The Source of All the Problems

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m running an ESPN design contest to create new uniforms for the Hornets. But today I want to talk about the Charlotte Hornets’ original uniforms, which were designed by menswear maven Alexander Julian. The unveiling, which you can see above, took place 25 years ago.

Whatever you think of that inaugural Hornets uni set, it certainly was a bellwether, at least in terms of its purple-and-teal color scheme. Over the next decade or so, nearly every new Big Four franchise team wore purple, teal, or both:

NBA: Grizzlies (teal) and Raptors (purple)

MLB: Marlins (teal), Rockies (purple), Diamondbacks (purple and teal), and Devil Rays (purple).

NFL: Ravens (purple) and Jaguars (teal)

NHL: Coyotes (purple), Sharks (teal), and Mighty Ducks (teal)

That’s a lot of purple and teal! Did I miss anyone?

Out of those 11 teams, only four of them still use purple and/or teal — the Rockies, Ravens, Jags, and Sharks — which underscores how dated those colors now seem. Still, ya can’t deny how influential that initial Hornets uni was. In fact, it’s arguably the most influential uniform of the last generation, and ranks up there among the most influential unis ever.

What other designs would rank among the most influential unis? I’ll get the ball rolling by nominating the Pirates’ mid-season 1970 set, which introduced pullover jerseys and sansabelt pants to MLB. I can think of a few others, but I don’t want to hog the floor. What ones would you rank up there? Post your choices in the comments.

(My thanks to Erik Morris for the Hornets unveiling video clip.)

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PermaRec update: The latest entry on the Permanent Record Blog is about a stash of very evocative old slides (including the one shown at right) that were found in an antiques shop and eventually revealed a family’s history. Good stuff.

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The knish is almost cooked: Just thought you’d like to know.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: New 20th-anniversary logo for the Florida Panthers. I like it! … Rut-roh — labor strife at Majestic (thanks, Phil). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: There’s a blog out there devoted to female TV news reporters who wear boots. Now that’s a niche fetish! … A local flag football league where Keith Thibault lives has a rather familiar logo. … Vintage baseball uniforms and zombies: two great tastes that taste great together (big thanks to Chris Modarelli). … Have I mentioned lately how much I love Hamilton Nolan? … Elgin Baylor is auctioning off some of his stuff, including a phantom David Robinson Clippers jersey that was prepared in advance of the 1987 NBA draft lottery (from Chris Cruz). … New kit, with mismatched shorts, for Cardiff City, and also a new kit for Bastia (both from Trevor Williams). … Coors is embroiled in a controversy with Puerto Rican community leaders in New York due to a logo on cans of Coors Light (thanks, Kirsten). … Lots of uni-borne shout-outs to the Oklahoma tornado victims at Saturday’s motocross national in Colorado. “Ironically, Trey Canard, a popular pro and Oklahoma resident, didn’t have any special gear, although he plans to have some at the next race,” says Sean Clancy. … Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels wore a Boston police vest to “guard” pitching coach Mick Billmeyer during a TV interview. … Big news in the meat biz yesterday, as factory-farm pork purveyor Smithfield Foods was sold to the Chinese. All the more reason, as if any were needed, to buy your meat from small, local operations. … Ontario — the one you never heard of in California, not the one you ignore in Canada — is getting its own indoor soccer team. I know, pretty sweet, right? Even better, they want you — yes, you!to help name the team and choose its colors (from Hugh McBride). … Todd Radom has written an excellent (and excellently documented) piece about how the Phillies briefly became the Blue Jays. Strongly recommended. … The undefeated 1975-76 Indiana basketball team is selling off a bunch of memorabilia (from Mike McLaughlin). ”¦ With Ashley Cole of England having reached the 100-cap mark, he received a commemorative cap prior to yesterday’s match (from Yusuke Toyoda). ”¦ New logo for the American Athletic Conference (from Matthew Blinco). ”¦ Adidas is coming out with some super-light soccer cleats (Phil again). ”¦ Orioles infielder Manny Machado started last night’s game against the Nats by going high-cuffed but then changed his mind (from Andrew Cosentino). ”¦ Bit of mistaken identity on an old Saskatchewan Roughriders football card (from Jon Solomonson. ”¦ Trevor Curtis is working on a set of minimalist NBA team logos. ”¦ This is pretty awesome: Footage of Satchell Paige’s one game appearance for the Kansas City A’s in 1965 (from James Ashby). ”¦ Here’s a slideshow of what players are wearing at the French Open (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ Whoa, check out this awesome Coast Guard hockey uniform. Further details here. “What a jaunty hockey kit!” says Caleb James. … New York State and a Manhattan coffee shop are embroiled in a trademark dispute over the coffee shop’s logo.

229 comments to The Source of All the Problems

  • Matt | May 30, 2013 at 7:27 am |
    • Matt | May 30, 2013 at 7:37 am |
      • DJ | May 30, 2013 at 10:32 am |

        The Ducks called it “jade” (the purplish shade was “eggplant”).

        The Grizzlies called it “turquoise.” Considering they went with First Nations artistic motifs and colors, it makes sense.

        But the overall point is well taken; once the Hornets went with that light greenish-blue color, it opened the door for a lot of teams.

    • Ben Fortney | May 30, 2013 at 10:28 am |

      Sacramento Kings went purple/black in ’94.

      The Islanders did that fishstick thing… in ’95.

      • kevodrums | May 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm |

        The Bucks changed to purple and green (NOT teal) in 1993.

  • Doogie | May 30, 2013 at 7:34 am |

    Carolina Panthers went teal too. Entered the NFL the same year as the Jags.

    • Danya | May 30, 2013 at 7:40 am |

      Panthers definitely were not/are not teal. They’re blue.

    • Phil Hecken | May 30, 2013 at 7:41 am |

      That’s not teal. It’s supposed to be a shade darker than UNC and lighter than Dook. Wiki is on it.

    • Ben D | May 30, 2013 at 12:27 pm |

      I was wondering how many comments in before someone mistakenly mentioned the Carolina Panthers wearing teal. Only took two.

      • Tony C. | May 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm |

        i was having this very discussion on Reddit one day.. and i guess other teams’ fans in the NFC South call them the Teal Cats.. which i thought made more sense for the Jags

  • Ray | May 30, 2013 at 7:37 am |

    NBC NY’s article about the can shows a picture of one on a store shelf. right next to it? Budweiser’s American flag can. A difference?

    • Chance Michaels | May 30, 2013 at 11:01 am |

      Yeah, apparently the difference is that Puerto Ricans have a greater sense of propriety than other Americans.

      • Thresh8 | May 30, 2013 at 11:35 am |

        Maybe it’s a beer problem, not a propriety problem.

        I mean, if the Bud, Coors or Miller folks wanted associate my lineage (Irish and German) with the idea of “best beer”, I’d be annoyed on behalf of many German and Irish beers that deserve that spot.

        We all know (and love) rum from PR, but I guess I want to know: What kind of brewing heritage does Puerto Rico have? Can we get some folks to chime in here?

        • Brian | May 30, 2013 at 8:24 pm |

          Budweiser puts out green cans for St. Patrick’s despite no Irish connection.

  • LuisB | May 30, 2013 at 7:42 am |

    Panthers 20th anniversary logo… brought to you by Dos Equis! I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if this is true. Falls in line with Yormark’s Modus Operandi.

    • Tony C. | May 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm |

      glad i am not the only one that sees that

  • Chase | May 30, 2013 at 7:45 am |

    When the Jazz changed their logos and colors in 1996, they added teal with their purple. Another unfortunate victim.

    • Chase | May 30, 2013 at 7:57 am |

      Though, I guess it should be noted that the Jazz have (mostly) fixed that mistake. I’ll admit it–I miss the purple, gold, and bright green.

    • Jason M (DC) | May 30, 2013 at 8:53 am |

      After double-checking on Chris Creamer’s site, I would say that, no, the Jazz did not use teal. Just a different shade of blue.

  • Tom | May 30, 2013 at 7:46 am |

    The Washington Capitals were another teal victim in the ’90s. Fortunately, like the Pistons they came to their senses and are now back to the red and blue.

    • CWac19 | May 30, 2013 at 7:51 am |

      Gotta draw the line here. Though a “different” shade of blue, it was most certainly NOT teal.

