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Hats Off To Brooklyn — Part I

Brooklyn Dodger Cap Hed

By Phil Hecken

Ever since the LA Dodgers announced they’d be wearing throwback uniforms for six Thursday afternoon games this year, there’s been a buzz about their new uniforms. Whether through the passage of time or a faulty recollection of history, many have come to accept that the famous “B” logo that the Brooklynites wore for half a century has always looked like this. Not so.

Today, I’m joined by Chance Michaels, UW stalwart, who has sought, unsuccessfully, to buy a true Brooklyn Dodger cap. You’d think something so simple as buying a Dodger cap would be a no-brainer. Also, not so.

I’ll turn the rest of the lede over to Chance, who will give us a fantastic history lesson which accompanies his search for the holy grail proper Brooklyn cap.


Bleeding Brooklyn Blue
By Chance Michaels

One out of every seven Americans can trace their family roots back to the streets of Brooklyn. I myself am a native; though you probably know me as a Packers chronicler and fan of the Brewers (especially the classic model), I was born in New York City and lived in Brooklyn as a kid.

Recently, my wife and I moved with our kids from Manhattan to my old borough (a journey unheard of in these days). Like many proud denizens of the Borough of Kings, I wanted to buy a Brooklyn Dodger cap to proclaim my local pride.

Only problem — they don’t make ’em.

Oh, sure. There’s a never-ending glut of merchandise honoring the Boys of Summer. But an authentic Dodger Blue cap with period “B” logo on it? No such animal.

Let’s take a look at the development of the blue Dodger cap, from the development of the classic B logo and see how we got where we are now.

The Brooklyn Dodgers used a distinctive “B” logo for most of their existence. It may best be described as two equal loops, or an “8”, joined by a vertical bar at the left. The bar’s right edge is straight, and the left edge is scalloped to form three points. The loops and bar come together to create a distinctive triangular “notch” of negative space.

This logo was in use as early as 1909, when the Boys from Brooklyn were known as the “Superbas”. It would be featured on the jerseys and caps as early as 1914, and as the team moved from being known as the Superbas to the Robins to finally the Dodgers, the logo was a constant. The Dodgers experimented with other looks, to be sure, but always came back to the classic “B”.

In 1938, the Dodgers introduced what would be their last home uniform. Snow white, with a blue “Dodgers” script across the chest, it survives to this day. Road caps were blue with the classic “B”, home caps were while with a blue logo, bill and piping (as seen in this exemplar, (manufactured by Spalding and worn by base coach Babe Ruth). The white cap was discarded after one season in favor of blue caps full-time, which would come to define the Dodgers for the rest of their stay in Brooklyn.

The design of the classic “B” was altered slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, depending on which company supplied the Brooks in any given season. Spalding gave them caps with a logo which thinned at the middle, while Rawlings had an interpretation of the “B” involving a more uniform thickness. Rawlings was also known to sew the logo on as a patch, as was MacGregor Goldsmith. But these minor variations aside, no matter where it appeared, the Dodger cap was timeless and true.

Until the early 1950s, that is. The Dodgers gave their cap contract to McAuliffe, a company out of Boston that was huge in that era, supplying the hometown Red Sox as well as the Reds, Tigers and Angels, among others. McAuliffe made some minor alterations to the logo, especially at the points of the bar. I’m having trouble nailing down exactly when this version was introduced, but based on this photo of Ralph Branca, Carl Erskine and Preacher Roe, it must have been around 1951. The National League 75th Anniversary patch is a dead giveaway, but we can’t be sure; photo evidence can sometimes swing more than one way. Not to mention that Preacher is wearing a “classic B” cap in that photo.

1955 is a year burned into the memory of every Brooklyn Dodger fan, even those who weren’t alive at the time. The Bums finally managed to get to the top of the mountain. After ten National League pennants, including five in nine years, the Dodgers finally bested the crosstown Yankees to win the World Series. Only slightly less momentous is that, in the same season, McAuliffe scrapped the classic “B” in favor of their own stock letter.

If that “B” looks familiar, it should; it’s the Boston Red Sox logo of the time, minus the outline. No notch, the left edges of the loops are now vertical and the bottom loop is larger than the top.

Although some of McAuliffe’s caps appear to have a notch due to the stitching pattern, the majority do not. In many cases, the gap between stitching is more of a seam. Remember this notch-less logo; it’ll be important in, oh, about forty years.

