By Phil Hecken
There were two “throwback” (Turn Back The Clock) games played this week in MLB — last Saturday, the San Diego Padres and the Washington Nationals hooked up in a TBTC game wearing pretty decent approximations of what those teams wore in 1936. It wasn’t perfect, as several readers pointed out, but I really enjoyed it. Majestic, for all its faults, did a good job with the unis, and the players went the extra yard, wearing the uniform with good tailoring and period appropriate stirrups. OK, some of the guys had fun by wearing completely inappropriate colored sanis, but for one game, it was a great look (at least to me).
This past Wednesday, on the other hand, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds played a game wearing approximations of the 1944 season. Unlike their previous two TBTC games, when the Dodgers played the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs, and both teams sported nice tailoring and period appropriate hosiery, this past week neither the Reds nor the Dodgers seemed to care about their on-field appearance, with only one or two players even bothering to wear visible hosiery, and the uniforms appeared to be “tailored” to the players current specs. As a result, in my opinion, the game looked like shit.
For the most part, we Uni Watchers loved the Cubs & Braves games, including the attention to detail, both by the players and the manufacturer. I’d love to give Majestic some credit, but if you will recall reading Paul’s interview with Bob Halfacre, Majestic didn’t manufacture those throwbacks. It was Halfacre’s company, Bobcat Athletic. The uniforms made for the June 15th game between the Dodgers and Reds were made by Majestic. The difference was like night and day. WTF?
Did the players on both teams, particularly the Dodgers, since they’d already played two throwback games wearing the 1944 ersatins, forget how to dress? Or did Majestic simply take the players current uni specs and produce uniforms for both teams based upon those. Were they so loose and baggy (and with pants so long they couldn’t be properly bloused) to reveal stirrups? Or did the players just forget they were supposed to? Did they just get bored with the whole thing? I’m kind of thinking it’s a combination. But I can’t help but place more of the blame on Majestic, who we already know has a hard enough time turning around special uniforms (if you read that Halfacre piece, you’ll recall that Majestic couldn’t do the first two throwbacks because there simply wasn’t “enough time” from the fan voting until the time they unis had to be ready). Surely they could have manufactured those uniforms in a different cut.
On the other side of the coin is last weekend’s game between the Nationals and Padres, where all the uniforms looked great. Clearly, Majestic can outfit the teams in throwbacks that look good, if the players are willing to play along. So did the Dodgers and Reds just not want to play along, or were the uniforms simply so pajama-esque they couldn’t even if they wanted to do so? That leads us to Exhibit A. That’s Todd Coffey, who clearly couldn’t be bothered blousing his pants, and looked like an idiot. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t care however. The point is, because Majestic properly tailored the pants, it was either blouse them or go with the Raffa look.
Now, I’ve come to accept that the pajama look is part of the game. I don’t agree with it, but it is pretty much like pissing upstream in the battle to ensure proper hosiery. Unless, of course, attitudes (and tailoring) change. There are a lot of theories on how the pajama look came into vogue over time. One I’d never heard until yesterday, however, was that steroids are to blame. Wait…what? Go back and read that article now. It raises an interesting theorem. It also provides a great assessment:
The baseball body appears to have left the steroid era. Its uniforms have not. On most nights, you can catch entire teams blowing in the wind. Baseball has often preferred its uniform loose, freeing hitters to run, pitchers to throw, catchers to squat without restriction. But there was style in that looseness. There was what we can now call classicism.
The author makes some great points, but I’m wondering if there isn’t some truth to it. Yes, styles on the baseball field evolve and clearly the hip-hop world, as the author points out, has had some influence. But was the rise in the pajamists actually due to the steroid use of the past several decades? And, if players are no longer taking performance enhancing drugs (they aren’t right?), will the uniforms remain as large (really, many players are wearing uniforms that are at least two sizes too big) as they are? Or will there be the inevitable push-back to more tailored, better fitting uniforms. Discuss.
Like most if not all of you readers, I love uniforms — their history, their structure, their evolution, their various machinations — and I hope teams never stop trying. Either trying to recreate the past or to improve upon the present. That’s why I think throwback games are (or have the potential to be) so great. They can serve not only to give us a glimpse into our past, but hopefully, provide an historical lesson to both players and fans alike. The “Everybody wear 42” (JRR tributes), even though they seem to be more of a “oh yeah, we’re doing that again” exercise, still are wonderful because if nothing else, at least some of the players feel an obligation to, even if for one day only, dress the way that Jackie Robinson might have, if were still playing today.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Lets get right into this week’s submissions:
First out of the blocks is George Chilvers, who recently welcomed his first grandchild into this world (again Congrats! George):
could try to say this is my new grandson’s first attempt ;)
It’s going to be one of the first things I teach him though lol.
This is “my” team, Wigan Athletic, back in 1934/1935.