      • Ben Fortney | May 30, 2013 at 10:39 am |

        Looking at a lot of the mid ’90s logos, that “muted shade of blue” got a lot of run too:

        Caps/Wizards, Avalanche, Oilers, Canucks (sort of)

    • SpartyCuse | May 30, 2013 at 8:36 am |

      Caps were blue. NOT teal.

    • Jason M (DC) | May 30, 2013 at 8:55 am |

      Definitely not teal. Not even close. They went to a blue that was closer to navy than anything else. Their colors in the late 90s were blue and bronze. The Wizards were coordinated with the Caps when they changed the name and opened the MCI/Verizon Center

      • DJ | May 30, 2013 at 10:54 am |

        Navy blue? Nooooo. The blue the Caps (and Wizards) wore was a medium blue shade. They wore it with bronze and black.

        It was a nice color set that, to me, evoked the colonial era (think of George Wahington U’s buff-and-blue). But the more “modern” red-white-and-blue set seems best for most DC teams.

        • Jason M (DC) | May 30, 2013 at 11:45 am |

          You’re right. “Navy” wasn’t the right choice to use. And going back and looking at it, I was way off. Thanks. But it certainly wasn’t teal.

  • The Jeff | May 30, 2013 at 7:48 am |

    Most influential uniforms, eh?

    There’s 1949 Rams for introducing the concept of helmet logos.

    The 1974 Philadelphia Bell of the WFL giving us the first non-gray facemasks – the Chiefs & Chargers also followed suit the same year, before the flood gates really opened and all but 5 NFL teams had switched to colored masks within a decade.

    The 1988 LA Kings for doing same thing for black that the Hornets did for teal, except that trend still hasn’t died yet.

    The 1997 Denver Broncos, as essentially the first of the so-called “modern” football uniforms.

    Which baseball team used powder blue first? They’d be on the list…

    • Connie DC | May 30, 2013 at 8:08 am |

      Whoa, TJ! Good show of uni erudition. Gotta admit, btw, I like those original Hornet away-game duds. And Kelly T is such a great hammy model.

    • terriblehuman | May 30, 2013 at 9:54 am |

      Good shout on the Kings, though that was a perfect storm of:

      * Raiders moving to LA in 1982
      * Kings going black
      * NWA adapting the Raiders and Kings gear as their de facto uniform
      * Wayne Gretzky trade bringing attention to the Kings/hockey in general

      • Thresh8 | May 30, 2013 at 11:37 am |

        Seeing how so many hockey and basketball teams colors move in tandem (Washington Capitals/Wizards elsewhere on this page), does the Kings away from the Lakers have anything to do with ownership?

    • MEMAL | May 30, 2013 at 10:18 am |

      I really agree with the Broncos 98 uniforms. Those side panels weren’t seen in football until then and I credit/blame those Bronco’s teams success for all the different stripe patterns we see now a days.

    • ChrisH | May 30, 2013 at 10:29 am |

      1988 was also the year Dale Earnhardt’s black #3 made its’ debut.
      It was clearly influential to Kyle Petty some years later:

      • Ben D | May 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm |

        That was a “protest” scheme. Kyle Petty had been parked for 5 laps the week before during the World 600 (sorry, still can’t call it the Coke 600) for aggressive driving. His owner, Felix Sabates, was angry and got an additional 5 lap penalty for berating an official. He claimed that Dale Earnhardt would not have received a penalty just because he’s well, Dale Earnhardt. He had Petty’s car painted this way for the next race (might even have done it for a couple races) as a form of protest.

    • HHH | May 30, 2013 at 11:31 am |

      Why do you consider the Bell the first with a non-gray facemask? Four other WFL teams also had colored masks in 1974: Sharks, Hawaiians, Storm, and Texans. Were the Bell the first team to ever play a game with non-gray masks?

      Also, I have to say the 1997 Denver Broncos uniforms may have to be THE most influential uniforms of all time. It seems like EVERY new uniform that’s come out since then in EVERY sport owes something to those uniforms.

      However, why hasn’t anyone mentioned the first Northwestern football uniforms with Northwestern stripes and the first UCLA football uniforms with UCLA stripes? Those have had the longest and most widespread influence of any uniforms ever, Northwestern more so than UCLA. Northwestern stripes are EVERYWHERE.

      • The Jeff | May 30, 2013 at 11:45 am |

        Possibly good point regarding the Bell, but are you sure about that? Looking at the helmet project website, the only other team shown with a colored mask in 1974 is the Detroit Wheels, who didn’t finish a full season. The other teams you mention are all depicted with gray masks. If you’re right, then I suppose the whole league can get the credit, or we can ignore them and go with the Chargers/Chiefs, since no one really cared about the WFL anyway.

        Technically, the Packers attempted green masks back in 1959, but it didn’t really work or catch on as a trend so it doesn’t count as being influential.

    • terriblehuman | May 30, 2013 at 11:38 am |

      How about the 1992 North Carolina basketball unis? That was the first time college basketball, or for that matter, any college sports uniform was treated as a fashion item.

      • DaveG | May 30, 2013 at 12:40 pm |

        The 1967 North Carolina basketball unis were the first with V-necks, I believe.

      • Steve in Duluth | May 30, 2013 at 12:58 pm |

        Not even the most influential college basketball uniform of that year. The more influential ones (whose influence continues to influence all of basketball) were Michigan’s Fab Five baggy shorts.

        • terriblehuman | May 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm |

          What I meant was that UNC influenced the way other schools thought about their uniform and branding. What the Fab Five influenced was the style. After Carolina, more schools started treating their uniforms as something to be designed, and gave way to Nike and adidas introducing bolder and more retail-ready designs to college sports.

  • teenchy | May 30, 2013 at 7:49 am |

    Gotta say while Hamilton Nolan is typically spot-on, some commenters to that piece have accurately picked out the flaws in its premise. Microwave popcorn market didn’t decrease; ready-to-eat popcorn market increased. All the comments on artificial flavors and preservatives still spot-on, microwave or ready-to-eat.

    • Chance Michaels | May 30, 2013 at 10:54 am |

      True, but I think his point is more about the Orville Redenbacher representative’s explanation for why the ready-made popcorn market is the faster-growing of the two.

      • Rob S | May 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm |

        The comment from the Reddenbacher rep is certainly snark bait, but Nolan’s commentary makes it seem like pre-packaged, ready-to-eat popcorn is a new thing, when that’s not the case at all. The source article even describes other companies and their ready-to-eat brands, including possibly the oldest of them all – Cracker Jack, which was around long before the microwave oven, let alone the point where microwave popcorn was commercially viable.

        • Rob S | May 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm |

          On a side note regarding microwaves… I rarely use my microwave for anything but an oversized timer these days. I’ll occasionally use it to reheat something, but the vast majority of my cooking is done on a gas range or a Foreman grill, with the occasional use of the oven.

          Even if I’m feeling lazy and resort to canned pasta products, I’ll cook it in a saucepan rather than the microwave.

  • Ray | May 30, 2013 at 7:51 am |

    also, Paul can’t be too upset with the reason that the Ravens wear purple, right?

  • Adam R. W. | May 30, 2013 at 7:52 am |

    Don’t forget… the Mighty Ducks fall under the teal AND purple category.

  • S.Schieve | May 30, 2013 at 7:53 am |

    If I was Puerto Rican I would be upset too. I wouldn’t want to be affiliated with that watered down “beer”.

  • Tom Hedrick | May 30, 2013 at 7:54 am |

    Machado plays third base.

  • CWac19 | May 30, 2013 at 7:59 am |

    Though a disproportionate number of new teams in the late-century expansion era used teal or purple as a team color, to say “nearly every new Big Four franchise” used one of the colors would be overstating the case. We can’t ignore the fact that the Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Thrashers and Carolina Hurricanes all joined the fray without either color. Also, purple was definitely a very little-used accent color of the Phoenix Coyotes (brick and green were the primary colors).

    • CWac19 | May 30, 2013 at 8:14 am |

      All of that said, your point as to the influence of the Hornets uniforms is very well taken.

    • Douglas King | May 30, 2013 at 2:33 pm |

      Can’t really count the Heat since they were formed the same year that the Hornets were, and the Ottawa Senators based their colors off of the original Ottawa Senators.

      He does establish that it was over the next decade or so, and its clear by looking at the list that the Diamondbacks marked the last team to go with the trend in 1998. The Thrashers first played in 1999 and the Wild and Blue Jackets started play in 2000.

