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Timelessly Representing the Cleveland Major League Ballclub


By Morris Levin

Phil Hecken reviewed new identities for Cleveland’s Major League Baseball franchise in March 2012. At a reader’s suggestion, Phil initiated a contest to rename the club and solicited reader submissions. This is the full gallery in LI Phil’s collection. Cleveland Frowns picked up this site’s discussion and explored the sambo caricature in twentieth century American popular culture.

Kirk Lammers responded at Cleveland’s Waiting for Next Year, and articulated a fair and empathetic fan anxiety in this discussion. Lammers wrote, “more than anything, I would have to be convinced of a new name and identity with a Cleveland history and identity, one that I wouldn’t feel is being shoved down our throats as Cleveland fans.” Lammers liked Douglas King’s idea to rename the club, Tribe, and retain the current navy and scarlet colors by way of team continuity.

This is my proposal to re-present the Cleveland franchise.

I agree with Lammers and King, but I want to be even stricter and stay closer to current team identity elements and baseball history, precisely because taking on a new team name is momentous.

I start with the premise that we as fans attach ourselves in deep and emotional ways to our team’s names and colors. Of course we do, or this site and blog would not exist. This is a real issue at play in Cleveland.

The city of Cleveland itself negotiated to protect and retain the Cleveland Browns team identity and history when Art Modell removed the franchise to Baltimore in 1995. The current Browns claim Jim Brown as one of their own; the Baltimore Ravens effectively began with a clean slate in 1996.

This set a precedent of sorts. The next NBA franchise placed in Seattle will be the Sonics; they will wear green and gold. This is in the spirit of American pro soccer franchises identifying with historic clubs, and retaining their brand identity when they jump to MLS. This is a common practice for vintage base ball teams.

As Lammers cautions, the design problem in adjusting Cleveland’s Major League Baseball brand identity and uniform is to retain the team history dating to 1901, and city baseball history to the 1800s.

The place to start is with the name. But first, some history.

Major League Baseball expanded by four in 1969, to 24 total clubs, placing new teams in cities with rich AAA histories. Had Commissioner Kuhn phoned me to name the four clubs, we would have the San Diego Padres, Seattle Pilots (really just for the uniforms), Montreal Royals (who happen to have a nice history), and the Kansas City Blues.

The new Kansas City franchise inspired itself with the American Royal, and created a classic and lasting baseball identity. Paul calls it “underrated” in the current MLB power rankings. (Now let us never speak about the black era again.) Expo 67 was a point of great pride in Montreal and the city captured this energy in its new team’s name. Because Kansas City passed on the name, Cleveland is free to dig into its rich baseball roots.

Let the Cleveland franchise return to a historic city name, and its first American League name, and call itself the Cleveland Blues.

The Cleveland Blues played in the National League from 1879 to 1884; the American Association from 1887 to 1889; and the 1901 American League club started with this name.

Even the local Vintage Base Ball Association club calls itself the Cleveland Blues (and play their home games at League Park, natch). Cleveland Blues meets the Cleveland baseball history smell test. It could even nod in the same direction as the capital city NHL Blue Jackets, and pride in the role played by Ohio in the Civil War.

Renaming the team the Cleveland Blues presents the opportunity to adopt a new uniform set that is immediately classic baseball, and simultaneously unique.

At home, I dress the team in the 1902 all navy uniforms with a white letter C matching the current cap and helmet. They look good at Jacobs Field. I would be happy to see the team wear this cap at home. This uniform would immediately place Cleveland as the only club wearing monochromatic uniforms with a half-button collar jersey. It’s classic and fresh at once.

The road uniform is an opportunity to continue one of the best elements of the club’s current uniform set.

The Cleveland Blues road uniform would be the same as that worn since 2011 with clean sleeves or memorial patches. This is the new Cleveland Blue road uniform with navy socks. This is the back of the jersey; NOB on the road. This is the batting helmet. This is what the batting practice cap and jersey could look like. You see where I am going with this.

Cleveland has worn a clean and classic on-field cap since 2008. Let them keep wearing it. Jacobs Field is a really fantastic place to watch a game aesthetically; the team did it right with the dark green seats as backdrop. All navy looks good at home for the team. The road uniform is clean and professional. Let them keep wearing it. If the team wants a white home alternate, I like this.

We can make this change, and do it in such a way as to do honor by Cleveland baseball history and Cleveland civic history, and present a new uniform and name worthy of timelessly representing the Cleveland ball club and city.


Morris Levin began work at Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Co. in 1993. He left the company for business school in 2006 and is now the proprietor of Elysian Fields Baseball, LLC, a small business consulting practice in Philadelphia. He thinks the Phillies Timelessly Represented the Ballclub best from 1950 to 1969 at home and on the road, and on June 16, 1991 at home, and April 10, 2010, in Houston.



Power Rankings Update

The Uni Watch Power Rankings conclude today with our master chart of all 122 “Big Four” teams — here you go.

In case you haven’t been following along all week, here are the Power Rankings introduction and ground rules and the rankings for MLB, the NBA, the NFL, and the NHL.

Meanwhile, I’ll be discussing the Power Rankings this morning, 11am Eastern, on the Toronto radio station TSN 1050. You can hear the live audio here.

Also: I’ll be doing a live web chat on ESPN today, 2pm Eastern. Here’s the chat page. I’ll stay on for at least an hour, and maybe a little longer.



College Football Uniform News & Notes

NCAAFB Uniform News & Updates

This will be a semi-recurring column on Uni Watch and will appear whenever there is any news or updates on the College Football uniform front.

If you have ANY new NCAAFB news, follow and tweet me at @PhilHecken (and you’ll get your tweet in lights on here). You can also e-mail me (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) Gmail (dot) com) or send/cc: Paul to the following address: NewCollegeUni (at) Gmail (dot) com. OK? OK! (for any image, click to enlarge):

. . .

Mississippi State University (Egg Bowl):

Hype video for the new Egg Bowl costumes (h/t Howland (Gen.Ink)). More on the Egg Bowl here.

. . .

