Back to Baseball…

back to back

By Phil Hecken

As most of you are aware, one of, if not the most important uniform histories was compiled by Marcus Okkonen, in his epic book, Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century, many of the images from which are contained on the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Dressed To The Nines website. While not perfect, it is still considered the absolute gold standard in terms of a reference manual for the rest of us. It was an epic undertaking, and it is invaluable.

But if I had to critique the effort, and I don’t want to do so, I would wish Okkonen would have been able to include every different uniform variant. But it’s very close. For example, he lists five uniform combinations for the Oakland A’s in 1973. Sure enough, the A’s did wear monochrome green and monochrome gold that year. But there are a few omissions, such as the 1978 Padres, who did wear gold pants with their brown tops that season. A minor quibble, to be sure.

However, one fairly major omission has been the backs of the jerseys. With only a few, rare exceptions, Mr. Okkonen never shows us the reverse of the jersey. As a result, one thing that is missing is the number font and whether or not there was a Name On Back (NOB). If only a site that could include that data along with Okkonen’s tremendous research could be created, well, I’d be an incredibly happy camper. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

There is some good news on that horizon, however. Earlier this week, reader Josiah Pedersen tipped me wise to a site out there called Baseball Backs. What is “Baseball Backs”? Well — it is a partial missing link. You see, it shows, in pretty amazing detail, the color, font & uni style of many of the uniforms of today’s franchises. Every current team is represented, as are many of the throwback uniforms worn by the various clubs. Some of the uniforms go back very far, such as this 1948 Boston Braves satin uniform worn by Johnny Sain. Every player is identified, and as I said above, the quality of the image is superb.

So, now that you know about “Baseball Backs,” make sure you bookmark that and add it to your reference library. It’s a great little site and I hope someday it can incorporate every uniform back, dating to 1900, like Okkonen. Between those two sites, we move ever closer to having a complete uniform record for every major league team.


dot that DDot that “D”!

Big hat tip goes out to Terence Kearns for this one. Remember the mysterious “dot” that Paul had shown us which appeared in a few photos of Detroit Tigers’ dugout jackets?

Well, the good folks at Mitchell & Ness were on the mystery dot as well. And they have apparently found the answer, from the Hall of Fame:

“In the 80’s, a member of the Tigers organization would embroider the dot into that spot on the jacket as a way to differentiate a team issued jacket from one that was available at retail. That’s it, pretty simple.”

So there ya go. Now, if the M&N guys would like to track down a blue brown purplish-horsey decal from somewhere in Colorado, circa 1963, we’ll have some REAL mystery-solvin’.


colorize thisColorize This!

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’s on a bit of a footy-roll. Sure that’s not the Parthenon?

Hi Phil

Hope your Dad’s keeping OK.

This one is the 1911 FA Cup Final replay at Old Trafford between Bradford City (in the claret and amber) and Newcastle United.



Next up is first-timer Andy Rich, who took on the Splinter & the Babe:


Attached is my first attempt at colorizing an old black & white. Hopefully it looks ok. Thanks

Andy Rich


Back this week is Andy from the Dick Allen HOF, with more of…wait for it


Thanks for continuing to share the “colorize this!” images you receive.

I never cease to be inspired and educated by the amazing images sent in by your readers.

This week, I took another stab at colorizing my favorite ballplayer, and wanted to share.

Dick Allen Hall of Fame


And finally we have Gary Chanko, who has combined three of my favorite things: old baseball photos, colorization & stirrups:


Searching through Uni Watch archives and found this gem from 25 Nov 2008, The National Pastime, as Captured by the National Magazine. (Link Spectacular)

Chico Fernandez, Phils shortstop beating the tag by Cubs 3rd baseman, Jerry Kindall during this July 1957 game.

Yes, Kindall’s stirrups have nine stripes showing. Must be a record.



Great job this week fellows! As always, keep them coming. If you have a colorization you’d like to share, or can find a black & white photo you think would be a great colorization candidate, send ’em my way.


all sport uni tweaksUni Tweaks

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 Chris Giorgio, who has a new concept for the Mariners:


Here is another tweak I did, this time for the Mariners. I always liked the trident M so I updated it a bit and decided to keep the current colors.