      So excluding the teams founded once the trend had died and taking out teams that started play the same year (Heat), and or had their color-scheme defined by history (Sens), that makes 4 teams vs. 11 teams. 5 if you count the Coyotes, who as you stated had very little purple in their scheme.

  • WSmyth | May 30, 2013 at 8:10 am |

    As much as I hate them, you would have to include the current Broncos uniform as one of the most influential of the last 15 years, now football teams on all levels use that stupid parenthesis striping pattern.

    • Paul Lukas | May 30, 2013 at 8:21 am |

      Except, oddly, no other NFL teams have ever used that template.

      I think the real influence of that uniform is less about its design and more about the fact that it was the first Big Four uni designed by a sportswear company (rather than an outside design executed by a sportswear company). That was a major shift, and a sign of things to come.

      • teenchy | May 30, 2013 at 10:49 am |

        To your point, I think if someone can pinpoint when a manufacturer’s mark first appeared on a uniform in a prominent, readily visible location (i.e., not on a shirt tail, inside a collar or sweatband), that might be considered most influential. The sportswear manufacturers’ tail wagging the teams’ dog began at that point.

        • Steve in Duluth | May 30, 2013 at 1:00 pm |

          Adidas stripes on soccer jerseys date back to the 70s at the latest, and that probably takes the cake. Still one of the most distinctive sporting-good-brand fashion marks out there.

      • Steve in Duluth | May 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm |

        Nobody uses that exact template, but two major concepts are everywhere: Non-straight, often asymmetrical pants stripes (though Carolina was a factor in this) and side-panel stripes blending into the pants design.

  • Stephen | May 30, 2013 at 8:11 am |

    When Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Kings in1988 they changed to a black and silver color scheme, helping set in motion the whole black movement of the last 20 years.

    I want to ask a few questions about the Redskin name. As I’ve learned more about this topic, one thing that seems striking to me is the general belligerence of the organization toward those asking for a change. But let’s say the team were run by people who 1. Genuinely cared about public relations, and 2. Wanted to keep the name, and 3. You are in charge of their PR and want to keep your job. Is the name salvageable? If the team were more supportive of Native American issues the way, say, the Chicago Blackhawks are, could this make a difference? What would you do?
    And then, to follow up, let’s say the team did reach the point where they decide to change the name, but they wanted to keep the iconography. Say they become the Washington Tribesmen or something. Is the uniform salvageable?
    A few years ago the Washington Wizards (stupid nickname) brought back uniforms reminiscent of the old Bullets, which creates a nice link to the Wes Unseld days that was lost when they did the total rebrand in the ’90s. Would it be offensive if the NFL team kept its uniforms but changed its name?

    Curious to hear thoughts on this.

    • The Jeff | May 30, 2013 at 8:26 am |

      If the team absolutely has to change it’s name, there’s no reason the uniform can’t remain the same, and that’s probably their best option to avoid angering the fans who hate the name change. The only part of their uniform that some find offensive is the helmet logo – from the neck down there’s nothing to worry about.

    • trevor | May 30, 2013 at 9:33 am |

      Stephen, good observation about the Kings. The black jersey trend is as popular than ever and has gone worldwide to soccer teams.

      • DJ | May 30, 2013 at 10:58 am |

        Yes. Black became popular for teams to wear, forcing FIFA and the various leagues to come up with alternate colors for the referees to wear. Now, it’s almost seen as “old school” for soccer referees to wear black.

        • Judy | May 30, 2013 at 1:07 pm |

          I would’ve credited Jerry Glanville with being a big factor in the BFBS trend for changing the Falcons uniform. Was he actually hopping on a bandwagon that had already started?

      • trevor | May 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm |

        Judy, the Falcons changed to black in 1990 while the Kings made their switch in 1988.

    • terriblehuman | May 30, 2013 at 9:46 am |

      I think the hostility to a potential name change is partly a play to their hardcore fanbase. The general population is still apathetic about it, so they don’t run a huge PR risk by aggressively defending the name.

      As for the name, if anything is changing (and I think change is inevitable), the name and the headdress are non-starters. The color scheme should stay.

      • Arr Scott | May 30, 2013 at 10:32 am |

        The team is basically adopting the tone and manner of right-wing radio entertainers like Rush Limbaugh, in that it’s turning the name into a test of fan loyalty. Which is a mistake, considering the issue as a business proposition. Having made keeping the name forever a litmus test, the Redskins will face a much bigger backlash than they needed to if they ever do change the name. And there’s maybe a one-in-four chance that the federal courts will actually uphold the plain meaning of federal law and strip federal trademark protection from the name. The NFL protests otherwise, but if trademark protection goes, the league will have strong incentive to push Snyder to alter the team identity so as to bring an important part of the league’s assets back under trademark.

        But it’s worth noting that Snyder has a history of communicating in this way. The man’s a mini-Trump. So in the scenario you paint, #3 means saying, “Whatever you want, Mr. Snyder” when he orders a full-on aggressive response that politicizes the issue and needlessly narrows business options.

        As to what changes, if the name goes, so must the Indian-head logo. But if the team keeps the colors, adopts a spear or feather logo, and chooses a vague enough name, like Warriors, it would enable most fans to go on calling the team the Redskins or Skins. If I’m a PR person for the team, and we’re assuming here that Snyder no longer owns the team and thus rational decisionmaking is even possible, that’s the outcome I’d be looking for. Having already told fans that not changing the name is a matter of fundamental principle, any changed name must leave fans free to keep using the old name. So the name and logo will need to suggest, but not directly say, “Indian,” and the colors and overall uniform look will need to stay as they are.

        That said, if I didn’t have to worry about the self-destructive choices Snyder has already made, I’d rename them the Pigskins, darken the burgundy significantly, darken the gold just a bit, and adopt this as a uniform.

        • Ben Fortney | May 30, 2013 at 11:00 am |

          I’ve always wondered about UWers attitude towards Washington getting an “official” blessing and renaming the team after a local tribe, or Native name.

          Powhatan, was the major tribe (and chief) further south. Potomac is an anglicized version of the original name of the river.


        • DJ | May 30, 2013 at 11:01 am |

          Agree on the uniform. But I’d go with “Warriors,” and return the spear to the helmet, except with a decorative streamer forming a “W” replacing the feather.

        • Chance Michaels | May 30, 2013 at 11:49 am |

          I’ve always wondered about UWers attitude towards Washington getting an “official” blessing and renaming the team after a local tribe, or Native name.

          Personally, I think the NCAA has the right approach in making it largely a question of intellectual property. You want to use the name? License it. Otherwise no dice.

        • Arr Scott | May 30, 2013 at 1:51 pm |

          Ben, that would be an excellent approach. The problem for me with Redskins is not that it refers to Native Americans – I really have no problem with the Braves or even Indians as such – it’s that the name is plainly a derogatory term. And it’s derogatory toward some of my fellow American citizens. I like to think that I’m a patriotic guy, and in my book patriotism means not being OK with anybody insulting one’s fellow citizens.

          But your approach would be extra beneficial, in that some Mid-Atlantic region native peoples are still fighting for official state and federal recognition. So participating in a team renaming away from Redskins with the cooperation of local tribal groups would actually do a meaningful service to area Native peoples.

        • Cort | May 30, 2013 at 2:12 pm |

          I’m with Arr Scott. It seems silly to suggest that all Native-related names are morally objectionable. They did a riff on this on 30 Rock a couple of years ago: someone from Mexico was described as “a Mexican,” and another character said, “You can’t say that. It’s offensive.”

          “Redskins” IS offensive. You could keep everything, even the Iron Eyes Cody helmet decal, and I’d be fine, so long as the name changed.

    • Douglas King | May 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm |

      The Kings switched to Black and Silver because of the popularity of the Raiders merchandise. Getting Gretzky allowed for them to start a new chapter complete with a new brand identity.

  • Connie DC | May 30, 2013 at 8:11 am |

    “..Whoa, check out this awesome Coast Guard hockey uniform. Further details here. “What a jaunty hckey [sic] kit!” says Caleb James. …”

    Coast Guard Cutters: What a great team name. And props to Caleb for reinvigoration of the word Jaunty.

  • Stevie McQuistan | May 30, 2013 at 8:29 am |

    At one point in the 90s even Notre Dame was also considering incorporating teal as well as making the leprechaun more menacing.