Northwestern Wildcats:

Another hype video — looks like a new uniform with white helmets. “Coming 8/31” (h/t Howland (Gen.Ink)). You can see some more shots of the helmet here.

. . .

Wisconsin Badgers:

New red helmet for the Badgers (h/t Nate Neumann), which they’ll wear for their September 7th game. At the end of that video, Gary Anderson displays the helmet. More on the red Wisconsin helmet here (and a good photo), with thanks to Zach Nichols.

. . .

Western Michigan Broncos:

Pretty basic, which is a nice change for adidas. Two tops, two bottoms, two helmets (matte brown and gloss white). What can brown do for them?

. . .

UT San Antonio Roadrunners (new helmet/gloves):

UTSA Helmets

The Roadrunners got new helmets and gloves. You can read more about it here (h/t Chris Mahr).

. . .

That’s it for the college uni news for today. Keep the tips coming folks!




A Look at the Season’s Final Major…

I’m back again with my doubles partner, Brinke Guthrie, for a quick look at the fashion trends for the United States Tennis Open, the final major of the 2013 season, which kicks off next week.

Here’s =bg=:

. . . . . . .

Here’s a rundown on who’s wearing what, and using what gear, at the US Open which starts Monday.

• Defending men’s champ Andy Murray’s gonna have a red kit to match his red hair. (They always say “kit” in the UK.)

• Caroline Wozniacki has dropped like a stone in the rankings (just like her BF Rory McIlroy – hmmm.) But she still looks great, and maybe she’ll make it past the first round, so we can see more of this adidas look. (More on Woz, plus Ana and Kirilenko, here.) Wozzy is currently using a blacked out Babolat frame, her previous sponsor before switching to Yonex. Whoops, Yonex caught her going back to using a blacked out Babolat earlier this summer, (see the “dropping like a stone” reference” so she was dumped pronto).

• Roger Federer’s been in the news for testing a new prototype Wilson, but he won’t be using that at the USO, you can be sure. Fiddle around with a new stick in Hamburg maybe – but not at the USO. Speaking of The Fed, here’s what he’ll wear in NYC, along with Nadal, Na, Del Potro, and Serena.

• In an unfortunate development, crowd favorite Maria Sharapova had to withdraw due to injury.

• Say, in case you’re wondering- and even if you’re not- here’s what Rafa’s worn all year! Yay!

• Other Nike news: Expect this Nike Agassi look next year.

• Make sure you check out these amazing impressions of U.S. Open characters. A must see.

. . . . . .

Thanks, Brinke. I’m taking Rafa over Andy in the Mens, and (though I haven’t seen the draw, so I’m not sure this would be the final), Kvitova over Serena (or Azarenka) in the Ladies. I’m sure I’ll be wrong.



Stirrup Friday

Stirrup Fridays…

Because we love the stirrup here at Uni Watch, this section is devoted to those of us who sport the beautiful hose on Fridays — a trend popularized many years ago by Robert P. Marshall, III. For many of us, it’s become a bit of an obsession, but a harmless one — a reflection of our times. Where we once had Friday ties, which has been replaced by Casual Friday — we now have Stirrup Fridays. It’s an endearingly simple concept — no matter where you work (or even if you don’t) — break out a fresh pair of rups to compliment (or clash with) your Friday attire.

Back today with another edition of Stirrup Fridays…on a Friday!. These usually run on the weekends (when I’m doing those), but they’re a special occasional weekday treat while Paul is on blog-cation. Been a couple weeks since we ran this and heard an update from Comrade Marshall, so let’s get right into the donning of the rups.:

. . . . .

Samuel Lam:


A’s held a contest this week on Twitter and the prize was the 1969 stirrups they wore a couple weeks ago. I won the contest and here’s a photo of me wearing it that I tweeted.

If you’re curious, the company that made these are TCK.


. . .

James Poisso - Colt 45s

James Poisso – I:


Decided to wear my Colt 45 stirrups today w/ navy blue sanis.

James Poisso

. . .

John Kimmerlein - Orioles

John K.:


Attached is my vacation Stirrup Friday entry, taken in deep left field at Reunion Park (my brother’s Rhode Island back yard wiffle ball field). Purists may complain of the sandals and lack of sanis, but we were heading for the beach and only stopped to play a little home run derby over the living green monster that can be seen behind the score board.

John K

. . .

James Poisso - UW rup

James Poisso – II:


Today’s stirrups are the official UW stirrups.

James Poisso

. . .

Michael Clary - Pilots

Michael Clary:


Stirrup Friday – Pacific Northwest edition: Seattle Pilots stirrups & shirt, coupled with a Portland Beavers ballcap.

– Clarybird

. . .

Jay Sandora - Beer league stirrups

Jay Sandora:

Hey Phil:

Just thought I’d pass along a shot of one set of stirrups I wear for softball (beer league, of course). I’m the only guy in the league that wears ’em, and do catch a fair amount of shit from other players (and my wife) – but I think they look sharp, so wear them anyway.

I have some others I rotate in too, just try to stay close to the team colors (navy, yellow, white).

Love the site …


. . .

Mike & Meridith Delia

Mike & Meredith Delia:

Hey all,

My wife Meredith (whose birthday was August 19th!) and I went to the Sox-Giants game fully decked out in stirrups provided by Robert Marshall III.

We both live in Boston (I’m the native born and raised) but we were visiting family and friends as my wife is a native of California.

As a Uniwatch member, I was hoping you could include this photo in the ticker. Here we are in the parking lot preparing to board the Larkspur Ferry for AT&T Park.


Mike Delia

. . .

Bocce Ball Stirrups

Bocce Ball Team:

Phil & Robert,

My bocce ball team, Texas Forever (named in honor of Tim Riggins’ favorite saying, despite the fact that no team members are actually Texan) had stirrups custom made with the help of Comrade Marshall. We wear them for league games at Union Hall in Brooklyn always make quite the statement.

The team keeps getting better and we’re on our way to the third round of the playoffs this weekend. Pictured left to right: Theresa, yours truly, Austin, Larissa, Jesse (creator of the patented Buccafusco Stirrup Tracking System) and Lindsey.