Next up is a newcomer to the colorization game, Jocelyn Becker, who has a few wonderful Dodgers colorizations:
I decided to take a stab at a couple of them there colorizations I’ve been hearing so much about. I’m a Dodger fan and an Angelino, so that’s where most of my pieces come from. To start out with we’ve got Duke Snyder shutting out the Giants. [Duke Snider? Must be an inside joke, because he named the photo “Don Drysdale” — PH] I guessed on the color of the walls, and then later was told they were probably grey. So, historically inaccurate, but Drysdale sure looks good : )
Next up, we’ve got Sandy Koufax, celebrating a World Series victory.
Last but not least, an infamous event in the history of the Giant/Dodger rivalry.
Another first timer, Cadu Schmidt, checks in with this great Packers/Eagles colorization:
I was very interested in the tutorial about colorizing so I gave it a try.
I live in Brazil but I’m a huge fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, so I found a nice picture of a game between the Eagles and the Packers. There was no information about the game so I had to search the possibles dates for the game. In the end, I concluded that the picture was taken in Franklin Field on November 11, 1962. The game finished 49-0 for the visiting team.
The players in the picture are: the HOFer Chuck Bednarik (#60), Don Borroughs (#45), Jimmy Car (#21), Ben Scotti (#48) and the wide receiver Max McGee (#85), who later became the commentator for radio broadcast of Packers games.
It was really funny to colorize this picture so I will continue to colorize more pictures and submit them to Uni Watch.
Keep up the good work!
Of course, George wasn’t satisfied with just one submission, so he sent in another:
Another Wigan Athletic group – this time 1972/1973.
A couple of points. The comment last week about black & white pictures being untouchable is proven wrong by this picture. This one was taken when colour photography was in full use for home pictures, but the Press still used black and white – newspapers weren’t in colour then. There wasn’t the option then of changing from colour to black & white – so the pictures were shot on black & white film. However, had papers been able to use colour photos then there is no doubt whatsoever that this would have been shot in colour. Artistic approaches etc don’t come into it. This is how the Editor would have wanted the picture if he could have had it printed in his paper.
The second point is the observation that there are 39 years from when this picture was taken to now, compared to 38 years between this picture and the previous 1930s picture. Yet the gap to the older picture I’m sure would have seemed so much longer back in 1972.
Thanks again to all the colorizers. Glad to see some more of you are taking an interest in this — that’s great — keep at it and keep sending them in. As always, if you have a submission or a question send them to me and I’ll feature them in an upcoming segment of “Colorize This!”
We have another new set 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 at keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
And so, lets begin:
We start with Matthew Duke, who has a couple Rangers & Rockies ideas:
Some MLB tweaks for you guys…
Rockies – New logo, new uniform set. I stuck with the purple to accompany the mountains majesty, however I ditched the black for a charcoal gray color. The “Rocky C” logo resembles the Colorado state flag “C” with giving it a Rocky baseball twist.
Rangers – Similar, but new logo. I got rid of the drop shadow and gave it a 3D effect. Assuming the Rangers will still go primarily red next year, I made one uniform set based on that knowledge. The other, a blue set, I think looks better.
Up in the two-hole is Brett Frieze, with a Red Wings concept:
I have made an alternate jersey for the Red Wings since I am tired of their usual jerseys. I made the logo myself which was inspiration from the the Detroit Cougars crest. Thanks for looking at my work
And in the final spot today we have Dennis Healy, with concepts for five MLB teams:
Love the tweaks you show on the site!
That’s it for today. Back with more next time.
by Rick Pearson
With Big Klu it was the sleeves…
And here’s the full color, full-size version.
OK, boys and girls, that is it for me today. In fact, that’s it for me for the weekend, as Paul will be giving me the day off tomorrow to spend with my pop, who’s still battling his leukemia and is currently in a (fortunately) nearby facility where he’s rehabbing so that he can begin his next round of chemo. So, I appreciate Paul giving me the day off. I’m also knee-deep in summer grad school class (taking three this summer), so I can use a bit of the *free* (hah) time to study.
If anyone happened to miss Paul’s announcement yesterday — he’ll be taking his annual summer sabbatical a bit early this year — from July 11 through August 7 — a well deserved break, to be sure. He’s leaving me in charge of the store then. Since I’ll still be deep into schoolwork (and hopefully NOT too deep into my full-time job, but it’s been brutal so far this summer), I’ll be welcoming any and all who have ideas for main articles for the site. If you have an idea for a story or suggestion for something you’d like covered, please drop me a line and lets see if we can’t line up some content for when Paul’s away. OK? OK!
Everyone have a great Saturday, a wonderful Sunday, and a great overall week. Catch y’all next weekend.
That may sound cynical, but I’ve seen the future of sports uniforms and it’s a chilling sight. — Jim Vilk