An ignominious fate for a proud franchise, wearing a second-hand logo (not to mention an early case of the corporate lifestyle apparel shenanigans plaguing pro sports today). This slight was short-lived, if only because the Dodgers would find themselves out of Brooklyn, trading the “B” caps for an interlocking “LA.” And with that, the iconic “B” logo, which had defined a borough for decades, was relegated to the fading world of memories and newspaper clippings.

Until somebody realized they could make money off it, that is.


Thanks Chance. Great stuff. Chance will be back next weekend as the search for a proper Brooklyn (hopefully) reaches a happy ending.


colorize this

Colorize This!

Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.

I took last week off, hoping we would get some new blood, but the stalwarts never let us down. The G&G Boys (George & Gary) are back with a few stellar pictures for us:


Leading off this week is Gary Chanko, who took on another Gary — Player — and Arnie:

I believe you said you were taking (last) week off. However I managed to work through the Palmer and Player image that was submitted last week. Not the best size for digital coloring, but as always, you work with what you’ve got.



Next up is George Chilvers, who first sent me a *corrected* image of Terry Proctor’s Rochester Royal favorite:


I know you’re not doing a “colorize this” this week, but this is either for next week or to send directly to Terry – corrected version of Bobby Davies :)

Have a good holiday!



With a week off to recharge their batteries, Gary & George cranked back up the colorization machine this week. But before they did, reader Alan Tompas came up with three new colorization candidates, and they are supreme:

Dug up some cool images up from the baseball forum page..would be great to see what they’d look like in color! I recently started a blog on tumblr with a lot of my own original photos..I’m still unemployed and it might be a good digital resume. Plus I’d like to get more followers..if you can give me a shout’s much appreciated. Your blog keeps me endlessly entertained and motivated to keep my writing dreams alive. The blog is here.

And here are those three images:

Ebbets Field

Yankee Stadium (with the Mick)

Polo Grounds (after a Mets game)

Thanks Phil!

All the best..Alan


Back to the G&G Boys, we continue with George, who has colorized the “Leitrim Young Men’s Society Gaelic Football Team,” whatever that may be. But I will say this, I absolutely love the “CAPTAIN” kit on the chap in the center:

Hi Phil

This is Leitrim Young Men’s Society Gaelic Football Team from New York in 1914 at a game against Cavan. Having socks falling down was not an option for these young gentlemen :)

And the trainer in the back row seems a belt and braces sort of guy judging by how he wears his belt.

The original is here . Sometimes we can be our own worst critics, but I’m quite pleased with this one.

In case anyone wants a bit more of my non-sports related work then my most recent offering is here showing the winner of the “If looks could kill Cup” – the lady in purple is not impressed by the judges’ verdict, is she?

It’s a long weekend in England – we have a day off on Friday for “the Wedding” and Monday is “May Day” holiday. Hooray!




Gary returned George’s serve with aplomb by sending me this next offering. We’ve seen this one on Uni Watch before, but never in living color. Check out this outstanding effort:

Hi Phil

It’s often mentioned that Baseball Fever is a great source for images. And indeed it is. I spent last week scouring their archives for unusual photos to colorize.

I think I found one: FDR throwing out the first pitch at the 1937 All-Star Game in DC. Lots of stuff going on in this amazing photo: marching band, press corps, three umpires (see if you can find them along with FDR’s ball ), and, of course, the players.

When I first saw this photo I said, “No way, you’d have to have lost your mind to attempt adding color to this vintage B&W despite the quality of the image.” So I did lose my mind.

Those that would like to try this one can find the original here, No. 486.




I guess having all of those off-days was good for George’s creativity, because he sent me one more dandy (and you’ll see why it’s special, as well):

Hi Phil

Last one for this week, and there’s a story behind this one.

The sport is rugby league (some of your readers may not know there are two codes of rugby – league and union). Rugby League is mainly played in the North of England, and St Helens (here in white and red) are one of the top teams in the world. But in the 50s and 60s there was a small team in the league, Liverpool City, and this photo – which is of much poorer quality than I normally work with – is scanned from a book “Liverpool City RLFC – Rugby League in a Football City”.

They attracted very small crowds of only a few hundred, but have a place in my heart because they were the first professional sports team I actually used to go to watch.