Chris Giorgio


In the two-spot is Alex Cloutier, who has tweaks for the Astros & Mets:


HOUSTON: A combo of new and old here. And since the Astros love to play every game in a colored top, this way they wont bore us to death by running out in red every time.




And last but not least is Neal Tarver, who has some Royals alternate/road looks:

Dear Phil,

My name is Neal Tarver and I’ve got some tweaks for my hometown Kansas City Royals. To be frank I hate the home alternates we have but I do not hate the whole powder blue uniform. So I made a powder blue fauxback for the road, and made the current road alternate switch to the home alternate. Enjoy.


That’s all for today — thanks fellas. Back with more next weekend.


Benchies HeaderBenchies

by Rick Pearson


He’s sort of the “anti-Feigner”…

6-26-11 s-dead ballj

And, as always, the full-size.


That’s just about it for today. But everybody’s favorite yinzer, Douggie Keklak sent along this little photo via the twittersphere. Pretty cool NOB there — looks like they achieved the effect of the lower-case “d” by flipping a “P” upside down. If you want to, you can follow me @PhilHecken.

Everyone have a great Sunday.


“The Leafs are going to stay put. They are after all a CHARTER MEMBER OF THE N.H.L. They’re not going to be pushed around by another so-called hockey city from Red Neck Country that is forced to relocate back to the Great White North.” — Terry Proctor

60 comments to Back to Baseball…

  • The Jeff | June 26, 2011 at 8:13 am |

    That site kinda has a Helmet Hut feel to me. What’s there is good, but there’s a lot of gaps and it’s not exactly organized. Hopefully they keep working on it.

  • Ryan S. | June 26, 2011 at 8:35 am |

    I’m Ryan, the creator of Baseball Backs. Thanks to Josiah for his kind words regarding my website and Phil for his writeup.

    My intention for the website and the Baseball Backs was to create desktops/wallpapers for computers or pictures you could print out to get autographed. I wasn’t thinking of it as a history/reference piece but that may be something I consider shifting too. The website isn’t very organized (like The Jeff eluded to); the order they appear is the order I created them. This is something I’ll have to tackle as I get more traffic.

    I try to get new ones uploaded at least 3-4 times a week. To stay updated easily, you can follow me on Twitter @BaseballBacks.

    • johnj | June 26, 2011 at 9:34 am |

      are these photographs or drawings? if drawing id love to know more about how you get some of those textures

      • Ryan S. | June 26, 2011 at 11:02 am |

        The background textures I’ve created using my scans of my own jerseys or other photographs. The textures on the numbers/name are created within Photoshop.

    • Fight | June 26, 2011 at 10:56 am |

      Thanks for the effort, your site is great and I now have a Pete Rose background for my laptop.

    • Simply Moono | June 26, 2011 at 6:26 pm |

      Excellent work you’ve done here, Ryan. I do have one thing to say, though: have you thought of rendering the numbers in a felt-twill fabric for those who used it back in the day? Because what I’m seeing with the backs are all tackle-twill numbers. Just a thought. Again, the work you’ve done is unbelievably amazing.

    • JAson | June 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm |

      Ryan- These are amazing! Larry Doby’s #14 is my new wallpaper!

  • Terry Proctor | June 26, 2011 at 9:05 am |

    The “Baseball Backs” site is interesting, but there are a few errors. On the Yankees page the “5” used for Mark Tiexiera’s shirt is incorrect. Ditto for the 1952 St. Louis Cardinals shirt of Red Schoendienst. It shows a Pro-Style Plain Block “2” instead of the correct Pro-Style Full Block font. And some of the unique fonts worn by teams like the Reds, Phila A’s and the great Phillies ’50s font are ignored. It ain’t that tough to get it right guys.

    And there are no numbers shown for teams like the original Washington Senators, the expansion Senators, the Expos or the Pilots.

    • Ryan S. | June 26, 2011 at 10:05 am |

      Made a mistake on the Tiexiera and got it fixed. I do have a Montreal section and there are some other teams, like the Browns, in the current team section.