Thanks to fellow Uni Watcher Ross for the photo!

Marty Buccafusco

. . .

And that ends today’s look at Stirrup Friday — all of you who participate, send me your pics and a brief (~50 words) description of their relevance, and when I do weekends I’ll run ’em here on Saturday (and sometimes Sunday too!). Be sure to visit Robert’s House of Hose for news on rups.

And now…here’s …


Stirrup Header

Comrade Marshall’s Rupdate:


The Major League Baseball season is nearing it’s end, and while trades and the DL derailed some of my plans for mailing stirrups out to players throughout the league, I did manage to get a few out. So with any luck something will get noticed by one of us, and if not, it was worth a chance.

As for the Stirrup Friday shots, this was a pretty good batch, and I feel like I should have a winner, but it was a tough choice. But I have to give the nod to Marty B because of the design process we went through, not to mention getting his bocce team to wear them. Marty, you get a buy one get one free pair for your efforts. but I don’t want to leave John K, Mike D, or Claybird out, So you guys can have a pair at the “new” price instead of “a la carte”. Or if there is something else I can do you you instead, let me know.

As for the revolution, nothing new on the order front, and I will more then likely not be re-stocking anything this baseball season. So the leg-aments currently in the revolutionary arsenal are all there will be for those of you in need of lucky hosiery for play-off runs.

Hopefully the revolution helped a few of you out this summer with a special little twist to wear to the ball park, or helped make a anything from rec softball and backyard wiffle, to whatever you used them for, a little more fun.

from each according their strype,
to each according their stirrvp.



ticker 2

Uni Watch News Ticker: Chevy’s ”˜The Uniform’ Video Tells The Story Behind Creating An MLB Uniform … After returning from a concussion David Ross has switched from a hockey style to a traditional mask. “The play by play team thinks it might have been Salty’s suggestion,” says Andy Chalifour. Here’s what he wore on June 8, and on August 20. “Also – the Giants had a Boston Strong patch on in game one of the three game set with the Red Sox. They showed the Boston Strong video and had a pre-game ceremony too.” … Another nice anecdote from Leo Strawn: “I’ve never seen any logos from the old ABL of the early ’60s. George Steinbrenner owned the Cleveland franchise, named the Pipers, and signed the great Jerry Lucas, something the NBA’s Cincinnati Royals hadn’t been able to accomplish. The team had an opportunity to jump to the NBA, but things fell apart and this resulted in Lucas beginning his NBA career with the Royals after taking a year off from basketball. I was checking out Gray Flannel’s e-catalog for an upcoming auction, and in it was a warm-up jacket with the Pipers logo!” … Not necessarily uni-related, but certainly a clever marketing campaign between the Sox and New England sandwich shop chain, D’Angelo’s. The new cups have numbered fingerprints on them to show you how to hold the cup as if you were throwing a certain pitch (great find by Scott Davis), who says, “I found the marketing team who designed them while searching around a bit. Very cool campaign.” … New graphics for the Detroit PD. Submitter Matthew Hanson says, “Just because it’s free don’t mean it’s gotta be ugly.” … “Check out the helmets in the office of Ken Demoff, VP of the Rams,” says Tom JuettnerThe one on the top right has a white facemask which matches the white horns. They originally wore grey with that set but I kinda like the white mask better, wouldn’t mind seeing that on the field.” … “I’m gonna be blunt,” intones Ryan Connelly, “Is there a dick on the side of Giguere’s mask?!?!” … Here’s an article from the National Trust for Historic Preservation blog on preserving Wrigley Field (thanks to Adam Herbst). … The Knicks would prefer you not turn their logo into a racial slur (thanks Brinke). … T.G.I. Friday’s has a new logo (Brinke again). … Pretty awesome piece on “glove talking” (thanks, Paul!). … Wow — this awesome photo of a Canadiens cardigan came from this website link. “Who wouldn’t kill to have that sweater the coach is wearing?” asks submitter Chris Bisbee. … New blue turf for UMass-Lowell field hockey (h/t Sully @pal3327). … Hmmm. Check out the design on top of these helmets for the Carleton Ravens (thanks to Nathan Haas). … Apparently hell has frozen over (and right after Paul’s Uni Rankings) — the Lakers will have a black alternate uni next year, which they are dubbing “Hollywood Nights.” No word on whether Bob Seger will get royalties. … This screenshot comes from’s photo section. In the Preseason Big-10 team they call Braxton Miller “Broxton Miller” which, “I cannot imagine is simply a typo with a and o so far apart,” says Kevin Wappler. … On Wednesday night Syracuse had their first scrimmage against McGill University. Here is the first look at this year’s jerseys with the ACC Patch (gracias, Derek Barocas). … “Steelers fans who don’t want to part with their purses get an unlikely assist.” (merci, TommyTheCPA). … Here is the SEC football patch that Auburn will wear this season (h/t The Emblem Source). … According to ESPN’s John Buccigross, “The Buffalo Sabres patches for its Captain and Alternate Captains are quite saucy” (danke, Jeff Wilcox). … Brian Wilson made his Dodgers debut today, wearing “00” (rav todot, Paul). … Here’s a little video piece on the design of the Packers’ G logo (spasibo, Jim Wagner). … The NFL has fined RG3 $10,000 for wearing an “unapproved” shirt (arigato, again, TommyTheCPA). … The Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) released their schedule today. About halfway through this article it lists seven “specialty” jerseys that the Monsters will wear this season (grazie, Tom Pachuta). … Eastern Washington (the school with the red turf) put the red jerseys out for picture day yesterday (dêkuji, Sully). … In yesterday’s comments, there was some discussion of the patch on the Rick Monday bobblehead — well, here it is (do jeh, Willard Kovacs). … Interesting look yesterday for the Eugene Emeralds (h/t Sully). Also from Sully, this is pretty cool: check out the grayhound patch! And check out Wayne Gretzky as #14 in the minors! (Sully again). … Jeremy Iwen writes, “I hope UW-Platteville, my alma mater, isn’t trying to go the University of Oregon route, but with the jersey by Nike, 3 different color jerseys and 2 different helmets, it’s getting close. Because it’s an engineering school, I can tell you that’s 18 different combinations that can be done, but please don’t leave the locker room with blue on blue or orange on orange.” … And Matthew Algeo says “I think this is cool: My immensely talented nephew Robert Algeo cooked up some awesome Olympic logos to show support for the LGBT athletes taking part in the Olympics in (anti-gay) Russia this winter.” Yes, Matthew, those are VERY cool!



…Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnndddddd…that’s all for this Friday, and also for my weekday run filling in for Paul while he enjoyed (I hope) his blogcation!

I want to thank each and every contributor who has made this past month MUCH easier for me — while it can sometimes take a couple of hours just to prep a lede, not having to come up with the content on a day-in, day-out basis (plus, you guys have some AWESOME ideas & articles!) made this possible (ya know, being that I have a full-time job besides Uni Watch, which in and of itself can be a full-time job — I seriously don’t know how Paul can do it, but he does!). There are too many of you to individually thank, but, as Paul is wont to say, “You’re all aces!”

Johnny Ek will take you through this weekend, and then Paul is back again (YES!) on Monday. I’m getting my own “mini-vacation” from UW over the Labor Day Holiday weekend, but I’ll be back in the weekend saddle after that — and with Football Season starting up, it will be time to welcome back my football contributors, including (but not limited to) Terry Duroncelet, who’ll resume the excellent “Sunday Morning Uni Watch” post, Catherine Ryan, who is back with her always entertaining “5 & 1” uniform reviews, and Tim O’Brien who will be bringing us another season of the “Duck Tracker” (and I can only imagine what the boys from Eugene will bust out this year). Plus more and more surprises.

I want to also apologize to the several readers who have provided me with content that I wasn’t able to get to while Paul was on blogcation — I promise your articles will run (most of them are football-related anyway, so they’ll be better fits during football season) when I’m back on the weekends — and maybe I can talk Paul into a weekday or two.

Thank you all, again, for a great month run at the helm. I now GLADLY turn the keys back over to the man who is synonymous with Uni Watch, our fearless leader, Paul Lucas Lukas! Missed ya a lot buddy! Welcome back (a couple days early).

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“Why do I have a feeling that introducing a cartoony pioneer woman mascot won’t solve the problem in the minds of whoever made the decision to keep Denver Boone retired?”

Comments (117)

    What are the Lakers doing? I wish they would go back to their pre-Staples Center unis, last worn in the spring of ’99 and call it a day.

    What are the Lakers doing? I wish they would go back to their pre-Staples Center unis, last worn in the spring of ’99 and call it a day.

    I second that. There’s too much tradition behind those uniforms and colors for the Lakers to be rolling out these stupid alternates like the new sleeved jerseys and now this BFBS monstrosity.

    I like it, Morris, but it’s Cleveland, so if the team becomes the Blues, shouldn’t its dominant color be red?

    If a team adopted monochrome uniforms, they wouldn’t need road uniforms – or at any rate, grays could become an alternate. If the all-blue Blues are playing on the road and the home team wears navy tops, then the Blues could even wear the white home alt. Though from a merchandising perspective, they’d probably want one on-field jersey that says “Celeveland” on it. At the very least, if the Blues wore monochrome home unis, then I’d want them to wear the blue pants on the road as well.

    I like Morris’s idea, as well.

    What about a blue monochrome road uniform, a la the Buffalo Buffeds of the Federal League, and an all white home set? And since Cleveland is the Forest City, why not green as a secondary color on the home uni?

    My fear is that blues and the rock and roll HOF will somehow merge, and they’ll end up with Jimmy Page as their mascot.

    Cort, I had not considered the blues origins of rock, and the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame connection. Good call! I kind of like Slider as the mascot, but Jimmy Page works for me.

    It would take some serious getting used to for me to see a baseball team wear solid colored monochrome uniforms at home instead of whites. Then again, considering how often teams wear colored softball alternate tops at home these days, it’s not like home whites are the industry standard anymore.

    I like the idea, but I would ditch the red. I would make the block C on the batting helmet white, and have a solid blue lettering on the road jerseys. I love the alt white home jersey as well!

    d’angelo’s had that cup last year as well, so not super new, but cool nonetheless. Also, I think the official name is “d’angelo” the locals here have added the possessive s to it, and I myself still use the term like that since it’s so ubiquitous (they even have the domain name probably to account for the very common usage).

    It’s a far better chain than subway, quiznos or jimmy johns, since they actually grill stuff when you order.

    I realized the spelling error right after I sent the e-mail.

    I agree that it is much better than most of the other sub shops (except, of course, Mighty Subs in Newton, MA), but if you eat there every day, you will likely need to declare chapter 13 in less than a year.

    Cool, good to know if I’m ever out in that area (i’m just north of Boston now), my wife is weirdly anti-sandwich/subs for meals, though, so we hardly go to d’angelos or any other place like that.

    I can’t think of a better way to start off the PCC season for Anchorage than to take on the Whalers and the Seawolves back to back! The seas will be rockin’ and the Orca’s will be waiting and watching!

    I’d take the collared throwbacks for Cleveland. Those were pretty sharp. They actually gave away replicas at the game; I’m still trolling ebay hoping to find one for myself.

    I would stick with the color, logo, and half-button design, but drop the collar to keep it somewhat contemporary.

    Small clarification.
    That picture is not Wayne Gretzky in the “minors”, but his junior A team the Sault Saint Marie Greyhounds. Referring to it as the “minors” – is the equivalent of calling the Ohio State Buckeyes – as the “minors”

    The ticker should really reference the blue hockey field at UMass-Lowell, not just UMass, which is understood to be the flagship campus in Amherst. Part of the same system, but different campuses and different teams.

    Is there something unique about those Eugene Emeralds’ home jerseys? I was under the impression that those were the regular jerseys the team is wearing…

    Nice job all month, Phil. Take a bow.

    Now that it’s over, you can prepare for your spectacular descent into chimp-dom.

    There are some great stirrup shots today, guys. Well done.

