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A Throwback for a Fauxback


By Phil Hecken

Last night, the Tampa Rays, nee in 1998, threwback to a uniform that never existed — until last year that is. As you’ll recall, in a wonderfully gimmicky promotion, the Rays “invented” a fauxback road uniform they would (in theory) have worn had the club been in existence. That game took place against the Detroit Tigers, who they outfitted in a 1979 road throwback.

What happens when you wear a fauxback you’re worn before? Well, it becomes a throwback, doesn’t it. And that’s just what the Rays did last night.

This time around the Rays played the Chicago White Sox, who last year wore their own throwbacks for home Sunday games — the wonderful 1972 uniforms which look a lot like today’s uniform, but with red subbed for black. So, the Rays outfitted the Sox in those.

Unfortunately, because the game was a national game on FOX, I was stuck with the Mets/Brewers, so I didn’t get to see it. But from the highlights and game photos, the game (aesthetically) didn’t disappoint. Here’s some shots (click to enlarge):

White Sox Rays Baseball

Matt Moore

chicago-white-sox-v-tampa-20130707-004605-738 chicago-white-sox-v-tampa-20130707-004631-858

Great looking game (if you’re into the fake uniform the Rays invented), and I do have to hand it to the Rays, who certainly attempted to replicate the feel of a 1979 ballclub, as everyone cuffed and wore stirrups with gold sanis, and the game was on ‘astro’turf in an anticeptic dome. Well done replicating the flavor of many a 1970’s game.

A few quibbles: Instead of outfitting the White Sox in their 1979 Disco collar/untucked unis, they simply had the Sox reuse their 1972 throwbacks. How awesome would it have been if the Rays had gone all out and put the Sox in these beauties? Off the charts, awesome, that’s what. Also, and very surprisingly, the Sox did NOT have red helmets, like they wore last year, instead wearing their normal black ones. Not a great look:


Other than that, though. It was quite the game.

Initially, I was not a fan of the Rays fauxback, but it has grown on me, and the concept of inventing a uniform for a team that didn’t exist. Pure 70’s (and a pure Padres ripoff, as you’ll see momentarily). But the designer came up with a logo and wordmark, which was cool:



If only they had shown a *little* imagination and not basically lifted the uniform from the 1978 Padres, who, with a color swap of brown and gold for navy and powder blue, were pretty identical. Check out the 1978 Padres:



I mean, that’s the Padres 1978 road uni right down to the font! The only thing different is the placement of the front uni number:

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 12.00.06 AM

Still. even with the pseudo-uni-theft, it was a fun concept that I’d like to see ONCE (and once only) a year. My only hope is next year, the Rays will go all out and outfit their opponents in some seriously crazy 1979 uniform (like they could have done with the Sox).

Readers? What say you?


all sport uni tweaks

Uni Tweaks Concepts

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.

And so, lets begin:


We begin today with Simon Pure, with a Mavericks concept (that wasn’t chosen by Mark Cuban):

mavericks(2) - Simon Pure


The Mavericks want fans to design the uniforms, but Cuban won’t pay for the concepts.

So…here’s my design. Going back to the old green and blue.

Too bad the road jerseys describe what I think of those guys…

Simon Pure

. . .

Next up is Adam Vitcavage, with a nice new Diamondbacks look:

diamondbacks_home - Adam Vitcavage

diamondbacks_away - Adam Vitcavage

diamondbacks_rebrand - Adam Vitcavage

Hi Phil!

I’ve attached three images of a Diamondbacks tweak/concept.

I kept the current numbering and NOB as well as the new “db” logo (but just as a arm patch) that everyone here seems to love. I brought back the “A” on the home jersey and the old “ARIZONA” script (slightly modified) for the away so it looks more like the original uniforms with modern colors. I also brought back the pinstripes, because those were awesome during the 2001 World Series.

As for the colors I’ve darkened the maroon as well as the copper (it’s the same exact copper as the original).

Hope ya like!


. . .

We close today with Jeff Proctor who has a remake for the Sacramento Kings:

Kings - Jeff Proctor


This is my first uni tweak after reading for years. With my beloved Kings staying in Sacramento after the terrible Maloofs selling (thanks Vivek and KJ!), it is a great time for new unis. The vertical stripe recalls the old Royals jerseys, and the blue and purple represent the time in Sacramento. Keep it simple with plain shorts. Above all, the black has to go. It has been replaced with a cream color as it just looks better.

-Jeff Proctor

. . .

And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.