So I just had to do this picture which dates from September 1966 of a game between Liverpool City and St Helens.

Because at the far right of the picture, behind the barrier, wearing the green and white scarf that his aunt knitted him, is a 14-year-old George Chilvers :)

Best wishes



There you have it, readers — another outstanding set from Gary and George. And three new stadia shots for next weekend (although anything is of course fair game). I am hoping to have another tutorial (don’t worry, it won’t be from me) on colorization in the near future. Hopefully we’ll attract a few more submitters to this really fun (and for the historical record, important) activity.

Back next weekend with more. If you have a suggestion or a colorization, drop me a line. OK? OK!


Benchies Header


by Rick Pearson


Honestly, there are moments when you simply can’t resist jerking someone’s chain…

5-1-11 s-mojo

And, as always, here is the full-size.


all sport uni tweaks

Uni Tweaks

We have another nice of tweaks today.

If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.

Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great a keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!

And so, lets begin:


Up first is Joseph Gerard, who has something new for the Pittsburgh Pirates:

Okay, although I don’t think the Pittsburgh Pirates current uniforms need to be redone (unlike their logo, but more on that in a minute), I figured I would spruce them up a bit.

For all three uniforms, I made the caps the pinstripe pillbox style from 1976-1986. The standard home and away uniforms have a black bill on the cap, while the alternate uniform has a gold bill. The hat remains black, with the pinstripes being gold. I removed the logo patch from all three jerseys.

HOME: I mostly left this one unchanged, except that I moved the jersey number to the left side of the jersey.

AWAY: I removed the “PITTSBURGH” script and moved the jersey number to the left as well. I replaced the “PITTSBURGH” script with “BUCS” on the right side. The team has used the “Bucs” nickname for almost as long as they have used “Pirates” but have never used the word on a uniform. This changes that.

ALTERNATE: To better connect the team with the Steelers, I gave this jersey Steeler-style Northwestern stripes on the sleeves.

Now for the logo: I don’t like the current logo at all. I associate it with losing. The previous logo isn’t that much better. But I do LOVE the 1968-1986 logo. So I figured I would combine the three together with the “PIRATES” script from the uniforms (which have somehow remained conspicuously absent from the logo over the years) for a new logo. I used the baseball diamond from the 1987-1996 logo, a colorized pirate head from the 1968-1986 logo, and gave him a red bandanna from the current logo. Add the “PIRATES” script, and voila!

I don’t think the Bucs will ever adopt any of this, but it’s a start.

Joseph Gerard, 25


Up next is Scott Schroeder, who has something old/new for the Blue Jays:

This is a tweak for the Blue Jays that is more of a re-colorization than a new concept. It’s also a reversion to the blue and red of the late 90’s. The main changes; more blue, and there’s a new cap logo including a Maple Leaf to make more reference to the city (and country) in which they play in. Some may notice that it’s a bit Houston Oilers-y with the coloring and pattern around the numbers.


And our final concepter today is Justin Kline, who has a Winnipeg Jets? Atlanta Thrashers redux:

I was pretty pleased to hear that the Thrashers are scrapping their third jersey, but I feel like they need to get rid of the other two as well. With that in mind, I overhauled just about everything.

I tried to blend classic styles with a few modern touches, somewhat inspired by the Coyotes’ uni changes, and eliminated some of the colors since there were way too many. The logos changed a bit as well, especially the shield logo – I never liked that stupid bird, so I borrowed from the Hawks of the NBA in one instance. Hope y’all enjoy these.


Thanks to today’s tweakers. Back with more next weekend.


OK, Uni Watchers, that will do it for this fine first day of May — I hope everyone is wearing their proper stirrups today, correct comrades?

Ruppers of the world, unite.


“You should have an unwritten rule, Phil. NEVER let THE Jeff tweak jerseys. I had a heart attack when I saw the Mets ones.” — Alex Giobbi

. . .

Comments (41)

    Superb Sunday. Chance on Brooklyn was (for my odd taste) enthralling. And G&G! My Fenian heart stirred over the Gaelic boyz, George: beautiful.

    /s/ Rugger in 1966.

    Thanks BC :)

    One thing though – rugby league was a working-class sport focussed mainly around the old Northern industrial areas (what is now called the “M62 corridor” after the motorway that runs right through it from Lancashire to Yorkshire). The top teams are St Helens, Wigan, Leeds, Bradford – all solid working-class grit.

