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League Ralph, Part the First

King Ralph

By Phil Hecken

A couple of months back, reader R. Scott Rogers approached me with an idea for some weekend content for Uni Watch. At the time, I mentioned to Scott I’d probably be needing some help with ledes for weekend columns as I progress further into my “Capstone” project for grad school — basically the equivalent of a Masters Thesis — which I am hoping to complete this spring.

Well, now it’s crunch time for me — and the column idea is quite timely — so I’m going to present to you today the first of three of Scott’s ledes. “What’s it all about?” you say, “and why is there a picture of John Goodman in a crown over there in the right hand side of the page?” Well, you’re about to find out. So now I’ll turn it over to Scott, who’ll explain and explore…

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League Ralph – Reconstituting the Big Leagues, Part 1
By R. Scott Rogers

So let’s say Major League Baseball gets every player and executive from all 30 teams together, along with all their team equipment, to take one giant group photo in honor of Bud Selig’s final season as commissioner. You know, like how they take a photo of every living member of the royal family at the start of King Ralph. And, as in the movie, just as the flash goes off, Zap! Tragic electrical accident and in one fell swoop, big-league baseball as we know it is gone.

What next? Thankfully, we won’t need to send Mr. Dursley to Vegas to find a lounge singer to take over. Instead, we could just find the 30 best-uniformed minor league and independent teams and reconstitute the big leagues with them.

The bad news: All your favorite players are gone. The good news: So is Ryan Braun The new MLB will be a much better-looking league.

Here, in no particular order, is my list of the 30 teams whose great uniforms should earn them a spot in a reconstituted MLB, divided into three weekly segments. Got a favorite farm or independent club that didn’t make the list? Let us know, and why, in the comments.

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BeesBurlington Bees A – MWL
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Road

Other views:
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here.

Things you will never persuade me to believe:

  1. Denny Green was a great football coach;
  2. Bourbon is bad for your health; and
  3. The Burlington Bees are not among the ten best-uniformed teams in the history of pro sports.

These are, simply, perfect baseball uniforms.

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Mud HensToledo Mudhens AAA – IL
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Other views:
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Since their introduction in 2006, these uniforms have changed only slightly, with the newfangled hen-head caps generally replaced by the team’s classic T-with-mascot caps. On the one hand, the old cap they now wear is a terrible baseball cap. Just dreadful in every way.

On the other hand, plenty of teams have deeply flawed uniform elements whose legacy charm outweighs their suckiness. In that regard, the Mud Hens would be the Tigers or the Yankees of the reconstituted big leagues.

The distinctive but still readable number font? The feathered E on the script? Three, maybe four, MLB redesigns since 1986 have been as good as Toledo’s.

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MaraudersBradenton Marauders – A FSL
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Other views:
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here.

True, the Marauders look a lot like their parent Pirates. Normally, that would disqualify them from this list.But.

But they put their own distinctive spin on the identity, from the name to the lettering. And that distinctive spin is better than the original. I like the Pirates. But head to head, every single element of the identity, from logos to jerseys to scripts to numbers?

I’d take the Maurauders every time.

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pensacolaPensacola Blue Wahoos AA – SL
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Other views:
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Yes, the Blue Wahoos are a bit over-designed, right down to the “neon red” highlights at the top of the numbers. But we’re repopulating the big leagues here, and plenty of MLB teams are over-designed these days too.

Pensacola may be similar in kind to too many Brandiose-packaged minor-league teams, but the Blue Wahoos succeed where most of their peers fail.

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SaintsSt. Paul Saints – IND
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Other view:
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Royal blue and black. Terrible color combination, unless you get the proportions just right, in which case it’s one of the best looks in sports. Such as the Saints.

Perfection.

Plus, the Saints have a ball pig. The big leagues need a ball pig. Speaking of pigs …

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IronPigsLehigh Valley IronPigs AAA – IL
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Conceptually, I hate everything about Lehigh’s identity. Somehow, they pull it off.

Simple test at play here: Do they look better than the Marlins?

Yes, yes the IronPigs do. (After this was written, the IronPigs tweaked their uniforms for 2014. While most of the elements are a step up from their existing identity, the overall effect of the old-and-new mishmash is a downgrade. Pick a theme, Lehigh Valley.)

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SlammersJoliet Slammers – IND
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Complete uni set

More views:
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How do you resist a baseball team called the Slammers? You don’t, that’s how.

Another lower-level team, along with the Greensboro Grasshoppers, that uses green and orange to good effect.

The basic identity is already kind of over the top, so it’s appropriate that the team dials it back a bit on the uniform execution. There’s more classic baseball elegance than whimsy here.

Good looking team.

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acesReno Aces AAA – PCL
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Simple, clean, distinctive.

And like the best pro nicknames, the Aces pay tribute to local industry and culture.

Lately, the Aces can’t quite decide whether they’re a pinstriped team or not, but then neither can the Mets, and until 2013 neither could Houston.

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BluefishBridgeport Bluefish – IND
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Better than the Marlins.

That is, better than the Marlins…

back when the Marlins didn’t look like crap, and “better than the Marlins” meant something.

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PelicansMyrtle Beach Pelicans A – ClnaL
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Other views:
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I see a lot of Carolina League ball every year, and the Pelicans have by far my favorite uniforms in the league.