UPDATE: Missed this one (forwarded to me by Paul yesterday) — it looks like the Rangers wore a patch last night for the West, TX citizens affected by the explosion back a few months ago:


Some Gems From Ricko

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Ricko is still around. Not sure if he’ll start up Benchies again, but I am trying to convince him to bring back “50 Years Ago” (although it would be something like ’52 Years ago’ if we do it this year) for the football season. In the meantime, Rick sent me three wonderful photos that I’m going to share here. Unfortunately, they’re not “From The Ricko Files,” but a few great shots he found on the Interwebs (click each to enlarge — Rick’s description is below each). I guess football season is just around the corner, eh?

. . .


“Nice photo of the Oakland Raiders Defense, 1960”

. . .


“Nice photo in the era of “50 years ago,” but this might have been later because it’s Daryle Lamonica.”

. . .


“Jackson State, circa 1967…guys like LarryB would love these jerseys.”

. . .

Thanks Rick! Good to hear from you. How bout a nice ‘welcome back’ for Ricko!


Bit of a kerfuffle for the sausage race…

last night in Milwaukee. Seems that Mets catcher John Buck and the racers somehow got entangled. It’s always humorous to see how the twitterverse “describes” such events:

Well…did he interrupt, interfere, run in or merely get in the way? He made the mistake of jogging out to the plate to take warm up pitches when he ended up in the sausage race runners. It’s all perspective! (Unless of course, he had money on the race — then we’re talking scandal of Randall Simon proportions. Lets hope it was just an accident.


That’s going to do it for today. I had MAJOR problems with my Mac last night, so this entire post was basically done on my MacBook Air — I’m not complaining, mind you, but the MacBook doesn’t have a mouse — and when you’re very used to a mouse, it makes a lot of the coding (due to cut/paste) much more time consuming. Nevertheless, here it is.

Everyone have a great Sunday, and I’ll catch you all next weekend.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.




One For The Road

.. … ..

“There’s something about a grown man, taking up crayons or colored pencils to draw sports uniforms, that gives me hope for the human race.”
–Cort McMurray

Comments (76)

    well i say if the padres don’t want to own them, let the rays. for the time being at least the rays=fun.

    You would think the 1960 Raiders’ defense would’ve been better, with 13 starters….

    I think we need to have some sort of contest or something to determine what the alternate universe Rays wore from 1980-1992. Maybe even through 2008, since the “Devil Rays” probably never existed in this universe.

    not a bad idea. they can be like the pre 1990 chisox changing every other year.

    what would the rays have looked like in the heyday based ball uniforms 1948? just as a for instance.

    I’m thinking they would have probably came into existence around the same time as the Mets or Astros… but, yeah.

    what if they were the redlegs, and had the uni history of the chisox, that would be the exercise. when did columbia blue come in? yellow(your welcome)? what other versions of their name would their be? what weeeeeere the rays? back in the day that is.

    thanks for clearing that up, i feel so stupid now. but tweaking their brown and gold for the 10 years following 1969 does not compare to the chisox history since 1901(pre 1990). and it is that long standing history of change that would be interesting to ponder for the rays, going back further then the padres, “what the hell if the rays were the redlegs with the uni history of the white sox”, what are the uni gimmicks of the day would they have gone with? colour changes? name changes? whatever, use your imagination, why limit the question to since 1969? but let’s get back to thepads annual teaks you corrected me on, you are getting caught up in semantics, which is always what happens here, it’s just one big one upsmanship pissing contest. thanks for the correction.

    *sigh* – now fixed. I swear I typed an “8” last night. Stupid fingers.

    Thanks for spotting it.

    Also, I’m pretty certain “nee in 1998” is not correct to say. Doesn’t nee mean “born as,” as in saying someone’s former name? I don’t think it’s right to use it to mean “born IN.”

    Probably should have just went with “nee Devil Rays” (which is the original phrase I was thinking of) instead of trying to get cute.

    And as far as Tigers…yes, road grays. Duh. Brain cramp there.

    Not a big fan of the fauxback/throwback concept. Creating a uniform that a team would have worn had they been in existence? That’s crazy; what’s the point (besides coming up with another way to separate the fan from the dollars in his/her wallet)?

    As for the White Sox black batting helmets, &*%^$$^*&! As noted, they wore the 1972-75 red uniforms last season for Sunday home games complete with red batting helmets (this season the White Sox are againusing this concept at Sunday home games with the 1983 unis) Guess the Sox must have sold off those red helmets during their annual off-season garage sale. Besides why have the White Sox wear home whites while on the road?

    Poorly thought out in my view.

    so don’t buy it, problem solved if that is the motivation. we all spend our dollars where we want to spend them, i buy charlie mingus records, some people buy batting practice jerseys. whatever, it’s all the same when you boil it down.

    what’s the point? the exercise man.