    So – it was NEVER called “rugger”. That was for the soft southern public-school lot playing rugby union!

    Which of course reminds me – there is intense rivalry between Lancashire and Yorkshire – dating back to the 15th century Wars of the Roses.

    So the Lancastrian question is “what is the best thing to come out of Yorkshire?” is answered by “The M62”.

    I like the changes suggested on the Atlanta Thrashers.

    Their current uniform is a mish mash, non-descript mess. If the Thrashers were to move, I strongly doubt there would emerge the nostalgic affection for their uniform, as developed for the Atlanta Flames (i.e. many years after departure – the Calgary Flames used the Atlanta Flames logo, to designate assistant captains).

    MLB has a unique opportunity to make gold out of garbage, with 2 teams in financial turmoil. Send the Dodgers franchise back to NY for the Mets. The publicity & goodwill woul dbe incredible. LA fans will never notice – rename & brand them the Hollywood Stars. But NY will not only get back a dream, it will bring Don Mattingly too. Wake up Bud – this will make your legacy, not another round of tranpsarently greed driven play offs.

    Am I the only one that thinks the original proper B is a bit on the ugly side?

    Oh hell that wasn’t meant to be a reply to this post. Dammit page refresh.

    My sincere thanks to George for fixing the Bobby Davies picture. And to Scott Schroeder’s Blue Jays recolorization-great job! I especially like the cap treatment with the “T” and the leaf. It looks like a modern version of the cap worn by the Toronto Maple Leafs International League baseball team. That Royal Blue & White cap with the T-Leaf logo is one of baseball’s best-ever caps. The Toronto MLB club should have been named the Maple Leafs in ’77 when they started. Toronto’s baseball club had been using the nickname since 1896, a full 31 years before the hockey team. GO LEAFS GO!

    I have little artistic talent, and my computer skills are bad enough that given the choice between using Photoshop and some other program to create a design, I’d choose Crayolas and some butcher paper. The details of design are endlessly fascinating, and the Blue Jays treatment is a perfect example. Just by changing the colors, Scott make a drab and failed uniform look beautiful. It’s amazing. I agree with Terry — I’d totally buy that cap!

    All around great stuff today fellas. Well done indeed.

    I must say my two favorites for the day were the latest installment of Benchies, hilarious stuff today Ricko, and the colorization by Mr. Chilvers. To see such a wonderful photgraph that has one of our own in it is remarkable to me. I friggin’ love this place.

    interesting early sunday morning read on brooklyn b. thanks. sweet pick of casey…

    This post is meant to be a reply to George C, but my iPhone and I have some weekenf nesting issues…

    Anyway, George, you’re spot on (of course) regarding Union vs League, South vs North, top hat vs cloth cap, and doubtless the 159 other oppositionals which allow the English to wax at some lemgth as to why Tribe X is a bunch of good mates and Tribe Y a sad lot of wankers. Mind you, I love it. As Samuel Johnson observed, “The Irishman is a fair-minded fellow. He speaks ill of everyone.”

    My experience of Rugby (Union) is indeed, sad to say, inextricably posh. Our team and I weren’t very good: former (American) football players anxious that sport not get in the way of our drinking.

    Interesting eBay find: link for the Memphis Chicks, the Expos’ Class-A team from 1978 to 1983. The Chicks apparently used Expos hand-me-down jerseys with CNOB (city name on back) and a “chicks” patch covering the “expos” name on the chest logo. The stylized M in the logo was presumably left untouched to stand for Memphis instead of Montreal. Couldn’t find any pics of the complete Chicks jersey.

    Re: the Brooklyn “B.” I own a Twins Franchise brand Brooklyn Dodgers hat, and it has always bothered me that the “B” is clearly an adaptation of the Red Sox “B”, without a border and with a small notch on the left side. I always assumed that it was a reflection of modern-day sloppiness. However, looking at those mid-50’s caps, it looks like the “sloppiness” started when the team still called Brooklyn home. I guess my cap isn’t as inauthentic as I thought! That said, what bothers me most about my Dodgers cap is the fact that OTHERS might think (a) it’s just a royal blue Red Sox hat — particularly because I live in Boston, and one can find a Red Sox hat in any hue these days; or (b) that I think it’s a variety of Red Sox cap. This third-party confusion is especially frustrating, since I’m a Yankee fan in Boston and wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a Sox hat. I actually wish that, like my Boston Braves cap from Twins, the team wordmark was on the back. That way, at least it would say “Dodgers” somewhere on the cap. Instead, it says “1939,” which makes it simultaneously less authentic and more confusing to my (imagined) gawkers. (PS — though I know it’s somewhat narcissistic to think that others might be viewing and “judging” my ballcap, I know from my forays about town in customized hockey jerseys that there are enough people out there who know just enough about uniforms to be dangerous – and these are the ones I fear…)