Light blue and yellow could easily be too soft a combination, but the Pelicans use just enough navy accents to make the whole scheme work.

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Honorable Mentions

Sioux Falls Pheasants – IND (ex)
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Contrasting raglan sleeves looked great when the Oakland Oaks did it and they looked great recently when the Fighting Pheasants did it.

. . .

Portland Beavers AAA (ex)
Pix:
Home
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Complete uni set
One more view of that home uni, because daaaaamn

For a couple of years, the Beavers came within a stitch or two of being the best-dressed team in baseball. Ever.

Then, acting like a typical big-league team, the Beavers chased richer public subsidies to Escondido Tucson El Paso, where they will look like this. Too depressing for words.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thanks, Scott! Great concept for spring, especially with the games just starting. I’ll have more from Scott over the next couple of weekends.

Readers? What say you? Anything to add?

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Title Box

Lewis & Clark Uniform Design Contest

Every Sunday, we’ll have news and updates on the design contest being sponsored by Ross Clites. If you missed the introductory post on this, please click here. Last weekend, we introduced Part VIII which is the second article here. You can also visit the Lewis & Clark homepage for more information and updates.

Yesterday we revealed the sixth set of concepts for the “Navigators” (you can still submit for the Pathfinders [deadline 4/9] and the Pioneers [deadline 4/16]). And today, we’ll reveal the ninth team for concepting.

If you missed yesterday’s post, which revealed the readers submissions for the “Navigators,” you can vote for your favorite concepts (you may vote for up to three). Link here.

Here’s Ross with this week’s updates/information:

. . . . .

The Weary Travelers

Wait. What? The River Men are supposed to be up next. Yeah, well you see.. life gets in the way sometimes. The remaining two Lewis Conference teams need to jump the line to get their gear going to the press. Their season will start a week ahead of those in the Clark. The best laid plans, right?

So, anyway. The Travelers are where it all began, a few short years ago. The Christmas color scheme comes directly from Washington University in St. Louis, where I have been an assistant baseball coach for four years. We utilized the common denominator palette in hopes of landing Wash.U. players — same ridiculously colored swag for spring/fall and now the summer, too.

. . .

Travelers

. . .

It comes with its quirks and design challenges but it always seems to work out.

For this concept remember something my grandmother always said: “red and green should never be seen without a color in between.” It should certainly help you out a great deal with any submissions made for the Travelers. Best of luck and keep all the solid submissions coming. We are coming down the home stretch and I couldn’t be more excited.

. . . . .

As for the winner of the Lookouts:

To all that entered the contest for the Governors of the LCBL, thank you for your thoughtful presentations. Big thanks to all the readers that cast votes. We had an unprecedented finish to the voting; one that the board could not resolve with conventional methods. Three men (Scott de Fasselle, Denver King, and Will Sinnott) all accumulated over 200 votes. While Denver was the “king” of the poll, all three presented such great elements. We would have gone with Will’s complete concept, but many board members shied away from two woodpeckers in the same conference. So compromise was made to reward the high vote totals.

The owl was chosen and given ocular surgery. Will’s eye ball boosts the intensity of the sleepy-looking owl and also ties into his solid secondary logo. The whole thing comes together with the 80s feel of Denver’s red alternate jersey; complete with thick maroon banding on the chest and arms. So sharp.

Lookouts Final

In this, all three will be awarded a victory and play a key piece in the Lookouts aesthetics. All three will be welcomed at our July 3rd All-Star Game at Busch Stadium as honorary Uni Watch Contest Winners. The primary logo is Scott’s, the secondary logo is Will’s, and the jersey will be the scarlet colored concept by Denver. One team, three designers — who did not collaborate together. This is truly what the contest was meant for. The LCBL board feels we are getting the best look based on the given submissions. It is a work-in-progress more than other winning submissions, but that comes with the territory of a three-person collaboration.

The uniform will remain (somewhat of) a mystery until a final reveal of all twelve at the end. But we wanted to give Uni Watch Nation a taste of the winning identity.

~ ~ ~

Thanks, Ross! One final note (and this was in last week’s section as well, in case you didn’t see it) — Ross wanted me to inform everyone that “we will be skipping the Settlers in the alphabet. We are in a bit of time crunch and they are a 2015 expansion team.”

So, to anyone who was hoping to design a uniform/logo for that team, you’ll understand why that team was left out of the alpha-rotation.

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all sport uni tweaksUni 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 Michael Kearney, with a tweak for the Red Sox roads:

Red Sox Roads - Michael Kearney

Hey Phil,

Just saw the new Red Sox road uni’s (which are pretty much the same uni’s they wore just a few years ago). As much as I like this look over the drab gray and blue they’ve been sporting the last couple of years, I really think they missed an opportunity to do something better. My quick take on what could have been is attached. I think leaving the “BOSTON” blue but adding red details around the uniform would have made for a sharper looking uniform that stands out a bit from some of the other ‘Gray and Red’ uni’s currently out there.

””Mike

. . .

Next up is Paul Lee with an NBA ASG tweak:

All Star Uni Tweak - Paul Lee

Phil,

Tweaked the NBA All-Star Game away team jersey.