    • DJ | May 30, 2013 at 10:34 am |

      Proof, please. This reeks of bullshit

    • Brendan the Aspie | May 30, 2013 at 10:58 am |

      You’re probably confusing it with the one-off lime green basketball jersey.

  • Todd R | May 30, 2013 at 8:30 am |

    I cast my vote for the 1963 Kansas City Athletics, the first technicolor MLB club of the modern era. There exists a very defined before and after here-what was a world of white and gray gradually gave way to powder blues, evolving into today’s world of colorful alternate jerseys. Truly revolutionary.

  • BSmile | May 30, 2013 at 8:30 am |

    Nice article about the Phillies/Blue Jays era. What a confusing mess!(the names, not the story)

    • quiet seattle | May 30, 2013 at 10:14 am |

      Yes, that’s a good read.

      What real sticks out are the logos depicted on the 1944 Official Scorecard!

      Look at the Giants! It’s weird and surprising stuff like that keeps me interested.

      • Jet | May 30, 2013 at 10:25 am |

        Absolutely! The scorecard is a thing of wonder!


      • Todd R | May 30, 2013 at 10:48 am |

        These were not “official” logos, just whimsical representations of club nicknames (charming nonetheless!)

    • Chance Michaels | May 30, 2013 at 11:50 am |

      Agreed – great work.

      • Todd R | May 30, 2013 at 12:51 pm |

        The whole Phillies/Blue Jays thing always seemed to be such a weird story, even without the benefit of modern branding sensibilities. One of the key takeaways for me was the fact that there was a concerted marketing effort involved here, including the formal visual branding that ensued-very, very rare for 1944, even if the results were half-baked.

  • Elliott Josypenko | May 30, 2013 at 8:38 am |

    For my brothers birthday I want to get him a printed GB Olympics basketball jersey. Sadly you can’t buy them printed.

    Can anyone help me out with some suggestions for what font this is (or similar to)?

    The text I can get fairly similar to Antique Olive (easy to download) or Arial Narrow, but the number is difficult.

    This is pretty much the best picture to look at.

    If you could help with this you will be doing me all kinds of help!


  • terriblehuman | May 30, 2013 at 8:39 am |

    The Hornets were also part of another influential movement – the introduction of alternate unis in 1994, along with the Magic and Heat:

    I so love that Kelly Tripucka was the face of the franchise.

    • MPowers1634 | May 30, 2013 at 8:43 am |

      Kelly Tripucka…interesting timing. His son is/was a major component of the National Champion Duke Lacrosse team this year!

  • terriblehuman | May 30, 2013 at 8:40 am |

    So basically, the new Nike England kit is part 1970s West Germany, part 2013 United States.

  • MPowers1634 | May 30, 2013 at 8:42 am |

    I, for one, really like the new style of BP caps.

    As for the Hornets and their color scheme, the 90’s were ruled by the teal monster…Sharks, Marlins gear was EVERYWHERE!

    • Jet | May 30, 2013 at 10:27 am |

      Same here regarding the BP caps. For the most part they look like alternate game caps as opposed to some dumb trendoid-looking cap.


  • Kyle Kendall | May 30, 2013 at 8:44 am |

    The Braves of 91 and the White Sox of early 90’s really helped baseball make a move back to the basics. The Sox supposedly sold a ton of those hats, which of course made other teams say, hey, cool new design = more merchandise = more revenue. Interestingly enough, 20 years later, the Sox and Braves look remarkably the same, save for their alts.

    But I think those two are the two I remember bringing back the “classic” look of the baseball uni.

  • Adam | May 30, 2013 at 8:54 am |

    I don’t know that correllation is really causation in the case of the Hornets’ teal-and-purple-craze. I think that Charlotte and all the other teams that went down that road were just a product of 1990’s fashion sensibilities that told us these two colors were “in.” Charlotte was just the first to embrace it. I think the fact that so many teams have since abandoned the colors just shows that it was nothing more than a fad of the times. Anyone else remember the purple and teal GEO Tracker? To me, that is always one of the ’90est of things.

    Here’s another blog post mentioning teal in the ’90s (althought he neglects to mention the Hornets entirely!)

  • Graf Zeppelin | May 30, 2013 at 8:58 am |

    Let’s not forget also the early-1990s renovation of Madison Square Garden, in which the arena received all-new seats which were, of course, purple and teal.

    • Paul Lukas | May 30, 2013 at 9:11 am |

      That is an AWESOME observation!

    • Graf Zeppelin | May 30, 2013 at 9:23 am |

      NY Times, 7/29/91: “In the main space, the arena where the Knicks and Rangers play from October through May, the old green, blue, orange and yellow seats — which even Garden officials described as ‘simply horrid’ — were removed for a more contemporary color scheme of violet and teal.”

  • ScottyM | May 30, 2013 at 8:58 am |

    Astros’ taquila sunrise … gave birth to a whole host of copycats in little league in the 80s (green gradients, purple gradients, orange/black gradients, red gradients, among others).

    And now we’re experiencing a bit of a renaissance (Va Tech’s maroon/orange gradient, and the one posted in the ticker a couple days ago). I even saw an orange/green version on a softball team in Indianapolis last week … wish I would’ve taken pix.

    Probably among the 4-5 most impactful, and certainly recognizable, uniforms of all time.

  • War Damn Eagle | May 30, 2013 at 9:00 am |

    I don’t think the design was necessarily revolutionary, but the Fab Five at Michigan changed basketball aesthetics forever when they starting wearing the baggier shorts in 1992.

    • terriblehuman | May 30, 2013 at 9:17 am |

      Also, their shorter, black socks were a departure from the traditional white tube socks. Sock lengths have come back up, but we see way more color variations now.

      Finally, did Patrick Ewing start the practice of wearing a t-shirt under his uniform? That’s evolved into thermal/sweat-wicking underlayers, as well as the sleeved adidas jerseys that came out this year.

    • HHH | May 30, 2013 at 11:18 am |

      I thought Michael Jordan started the baggy shorts trend in the 80’s. I saw a TV interview with him from the late 80’s and they mentioned one of the things that made him unique was his “baggy shorts” which of course were nowhere near as baggy as basketball shorts started to become in the early 90’s.

      Remember when guys were wearing spandex shorts under short shorts because suddenly men were feeling self-conscious about showing too much thigh? That was around 1990-1991 before long baggy shorts were being sold in stores. Once long baggy shorts were easy to find that trend died instantly.

      • terriblehuman | May 30, 2013 at 11:27 am |

        I think it’s a matter of degrees. Jordan made the shorts roomier and about mid-lower-thigh. The Fab Five took them below the knees.

  • Jason M (DC) | May 30, 2013 at 9:02 am |

    In regards to the Ravens, Sharks and Marlins, I would say that the colors were more appropriate for their team name instead of just being fashionable. Teal goes with the aquatic animal theme of the Sharks and Marlins. Perhaps we can say that the Marlins did not execute it very well in the beginning. But I always loved the Sharks. I just wish that they hadn’t added the yellow later.

    Purple is an under utilized color. How many more red/white/blue teams do you want in the NFL? There are only two purple teams and the dark shade of purple works for the Ravens.

    • JTH | May 30, 2013 at 11:39 am |

      The Marlins’ original HOME uniforms were executed perfectly.

      • Jason M (DC) | May 30, 2013 at 11:53 am |

        Probably my primary issue with the original Marlins unis was the batting helmet. The shade of teal was probably too bright. It’s good that they added the black hat/helmet. However, I believe that the Marlins hat would be best as a black with a teal brim. I’m sad that they moved away from the teal scheme. It made them unique in baseball and was appropriate for the fish name.

        • JTH | May 30, 2013 at 12:21 pm |

          I liked the solid teal caps/helmets.

          The teal crown/black brim road cap was awful. Inverting the colors like you suggest would have been a much better choice, but not for the home uniforms. Multicolor caps never* work well with pinstripes.

          * unless it’s a pinstriped crown.

      • ChrisH | May 30, 2013 at 12:25 pm |

        The vest was the best!

    • ChrisH | May 30, 2013 at 11:59 am |

      For me, the flaw with the Marlins’ execution was not the teal…it was the black (specifically, the all-black cap which helped pave the way for them to transition teal to accent color status).