    Also, I think Northwestern’s white helmets are better than their purple ones.

    And speaking of the stirrup shots, how about Texas Forever Larissa in those cowboy boots! HEY NOW!

    I mean it’s Western Michigan, so who cares, but what is the “row the boat” theme about with the crossed oars on their helmets?

    Morris, loved your leade about Cleveland Baseball. As a lifelong fan, I absolutely agree that I don’t want to feel like a new identity is being shoved down our throats. The Blues is a genius idea, and your uniform suggestions are outstanding. I only hope that when the time comes to change the name, the ownership has as much sense as you.

    Good work, Phil. Paul has told me (in confidence, but what the heck) that you can look for a sweet fat bulge in your Labor Day pay envelope.

    My favorite item from today’s ticker:

    “… The NFL has fined RG3 $10,000 for wearing an ‘unapproved’ shirt (arigato, again, TommyTheCPA). … “

    I mentioned on here in the past that we are overdue for a team to go “full-time throwback”. That’s essentially what these Cleveland uniforms would be. My only beef is them being just a wee bit plain, especially since we know stirrups would never be worn. I love traditional unis as much as anyone, but this one misses the mark a little. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

    The Rams helmet with white stripes still has a gray mask but I think the lighting makes it seem white. Also, the modern gray masks are lighter in color than the original darker gray masks of the late 60’s and 70’s

    I’ve seen the original name of the Cleveland American League team listed as Bluebirds. That could make an interesting identity. Or just go with Tribe. A tribe is a group of people.

    Everything I’ve read suggests that “Bluebirds” was the team’s official name in 1901-02 and “Blues” was the popular nickname. And that the players didn’t like either one.

    YES! Morris, you nailed it. I’ve been an Indians fan since I was 9 and have been open to a new nickname but never heard a good option. This is that option. While we’ll probably never see the collars or a no-letter cap at home, I could see them throwing back to this…


    But hopefully they’d include the subtle nuance of not completing the braid on the bottom side of the C


    Hmmm. . . I think adding adding the braid under the ‘C’ would be correcting a prior mistake. The throwback looks much better than the original picture.

    I would like the idea of leaving the piping incomplete for a one-off throwback, but it would bug me every time I saw it if they went to it full-time.

    Something tells me the Lakers will be taking a fall in next years Uni Watch rankings. So disappointed in them.

    I’ll fess up: When the Lakers went to the white alternate, I sketched a BFBS version to address the mistake of not rendering the wordmarks in the opposite color scheme of the numerals. It looked great! The artist in me finds the Pop Art appearance of team colors glowing against a dark background appealing; contrasting with the fan in me, who thinks team colors are sacrosanct.

    i used to have a theory that teams who got new uniforms had good seasons. but it seems like every single ncaa team got new digs this season so throw that theory out the window

    i can still apply my theory to pro sports i guess. new uniform, new logo, new arena = usally improved season

    And check out Wayne Gretzky as #14 in the minors!

    Major Juniors, not minors. (Though he was still, by one definition, a minor, as he was 16 at the time.)

    *edit* Someone else called it out earlier – just finished the ticker, hadn’t read the earlier comments.

    Great job on this year’s Power Rankings, Paul. While I may not agree with every spot on the rankings (which is part of the fun of it, of course), your explanations for each team are well-reasoned and defensible. A really interesting read, and some fascinating insights into a professional aesthete’s ideas about what makes a great uniform.

    I disagree with Paul on some of the rankings, which is natural. One thing that rubbed me a bit though was a couple situations where Paul seemed to be talking out of both sides of his mouth. For example, docking a team for having a bland/boring uniform (Cleveland) and then praising Boston for having such a classic/clean uniform. What is the differentiation? Will Cleveland’s become classic/clean if they wear it for the next 20 years?

    There also seemed to be a couple examples where Paul would indicate 1-2 desired changes on a uniform ranked in the teens-20’s, and then rattle off 4-6 desired changes for a uni ranked much higher. I’ll poke around and see if I can come up with a couple specific examples. . .

    Another specific example: knocking the Nationals (#26 in MLB) for having three caps even though the Cardinals (#1 in MLB 2 years in a row) had three caps as recently as last season. (according to Creamer’s site)

    Oh, please. The Browns are the only team without a helmet logo. You can like that or dislike it, but it is the very definition of plain.

    I wonder where the Cleveland Indians would rank if Chief Wahoo was removed from their uniforms.
    I’d put them in the mid-60’s, with or without Wahoo.

    Their current road look is one of my favorite MLB sets. Their home alternates are nice, too, especially when paired with the blue cap with the red C. If those were both the standard unis, they’d be top ten for me, easily.

    The thing that kills the Cavs current set for me is the word treatment. If you’re going to rock plain janes, own it. They’re hedging on the plainness by using kind of a non-block font and doing that odd big end cap to balance out the initial cap. The Celts work because they do one simple thing and don’t put any kind of spin on it (although I continue to loathe the Celtics black-accented alts.)

    Precisely, frankenspock. I don’t think the font choice kills the uniform, but a good, strong block font should have been chosen. That thing they have now is…weak. Otherwise, the Cavs uniform is easily one of the best in the NBA.

    I feel like the A’s are too high on the list with their current unis; I’d put the Phillies and Dodgers ahead of them.

    The current A’s are just too bland compared to what they’ve had in the past – something that strikes a balance between the gaudy 70’s unis (which I loved) and their current set would work for me.

    And what really kills the A’s unis for me – The “A” on their cap is some variation of an Old English font, of which their are many ways to render an “A”. However, Old English is not a script nor is it a connecting font. To make the “A” in “Athletics” on their jersey with the same two “flags” coming off the left side is WRONG, because the entire word is rendered as a script font. It’s so glaringly wrong that my eye is always drawn to it…


    Wow, Denver really took it on the chin in Paul’s Power Rankings. No team higher than 72, and the city’s two teams with championship hardware (the Broncos and the Avs) are ranked among Paul’s 16 worst uniforms in sports. Ouch!