    Actually, link when addressing fan inquiries on if the team is phasing out Chief Wahoo, MLB passed a new rule this offseason (which I don’t remember getting posted in UniWatch’s news ticker) that limits teams on one batting helmet. Not sure if this was a cost-cutting move or what, but at the very least that was why the Indians only use the blue batting helmets with the block C, home or on the road. That might also explain why the Cardinals started wearing the red caps on the road again this year, although teams are still allowed more than one cap, obviously.

    Except that’s clearly not true, because the White Sox DO wear different helmets with the 1983 throwbacks they are wearing on Sundays. I’m sure it’s either a case where they didn’t have the helmets anymore (and it wasn’t worth it to make new ones), or they didn’t want to bother to bring two sets of helmets on a road trip for somebody else’s promotion.

    Thanks! I am hoping for a change in the Kings unis for 2014-15. What they have now is a joke.

    Did anyone notice with the Mavericks re-design by Simon that the way the cross-color break on the “R” makes the top half look look D and seems like it says “dicks”? Was he going for a sponsor tie-in with Dicks Sporting Goods?

    If you read under the concepts…

    “Too bad the road jerseys describe what I think of those guys…”

    Wouldn’t mind seeing the Fauxback Rays play against [url=]The Cleveland Cavemen [/url]next year. Would show a nice contrast in styles.

    If you read under the concepts…

    “Too bad the road jerseys describe what I think of those guys…”

    I don’t have a problem with the Rays pinching the Padres’ uniform design, but I do have a problem with that appalling number font. Comic Sans should NEVER be allowed anywhere near a sports uniform.

    Pfff. It’s lovely…and it’s more like link than Comic Sans.

    To answer Ted’s “Creating a uniform that a team would have worn had they been in existence? That’s crazy; what’s the point (besides coming up with another way to separate the fan from the dollars in his/her wallet)?”…because it’s fun. Sure, the Rays will make money off it, too, but if it’s fun (and it looks good), so what?

    Ok, my dream for next season is to see the Indians resurrect the late 70’s al red blood clot uni against the pad-Rays faux backs. I grew up near Cleveland and became a baseball fan watching the Frank Robinson era in those unis. I’ve always wanted to see the Tribe bring back the Crooked C cap. A 1975 replica cap is the only throwback item I own, and I’ve never been a fan of wearing Chief Wahoo on my head.

    A question. Would the stylized crooked lettering from those jerseys be considered offensive, since they sort of represent ‘Indian’ culture as cave writers or something?

    The fauxback uniforms for the Rays are fun to look at, but all the marketing tricks aren’t working. Saturday’s crowd was only 21,000, and the team has been a winner since 2008 in a tough division. In fact, attendance is down double digits in percentage from the same point a year ago, when the Rays finished dead last in MLB. This season, only the 40% dropoff by the Marlins will save Tampa Bay from a similar fate.

    The Rays – fun team, regularly competitive, exciting young players, trapped in a market that clearly doesn’t want them.

    As a Brooklynite and former Milwaukeean, I really hate short-sighted relocation. But this is a clear example of a necessary evil.


    they’re locked into that (from what I understand) ironclad lease in that god-forsaken place.

    I’m sure the players would love to have the team relocate, and probably ownership too, but at what cost?

    Imagine if the Giants had moved there in 1993? (I think it was ’93).

    So we all know the “G” does not stand for “Greatness” on the Packer helmet. However, I recall that the reason Tiki Barber started this whole thing was he saw an old NFL Films video of the Packers and having the narrator stating just that. Now, I think the context is important. I believe the video showed the Packers scoring a touchdown, and the voice saying, “And for today, the “G” stands for “Greatness.” … or something along those lines.

    Is/was there any truth to this? Or am I mis-remembering?

    What, it’s not a plain black number “15” to wrap the dead up into a statistic? Do the Rangers hate America or something?

    Clearly. For a team that wraps itself in as much Red, White and Blue as the Texases do, it’s amazing just how much they hate America.

    Speaking of bad flag etiquette, the guy who beat Anderson Silva last night was parading around the Octogon with the flag upside down. I doubt he was making a point about Silva being “in distress.”

    Why was the TB logo on the helmet so much smaller than the logo on the hat? Also why was the front panel shaped differently from hat to helmet? I am sure this has been discussed before, but it really bugged me. I am from Chicago and would really like to see the Sox use the red full time or blend red and black like the uni-tweak from yesterday.

    Well, there was definitely the Astrodome and Kingdome, and I’m not sure, but did Olympic Stadium have a roof then?

    So at least two. HHH dome opened in 82 and Skydome was 89. I’m probably missing one or two.

    I laughed when I saw Rickos Jackson State pic. Before I saw his comment I was like wow awesome jersey.

    Good stuff Ricko.

