and Sunday day games prevalent in the mid-sixties, it proved impractical. As alluded to above, this led to the use of the first artificial surface for baseball, called Astroturf, which had invented earlier, but gained fame (and name) with it’s installation in the Astrodome.
But when the Astros took the field for that first regular season game against the Phillies, they were playing on real grass, and their uniforms had gone from this (more on the Colt .45’s below) to this. The 1965 Astros would have white flannel uniforms with “Astros” in blue letters outlined in orange, with a blue star and three orange stripes, simluating a “shooting” star, appropriate to their new name. Incidentally, the Astros is short for “Astronauts” (although the team was never known by this name) and relates to their proximity to the Houston Space Center (since renamed the Johnson Space Center), from which the Apollo, Gemini and Mercury space flights originated. The back of the jersey featured blue block letters with orange outline, and on the sleeve was a new patch with the Astros logo. The logo would feature four baseball “orbiting” the new Astrodome.
Although the caps, sleeves and stirrups appear black in the official team photo, they were a navy blue. The cap held an orange star with a white “H” on the crown. Shirts were button-down and the uniforms were without piping or striping. While staid by today’s (and certainly by future Astros’ uniform standards), the 1965 uniforms were rather radical. The road uniforms were almost identical, except they were gray flannel and had block “Houston” spelled out across the chest in radially arched lettering, and without the “shooting star” graphic. It also appears the stirrups featured an orange star on them.
So, there you have it. A look back at the uniforms worn by the Phillies and the Astros in 1965. Hopefully, Majestic will be able to recreate them as faithfully as possible (although polyester doubleknits or whatever new age fabric they’ll be constructed from, such as Cool-Base spandex, will be a disappointment). For more information on the Astros first season in the Astrodome, go here. You can also read a recap of the first ever game in the Astrodome (note that the header photo is most definitely NOT from the first game, as that’s an astroturf field), and get some fun facts. Also interesting to note in that article is the fact that the Astrodome was still called the Harris County Domed Stadium at the time of the first game and the Astros were still referred to as the “Colt .45s”. Finally, here is an amazing picture of the Astrodome under construction.
Of course, no game in the majors today, especially one of such import, would be complete without gimmicks and lots of corporate
douchebaggery assistance. Tonight’s game includes a 1965 replica Astros jersey, sponsored by AT&T, to be given away to the first 10,000 fans in attendance. In addition, the Astros have set aside 1,965 tickets (isn’t that clever?) in the View Deck II and Outfield Deck sections to be offered at $3.50, which happened to be the 1965 price of Astrodome tickets for box seats and several upper level sections. Special pricing for food and beverages will be offered as well, including $1 hot dogs, compliments of Classic Foods, and $1 Coca-Cola Classic fountain sodas (but ONLY while supplies last).
Great stuff. Let’s hope the game is as sharp as the uniforms promise to be.
In the middle of a roadtrip, before your beloved Twins come home to “officially” open beautiful Target Field, you often find yourself down at Bub’s, and occasionally you’ll make a new acquaintence. Here’s Rick:
It’s been a long week. But, people do say it’s always nice when you have a highly respected profession that makes it all worthwhile. Wonder what that feels like?
OK. And with that, here’s your Saturday Benchies.
Joining the New York Mets, the Houston Colt .45s entered the National League in 1962 and would play for three years in Colt Stadium, a new outdoor ballpark, and which was knowingly built to be temporary, just south of Downtown Houston. While they were better than the Mets, the weren’t particularly good in their first three years, losing 96 games each year. But they had some of the sweetest stirrups the league has ever seen.
For some reason, some of the fellows liked to pull the stirrups high, exposing mostly the orange half of the rup. Other players, sensibly, preferred to wear their pants and stirrup at the proper height, while some, whether it be due to gravity or due to faulty blousing, seemed to favor a half high/half low look. No matter, any way they wore those stirrups, they were sharp.
The Colt .45s stirrups are definitely a favorite of UW Prexies and yours truly, and they can be worn on the diamond, to a UW gathering, or on Stirrup Fridays just the same. Our own Comrade Robert Marshall made them available to the Stirrup Club, and many UW members proudly wear them. If you’re interested in a pair, check Comrade Marshall’s linkie.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: In keeping with the spirit of today’s post, you can probably safely assume the “theme” of things. The teams are easy, but how about the location and the final score? Not so easy. Ready? Guess The Game From The Scoreboard. Date, location and final score, please, and be sure to link to your answer. And, as always, if you enjoy the game, please send me some new scoreboards! Drop me a line. Thanks!
Back again with more Uniform Tweaks, Concepts and Revisions today. Lots to get to, and if you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
We begin the show today with a bit of a novella from Moff Dub (I’m guessing that’s a nom de plume), who’s got quite a bit so say about the Fathers:
I have been an off-and-on reader for a few years, even though every time I read something on your blog, I ask myself “why aren’t I reading this daily?” But I digress.
I was inspired by the recent uni-tweak of my beloved San Diego Padres and older tweaks and thought “this is the kind of thing I do occasionally in my spare time” and figured I’d submit my own ideas for the Friars.
This is essentially a dark sand-colored alternate jersey. They first showed up about three or so years ago and I have always thought they were awesome. It is my opinion that they should be a real alternate jersey that the team wears, perhaps in replacement of their navy blue alternate.