Paul Lee

. . .

And we close today with Troy DeCeuster who has a concept for the Rutgers Baseball team:

Rutgers Baseball - Troy DeCeuster

Hi Uni-watch,

I have a concept here for Rutgers University baseball team. I tried to make it a modern vintage look and feel. Just a lazy day at the office. Great site.

-Rhino Oceans

. . .

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

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Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: Here’s a good story on the Durham Bulls’ team name history (thanks, Paul). … The New York Daily News ran a short article on the history of Presidents’ and uni numbers. Paul is quoted in that article, saying “It’s in his hands for all of five minutes before it’s off to the National Archives.” … Which prompted former White House staffer Dennis W. Alpert to tweet at me that “not all jerseys end up at the National Archives”. Those are in his personal collection. … @allen_y tweeted at me: “Great image for the ticker from the Dodgers opening ceremony.” He points out “Tommy’s no front number, some w/ sleeve patch, some not, Sandy in a jacket and new poly cap (usually wears a wool cap). I wonder if they recycled old jerseys?” Allen also got a closeup of the sleeve patch, which looks like this. … Our friend Shannon Shark notes that Mets radio broadcaster Howie Rose invoked the phrase “BFBS”. … eL GAP (@gap_fsu) sends along a photo of FSU Softball wearing ‘Paint In Pink’ jerseys. … Reader David Kendrick sent this photo of a historical Braves logo (decal from Cooperstown Collection), and asks, “I thought all the caricatures were gone??”. … Our Notre Dame expert Warren Junium notes that today, the Irish will wear this cap, and some peeks at portions of their jersey for today’s game against FSU. … It was cold in Chi-town yesterday, so Darwin Barney was wearing some type of turtleneck/hoodie undergarment (thanks to David Arnott for the screen grabs). That prompted Walter Young to suggest that the garment is a balaclava. … Which, in turn, prompted C.J. Fogler to say “It’s just like this”. Glad we cleared that up. … Stanford’s baseball sure looked purdy with high cuffs and stirrups yesterday (h/t Alex Allen). … Here’s Mr. Cub sporting a Cubs cap & Negro Leagues jacket yesterday. He still looks great. … Exactly 101 years and one day ago, the Dodgers and Yankees played in the first game ever at Ebbets Field (an exhibition game). Casey Stengel homered for the Dodgers (pic via Dodgers History). … Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt had their numbers retired by the Astros were celebrated by retiring as Astros, and they were presented with 2005-style jerseys with their numbers on them.last night. Giddyap. … Dave Moore sends this beautiful Dodgers vs. Reds shot from 4/7/69 at Crosley Field. “Bench v. Drysdale … Haller catching. Donatelli the ump”

NFL News: “Check out the placement of the NFL’s 75th Anniversary patch on Troy Aikman’s jersey as opposed to Emmitt Smith’s, not to mention the blocker’s,” says Max Levy. Good catch! … Reader Ed Gefen noted yesterday’s ticker mention of Bills player NOBs regarding possible “MA” or “MI” initials for Mike and Mario Williams. Ed says “Turns out, the Bills don’t use first initials, so it’s potentially more confusing.” Hmmm. If only there were some way to tell which Williams is which without initials.

College Football News: Yesterday afternoon, the new LSU tiger head made it’s debut on helmets used for the team’s spring game (thanks to Andrew Lopez for the good spot). For reference, this is the old LSU logo, and a closeup of the old (left) and new (right) logos. … Add Penn State to the list of teams with the Riddell SpeedFlex helmet. … “Remember the incident last year with Michigan wearing orange QB practice jerseys from Oregon State?” writes Christopher Hall. “Looks like Adidas fixed the problem this year. It also serves as proof that Michigan should never wear maize jerseys in-game.” … App State will have a “new look” as it heads into its new conference (h/t Chris Kroeger).

NBA News: “Are asymmetrical unis interesting,” read the subject line of an e-mail from Pete Svendsen. He “came across Jason Williams top 10 Plays on youtube and was very distracted once I realized the asymmetry of the Kings and Sonics unis. I know the Wizards and 90s Heat unis also had stripes/piping only on one side as well. Along with pinstripes, this seems to be one of the trademarks of 90’s NBA design.”

Hockey News: In yesterday’s ticker, I referenced the Grand Rapids Griffins Calder Cup champions ring designing process. Now, “Chester Copperpot” (”@Pettymania) has video of that. … Minnesota Wild’s Ilya Bryzgalov is getting a new mask. … Toronto’s crack smoking Mayor wouldn’t happen to have an own-NOB jersey to wear to Leafs games, would he? Of course he would. … Apparently the Calgary Flames rookies were given Mets jerseys as punishment as they attended the Mets/Reds game on their day off yesterday.

College Hoops News: Within four minutes of each other, I received TWO e-mails with the subject “March Sadness: NCAA Confiscates Kitty Cat Mug,” (one from Ethan Sheets, the other from Joe Makowiec). If you couldn’t glean from the title, they were referring to this article detailing the douchebaggery of the NCAA. … Cork Gaines thinks NBA ads probably won’t look as bad as this “trainwreck”. … This probably isn’t an official Nike ad, but it was making the rounds after UConn’s win yesterday. … Interesting graphic was momentarily on screen last night showing Wildcats vs Wisconsin. Nice grab by Manager Problems (@wemanagethat). Apparently that’s from the UK teamcast. My TV just showed Kentucky vs Wisconsin. Lots of folks seemed confused about the Teamcast concept.