    • Adam | May 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm |

      I completely agree with this! …which is most likely why they have stuck with their original colors, while everyone else was playing “dress-up” with their uni’s during this time, and ended up going back to their original themes later.

      And I don’t consider the Hornets to be influential, rather fashion influenced the uni’s of that time.

  • Ray | May 30, 2013 at 9:16 am |

    I remember when the Pirates debuted those new uniforms during the season. It’s hard to imagine something like that happening now without the huge pr program.

    • Brendan the Aspie | May 30, 2013 at 11:00 am |

      The Pirates aren’t the only team to do that. The Astros introduced the infamous rainbow uniforms in mid-1974.

    • Gusto4044 | May 30, 2013 at 11:02 am |

      It wasn’t just the new mustard uniforms, Ray. Those unis debuted with the opening in mid 1970 of Three Rivers Stadium.

      You’re absolutely right, you won’t see that happen again with the emphasis on PR, marketing, and merchandising.

      • scott | May 30, 2013 at 11:12 am |

        Red Sox in 1972 debuted their pullovers/ elastic waistbands at the All-Star Game.

    • Christopher F. | May 30, 2013 at 3:01 pm |

      The White Sox started wearing their black and white unis mid-season. 1989 I believe.

    • BurghFan | May 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm |

      Of course, the Braves only wore nicknames for a couple months in 1976. Generally, in those days when uniforms were just equipment, teams would put on a new set when it arrived without anyone making a big deal of it.

  • Koy Detmer | May 30, 2013 at 9:23 am |

    I think the Broncos late-90’s change has to be up there with most influential of the last generation. Was really the start of Nike-fication.

  • Marcus Clowers | May 30, 2013 at 9:23 am |

    I think sadly the new Seattle Seahawks jersey is going to start a new trend in the NFL. You can kind of see it with the new Jags jersey as well. I believe the league is going to start looking a lot like the college football landscape. As far as past jerseys I think the Charlotte jerseys also inspired the NBA pinstripes that the Rockets and Raptors had.

    • Graf Zeppelin | May 30, 2013 at 9:29 am |

      You’re probably right about the NFL, unfortunately, although there are a few teams it’s probably safe to say will never do that — Packers, Bears, Chiefs, Raiders. I wish I could put the Jets in that category but I don’t trust that franchise to do anything right.

      • The Jeff | May 30, 2013 at 9:39 am |

        Mentioning the Jets brings up another influence – the entire NFL of 1994, and specifically the Chargers because those powder blue jerseys were insanely popular. I don’t know if any baseball teams had really done anything prior, but for me that marked the start of the throwback/retro trend.

        • Chance Michaels | May 30, 2013 at 10:28 am |

          The first TBTC game was at Comiskey on July 11, 1990. They took off from there, and I seem to recall they were pretty common in baseball by 1993.

        • Graf Zeppelin | May 30, 2013 at 10:36 am |

          [Trying comment again, without links]

          The White Sox did the first “Turn Back the Clock” Day” that I recall, at old Comiskey Park in 1990. The club wore 1917 uniforms, stadium staff wore period clothing, and all electronic systems (including scoreboards and P.A.) were turned off.

          The Jets did the first NFL throwback game in 1993, against the Bengals. It was a half-assed effort as they wore the 1965-77 logo decal on the green helmet, which was only slightly improved (by the addition of white helmet stripes to complete the inverse shell design) for the league-wide throwback promotion the following year.

        • terriblehuman | May 30, 2013 at 10:54 am |

          Right on about 1994 NFL.

          The 75th Anniversary throwbacks basically influenced the following almost immediate uniform changes:

          * 49ers (drop shadow numbers)
          * Giants (NY on the helmet)
          * Jets (shoulder stripes)

          And ones that came out eventually:

          * Chargers (white helmet, powder blue)
          * Redskins (gold pants)
          * Cowboys (double star alternates)

        • HHH | May 30, 2013 at 11:48 am |

          Almost immediate??? Are you on crack?

          * 49ers didn’t get the drop shadow numbers until 1996.
          * Giants didn’t get the NY back on the helmet until 2000.
          * Jets didn’t get their permanent throwbacks with the shoulder stripes until 1998.

          The only thing that really WAS immediate was the Cowboys double star alternates and those debuted DURING the 1994 season, not eventually:

        • Chance Michaels | May 30, 2013 at 12:14 pm |

          I would agree that the 49ers’ 1996 uniforms were about as “immediate” an impact as you could get. The 1994 throwbacks influenced the decision to make a change, and it took them a year before they were ready to unveil the new look.

        • terriblehuman | May 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm |

          Please, cool kids do meth. Crack is for losers.

    • Adam | May 30, 2013 at 9:34 am |

      When I think NBA pinstripes, I think Orlando Magic.

      • Marcus Clowers | May 30, 2013 at 9:45 am |

        Yes after commenting I began to think the Magic had them ( which were founded in ’89, ironically a year after the hornets new jerseys) also the Pacers. Also both Bobcats and Hornets have had pinstripes in recent years.

  • trevor | May 30, 2013 at 9:34 am |

    The San Diego Padres popularized the camouflage trend. However did any team wear camouflage before them?

  • walter | May 30, 2013 at 9:36 am |

    Of all the things I like about the first Hornets’ uniform (and I prefer the white one to the turquoise one), the best part was adding stripes to the jersey that were almost-but-not-quite team colors, like lime green, cyan and maroon. The accents were punchy and tasteful, evoking the complementary colors found in an argyle pattern.

  • Big Matt | May 30, 2013 at 9:41 am |

    Not sure how I feel about the ’76 Hoosiers selling memoribilia, but I guess it’s for a good cause.
    But I hope they can do better with the jerseys – those in the picture are awful and woefully inaccurate.

    • Jerg | May 30, 2013 at 11:53 am |

      That’s not memoribilia – it’s merch.

    • DaveG | May 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm |

      Yeah – How bad are those Indiana uniforms? They incorporate V-necks and NOBs (both of which Indiana has never used). Can’t imagine anyone who remembers watching that 1976 team being pleased with the way these things look.

  • Roger Faso | May 30, 2013 at 10:00 am |

    I could be wrong with the year and teams, (I’m not I front of my computer to double check,) but I think the year 1987 and the team uniforms for Cleveland and Oakland were influential, in that it was a return to button down jerseys. It seemed like a domino effect for all the teams that went pullover. The Retro look was back.

    Now, I know the A’s went retro with a button down in ’82, but it didn’t last. Did the White Sox go back to buttondowns before 87?

    • DJ | May 30, 2013 at 11:08 am |

      No, the White Sox had pullover jerseys from 1976 (the Bill Veeck faux-throwbacks from 76-81) to 1986 (the beach blanket uniforms from 1982-1986). Then followed the much-disliked 1987-1990 set (confirmed our distrust of Brooklyn-born Jerry Reinsdorf wanting his team to look like the Brooklyn Dodgers).

    • TA | May 30, 2013 at 10:04 pm |

      The Giants were the first to switch away from multicolor/pullover/sansabelt craziness to a white/grey, belts & buttons look, in 1983.

  • Jeremy Brahm | May 30, 2013 at 10:06 am |

    The Seattle Mariners still have the teal. The team may call it “Northwest Green”, but I still think of teal when I see it.

  • Le Cracquere | May 30, 2013 at 10:16 am |

    I’ve never had a problem with teal or purple unis in & of themselves. In fact, if the colors hadn’t become such a hard-ridden bandwagon, I’d have considered it an unmitigatedly good development.

    Even now, I can’t rouse myself to object to teal & purple across the board–there’d be nothing wrong with 1-2 teams in each sport using them, as long as the color worked with their design scheme/mascot choices. For example, I honestly miss the original ’93 “Men of Teal” Marlins, and think Miami would do well to revive them in some adapted form. For 20 years, the Rockies have never NOT been purple; at this point, ditching it would be the real fashion-victim move.

  • Cort | May 30, 2013 at 10:27 am |

    That Cardiff kit is atrocious.

    There’s something very Police Athletic League about it: “Okay kids, our sponsor is providing jerseys and socks, but we have to provide our own shorts. Everyone tell your moms you need a pair of red soccer shorts, OK?”

    Go to — from 1908 to 2012, Cardiff City wore blue and white. Their nickname is the Bluebirds; a bluebird is featured on their club crest. The red is the result of an ownership change: the new owner is a Malaysian businessman, who things red will play better back home.