But my uni-tweak is more than simply a replacement/additional alternate. The dark sand color is unique, and, aside from the controversial-yet-awesome sand road uniform, the Padres’ uniforms can start to look like other teams.
Blue and navy blue tend to be as common as red in MLB (Cardinals, Angels, Phillies, Nationals, I’m looking at you), and teams start to look similar. So I thought instead of the unoriginal navy blue as the primary focus, what if it was relegated to trim and the dark sand color was introduced more prominently?
My idea for the home uniform is to swap the navy blue and dark sand. Now there is no mistaking that you are watching the Padres.
Unlike my compadre Clint Glaze and many others, I happen to adore the all-sand look. They are fine the way they are.
For the home alternate, which is what started all of this, I think the dark sand color is a nice subtle tribute to the earlier taco mustard uniforms of (in)fame. This also sets the Padres apart from other teams who wear blue or dark blue alternates. I think it is also fairly obvious that this shouldn’t be used on the road with the sand pants. Having two tones of sand would be too weird.
This isn’t to say that I’d ditch the navy blue altogether. I’d save it for the batting practice/spring training jersey. The obvious tweak is the SD on the jersey instead of the Padres script. In the past, the Padres have sported the large jersey SD for batting practice and I have always been partial to it.
Also notice I ditched the “P” cap logo in favor of the Swingin’ Friar! If you look hard enough, you can find the Swingin’ Friar on a navy blue and black hat in a retail store, both of which I own. He’s always there for the team, working his butt off for a 9th-inning rally, and deserves to be worn on the craniums of the players themselves I say!
Just to show my fairness towards the navy blue, I am also keeping it for a possible-but-not-necessary road alternate look. Notice the main change is to change the Padres script to the city name. I think road jerseys should generally feature the city name.
I don’t have the graphical dexterity to mock up the camo jersey, but that’s ok because I don’t have much to change, except for adding a white outline to the Padres script and the SD on the sleeve. Both of these inexplicably lack a white outline, and thus can blend into the rest of the camoflage of the jersey.
Finally, I leave a fans-only “fashion” jersey and hat for last as flame-bait. I have actually used iron-on decals to almost make this exact jersey shirt, except with navy-blue numbers outlined in sand and white. Since that looks too much like the Mets, I’d go with this design if I had to do it all over again.
Really it doesn’t have to be only black, especially since the numbers, logos, and player name are “protected” by the white outline. So you could make this any color you want for any “fashion” you want… hence why it is called a fashion jersey.
So that’s all I have to make the Friars of San Diego stand out from the rest of the league.
Up next, with a slightly shorter description, is Garrett Lukken, with a Packers remix:
Switched the colors of the jerseys and the pants but I liked the green pants so much I did another with the Packers original home and away jerseys only with green pants on the away.
In the three-hole today is Joe Katz, who has a mythical team, the “St. Louis Archers:”
I was hoping that Saint Louis would get an NBA team, and made these uniforms for the Saint Louis Archers.
And closing out the tweaks today is Bruce Genther, with his take on the St. Louis Cardinals:
I certainly agree that the Cardinals uniform is just about as perfect as one can get, but I also agree with fellow uni tweakers Ben Traxel and Jesse Alkire that a slight tweak could be in order for the road uni. I have incorporated the old St. Louis Browns 1953 road script (sans underline) as the script style for the road uniform instead of the standard script now being used for none uni purposes. I have also provided a different handling of the player name on the back in version three – vertical arch plain block letters in navy vs. the standard arched plain block two color letters.
And that’s all folks. Check back next time for more tweaks, concepts and revisions.
Sometimes the news out of Steel Town just can’t wait until Monday, so our favorite Yinzer, Doug Keklak, is here to bring us the News From Pittsburgh.
First item: Jeff Jimerson’s really cool shirt:
** Jeff is the guy that sings the National Anthem at most Pens’ games and is a local legend. He gets a g clef as number.
** PS, I’m enjoying this free trial week of extra innings and I’m watching the Mets and Nats before the Pirates come on (they’re in Arizona). I felt sick for you guys when I saw the Mets with the black jerseys on.
Ah, but the Mets won in black. And like Doug, I enjoyed watching…ok, perhaps “enjoyed” is rather strong…the the Pirates versus the D-Backs, as I happened upon it during the MLB preview.
Moments after I flipped on the game, with the Pirates already in an 8-0 hole, Douggie sent me this cam phone shot of DJ Carrasco in stirrups. Despite the distorted photo, it was great seeing Carrasco wearing his stirrups correctly, unlike during last year’s Civil Rights Game.
OK everyone, that’ll do it for today. Remember, the free preview of MLB Extra Innings should allow pretty much everyone to see the Astros/Phillies game. For those of you not still giddy over “Opening Week,” there’s a little golf tournament going on down in Augusta (more on that tomorrow), with the artist formerly known as Eldrick back on the prowl. And, oh yeah…I guess there is still some excitement left in the NHL as the Blue Shirts defeated the Broad Street Bullies last night to force basically a “winner take all” rematch on Sunday.
One last bit of “uni tracking” news, coupled with yesterday’s announcement of the new uniforms for UVA — check out this uniform tracking analysis…that’s um…pretty thorough. Wonder if any of UW’s baseball trackers will go to those extremes.
And on that note, have a great Saturday everyone.
Now this guy is a first ball hitter. He’ll either swing at the first pitch or he’ll take it. — Rusty Staub, as a member of the Colt 45s