    Gary how long did that take to do? WOW. I do not have photoshop so I am limited in doing pictures with that much detail. Like white stars on the flags and such.

    Very impressive.

    This project was created over about 10 days working an hour or so each day.

    I don’t use Photoshop either. Any digital painting program that has layers, blending, and brushes will work just fine.

    “Stars” are not difficult. Simply add color to area then erase the star portion. Sometimes it helps to add back a little color unless the detail is not needed as the case for this photo.

    So the key is layers? See I use Recolored it is good for simple pictures without a lot of detail.

    Not just the stars but the silver and cameras or the lettering on the uniforms.

    I used to colorize a lot a while ago. Only once in a while now and mostly a family member or an Ohio State athlete.

    Gimp is good to use too to help with colors that do not come out well in Recolored if the original is too bright.

    Yes layers are important . For the 1937 All Star Game I used about 20 separate layers to colorized various portions of the image. The players flesh is a separate layer, the grass, the infield dirt, the ballpark structure and so on. This enables the use of different blending techniques and brush work.

    The camera flashes were also separate layer that used a “gray” color and reduced opacity to allow the original image tone to show through.

    So yes, layers make it all work for most images.

    At first I didn’t bother with layers, but amendments are very difficult without.

    Like Gary I use a large number of layers – with Photoshop I use adjustment layers.

    You can do colourising without layers, but they do really help.

    I have the New Era 5950 Bums cap. The two loops are evenly sized, but there’s no notch. And it has a blue button on top, not a white one.

    The best part of the description is that the cap is, apparently, an “authentic replica.” Is that like a jumbo shrimp?

    Check out Mickey’s Place (seller of Cooperstown hats). I bought a New Era Brooklyn Dodgers cap from them and it has the notch. Not sure if it meets every specification mentioned in the article but it might be close.

    I think at this point, the best hope on getting an accurate one is to watch out on ebay for Roman Pro repros

    that was fantastic man, i can’t wait until next week.
    a weekend without one of your colourizations is incomplete, so today was splendid.
    i was wondering when that one would run. nice.


    Your recoloring of the 1937 All-Star game is incredible. A ton of really good work must’ve gone into it. However, I’m really struck by the “marching band” in the background. Based on the magnitude of the event, the fact that FDR was there, and that it took place in Washington DC, I feel inclined to ASSUME the “band” pictured is actually the US Marine Drum and Bugle Corps. They would’ve been formed just a few years earlier, in 1934. While I’ve never seen a photo of the USMDBC wearing sashes like that (aside from the slings the drummers use), the bear-skin hat the drum major in front is wearing is a definite clue that this is, in fact, “The Commandant’s Own”. It also looks like there might be a hint of their trademark gauntlets, as well.

    If you agree with me that this is possibly true, than the jackets on the corps would be incorrectly colored blue. The USMDBC has always worn scarlet coats with white pants, black shoes, white gauntlets.

    This is just the opinion of a marching band nerd, but I feel it’s a pretty educated guess. What do you think? Anyone?

    You may be absolutely correct on the marching band’s jackets. I based my guess on the tone of the original B&W photo. I would expect red to display as a somewhat darker shade, so I went with the blue.

    Maybe someone can help surface the correct answer.

    and what does it take to be the first to update Wikipedia? Man, those cats are quick.

    Fantastic news, and we also took out members of his family.

    Payback is a bitch

    Why would Aaron Maybin have this helmet for sale on his site? He has nothing to do with that era


    Great article about Dodgers’ caps. A block “B” occasionally showed up years ago. Dazzy Vance is often shown wearing it.

    No modern companies make decent replicas, sad to say.

    The Braves utilized a design similar to the Dodgers for a time. Note photos of Babe Ruth in his 1935 uniform.

Comments are closed.