      I use Henderson’s guide for everything from ’72ish on which makes things easier. However, it is a lot harder to find pictures of the backs of jerseys, especially in the flannel era.

      I don’t claim for them to be 100% but I try my hardest to make them as accurate as possible.

      • Terry Proctor | June 26, 2011 at 1:26 pm |

        Ryan, thanks for your attention to the Teixiera shirt. And I see that you list the Expos but only the Nats’ images show up. Is there another page for Montreal?

        One of spor’s all-time best fonts was MacGregor’s own standard Full-Block font as used at various times by the Phila A’s and Detroit. These numbers have the extra serifs on the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 9. The Baltimore Colts made this font famous in the 1958 NFL Championship Game.

        And here’s two questions for the ages regarding baseball numbers. The Yankees are generally credited with being the first MLB team to regularly wear numbers beginning with the 1929 season. But the Bronx Bankers didn’t open the ’29 season until April 18 when they be the BoSox 7-3 at The Stadium, two days after the Cleveland Indians debuted numbers on their shirts in a 5-4 home triumph over the Tigers on April 16. So why doesn’t the Tribe get the credit for being the first team to wear numbers all of the time?

        And the now-iconic font we refer to as “Red Sox” or “Boston” was actually introduced by the Yankees first and used regularly by New York right into the early 1950s. So why aren’t they called “Yankee style numbers?”

        • BurghFan | June 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm |

          Aren’t the Red Sox numbers usually referred to as McAuliffe? And, given how many years only the Sox have worn them, calling the font “Boston” makes sense regardless of its history.

  • Ricko | June 26, 2011 at 9:34 am |

    Indeed, the ’57 Cubs and ’57 Reds bth wore that same stirrup style. At least nine thin white stripes, considerably narrower than the spaces between them…

    • Ricko | June 26, 2011 at 9:43 am |

      Although I’m guessing there might have been 10 stripes.
      This Senators sock (introduced in 1963, I believe) looks like it could be the same pattern rendered in three colors instead of two (count the white stripes). Certainly close to it…

  • johnj | June 26, 2011 at 9:39 am |

    Mr. Shilvers,

    NUFC blue shorts are correct but should be black on the shirts. Maybe my eyes are just decieving me or the color’s a little light, making it look blue? if thats the case, my apologies

    • johnj | June 26, 2011 at 9:39 am |


      • George Chilvers | June 26, 2011 at 9:50 am |

        What an excellent spot!

        Yes NUFC’s stripes are of course black and white, but if I colourise it as pure black it looks far too dark and artificial. So I made it a very slight navy-blue shade, reckoning that most people won’t see it as such, and it will give the required dark effect.

        But that’s without your eyes :)

        • johnj | June 26, 2011 at 10:06 am |

          I see your point, black wouldve probably looked like you took a sharpie to it haha nevertheless looks great, and im glad you got the shorts right, I imagine the original picture mightve had the shorts and stripes looking almost identical

          …. off topic, but your use of the navy blue brings Ninjasto mind (stay with me here) historians actually think that most wouldnt have worn black and opted for a navy blue. This would allow them enough color in shadows and make them almost invisible in the usually blue-tinted night…so there’s that

        • The Jeff | June 26, 2011 at 10:16 am |

          Why would you do that? If it’s a black & white photo of something that’s actually black & white… isn’t it already the right color?

        • George Chilvers | June 26, 2011 at 10:35 am |

          Hi Jeff

          I know what you mean, but it actually just doesn’t look right. Black in a black and white photo isn’t black, it’s a grey tone, and if you leave it the tones don’t blend right with the rest of the photo colours.

          Once coloured I also play about with the levels histogram to just get it balanced right.

          Hard to explain, but with trial and effort it’s what I’ve found usually works.

  • Terry Proctor | June 26, 2011 at 9:40 am |

    My bad. They did show the Phillies’ ’50s font, but I skated right by it because it was only the number 1 worn by Whitey Ashburn. They should try and show the unique Phila “2s”, “3s” and “4s” among others. Keep working at it. Eventually you’ll get there.

