By Phil Hecken
I love throwbacks. Well, I love uniforms, but I especially love throwbacks. Over the past couple of years, however, watching “Turn Back The Clock” or throwback games has been more of an exercise in agita than enjoyment. So, when the 2012 season rolled around, I feared more screwups, anachronisms, players not caring and going out of their way (seemingly) to not get into the spirit of the throwback.
But, I have to say, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with this years offerings. Much of the blame I’ve meted out over the past few seasons has been directly squarely at Majestic — now, I’m not sure if anyone from Majestic reads Uni Watch, or even if they do, whether they care about our opinions, but this year their offerings (they’ve done the lions share of the TBTC unis) have been stellar. How stellar? Lets take a look back at the throwbacks worn so far this year. I haven’t been able to watch as many games as I’d like (either because I haven’t had the time or I haven’t gotten them on my cable provider), so if I miss a game or two, fill me in down in the comments.
The season got started on a very auspicious note with one of the most eagerly awaited throwbacks, the Houston Colt .45s:
Astros vs. Braves (April 10): This throwback almost didn’t happen, as the “political correct” powers-that-be wanted to remove the revolver from the uni. (Some dude wrote about this on ESPN.) Fortunately, saner heads prevailed and the gun survived extinction. What the team trotted out that evening was beautiful in its execution (more game photos here). They really did a smash-up job with the repros. Only one complaint (and this will become a recurring one): most players opted to wear their pants pajama-style — why oh why when the could have sported these beauties. Fortunately, not everyone felt the need to hide their hose. The Astros reprised this look again on April 20th.
The next “throwback” wasn’t quite a throwback — when on Jack Roosevelt Robinson day (April 15), the Dodgers became “Dem Bums” for a day:
Dodgers vs. Padres (April 15): The Dodgers haven’t really changed their uniform much since their days in Ebbets Field, so their breaking out a “B”rooklyn helmet and cap technically constituted a throwback. They really couldn’t screw this one up, and it looked great. More photos of the game here.
The next two teams (and both played along) to crank up the way back machine were the Red Sawks and the Yankees:
Yankees vs. Red Sox (April 20): This was a great looking game (as both teams participated in the 100th Anniversary of Fenway) — here’s how the 100 year old game was described. Much like they did 100 years ago, the Yankees ruined this one too. But it was a joy to look at. And while I covered this game in only a small part of a larger weekend post, our fearless leader gave the game the proper scribe’s treatment. All you need to know about the game is right there. My favorite part (and much to the chagrin of one James Q. Vilk) was the fact that both teams not only went NNOB, they also went N#OB (like they should have, historically). Also fantastic were the lower leg stylings which both teams dutifully displayed. Tons of gorgeous photos here.
April wasn’t even the best month, as the BoSox continued their 100 year celebration against the Athletics:
Red Sox vs. Athletics (May 2): It wasn’t that this game wasn’t a joy to look at — it was — it’s just that the throwbacks chosen (1936) weren’t all that great. Sure, the A’s looked quite a bit different, and even went the extra mile creating period-appropriate helmets, but they wore white shoes. Ugh. The only “real” noticeable difference for the Sawks was their caps, (plus very subtle differences in the uni) — different font, double piping on the sleeve and placket — but they ended up wearing their normal helmets (not that there was that much difference) at bat. The Sox had great socks, but their uniform was pretty much what they wear today. The A’s did wear some nice stirrups (yes, those are stirrups with a white sani), but oh, those awful shoes (with giant makers’ marks too). Just didn’t quite have the aesthetic appeal for which we would have hoped. More photos here.
The best (IMHO) throwback to date, and one which I hope was a preview for 2013, followed shortly after that:
Astros vs. Cardinals (May 4): This is what the Astros should look like in 2013. They absolutely nailed the 1965 ‘Shooting Star’ TBTC uniforms. Really, there aren’t enough superlatives to heap upon how good these unis looked. They got everything right, right down to the Astrodome patch. Only complaint was the fact that a lot of the guys went pajama-pantsed, but I can even over look that. I covered this game pretty thoroughly, so you can read more about it there. Lots more beautiful shots here. The Astros would reprise the shooting star look on May 18th against the Rangers — photos of that game are here
Speaking of the Rangers, they’d stage their own throwback bonanza — sporting one of four throwbacks they’ll wear this year — and today, they’ll wear their second:
Angels vs. Rangers (May 12): Even though the Angels weren’t supposed to be throwing back this year (the did so last year), they must have kept their 1972 throwbacks handy — and they sure did come in handy. They matched up against the host Rangers who were breaking out their first year of play uniforms. While Majestic did a great job with both sets of unis, once again, the attack of the pajama pants marred an otherwise superb looking game. I had a fairly in-depth writeup on that game as well. More photos here.
That’s going to do it for Part I of this grading the throwbacks roundup. Coming next time — more nice throwbacks and a couple of Negro Leagues throwbacks that are just dee-vine. Stay tuned.
Today, for those of you keeping score at home, the Texas Rangers will break out their second throwback for 2012 — only it’s not the baby blues from the mid-1970s — it’s the 1986 white uniform, versus the Astros. It’s not a bad uni, but nothing to write home about either. But it was the uniform that was worn by the Express, and since he kinda calls the shots down in Arlington, that’s what they’ll wear today.
by Rick Pearson
Art imitates life. Conversation overheard last week…
Click to enlarge
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
The concepts have slowed to a trickle, probably because of all the uniform contests Paul & I have been running. So…just one concept today.
And so, lets begin:
We have Marc Gilbert today, with a redesign for the new Stanley Cup Champs…
The following are my concepts for a re-design for the Los Angeles Kings. I grew up a Kings fan in the pre-Gretzky era and have always had a soft spot for the 1967-88 “Forum Blue and Gold” color scheme. My Concepts throw back to the original colors, but with an updated styling–mainly involving keeping the current uniform piping–I think it adds a nice, subtle modern touch to a classic design. Pants would be “Forum-Blue” for both sets, and socks and stripes would match each jersey (white for road and blue for home).
That’s it for today. You good folks & concepters need to start cranking up the tweak wagon again!
That will close down today’s offerings. I’m not real sure how much of a lede I’ll have tomorrow, it being Father’s Day (my first without my own pop), but there will be a Benchies, more concepts, and some gorgeous Colorizations. So be sure to check in then.
“I disagree with Redemske regarding Carolina’s uniforms. They are by far the best looking, as befits the back-to-back national champions. (And to the Asperger’s Syndrome contingent in the commentariat, South Carolina = Carolina. Not that school up north.)”