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And that’s a wrap for this Sunday, Uni Watchers. Thanks to R. Scott, Ross, and the concepters, and all who submitted for the ticker (or tweeted at me). You guys have a good week and I’ll catch you next Saturday.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“Kiddie-speak? Really? Every acronym that isn’t easily pronounceable as a word (like NASA) typically ends up with “the” stuck in front of it. The FBI, the NRA, the NSA, the NFL, etc, etc.”
–The Jeff

85 comments to League Ralph, Part the First

  • biged6464 | April 6, 2014 at 7:20 am |

    I LIKE TURTLES!!!

  • The Jeff | April 6, 2014 at 7:24 am |

    Interesting concept… nice to see the Mud Hens make the cut, although I thought they looked better before the redesign. Also, I’d prefer the Mr. Paul Aints.

  • The Jeff | April 6, 2014 at 7:28 am |

    Oh, and you’ve got an extra “never” stuck in the sentence about the Michigan jerseys for some reason.

  • BurghFan | April 6, 2014 at 7:28 am |

    Shouldn’t the Slammers have some sort of stripes?

    • arrScott | April 6, 2014 at 8:02 am |

      “I got stripes / Stripes around my shoulders / And chains / Chains around my feet …”

      Yeah, that would probably be a good move for Joliet, but they look great anyway, and have kind of an institutional aesthetic. Maybe if the Reno Aces ever come to their senses and ditch their pinstripes, the Slammers will get some hand-me-down stripes.

  • BroadwayJoeFYVM | April 6, 2014 at 7:45 am |

    Actually, the Portland Beavers were the odd team out in the shuffle that saw PG&E Park get remodeled into the home for MLS’ Portland Timbers, now known as Providence Park. Timbers investor/operator (they’re not ‘owners’ in single-entity MLS) Merritt Paulson had been the Beavers’ owner before selling the club to ‘focus on the Timbers’. In reality, Paulson had attempted to get Portland to build a new 8 – 10k capacity stadium for the Beavers on top of the money they were spending on the stadium remodel for the Timbers. When the City declined, the Beavers were sent packing, first to Tuscon and then on to El Paso, where they’re now known as the Chihuahuas. Kinda sad, once you find out the club’s full history, going all the way back to 1903 as the original Los Angeles Angels.

  • Hodges14 | April 6, 2014 at 8:10 am |

    Surprised Brookyn didn’t make the cut. Their script style has to be the most unique in baseball.

    • The Jeff | April 6, 2014 at 11:45 am |

      There’s still 20 more teams on the list that we haven’t seen, wait another 2 weeks before you talk about any team getting slighted.

  • arrScott | April 6, 2014 at 8:11 am |

    Really looking forward to the Travelers concepts. Green and red is my favorite not-used-in-MLB color scheme – c’mon Twins or Red Sox, ditch the navy for green already! – so I expect I’m going to love pretty much all the ideas people submit.

  • Randy | April 6, 2014 at 8:51 am |

    Brewers players Carlos Gomez and Martin Maldonado both wore ski masks last night in Boston.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/photos?gameId=340405102&photoId=3749330

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/photos?gameId=340405102&photoId=3747717

  • Ramathorn | April 6, 2014 at 8:56 am |

    Aikman always was trying to get away with wearing special patches in a way that would not interfere with him using his jersey to wipe the sweat off his face during games. He even tried to get away with wearing patches on the wrong side.

    • Willie | April 6, 2014 at 4:47 pm |

      Rama, I heard stories like that too. Even heard he wore a Wilson Jersey even though Apex made their jerseys. Said he “didn’t like the cut” of the Apex, and even had thee Apex logo sewn on above the Wilson “W”.

  • Lee Wilds | April 6, 2014 at 10:09 am |

    Gotta minor beef with Reno being in the King Ralph league. Their road unis have white numbers trimmed with navy. They are damn impossible to read even in a small minor league park.

    • The Jeff | April 6, 2014 at 10:22 am |

      That’s easy enough to tweak, though. The front numbers aren’t white, so they could easily change the back ones without compromising their overall identity.

      I’m not particularly happy with this whole thing referencing King Ralph because it forces me to remember that I actually saw that movie in a freakin theater, instead of at 2am on a Thursday night during a free preview of HBO, as it should be seen. Granted, I was only 10 and it wasn’t my money being spent, but still.

  • teenchy | April 6, 2014 at 10:17 am |

    No arguments here. I was just coming in to post the Pelicans when I saw them at the bottom of the list. Their current visual identity is leagues better than what they wore when they began play – especially the original, less than ornithologically correct pelican logo.

  • Gusto4044 | April 6, 2014 at 10:27 am |

    There are some quality, minor league baseball designs out there. The Pirates run their FSL club, and no doubt took a design cue from the seventies in coming up with that uniform.