    Did any city fare worse? It looks like Chicago might be Paul’s best-looking sports city, based on all five teams ranking among the top 45. Someone with, you know, like, math skills should whip together a spreadsheet to evaluate the rankings by city/metro area.

    Despite a long to-do list, I crunched the numbers.

    Average scores among cities with at least one team in each of the four:

    Chicago 26.4 (including both MLB teams)
    Oakland 29.0 (including the Sharks)
    Boston 29.5
    Phila 33.0
    NYA 34.5 (higher ranking area team in each sport)
    Detroit 43.8
    NYB 57.0 (lower ranking area team in each sport)
    Dallas 60.5
    Miami 66.0
    DC 78.8
    M/StP 80.0
    Phoenix 87.5
    Denver 92.3

    Cities with teams in three sports:

    P’burgh 25.3
    Toronto 46.0
    LA 61.3 (both NBA teams)
    Tampa 61.7
    M’kee 62.3 (including GB)
    St Louis 67.7 (Blues killed them)
    Atlanta 82.0
    Cleveland 86.3
    Houston 87.0
    Carolina 102.7

    Cities with teams in two sports:
    SFO 29.5
    KC 31.5
    Buffalo 43.5
    OC 55.5
    Indy 57.5
    Balto 58.5
    San Dgo 70.0
    Seattle 80.0
    N’orleans 86.0
    Cincy 91.0
    Tenn 92.0

    I think it’s pretty amusing that the Jacksonville Jaguars are listed as having jumped up 9 spots into dead last.

    So the top five teams are represented by logos with a prominent C (except for the Packers, who put a line on the lower lip of their C, for greatness). From which I believe we can scientifically conclude that C is the easiest letter to incorporate into a sports uniform, just as F is probably the hardest.

    And after the prominent-C five at the top, mainly logos in which no single letter has special prominence follow, interrupted by the Bruins, A’s, and Tigers, spelling B-A-D down the list through number 17. That’s bad as in good, right?

    Thanks to Chris Bisbee for posting the link to that great hockey site, From that page, I found this killer pic of the Penguins’ short-lived powder blue SKATES!
    Everyone remembers my Seals for having yellow/green/white skates but the Pens and Blues also experimented briefly with colored skates in 70-71.



    Thanks, Phil, for an excellent month of Uni Watching. It’s been great having a more regular dose of the unique style and perspective you bring to the site, which I’d already come to enjoy so much on the weekends. Take a deep breath and enjoy a bit of well-earned rest!

    The video on the creation of the Packers’ G logo is a Ticker greatest hit. It’s been featured here before. But still worth seeing for those who didn’t catch it last time.

    After looking through the uni power rankings, I think I’ve underestimated the Cleveland Browns’ uniforms for quite some time. I get not loving the brown/orange/white palette, but the execution is everything a football uniform should be. Clean. Simple. striped pants and sleeves and striped socks at home. I love (but hadn’t noticed appreciated before) that the home and away unis are the same, except with the brown and white flipped. Solid.

    I honestly don’t get all the hate for the Browns. The color scheme itself isn’t terrible – even if you don’t like the colors separately, I think they work when paired together. At least it’s a unique combo. And as for the plain helmet, there’s what… one in the NFL, one in major college football? It’s not like there’s a ton of teams using them.

    My only gripe would be that they need to wear color at home. Unless you’re named the Cowboys or *maybe* LSU, you don’t look cool wearing white at home.

    While I agree with the spirit of the piece, if they call a new team the Blues you know some marketing whiz is going to say the monochrome blue C unis are going to be too boring, and there is going to be some logo with a fedora and sunglass wearing cat playing a guitar or saxophone. I just threw up a little.

    I don’t know if anybody else thought of this already, but if I was a woman, I would empty the contents of my purse into the clear plastic nfl bag, then put my empty purse in the plastic bag. Does the policy specifically state you can’t do this?

    Circumvent the law ladies, circumvent the law…

    I just checked, and you can’t do what I stated above. LOL.


    At last week’s Saints game, one fan thought that if she put her handbag inside the NFL regulation clear bag, it would meet regulations. She was denied entry, had to walk back to her car, leave the handbag and re-enter with whatever contents from her purse she could put inside the vinyl tote. Another woman was told the clutch she brought was too big. She showed the security screener that it was the size of her hand (while confessing that her hands were bigger than average). She was turned away. But she got in another line, and that screener let her through. A woman with a Michael Kors clutch (within NFL size limitations) breezed through with no security glitches.

    Great find, Leo Strawn, with the Cleveland Pipers jacket! There’s uch scant visual history of the ABL. I’ve seen this Connie Hawkins Pittsburgh Rens warm up (he was the league’s MVP during its one full season)…


    And here’s the Rens logo, I think…


    Finding ABL logos and uniforms is a project waiting to be taken on….

    Great job on the power rankings, Paul. Top to bottom they do trend from good to awful. My quibbles…

    Too high:

    WAY too high:

    Too low:
    NY Giants

    WAY too low:
    SF Giants (seriously, OKC is better?)

    And criminally low:
    Blackhawks – I’d have them at 1 or 2 overall.

    Right, the rankings take into account the ENTIRETY of the uniform package they throw out on the field/ice… and in the Isles’ case that includes those hideous black unis that are even worse than “fishsticks”!


    It shouldn’t shock me, but it does.

    Paul, I hate to point this out, but the Los Angeles Kings logo used on both the NHL rankings and the overall rankings is incorrect. That logo is no longer used by the Kings.

    As the CEO and President of UniWatch Inc., is this acceptable?

    I mean, if ESPN can get Dallas’ logo correct, you’d think they’d be able to get the Kings’ logo right… especially after all the eff-ups last year in switching the Sacramento Kings’ and Los Angeles Kings’ logos.

    Lots of logo fuck-ups, which I had nothing to do with and have tried to get fixed. Let’s just say that the ESPN bureacracy is a bit unweildy.

    I get that, Paul. I’m not asking you to fix the world, but the ESPN guys make you look bad with you being their uniform guy and all.

    Loved the rankings, gave it a shout-out on the radio show last night. Just disappointed in the Evil Empire slapping an incorrect logo on the rankings and screaming “DONE!”.