    It’s always a bit surprising and unsettling to see pictures of those early Raiders uniforms.

    The departure from those Bears/Steelers look-a-likes to the silver and black was inspired.

    Unchanged, I think, since 1965 and for good reason. The most iconic uniform in the NFL.

    I like the Rays faux back. I first saw it while playing this year’s version of MLB video game, which has some fun uni combo stuff you can do.

    I like the Mavs concept, but I’d worry that it looks like it says “dicks” Other than that it’s a cool design.

    No…MY MacBook Air doesn’t have a mouse. And you’re like the third person to intimate to me I should get one. Kinda defeats the purpose, but it would make life much easier.

    I use mine 10% of the time – mostly for Excel. The rest of the time, the trackpad works just fine. And I don’t travel with it (like you said, defeats the purpose)

    Are you sure that is Jackson State? Looks more like Tennessee State uniforms from the 60s.

    In August, the Giants will host the Orioles in a three game series. I’d like to see the Giants wear their 78-82 black jersey & the Orioles in their orange jersey from that era.

    I just haven’t warmed up to the Rays fauxback. Likewise, I;ve never liked that 1978 Padres uniform either. I do like seeing that 1972 ChiSox jersey again, but too bad they couldn’t match the helmet. For my money, the Southside Sluggers wearing the ’79 unis would just make things worse (Well, the 1976 shorts would be even worse). All just subjective, but I felt like expressing one of the few dissenting opinion…Aargle-Bargle!

    And, welcome back Rick! Good to see you again!

    I’ve come around on the Rays fauxbacks from “fun idea” to “good uniform.” Not only a better implementation of the style of the uni than the Padres, but in many ways better uniforms than what the Rays actually wear. (And I’m not as down on the Rays as most are here. Sure, they’re not great, all-time classic unis, but they’re just fine.) Even more than rpm’s ideas about what the Rays would have looked like between these unis and 1998, I’m interested in what a team that looked like this in the 1970s would look today. Nothing like the modern Rays, is my guess.

    And no, that’s not Comic Sans on the numbers; it’s more like Arial Rounded, and it’s exactly what the Rays would have used, had they ever worn these unis.

    It’s not Arial, though it’s definitely one of the ’roundeds’. I think it might be Futura (a very popular and readable sans-serif font; the Baseball Encyclopedia was printed in it) or maybe even the T VAG Rounded that graces Macintosh keyboards.

    Why did the White Sox wear home throwbacks on the road? Pretty lazy to just re-use last years Sunday uniforms if that is what they did. Doesn’t look right with the road team in white.

    I agree, it does not look right. That’s twice this season we’ve seen home pinstripes on visiting teams participating in throwbacks.

    It may be that the Rays contacted the White Sox as early as last year with, “Before you auction off those 70’s uni’s…” because if they wished to revive the 70’s Rays jerseys, it would benefit the team if the visitors played along. Now- do the home teams usually spring for the road team’s throwbacks? If that’s the precedent, then the Ray’s bought a whole set for the Tigers last season. Do the Rays get to keep that set and suggest a repeat throwback to the Tigers? I can see why they wouldn’t, but it may be a possibility for next season.

    My guess is someone in the Rays promo department saw an alternative to a 70’s Rays/Tigers repeat and contacted the Sox last year. In the end the Rays sell more faux backs, and owe the Sox a favor.

    As for the helmets, I’ll bet the set that was red last year is now navy and white for this year’s Sunday home games. Certainly a team doesn’t want to ship a whole set of red batting helmets down to TB, even if they still had them lying around. Though I suspect players would rather see a well fitting Sunday helmet painted for use the following year – if possible. I know I run the risk of sounding anachronistic with that suggestion. (“Painting helmets! In this day and age!”)

    I don’t know what I did to deserve this, but three of the four “suggested articles” in the ad at the bottom of the page are for porn.

    I’m on my work computer. Thanks, Uni Watch!

    You do know that UW has no control over those suggestions. They’re all based on the urls of sites you’ve visited recently.

    Guess we know what kind of *research* you do your your *job*.

    Just wait. The targeted ad’s can get even more insulting. At least they’re assuming you’re still functional.

    If the question is what the 1979 Rays would have looked like, remember the photo of the 1979 NL all star team that gets posted from time to time.


    You could photoshop Joe Maddon into that photo in the throwbacks and nobody would notice.

    Anyway, good on Tampa for having some fun.

    Thank goodness the Rays didn’t have the White Sox wear those late-’70s uniforms! The ones the Sox wore look sooooo much better. Those navy and white uniforms with the simulated collars might be the worst MLB uniforms I’ve ever seen. Even their 1983 road jerseys would’ve been a better choice than that late-’70s mess!

Comments are closed.