    I would add, however, the identity of a uniform is always made by the memories and players which wore said uniform during that time. Minor League uniforms will always be limited in that way. We can be a fan of a particular style, but what happens during the wearing of a uniform is really important. If the Yankees were wearing a monochrome uniform all this decades, then that would be fondly remembered because of the tremendous success of that franchise. If the football Giants had been wearing the mid 70s set with the jersey striping and blue pants from say, the mid 80s onward, then that style would gain more followers.

    • The Jeff | April 6, 2014 at 10:43 am |

      Only to a point. Success can certainly make a bad uniform seem better, but a good uniform is good even when the team wearing it isn’t. Look at how many people wanted the Tampa Bay Bucs to go back to the creamsicles, despite the team having basically sucked the entire time they wore ’em.

      • Phil Hecken | April 6, 2014 at 11:11 am |

        “Success can certainly make a bad uniform seem better”

        ~~~

        Ain’t that the truth.

        Of course, it’s all relative since one’s definition of a “bad uniform” is purely subjective (well, for the most part — a truly bad uniform doesn’t happen all that often). But if the Bucs win a Super Bowl in that … thing … then it will become beloved. Ahem.

        Something is wrong with the universe again, as I find myself agreeing with THE more and more these days.

        But when he’s right he’s right.

        Shitty unis, couple with success, makes the bad unis seem better.

        • The Jeff | April 6, 2014 at 12:39 pm |

          If it makes you feel better, I’m still supporting the Redskins and Chief Wahoo. The fabric of our reality might be stretched a bit, but it’s probably not going to break any time soon.

        • Phil Hecken | April 6, 2014 at 12:43 pm |

          “If it makes you feel better, I’m still supporting the Redskins and Chief Wahoo.”

          ~~~

          Oh, yes. I feel MUCH better now.

        • Jim Vilk | April 6, 2014 at 12:46 pm |

          I’m not even a Mets fan, but those racing stripes were fantastic.

  • scott | April 6, 2014 at 10:34 am |

    Did the Astros really retire Oswalt and Berkman’s numbers? I knew they both were retiring as Astros, but i didn’t realize the team was already taking their uniform numbers out of circulation.

  • Bando | April 6, 2014 at 10:35 am |

    That Clinton 1 hockey jersey on the far left looks very much like a home Michigan sweater from the ’96 NCAA championship season, but I don’t recall the team actually going to the White House. Interesting.

  • Padday | April 6, 2014 at 10:37 am |

    Boy those Notre Dame unis ended up looking pretty awesome. https://twitter.com/MrSmiles19/status/452790913837068288

    It begs the question though seeing unis such as these in the college game why at almost every other level uni design is stuck with such a dull array of paint-by-numbers “traditional” looks? When you get the Astros, an identity predicated on the wide eyed futurism of the space age, playing Victorian dress up you know you’ve got a serious problem. And it might seem counter intuitive, but it’s this attitude which fosters the mortal sin of softball toppery because when a team feels like adding a bit of colour they are so confined by manners that they end up simply taking the white or grey jerseys and filling in the empty space. I also think that it’s responsible for low cuffery; players have no reason to feel any pride in their uniforms which are merely utilitarian expressions of synergised MLB nostalgia incorporated and they wear them as such.

  • Ryan | April 6, 2014 at 10:54 am |

    Geez, Astros, way to set the bar low for uni # retirement.

    Oswalt never finished higher than 3rd in Cy Young voting, and with him the team only won 1 division title (’01) and 1 National League title (’05, which was followed by four consecutive losses in the World Series).

    Berkman never finished higher than 3rd in MVP voting and, in addition to the two titles won with Oswalt, also won the ’99 division crown as a mid-season call-up.

    But perhaps this is the team’s way of recalling the glory days of the ‘OOs, as they pretty much hit rock bottom after trading both away before the ’10 trade deadline.

    • Ryan | April 6, 2014 at 11:00 am |

      And, just for the sake of comparison, not counting Jackie Robinson’s #42, the Astros have now retired 11 players’ numbers. The Cardinals, meanwhile, have done so with 12 (though one was for a former owner); the Dodgers have 10; and the Giants, 9. So at the rate they’re going, if Houston ever win a World Series, I’m pretty sure they’ll wind up retiring the number of every player who winds up receiving a ring, September call-ups and all.

    • CortM | April 6, 2014 at 11:37 am |

      The Astros are the first team I can think of who erected statues of players WHO WERE STILL PLAYING. (The statues were unveiled in March 2003.) Go to the Crawford Street side of the stadium, and you’ll find a slightly larger-than-life bronze Jeff Bagwell, eternally stretched to complete a 6-4-3 DP, as a somewhat less slightly larger-than-life bronze Craig Biggio makes the pivot at second base. Outside of North Korea, name one other place where guys under 35 get their own statues. Both of them have had their numbers retired, of course.

      Houston also retired the number of Jim Umbricht, a young pitcher who appeared in only 34 games for Houston before dying of cancer in 1964 (his ashes were spread over the Astrodome construction site). Don Wilson, who was actually a pretty good pitcher for the Astros, had his number retired, primarily because he committed suicide in the middle of what could have been an outstanding career.