    Bummed….Left out of the ticker again….I had that N’Western white helmet linked up in the comments yesterday…..

    How about this solution: no nickname for Cleveland Baseball or Washington Football. Just call them that. Put a C on the hat and a DC on the helmet. Done. And if a nickname comes, let it come organically like the names of old; from fans and writers, not corporate committees.

    They won’t do that, at least in the case of Washington, because the 70% or so of the fans that aren’t offended would keep using “Redskins” and we couldn’t have that, we have to save them from themselves.

    I like that idea a lot. This was essentially the status quo until about the first World War I. This is the case for many English pro football clubs who have unofficial nicknames, the Red Devils, and the Chelsea Blues, but these are not used in formal presentations when it is Manchester United or Chelsea FC. It will not happen because our American sports construct uses official team nicknames. Except for MLS but that’s that side of soccer.

    When does the statute on limitations run out on racism? I ask that tongue-in-cheek because I hate that my beloved (for over 25 years on this earth) Cleveland Indians are losing not only their name, but their iconography. It is a weird premise, no? To say that if someone today likes the Cleveland Indians they are basically making the concession, “Hey, I’m not racist for supporting this. For them to still be called such is the sin of my father’s father. His generation should have put a stop to it. That’s not my problem, and I shouldn’t be punished.”

    Am I the only one that hates, hates, hates this watered down proposal today?! I am sorry, Philadelphia Morris, but you miss the boat — in my humble opinion. Just because something resides in the past doesn’t mean it needs to be unearthed.

    The “Indians” have survived so long that it will pain me to see it go. It will be like the Browns leaving town all over again; actually, worse. Why? Because that name came back and the history of the franchise was purchased/retained so in fifty years — after a Super Bowl victory is under their belt — the fans will look back at the late 90s years as a blip that no one talks about. The gap in history that actually took place will almost, almost be forgotten. Or, at least the painful scar mended as best as it can be.

    Even though no physical relocation would take place, and no roster changes would occur, I will feel “robbed” far more than Browns fans. Instead of a gap created in the team’s timeline, this would instead be a divisive wall. It will be the little thing in the grocery store check-out line saying “Here is Cleveland Indians past and here is Cleveland Whatevers future.” Though not much success, there is too much history at stake and too many fans like me that do not deserve to have to choose sides. What if they change names and get good? I will not buy any new merchandise. You put me in an uncomfortable spot of not buying in to my team’s success because it would make me look like a “new” fan or a bandwagonner. I would just be that “old, racist fan” clinging to the past. Having been with these guys through a lot of hard seasons, that’s not fair. You change your team’s name.

    Anything done by the Cleveland Baseball Club that follows a name change will not be satisfying whatsoever. Especially if the team finally gets that first World Series title in many a Cleveland fan’s lifetime. If it is with the Blues, a bitter taste ensues. Old people (now retired in Florida) will be read the headlines of the Cleveland Blues winning and ask “Did Cleveland get a minor league team or something?”

    All told, it’ll feel as is the team did leave town, as the foiled fictitious plot of “Major League” intended, and a expansion franchise replaced them. Their would be no gap in history, but it would feel like one larger than the Browns.

    A name change is more painful, like all the things Indian greats like Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, and Larry Doby did were shaken like an Etch-a-Sketch and gone. The Browns ACTUALLY leave and would feel more continuous in their personal record keeping.

    In short:
    Browns = actually leave town, keep name, perceived history = in tact, good
    Indians = don’t leave town, change name, perceived history = wiped clean, devastating

    The “Indians” would just become a forgotten era, and I would feel alienated by the team I root for. Based on the decisions of people that aren’t Indians fans. That is unfair; regardless of the name. They talk all the time that things transcend sports. In this case, with decade after decade that past — with Wahoo only getting more and more racist, the statute of limitations is up. Sorry, it is. We are not transcending sport by calling our beloved baseball team that. Take it at face value. We treat it as a name just as inconspicuous as the Mets, not as a label that describes people on the field or even a demographic that we wish ill will upon.

    For a team that hasn’t won a title since 1948, I get the idea that you aren’t really jolting a recent success of winning. But that’s kind of my point. We die harder than most fan bases. We feel like we’ve never won a World Series; rename the team and it will literally be so. The Cleveland _______s have never won the World Series. That’s a tough sell for a franchise perennially trending down. This is where aesthetics and political correctness and all that stuff need to take a back seat to the game itself. Until the Indians avenge their 1997 heartbreak (or the stolen season of 1994 that they, of course, would have won), they should get to retain the name.

    It will feel like a replacement franchise and not the one I grew up with. I am already pissed that Wahoo is disappearing from everything, and that does not make me a racist. It makes me a fan of my team. I didn’t construct its logo!! But you can’t fault me for loving it. Why? Because it always adorned my idols. You can’t take that from me; that’s not fair. I already feel like a shell of the Cleveland Indians franchise is rolled out there today. With its watered-down block “C” that makes me puke, I wonder what happened to Cleveland baseball.

    Look, I get that Chief Wahoo is really really really offensive and probably should have never come into being, but that ship sailed and people signed off on it. I think the Washington Redskins have an example of racist name but more tasteful imagery. I don’t think the issue should be with “Indians” itself. The script is iconic and my favorite part of the home and alternate uniforms. Should it be “Native Americans”? Yes. But that’s on Christopher Columbus and not overtly unacceptable in common society. At the very least, you can’t hypocritically say “Indians” cannot stay while you let the “Redskins” be. I get it, lesser of two evils doesn’t make it right. But I think “Blues” is lame and the “Spiders” were historically awful, so the Indians should stay for continuity sake. My only concession on my argument would be with the name “Tribe.”