    Cardiff supporters are nonplussed.

  • Joseph Gerard | May 30, 2013 at 10:33 am |

    Ugh. I know we were another ten years away before NBA players were wearing longer shorts, but those are STILL too short.

    As for the Phillies, they weren’t the only ones. The Dodgers were the Robins for a while in the 20’s as well. Did anyone happen to notice in that program, they used a long red stocking to represent the Reds (this coming before they temporarily became the Redlegs), and it looks like women’s pantyhose? Just sayin’…

    • Chance Michaels | May 30, 2013 at 10:41 am |

      As for the Phillies, they weren’t the only ones. The Dodgers were the Robins for a while in the 20′s as well.

      I’m not sure that’s really the same thing. Nicknames were fluid in the early part of the 20th century. They weren’t permanent, often referring as much to the actual collection of men than the club itself. When several Brooklyn players were married in the off-season, the team was known for a while as the “Bridegrooms.” When Wilbur Robinson managed the club, they were called the “Robins.”

      What the Phillies tried to do was re-brand a club that had a set, official nickname emblazoned across the front of the jerseys.

      • Brendan the Aspie | May 30, 2013 at 11:02 am |

        And the (Devil) Rays.

        • Brendan the Aspie | May 30, 2013 at 11:02 am |

          whoops, responded to wrong comment

    • oneblankspace | May 30, 2013 at 10:47 am |

      Don’t forget the Boston Bees (NL).

    • teenchy | May 30, 2013 at 11:06 am |

      I’m still struck by Mark Twain as the Giants mascot.

  • Chance Michaels | May 30, 2013 at 10:34 am |

    The “Everyman Espresso” logo flap is an interesting one.

    I think the state, if heavy-handed, has a good case here. The company’s logo is clearly intended to evoke the “I (heart) NY” symbol, and just last year the state introduced a whole series of citizen-designed logos swapping out the heart for other objects. Penix’s coffee cup could have fit in perfectly with that campaign, so thare is a substantial likelihood of confusion.

    • The Jeff | May 30, 2013 at 10:50 am |

      That seems a bit screwed up to me… should you really be able to copyright “I (insert symbol) NY”? Sure, the heart can be protected, but every other random icon? Parody is supposed to be legal.

      • Chance Michaels | May 30, 2013 at 12:20 pm |

        That’s not parody.

        And yes, I think “I (insert symbol) NY” is and probably ought to be protected. Especially given the state’s recent campaign in which the heart was swapped out for any manner of symbol.

  • Roger Faso | May 30, 2013 at 10:46 am |

    I totally forgot …

    The SF Giants went retro buttoned down in 83 or 84.

  • Ben Fortney | May 30, 2013 at 10:46 am |

    Minnesota’s grounds crew is getting into the throwback act today. Kudos.

    • Chance Michaels | May 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm |

      I’m so excited for that game tonight. The Brewers’ uniforms look amazing. Seem to be selling pretty well, too.

  • skott daltonic | May 30, 2013 at 11:08 am |

    wow, that Coffee Shop story is infuriating.

  • Roger Faso | May 30, 2013 at 11:21 am |

    After checking out Dressed to the Nines, it seems like the return to a more traditional look (outside of the teams that maintained the buttondowns and belts,) started with Boston in 1979. It was followed by the A’s (albeit for one year) in ’82. The Giants and Royals picked it up in ’83, followed by the Padres in ’85 and then the Indians and Rangers in 86. In 1987, it picked up momentum and more than a few jumped on the retro trend.

  • Randy | May 30, 2013 at 11:21 am |

    The White Sox tried with the short pants thing….glad that didnt work out..

  • Carolingian Steamroller | May 30, 2013 at 11:21 am |

    Interesting note for the concept contest. No Charlotte Hornets team ever wore the name “Hornets” on their jerseys.

    The trend continued after the move. The team only wore “Hornets” for the two years they spent in Oklahoma City. Once the team return to New Orleans full time, they switched back to the city name.

    Seems like a peculiar design choice given that both “Charlotte” and “New Orleans” are much longer names than “Hornets.”

    • terriblehuman | May 30, 2013 at 11:35 am |

      I believe the motivation was to sell Charlotte as a “major league” city since Charlotte was just coming into its own as a banking town and the Hornets were the first big league franchise. I imagine the same force is at play in OKC.

  • walter | May 30, 2013 at 11:23 am |

    Who was the first NBA team with a sublimated print? The 1980s Nets with the tie-dye road uniforms? That begat an unfortunate trend.

  • Taha | May 30, 2013 at 11:23 am |

    have you guys heard of the baseball lifetime pass given to people with 8 yrs of service in the bigs? Joey Bats just got his, there is an article about it in the Toronto Star. First time I’ve heard of this. Pretty cool, though it would be better if there were a picture of his uniform on the back!

  • James Craven | May 30, 2013 at 11:24 am |

    The Conference Formerly Known as the Original Big East’s new logo? B-to-the-O-R-I-N-G. A six year old can come up with a better logo than that craptastic piece of garbage. Makes me ashamed to be a Temple fan.

  • Thresh8 | May 30, 2013 at 11:27 am |

    Is dark teal still an “official” color for the Jags? Seems the new ones are much closer to the Panthers’ ice blue.

    And it may just be the heat and humidity (finally!) talking, but am I only one who saw the teal tongue on the Jags helmet and thought “That cat just finished a popsicle”?

    • The Jeff | May 30, 2013 at 11:35 am |

      The Jaguars teal still looks rather teal to me. It’s nowhere near as bright as Panther Blue. I can’t argue against the popsicle tongue though.

  • Giancarlo | May 30, 2013 at 11:44 am |

    1972 Oakland A’s for the first modern softball tops.

    More sneakily and perniciously, whichever team introduced the batting practice uni in the late 1970s (I want to say Phillies?). We’re seeing the culmination of that innovation now, with the superfluous BP caps in real games.

    • DJ | May 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm |

      First to have BP jerseys? Possibly the Phillies. Or the White Sox.

  • Eric | May 30, 2013 at 11:48 am |

    Denver Broncos 1997 uniform set was groundbreaking.

  • Luis | May 30, 2013 at 11:59 am |

    I think that video points out something that is gone from the NBA… hairy chests.

  • HHH | May 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm |

    American Athletic Conference just released their new logo. It looks REALLY amateurish, especially how the ugly-looking star is tilted awkwardly at an angle. BARF!

    Key line from the article:

    “The new logo features a simple, athletic letter A in red, white and blue, which *each institution can customize with its own colors.*”

    Since when can conference logos be customized with school colors?!?!

    • The Jeff | May 30, 2013 at 12:01 pm |

      Since… as long as conference logos have been used as jersey patches? I think all of the major conference logos are rendered in different colors to match the jerseys today.

      • DJ | May 30, 2013 at 12:52 pm |

        The Mid-American Conference certainly allows its members to customize the logo; it’s in their Style Guide (Google it).

    • Matthew B | May 30, 2013 at 8:42 pm |

      I agree the logo sucks, the Sun Belt’s new logo features versions for each of its teams with color substitutions

  • John Q | May 30, 2013 at 12:09 pm |

    1985-1987 were a pivotal years when teams started to go away from the powder blue back towards gray uniforms. Teams also started to go back to the old style button up jerseys. Rawlings took over the role of manufacturing Major League baseball uniforms in 1987 and many teams took the opportunity to change their uniforms and/or caps: White Sox, Twins, Brewers, A’s, Mariners, Mets, Braves, Astros, and Pirates. By 1992 no team wore powder blue jersey and only the Reds still wore the pull over tops. The Reds finally switched back to a button up style jersey in 1993.

    The White Sox uniforms of 1990-1991 were influential in that they really popularized black uniforms.

    The 1964 White Sox should get more attention for introducing the powder blue uniforms. The White Sox stopped using them in the late 60’s-early 70’s and then went back around 1972.

    The A’s of 1963 were influential for introducing they yellow away jerseys. The A’s of the late 60’s were influential for introducing several multi uniform tops.

  • Todd c | May 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm |

    Of course the Tequila Sunrise jersey. We had them in high school and thought we were the coolest team in the state.