  • abmir | June 26, 2011 at 11:09 am |

    Has anyone mentioned the NOB font on Germany’s Women’s World Cup uniform? I haven’t got a picture, but good lord is it awful.

    • LI Phil | June 26, 2011 at 11:30 am |

      yeah…it’s worse than comic sans

      germany’s about to play canada now, so we’ll get plenty of looks

      • Connie | June 26, 2011 at 12:01 pm |

        And the stirring anthems:

        O Canada! Thou art a great big place!

        Germany, Germany over everything else, but not in a nasty way!

  • Connie | June 26, 2011 at 11:57 am |

    Hey, I’ve gotten used to Chilvers and Chanko being reliably brilliant, but this rookie Rich — never before pitched in the Bigs, they tell me — shows some serious skills in that Ted and Babe shot. Keep throwin’! [By the way, doesn’t Teddy look truly splinteresque?]

    George, I love the whole 1911 scene, what with the referee in the brown suit, the funky area by the goalmouth, and those amber yokes for Brad City. Gary, I had no idea the Cubs looked so great in ’57. Beautiful image.

    • Ricko | June 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm |

      Yeah, always liked that ’57 Cubs uni…

      By todays’ standards might fall into the “one more bumper sticker” category, though…

      White piping on hat seams.
      Nine (perhaps 10) stripes on the stirrups.
      Pins at home.
      “CHICAGO CUBS” on front of roads (in red, edged in royal).
      Red numbers edged in royal on roads.
      Also, and this often overlooked, the white edge on the hat “C” was considerably thicker than in subsequent seasons.
      ’57 hat…
      Later hat…

    • George Chilvers | June 26, 2011 at 4:27 pm |

      Thanks Connie.

      I never would have thought of brown for the referee except that the original is obviously not black, and I remembered when my lad was playing local junior league, about 20 years ago, in one game they had a referee who must have been 75 if a day. And you guessed it, he had a brown outfit – shorts down to his knees :) He was a lovely guy who gave every lad encouragement all thorugh the game – “go on, lad”, “that was a good effort”, “good tackle”. He obviously really enjoyed the game and encouraging a love of the game in the youngsters. It’s just a pity that these days it may be viewed differently. Wrongly in my opinion.

      But that’s where the brown suit for the ref comes from – it was obviously an “old thing”.

  • Alec | June 26, 2011 at 12:09 pm |

    Predators revealed the road jersey at the draft and it’s the same as what was shown here a couple of days ago(sans the wordmark on the front.) It looks like it’s more yellow than mustard(-1) and while the RBKness is still there(-1) it’s a step in the right direction.

    • Tim E. O'B | June 26, 2011 at 1:00 pm |

      “and while the RBKness is still there(-1) it’s a step in the right direction.”

      No. It isn’t.

      • Alec | June 26, 2011 at 9:23 pm |

        Apparently you haven’t seen their kit the last decade.

        • Tim E. O'B | June 26, 2011 at 9:53 pm |

          Its a lateral move as best

        • Tim E. O'B | June 26, 2011 at 9:53 pm |

          *at best

  • Tim E. O'B | June 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm |

    Phil –

    Since people were confused by your wording of your message at the end of your post yesterday, I figured out how to put it with out any confusion whatsoever:

    “Paul and I are so gay to see that same sex marriage passed in the New York State legislature. Both Paul and I are so gay for New York, equality and America. Nothing makes me gayer than to see two people who love each other commit to each other under the law. I’m so gay for homosexuals right now. I always thought barring people from marriage was queer, but that has now been rectified. Fabulous.”

    No confusion there. :}

    • Tim E. O'B | June 26, 2011 at 1:03 pm |


      To quote Sir Charles, “Oh, that’s turrible.”

      • Ricko | June 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm |

        Speaking of Sir Charles, I heard him say this week that he doesn’t think there’ll be an NBA season next…season.

        That the owners will go that far with the lockout.

        Imagine. Possibly neither the NFL or NBA this coming fall.

        NHL must be salivating. Or something.