    Why do the “Blues” suck? Well, the home of Rock ‘n Roll is not Memphis, New Orleans, or St. Louis. So I don’t expect them to have sports teams named “Rockers” (not that they should, that’s a terrible moniker, but you get my drift). The team was named the “Blues” just to represent the color… I get that, but in today’s age, no one can be injected (a historical reference or not) as just a color. Fair or unfair, words take on new meanings. The Reds couldn’t be an expansion team today and not have Communist undertones. Plus, the Blues and Blue Jackets is silly brand encroachment. It shows a tremendous lack of depth and originality. Like, “Ohio, where we can think of only one color.” It certainly doesn’t tie the two teams together. Columbus is hardly affiliated with Cleveland sports. Most C-Bus residents are Bengals/Reds fans. And one sounds like the shorthand version of the same name. Give the Jackets a chance to make it on their own (especially now in the Eastern Conference, Met Division) or they need to move on.

    In conclusion of my giant rant, I like your efforts and I am not mad at you, I am mad at society for making me change what I love. You don’t have to stop loving the Phillies tomorrow, and all I ask is that same right with my team. I don’t want to have to fall in love with a new team. And that is what it will feel like, with any name change. Change Wahoo instead. He has a rich history of much less racist iterations. Keep tweaking in that department.

    So, sorry, but if it’s lasted this long, it has to stay. If you want to get P.C. and upset, do it seventy years in the past. We have missed the boat and the Cleveland Indians should stay forever. Period.

    Oh, and we’ve played in Progressive Field for awhile now.


    Thank you for your long response. I recognize your love for the team identity in all that it represents about the team’s history and legacy.

    I think you and I diverge on first principles. I write this in the spirit of the exchange of ideas about public spaces, symbols, and icons, which is very much about the relationship between us as individuals and our personal passions, and the shared common public space.

    I agree with your statements that “For them to still be called such is the sin of my father’s father. His generation should have put a stop to it.”

    I disagree with your conclusion when you next write, “That’s not my problem, and I shouldn’t be punished.”

    I reap the blessings and successes of my father’s father. I am giving opportunities to repair broken pieces. I make no apologies for their actions, but it is my problem. I am my brother’s keeper whether I like it or not.

    America at its best is a beautiful thing. I love the Declaration and Constitution. I could read Federalist Papers all day. I love the idea of America. I love that I live here. I love that I get to live down the street from Independence Hall. Political correctness? It’s not the 90s anymore. I think Jeremy Piven’s film “P.C.U.” is genius and I think everyone should read at least the first half of Allan Bloom’s “Closing of the American Mind”.

    It also seems to me that we as a country are still figuring out the place of the country’s native peoples. We have inherited a complicated legacy, and the U.S. government has done much better in recent generations than in the 1700s and 1800s. My claim is that it is a sufficiently complicated social issue in America that when we choose to continue to use this mascot on an ongoing basis – we become active partners in perpetuating some weird unresolved American founding karma. Major League Baseball is ultimately sport and private enterprise, and it’s an opportunity to do good rather than continue to be partners in perpetuating a deeply complicated and unresolved thread of our collective civic American inheritance.

    I am responsible for the sins and sings of my father’s father. I am more responsible than anyone else. I am ok disagreeing with you on this point, and it leads to different conclusions about Major League Baseball’s ongoing sanctioning of this iconography.

    I always liked the name “Jacobs Field”. I like how everyone called it “The Jake”. I saw some great teams play there in the late 1990s.

    Very well articulated. I love the debate.

    I cannot stand that in today’s day an age argument is frowned upon. Verbal sparring is just a mental exercise that more people should take part in. I don’t have a mean thing to say to you, though I do not agree with your stance.

    I respect the hell out of it and I understand fully where you are coming from. Trust me, the moral of this story is go back in a time machine and tell 6 year-old me, “Don’t become a Cleveland Indians fan. It’ll save you a lot of headaches.”

    At the end of the day I have envy… envy for other team’s fanhoods that are clean and non-controversial. Maybe that’ll have to be my world in the future. But not the Blues.

    Let’s collaborate on something else. But regardless of what they become, you sold me on the navy on navy look. I love that throwback becoming full time.


    I just read through the chat over on ESPN and man that was pretty tame compared to the hate in the comments section for the power rankings. I mean I get it. I disagree with some of Paul’s choices and his reasoning for said choices in the ranking. However, so many people are just either plain rude,incredibly stupid, a homer, can’t read, or have horrible taste in sports uniforms.
    Here are a few of the pleas…
    “This guy shouldn’t have a job.” Really do I come to your place of work and slap the corndog out of your hand.
    “Didn’t you know that the Panthers and Orioles were just voted the best uniforms.” Internet polls mean nothing. All that it means is that fans of the Panthers and the Orioles know how to use a computer.
    “Why is one guy determining the rankings.” Uh, because only one guy writes the Uni Watch column on ESPN.
    “The Falcons uniforms don’t suck. The Cardinals just have a stupid bird on it.” So these link are awesome and these ones link suck
    “You have to be a girl to think uniforms are cool and to care about colors.” I’ll remember to laugh at you as you walk down the street wearing a plaid shirt with plaid shorts and tube socks with your sandals. link

    I’m not feelin’ Cleveland Blues. I could see Blue Sox, which would mean the AL would have red white and blue soxes. But with Blue Jays in the league, forget it.

    Philly and Arizona are saluting the 90’s with non-synchronized throwbacks. The Phillies didn’t replace their red accessories with a proper maroon, but everybody has period batting helmets.

    Not a totally bad looking game but I was a bit disappointed that Arizona chose to go with the Black “A” alternate. The 98 season was always my favorite look for the team but the black “A” alternate was the worst of the 4. I wish they went with the gray pinstripes.

    Well for the road and black alts I preferred 99 better when they added the “D” hat but the white and purple set looked best in 98. Way too late at night to be splitting seasons right now.

    That Northwestern set has grown on me a little bit but the purple helmet was the least of that set’s problems. Instead of adding a white helmet they needed to just drop the white pants completely and it would look much better.

    Also nice to see the Seahawks haven’t broken out the white pants yet this preseason. I really hope those were a blip and will never be seen again.

    Given the litigious society we live in, it is a good bet that the St. Louis Blues hockey club would strenuously object to another professional sports team trying to use the name “Blues”. Back in the old days they could use Giants, Cardinals, Dodgers and Yankees for both football and baseball teams but that would never be allowed today.

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