  • Matt Rech | May 30, 2013 at 12:16 pm |

    Love the site! This site is first on my list every day. I have a question for the group though about uniform. Going back to 1994-95 I lived in Lynbrook NY and often went to Wolfs Sporting Goods in Rockville Centre. My friends and I would ride bikes down there and peruse all of the different stuff they had, a lot of it was actually old/vitage back then. They used to have a close out rack with different jerseys on it and I bought a NYU Hockey Jersey for I believe 5 bucks there. It’s a Speedline jersey in the dreaded pruple color. I have looked online, but I think NYU only had a club team around that time. I could upload a picture, but I would have to dig it out my attic. It has “NYU” descending across the chest the rangers and has large solid stripes down the top of the sleeves like an ’80s maple leaf jersey. I always thought it was pretty cool ad definately looked different when I’d show up at the rink. Just wondering if anyone out there knows about the team, etc. Any info would be great.

    • Ben Fortney | May 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm |

      Know nothing about the jersey, but Wolf’s used to do Westbury’s Little League unis, loved wandering through the store whenever I was down there with my league admin mother. I think I got a blank jersey for a DIY at their new location a few years back.

      • Matt Rech | May 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm |

        I was hoping maybe someone on the site would have a clue, maybe even a NYU Alum. Wolf’s really was a cool store though, very old fashioned. Not too many stores like that are still around these days.

  • Tom | May 30, 2013 at 12:21 pm |

    The Bulls kind of got the ball rolling on alternate jerseys and black jerseys in the 90’s when jordan came back.

    • terriblehuman | May 30, 2013 at 1:07 pm |

      I believe the first alternate uniforms came in 1994, with the Magic (blue), Heat (red) and Hornets (purple). The Bulls’ black with the red pinstripes didn’t come until 1995, Jordan’s first full season back.

      But yeah, I’d agree that Jordan and the Bulls popularized it. The Suns came out with their black alternates around that time too, I think.

  • Otis | May 30, 2013 at 12:24 pm |

    The A’s are a baseball team, so no, they didn’t wear “softball tops”. I hate it when people refer to a pullover jersey that’s not white or gray as “softball”. Change your way of thinking.

    • Giancarlo | May 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm |

      The point is that the A’s changed everyone’s way of thinking back then, so that now we all see that color-over-white/grey look as major league.

    • scott | May 30, 2013 at 10:11 pm |

      I love the use of “softball tops” to refer to the dark-colored jerseys, which really shouldn’t be used by baseball teams when paired with white or gray pants. Have the guts to wear the same colored pants or don’t bother.

  • Alex | May 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm |

    The Mighty Ducks were teal AND purple

  • Vasav | May 30, 2013 at 12:59 pm |

    Oregon’s football uniforms led to the current craze in college football (and really, all college sports) of having a ton of different uniforms. Those have to be the most influential uniforms of the last decade.

    While not copycatted at their level, the Michigan football helmet, Alabama football helmet, and NY Rangers hockey sweater are all worn by amateur/youth/scholastic teams everywhere. They have to be some of the most iconic uniform items ever. And therefore, influential I’d say.

    • DJ | May 30, 2013 at 1:24 pm |

      While not copycatted at their level, the Michigan football helmet

      You must not know that Fritz Crisler took the winged helmet design to Ann Arbor from Princeton.

      Plus, Delaware wears the design.

      • Vasav | May 30, 2013 at 7:58 pm |

        True and true! Although Delaware is D1AA, I’ll certainly agree that Princeton deserves credit for the Michigan helmet.

  • Judy | May 30, 2013 at 1:20 pm |

    I asked this upthread but I’m afraid it might get lost in the conversation about the Redskins name, so I’ll throw out the question again:

    Does Jerry Glanville get credit (or blame, as the case may be) for starting the BFBS trend when he changed the Falcons uniform, or was he jumping on a bandwagon that already existed?

    • The Jeff | May 30, 2013 at 1:37 pm |

      Let us not forget that Glanville had been wearing black while on the sidelines in Houston, before he came to Atlanta and convinced them to change. I think it’s safe to say that he wasn’t jumping on a bandwagon.

      • Graf Zeppelin | May 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm |

        That’s right; he had a black Oilers jacket custom-made just for him, as there was no black Oilers merchandise on the market.

        I think the BFBS trend started when the L.A. Kings changed from Laker colors to Raider colors when they acquired Wayne Gretzky. That happened in 1988; Glanville didn’t become the Falcons’ coach until 1990.

      • Graf Zeppelin | May 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm |

        Here’s Jerry’s black Oilers jacket.

      • Judy | May 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm |

        I know he had been wearing black on the sidelines – in tribute to Johnny Cash, as I recall – but I think it’s a whole different story when you’re talking about personal attire vs. changing the color scheme of a team’s uniforms.

        That said, I’ll go with Graf Zeppelin’s response that the BFBS thing had already begun with the LA Kings.

        • Ben Fortney | May 30, 2013 at 3:41 pm |

          In the ESPN 30 for 30 on the Raiders and LA, a rep from starter talks about how N.W.A.’s adoption of Raiders gear led to skyrocketing sales (and the creation of the modern sports merch industry.)

          Raiders gear had already been adopted in the hip-hop scene (most notably Run DMC rocking it on the cover of the “Walk this Way” single in ’86) but when N.W.A.’s album dropped in August of ’88 extensive media coverage and the controversy that came with the group really set off the BFBS movement… LA Kings being the first on the bandwagon IMHO.

    • Cort | May 30, 2013 at 2:27 pm |

      Glanville was known as “The Man In Black” during his Houston years. He eventually became known as other things.

      He argued that there was so much powder blue on the Oilers sideline, that he needed to wear black so players could see him.

  • Graham | May 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm |

    Cool University of Michigan Style guide:

    • Phil P | May 30, 2013 at 2:30 pm |

      Good link. Interesting that they created their own font, I like it. But the gem is in the typography section:

      “Avoid trite correlations
      -Don’t use Papyrus just because your topic is “ancient” in some way (Better yet, don’t use Papyrus at all)
      -Don’t use Comic Sans just because your topic is humorous (Better yet, don’t use Comic Sans at all)
      -Don’t use Lithos just because your topic is about Greek restaurants
      -Don’t use Futura just because your topic deals with “the future”

  • biged6464 | May 30, 2013 at 1:55 pm |

    unrelated to today’s discussion, but very related to the overall Uni-sphere. So apparently ESPN Playbook, aka: the artist formerly known as Page 2, is shut down now as a by product of the recent layoffs at ESPN, Lynn Hoppes (the apparent keymaster for Playbook) was laid off as well, the quick research I did into this fruitcake yielded all I needed to know as to why and how Playbook may of been terminated. If this guy was keeping Playbook afloat then God help us all and it explains a lot. No new entries after 5/24 and Deadspin reported Playbook shut down recently as well. I guess this will be our only uni watch outlet, just when Paul was starting to get some video clips attached to his Uniwatch entries too!

    • Paul Lukas | May 30, 2013 at 3:10 pm |

      Some of what you just wrote is accurate and some is not. By far the biggest inaccuracy is that Uni Watch will no longer appear on

      Uni Watch is still very much part of ESPN. I’ll just be appearing in a different section of the site.

      • biged6464 | May 30, 2013 at 3:33 pm |

        I didn’t mean to infer that Uni Watch will no longer be featured on, what I meant more was what does this mean for Uni Watch and that in the mean time this will be our daily bread, meaning currently no Page 2/Playbook destination. Cheers! Long time lurker, and very rare contributor. Keep on keepin’ on Paul!! Ed in South Florida. ***speaking of which a South FL trip should be in your plans, the Mets spring train in St. Lucie, that may appeal to you? Or come a little further south to the New York of the south Boca Raton/Delray Beach. Check out the documentary Kings Point about a group of New Yorkers/Long Islanders who retire to South FL from a “where are they now” vantage point, very good, and only like 30 min. pardon my rambling, blame it on my vaporizer….

    • Douglas King | May 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm |

      It appears his stuff will now be on the SportsNation part of the site. That’s where the Battle of the Uniform stuff was posted and its where his latest article (about the Charlotte Hornets re-design) is located.

      No idea what this means for his older stuff though.

  • TK | May 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm |

    I would say the Raiders unis have been equally influential for the use of black. So many teams use black as an alternate color just b/c they know it sells. Even teams that have no business at all wearing black b/c it doesn’t fit into their color scheme (NY Mets, AZ Cards, Phil. Eagles, etc.).