      The rest: Larry Dierker – pretty good pitcher. Cheo Cruz – pretty good hitter. Jimmy Wynn – good hitter, but mainly there for his great nickname (“The Toy Cannon”). Mike Scott – pretty good pitcher, for 3 or 4 seasons. And Nolan Ryan.

      The standard for immortality is low in Houston: be pretty good and stick around for more than a couple of seasons, and you’re a candidate for number retirement. That, or die young and tragically.

    • Rich | April 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm |

      The numbers for Berkman and Oswalt weren’t retired. They both signed one-day contracts to retire as Astros.

      http://houston.astros.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140405&content_id=71082444&vkey=news_hou&c_id=hou

  • Flip | April 6, 2014 at 11:13 am |

    Thanks for the Bees shout out. It’s a nice set.

  • Wilson | April 6, 2014 at 11:15 am |

    The Wildcats vs Wisconsin was the scoreboard because of the teamcasts. On TruTV it said Badgers vs Kentucky and on TBS it said Wisconsin vs Kentucky.

    • Jim Vilk | April 6, 2014 at 12:52 pm |

      And on CBS it said…

      …wait…why weren’t the games on CBS???????????

      That’s as D-baggy a move as homogenized tourney courts and confiscated mugs.

  • Dan J | April 6, 2014 at 11:37 am |

    I’m kind of surprised that the Brooklyn Cyclones didn’t make the minor league cut.

  • CortM | April 6, 2014 at 11:56 am |

    Some great choices, ArrScott. I especially like Portland’s inclusion.

    Some additions:

    Buffalo Bisons — after the Mets-inspired travesties, the new look is a most welcome change.

    Salt Lake Bees — it’s inspired by the Pirates-influenced Bees set of the 1960’s, but they’re an Angels farm club now, so I think it should count.

    It’s a shame that the uniforms are mucked up by about 457 sponsorship patches, because it would be cool to include a Mexican League team or two: I’m partial to the Acereros de Monclova (Monclova Steelers). Classic colors. Nice design (aside from the ads). Cool cap.

    • Jim Vilk | April 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm |

      Love Myrtle Beach and Burlington. The others…give me time to think about them.

      All I know is, if the Montgomery Biscuits don’t make the list, then it’ll be as absurd as a Rock Hall without Chicago and the Moody Blues. Just giving you fair warning.

      • CortM | April 6, 2014 at 1:20 pm |

        Chicago (the band, not the city) reminds me of Mickey Mantle: 7 or 8 really strong seasons, followed by a long stretch of disappointment, sprinkled with occasional flashes of brilliance. Yeah, they’re Hall of Famers, but what would they have been if not for the hubris, the substance abuse, the ripped up knees?

        Chicago (the city, not the band) reminds me of Buffalo, with a glandular problem. It’s just a big, overgrown Buffalo.

    • arrScott | April 6, 2014 at 2:10 pm |

      I can promise at everyone will be disappointed with the 30 I selected. Heck, I’m disappointed with the 30 I selected – there are a lot of great baseball in this great country of ours, and any list of just 30 is going to be too few and leave some worthy candidates out. But I bet you’ll encounter a few you weren’t aware of before, and you might even like them.

      I wish I knew enough about Mexican ball, and Caribbean ball, to have made intelligent selections from among those leagues. I really hope to live to see MLB expand south (Los Misiles de Havana!) and to have Latin America flavor MLB aesthetics. Just so long as the ads stay in the minors.

      • Jim Vilk | April 6, 2014 at 6:22 pm |

        I like the Pheasants, too.

  • Clarybird | April 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm |

    I wonder if those Calgary Flames players were given Mets jerseys with their corresponding hockey jersey numbers – if that’s not the case, the player on the far right was lucky enough to get a Jackie Robinson version.

    • SRP91 | April 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm |

      All of the numbers they are wearing are what they wear with the Flames.

      • Clarybird | April 7, 2014 at 11:34 am |

        Thanks, buddy.

  • CortM | April 6, 2014 at 12:53 pm |

    What would have completed the Stanford look is if they had all gone out and gotten crewcuts, because they look like the Cincinnati Reds, circa 1970.

  • Dustin Short | April 6, 2014 at 1:06 pm |

    The asymmetrical Miami Heat jersey was actually a design from the 80’s , as was the Hornets and Magic jerseys which featured pin stripes. Another lazy lumping together of two eras to make it seem like one trend from a particular decade……so the nba all star game uni tweak was what a lighter blue? Huh ????

  • Jim Vilk | April 6, 2014 at 1:11 pm |

    “Are asymmetrical unis interesting”

    They sure can be. And there’s a nice modern example in New Mexico:
    http://www.golobos.com/PhotoAlbum.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=26000&PALBID=1099809

    Loved that video of Jason Williams, by the way. Great passer.

  • zooropa140 | April 6, 2014 at 1:30 pm |

    The Astros did NOT retire Berkman’s and Oswalt’s numbers. The ceremony was to celebrate them retiring as Astros, and they were presented with 2005-style jerseys with their numbers on them.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10735460/lance-berkman-roy-oswalt-retire-houston-astros

    • Mark in Shiga | April 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm |

      That is a huge relief if true. I love seeing teams honor players, but permanently banning all future players from wearing their numbers is not the way to do it.

      • zooropa140 | April 6, 2014 at 3:58 pm |

        It’s true.