        • Tim E. O'B | June 26, 2011 at 3:42 pm |

          Bettman’ll fuck it up…

        • DJ | June 26, 2011 at 8:00 pm |

          An anonymous NBA player, writing as “Player X” in ESPN Magazine, said that the Players Association has been telling the players as early as last season to be prepared for a full-season lockout, and to budget accordingly. Player X reported that he had ensured he would not need a paycheck until 2013.

        • Simply Moono | June 26, 2011 at 8:14 pm |

          “Bettman’ll fuck it up…”

          Like Bud Selig is fucking up MLB?

  • BSmile | June 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm |

    Nice job on the Ted/Babe colorization!
    For those wondering, that pic is from July 1943, when a special hitting exhibition was held at Fenway Park. The pic was also used for the 1959 Fleer Ted Williams card set (#2).
    See here:!%29&p=1790027#post1790027

  • johnj | June 26, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

    WOW, Red Bulls wearing all white today… they’ve never done this

    Its odd too because theyre playing chicago and their change kit would work fine. White shorts aren’t and haven’t ever been in their line up

    The only reason I can think of for this is that they brough their usual white top red bottom and it was too close to chicagos all red

    ….have to admit, the all white looks great

    • DJ | June 26, 2011 at 7:56 pm |

      It’s a bit more systematic than that. As I recall, 72 hours prior to each MLS match, the League Office sends a fax to each team that spells out various administrative details of the match, including both team’s field player and goalie uniforms.

      It’s not a case of MLS telling the teams what they must wear — more like the person at MLS calls Chicago (in this case) and says, “all red, correct?” Chicago confirms. Then she calls New York and says, “Chicago will be in all red. What about you? The usual all-navy?” And in today’s case, New York might have said “it might be too hot for all navy`– we’ll wear all white.”

  • Scott N | June 26, 2011 at 2:31 pm |

    Re: The Baseball Backs site. The Royals did have NOB in 1983. They started putting names on at least for the 1980 season and have never taken them off except forthrowbacks.

  • Kasey Ignarski | June 26, 2011 at 3:31 pm |

    Here is Marlon Byrd showing off the helmet he will be wearing upon his return.

  • Tim E. O'B | June 26, 2011 at 3:41 pm |

    Fixed my ‘Rups

    I also got black and white sannies.

    And while I was at my local sports paraphernalia store, I also saw this Wild logo – – which I’ve never seen before (and it was on an officially licensed cap too – )

    ALSO, saw these old school pennants the other day in the downtown of my hometown (sorry about the window glare, I was using my cellphone):

  • Tim E. O'B | June 26, 2011 at 3:45 pm |

    Watching Nats/Sox,

    Omar Vizquel may not show any leg, but he sure looks good anyway

    For many reasons, he reminds me of the mid 90s

  • Kyle | June 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  • Dave | June 26, 2011 at 8:03 pm |

    Looking at the Times today, Eddie Basinski is shown wearing what appears to be an authentic Brooklyn Dodgers jersey (, but the number under the logo is Dodger Blue, not the traditional red. Given that the number font doesn’t seem to be one the team used, and the cap certainly isn’t authentic, I wonder if it’s a replica.

    Did the Dodgers (despite what Dressed to the Nines shows) ever use blue numbers? And if it’s not an authentic jersey, why would a replica be so off-model?

    • LI Phil | June 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm |

      what’s that saying about some things seen cannot be unseen?

  • Simply Moono | June 26, 2011 at 8:25 pm |

    Paul’s about to shit his pants in





  • Casey (Davis, CA) | June 26, 2011 at 9:26 pm |

    Fausto Carmona rockin’ the Pedro Porthole tonight.

  • christopher | June 27, 2011 at 2:46 am |

    it was mentioned on uniwatch before but here’s an article from a non-uni site, gotta love the phrase “tobaccophobia”

  • Bert Echo | June 27, 2011 at 10:12 am |

    Love Chris Giorgio’s Mariners cooncept. Why Seattle dumped that wonderfully distinctive font for the generic ones that they have had since, I cannot understand.