    • HHH | May 30, 2013 at 3:14 pm |

      Teams that adopt black INTO their color scheme as part of new uniforms totally have the right to use black alternates, because it is now one of their official colors. Black was part of the “City of Shadows” redesign for the Mets, and the Eagles had black socks and black trim/stripes on both the jersey and pants starting with their 1996 redesign. A black alternate jersey makes sense with those two teams, even though it looks so strange to see those teams wearing black jerseys because they never wore black for most of their history.

      The only example you gave that jives with your argument is the AZ Cardinals, because the only black detail on their 2005 redesigned uniforms was black piping and a black outline around the logo on the helmet. These are EXTREMELY minor details, so when the Cardinals started wearing black alternate jerseys in 2010 it was BFBS in it’s purest form.

      • Arr Scott | May 30, 2013 at 3:22 pm |

        Nah, BFBS if it means anything must include teams that add black to their color schemes, especially when, as in the case of the Mets, it’s pretty obviously done in order to sell merchandise by chasing popular fashion.

        A team that already has black but starts using more of it – like the Falcons – doesn’t qualify for BFBS. But a team that has no black, and then suddenly does, is BFBS.

        Really, the Mets are the standard by which BFBS is judged. The Mets didn’t even meaningfully change their color scheme – they just shoehorned black into just about every logo and uni element. Plus, the plain fact is that when most people refer to BFBS, they’re actually thinking of the Mets when they say it. When people say the Jays went BFBS, they don’t mean, “In a vacuum, Toronto suddenly wore a lot of black,” they mean, “Toronto suddenly looked like the Mets: Fu-huh-gly.”

        • Ben Fortney | May 30, 2013 at 4:26 pm |

          I was going to try and defend my Metsies, by pointing out a coupl eof other teams who shoehorned black in: Reds, A’s, Royals, Jays… but the “Mets in Black” started in 1998 a year before the Reds. Damn.

  • Douglas King | May 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm |

    Georgia Tech was the first team with a Black v. Navy identity crisis.

    Nowadays we see plenty of teams with Navy (or another dark color) in their scheme who inexplicably add a BFBS alternate. Heck even teams that have Navy as a tertiary color and have no alternates in that color will get a black alternate instead. In the 80s (and before) Tech used either Black or Navy depending on the year and the sport. It wasn’t until the 90s that Navy became the only color used and it wasn’t until the 2000s that it was made the official secondary color for sports. One funny example of this crisis is the fact that Tech won its first ACC Championship in baseball and basketball in 1985. The Basketball team used navy accents while the baseball team used black ones (back in 2010 both wore unis to celebrate the 25th, and this difference was reflected).

    In Football the Black Watch featured different Helmet Decals given to certain players on Defense, denoting the top players and leaders. Marking one of the earlier examples of using Black for an intimidation factor.

    Sure no one will point to the Jackets as being influential with their uniforms, and what they contributed to the Uni-World wasn’t really a positive, but they were certainly one of the pioneers in how black was used on uniforms.

    Black Watch:

    Better look at the helmet:

  • Joe | May 30, 2013 at 3:27 pm |

    To say that the purchase of Smithfield Foods by a Chinese firm is reason to buy from small local operations is silly. Smithfield will continue to package and process their products in the US. The acquisition by the Chinese firm simply increases their market. As the product will still be produced in America, this will increase the demand for American pork and result in more exports. This will help secure the jobs of current meat packers and perhaps even lead to more jobs in the future due to the increased demand. Just because an operation is not owned locally doesn’t imply that it does not benefit the communities in which it operates.

  • Jeff W | May 30, 2013 at 3:31 pm |

    Did anyone else notice that the website for the Ontario indoor soccer club lead with a picture of a goalkeeper falling into mud? Isn’t this the worst thing to depict for an indoor team?

  • Faronicus | May 30, 2013 at 3:37 pm |

    I got you all beat: back in the ancient days (the long-long ago) Greek sportsmen didn’t wear any clothing. It wasn’t until Nikea of Corinth donned pants in 347 BCE, revolutionizing all sport. You can see his influence everywhere today: the Yankees, Man United, and even the LA Clippers wear some clothing over their lower parts. Next time you DON’T see someone’e junk flapping on the field of play, thank old Nikea!

  • Brendan | May 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm |

    I think it’s difficult to include both the diamondbacks and the coyotes in this trend because their colors were an homage back to the Phoenix Suns and their use of the color purple (Jerry Colangelo owned all three of these teams). The Diamondbacks didn’t change their colors until after Colangelo left the team.

  • Marty B | May 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm |

    Braves just brought southpaw Alex Wood to the show. This photo of him signing his major league contract shows what looks to be a pretty cool Braves weight training shirt. Fredi Gonzalez has been dying to have Wood in the majors and the bullpen is desperate, so the “No Pressure” line in the graphic is apropos.

    (unless I’m reading the shirt incorrectly)

    • Douglas King | May 30, 2013 at 6:33 pm |

      “No Pressure, No Diamonds”

      Very apropos for baseball (diamond takes on multiple connotations whereas all other sports the line would only refer to a championship ring).

  • Scott | May 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm |

    Love seeing getting a shout out here.

  • Jake | May 30, 2013 at 4:06 pm |

    how can you count the coyotes as purlple… it was like their fourth or fifth color, they had hardly any of it in any uniform ever

    • Paul Lukas | May 30, 2013 at 6:15 pm |

      OK, so it wasn’t their primary color. But it was part of their uniform. Not a big part, but a part.

  • Dave Mac | May 30, 2013 at 4:14 pm |

    Growing up in the 90s, it seemed that every kid had Charlotte Hornets merchandise. And I lived in the midwest, not anywhere near Charlotte. That stuff was incredibly popular, it had to be absolutely flying off the shelves.

    Although teal has clearly become a fad, and many of the teams that were influenced by the Hornets image had ridiculous uniforms, I still think the Hornets’ brand looked good. It’s very iconic. I hope that the Charlotte franchise comes back with nearly identical uniforms and a similar logo. Maybe modernize it a little bit, but keep it basically the same. That uniform and merchandise is still apparently very popular. People have strong memories of the old Charlotte Hornets.

    • Arr Scott | May 30, 2013 at 4:57 pm |

      Same deal with White Sox caps in 1991. In Minnesota!

  • T'Challa | May 30, 2013 at 5:11 pm |

    The USCG uniforms are great

  • Ben D. | May 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  • Sandy Van Buren | May 30, 2013 at 7:23 pm |

    I always thought the Rockies use of purple was in reference to the line “purple mountain majesties” from “America the Beautiful” rather than a blatant 90’s purple marketing scheme. The line in the song is supposed to be about the Rocky Mountains. Then again, I’ve never looked into it. Anybody know if that is the case?

    • scott | May 30, 2013 at 10:15 pm |

      The Rockies really kept purple to a minimum in their early years, and for a large chunk of the time looked pretty good wearing home pins and road grays. And then they decided to start wearing purple jerseys and odd looking vests. Too bad.

    • TA | May 30, 2013 at 10:16 pm |

      Why can’t both be true? There was a meaningful connection to the name, and it fit with fashion trends.

  • quiet seattle | May 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm |

    When I read Todd Radom’s piece on the Phillies’ Blue Jays fiasco, this came to mind…

    I’ve never read a definitive explanation on the 1961 happy giraffe.

  • Martyn | May 30, 2013 at 10:22 pm |

    Brewers wearing their 9th different jersey tonight (and that’s not including the YOUniform from Spring Training).

    With Spanish, Polish and a Negro League tribute game coming up, they may hit an even dozen for this regular season. (4th of July as a long shot?)

    That must be some sort of record?

  • Pete T | May 30, 2013 at 11:43 pm |

    Paul, what a tease. Tell me your most influential uni but no link to a photo. Hook me up please

  • Chris | May 31, 2013 at 2:13 am |

    Some influential jerseys: The Penguins 2008 throwbacks– soon every alternate sweater you saw would have that templte with the small logo in a circle and/ or powder blue…ie wild, bluejackets, blues, panthers old alt. etc.

    The yankees pinstripes…do the phillies, marlins, white sox, etc wear pinstripes if not for them?

    The new york jets, for dumping aperfectly adequate jersey in th 90’s in favor of an unweildly from the distant past