        Still waiting for a correction…

  • LarryB | April 6, 2014 at 2:02 pm |

    Question about the speedflex helmets. Cant they fill the holes or cracks in? Are those a function of the helmet?

  • Chuck | April 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm |

    Question: Could the Cleveland Indians use their cream colored home alts (I love these!) for road games or is there a MLB rule against this? The creams woulds make great roads, much better than the current blues they wear now I.M.O.

    • Mark in Shiga | April 6, 2014 at 2:35 pm |

      The Astros wore a slightly darker cream, but just about the same, on the road for many years. As a rabid anti-gray fanatic, I think it would make a great road color.

      • rebyrnes | April 6, 2014 at 8:06 pm |

        Wish the Padres hadn’t ditched their “sand” road unis in favor of nondescript gray.

  • Joe | April 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm |

    The Pheasants? As a Sioux Falls resident I must say that I’ve seldom felt stronger relief than when the club reverted back to its original name, the CanarIes, after a mere three seasons as the Pheasants, who unfortunately loved to wear their black alts. Blue and yellow makes for a much better baseball uniform than black and burnt orange (yuck!).

  • Bromotrifluoromethane | April 6, 2014 at 2:39 pm |

    Absolute worst possible uni combo for me in Pittsburgh today with the Cardinals in red on the road & my Bucs in those horrible throwbacks. Bucs Sunday home games make me happy I can listen to the game & watch the race so I don’t have to look at those ugly things they wear on Sundays.

    • Jim Vilk | April 6, 2014 at 2:54 pm |

      So you won’t a copy of the game, since I’m taping it?

      I’m so happy to able to see this matchup that I’m just going to say “To each his own.”

    • Phil Hecken | April 6, 2014 at 3:07 pm |

      “my Bucs in those horrible throwbacks.”

      ~~~

      Granted, those aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but what would you prefer? I guess you want the black tops every game? (Which wouldn’t be so bad if they just returned to the bumblebee uniforms, minus those godawful wide-striped things). Black & gold tops and pants, mono or mixed, would be fine — and no pillbox cap either. Just wear a gold domed, black brimmed cap and proper stirrups (not like the 7″ wrong-striped things they’re wearing today).

    • BurghFan | April 6, 2014 at 5:03 pm |

      I’ve always liked the early ’70s Pirate uniforms, and much prefer the Cards’ red caps to the blue. Chacon a son gout.

    • superfly | April 6, 2014 at 8:01 pm |

      Strange inconsistency with the stirrups / socks, if you look at the pic linked below (#2 of 8 in the series) pull over stirrups are striped as follows, from the bottom going up, they go black / white stripe / gold stripe / white stripe / gold, which is incorrect, and if you look at the last guy on the right of the picture, he has what appear to be socks with the stirrups “built in” which go black / white stripe / black stripe / white stripe / gold, which is different from the stirrup, but also incorrect.

      http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2014_04_06_slnmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=wrap&partnerId=LR_wrap#gid=2014_04_06_slnmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=photos

      The proper striping is black / white stripe / black stripe / gold:

      http://exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/uniforms.asp?league=NL&city=Pittsburgh&lowYear=1968&highYear=1977&sort=year&increment=12

      odd that they seemed to have messed that up in 2 different ways, will have to look for some more stirrup / socks pics

      • BurghFan | April 6, 2014 at 8:46 pm |

        One step at a time. I don’t think any version of the Pirates ever wore that kind of striping, but it’s a major improvement over the pajama look.

        • Phil Hecken | April 6, 2014 at 9:04 pm |

          Agreed, Jerry.

          Was having that discussion with some other UWers off the boards today. The stirrups are wrong on many levels (7″ers, wrong stripes) and those who actually blouse their pants can’t do so for shit… but…

          it’s still MILES better than the pajamists…

          We need to remember that probably 90% or more of these player probably never wore stirrups (and I’d venture a minimum of half of them never bloused their trousers) and they grew up in an era when that was not de rigueur. So their reference point is of “old men” wearing those uniforms;

          On the contrary, most (ok, some) of us on these boards are at least as old or close to as old as those players who wore those 72 uniforms, so we grew up thinking the style Roberto affected WAS the norm. It’s probably not as easy to replicate as we might think, especially if one didn’t grow up wearing rups and learning how to properly blouse one’s pants.

          As Jerry says…one step at a time.

        • superfly | April 7, 2014 at 1:52 am |

          “I don’t think any version of the Pirates ever wore that kind of striping,…”

          That’s exactly what I was pointing out, was that not clear? and it’s pic #12 of 18 now, not 2 of 8.

  • Michael Emody | April 6, 2014 at 3:14 pm |

    The Chicago Tribune has a feature listing the 100 best moments of Wrigley Field.
    Many of the highlights don’t include a photo, but there are enough uni-centric pics to be worth a look. I love the photo showing the construction of Weeghmam Park. Horse drawn construction – amazing.

    • Cort | April 6, 2014 at 8:11 pm |

      That Weegham Park photo is remarkable. Thanks for pointing this out!

  • Tenz | April 6, 2014 at 3:51 pm |

    Wow, I love the Bradenton and Myrtle Beach uniforms. Very rare examples of contemporary uniforms that are genuinely to my taste. And many thanks R. Scott for finding so many excellent modern uniforms that avoid the dreaded softball tops (or at least consign them to “alternate” status).

  • Josh | April 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm |

    I thoroughly enjoyed that lead article/story/post. I am excited for part 2 and 3. Yes about nearly anything is better than the Marlins.

  • Willie | April 6, 2014 at 4:48 pm |

    So much for Tommy Lasorda being a Slim-Fast pitchman.

  • shane | April 6, 2014 at 7:40 pm |

    Question for the regular poster folks – I have been out of the uni-watch loop for more than a year so if these Q’s have already been answered in the past pls forgive me!

    Has something happened with Mr.R.P.Marshall? I used to get stirrups from him but I tried to contact him recently for more and I havent heard back. I hope its just a bad email addy but thought i would ask here as you guys always have your finger on the pulse of such details.

    Also, if he’s no longer in the ‘rups bizness, who do you suggest as a reputable source for sports hoisery?

    Thanks in advance, uni-watchers!

    • Phil Hecken | April 6, 2014 at 7:47 pm |

      WelCome back Shane.

      I am not 100% certain if Mr. Marshall is still in the business, but here’s his website and you can reach him via e-mail at rpmarshallart (at) gmail (dot) com

      • shane | April 6, 2014 at 9:36 pm |

        thanks!
        sadly thats the link and addy i have, but got no response to. Bummer, as I love wearing the psychedelic tallsox to the park.

        So i guess i am open to suggestions for other vendors, if anyone has any.

        Its good to be back, I am enjoying catching up on the posts I missed!

        • rpm | April 6, 2014 at 11:51 pm |

          i have looked in my electronic mail device, and see nothing i have ignored from a shane that i have not responded to. are you sure you have the right email?

        • shane | April 7, 2014 at 1:13 am |

          i emailed you at that address, hope it comes thru, glad to hear you are well and still hoisery-abled!

      • shane | April 7, 2014 at 3:18 pm |

        so no reply from Mr.Marshall – I know I got the address right. Ive sent at least three now, all with the address from where I clicked it on the RPMarshallArt website.

        Perhaps he could email me at socomfy (at) knology (dot) net

        I would really appreciate it, I dont know why my mails arent going thru!

  • rebyrnes | April 6, 2014 at 8:11 pm |

    Great job with Sox road uniforms. Ever since the reaction against 70s uniforms and embrace of ‘tradition,’ there has been a tendency to embrace extreme drabness as the highest virtue for road uniforms. The Cards’ blue hats, the A’s crappy gray unis, the Expos and everyone else abandoning powder blue, and the two most recent versions of blue-lettered road Sox jerseys were particularly extreme examples of this. The red accent and piping give the blue letters life, without just lazily making them all red.

    • Mike K | April 7, 2014 at 9:51 am |

      Thanks for the compliment. It has always bugged me that the Red Sox have never carried the red piping over to the away unis.

  • e.lindseyhall | April 6, 2014 at 8:23 pm |

    8:22 EST, Dee Gordon is wearing a superman shirt under his jersey. Visible in his first at bat.

  • bob fridge | April 6, 2014 at 9:53 pm |

    With regards to Troy aikman’s 75th anniversary patch being low in the news ticker. Troy had said that when he took the snap that it was affecting his mechanics to deliver the ball. He asked for permission from the nfl and they granted it to him. Thats the reason why his never matched the rest of the league.

  • Tim | April 6, 2014 at 11:30 pm |

    I would LOVE to see the Hillsboro Hops represented in the King Ralph league, even if only for their home cap logo, as it has to be one of the most unique, and well done in the game. Unfortunately they carry the mark of the beast, but it is located where other manufacturer’s logos usually are, on the sleeve, and that seems to be the only indication. Ballpark Digest awarded them the ‘Best Branded Team in Professional Baseball’ last year. Worth a look, I believe.

  • pilotshatguy | April 6, 2014 at 11:45 pm |

    I came here to say the Fighting Phesants was a bad choice. I don’t hate the uniforms, but they are far from the best in minor/indy ball. Plus, they don’t even exist, as was noted they reverted back to the original SF Canaries a couple years ago.

  • LD | April 7, 2014 at 12:55 am |

    While I appreciate what Kearney came up with for an Alternate BoSox road uni.The blue lettering does not pop as the current red does

    • Mike K | April 7, 2014 at 9:54 am |

      I can see your point, but my reasoning for leaving the “BOSTON” (as well as the player names on the back) blue was to add a bit of depth to the unis. Right now EVERYTHING is in red and in my opinion it makes the uniforms a bit flat.

  • Thresh8 | April 7, 2014 at 11:24 am |

    I know it’s just the littlest nitpick, but can we give some props to the unaffiliated leagues’ names, like the American Association (Saint Paul), Frontier League (Joliet) or Atlantic League (Bridgeport)?

  • Jacob | April 7, 2014 at 9:37 pm |

    The Astros won’t be retiring Oswalt and Berkman’s numbers. They only signed them to one-day contracts, and allowed them to retire together as Astros. They presented them with rocking chairs, stetson hats and framed jerseys from the 05 NL championship team.