Skip to content

League Ralph, Part the Third

King Ralph

By Phil Hecken

I’m back again today with R. Scott Rogers, who last time presented to us the second 10 teams whose uniforms, he feels, could replace those in the current Major Leagues, should those teams ‘disappear’ from the landscape.

If you missed that introductory post, which fully explains the set-up, please click here. Part II is here.

The third and final set of teams will be introduced today, along with Scott’s justification for picking them (by uniform set).

So, without further ado…here ‘s Scott with…

. . . . .

League Ralph – Reconstituting the Big Leagues, Part 3
By R. Scott Rogers

If MLB as we knew it disappeared, how would we reconstitute the big leagues? By finding the 30 lower-level teams with the best uniforms and promoting them to the bigs, of course. Here is the second part of my list of the teams whose uniforms should earn them a shot at playing in the majors. Read parts one and parts two to catch up.

Got a favorite farm or independent club that didn’t make the list? Let us know, and why, in the comments.



Fort Collins Foxes – IND
Different view

A collegiate summer wood-bat team with uniforms good enough to play in the bigs? You bet. The fox-tail underline gives Fort Collins one of the best jersey scripts in the game, and the rest of the uniform keeps things simple to balance. That, the striped stirrups, and the red-and-gold color scheme earns these kids a callup.



Round Rock Express AAA – PCL
Complete uni set

A team that’s just a tad too busy and tweaks their unforms just a tad too often. But unlike, say, the Padres, the Express mostly come out looking at least as good as before their latest unnecessary switcherro as before, so Round Rock makes the cut.



Lexington Legends A – SAL
Complete uni set
With stirrups
Close-up with green cap

Yeah, the whole hipster moustache thing is getting old. But apparently a lot of people still wish they had a pencil-thin moustache, and anyway better the Legends’ green-and-royal stache than the Lake Elsinore Storm’s spooky-eyes thing. (Can the spooky-eyes cap fad be over soon, please? Talking to you, too, Orem Owlz.) Otherwise, a fun, distinctive uniform that makes something out of what has previously been a bit of a staid team identity.



State College Spikes A – NYPL
Alt with mascot

There’s not enough brown in MLB. Not enough quality two-tone jersey scripts, either. The Spikes would solve both problems. The Spikes lately wear too much red for their identity (RFRS?) but as that’s already a plague in MLB, I can’t dock them too many points for it. State College is a bubble team here, but the quality of the basic concept behind the identity and the overall execution of the uniforms earns them a spot.



Billings Mustangs R – PL

Other view:

I’m a sucker for Western-themed team uniforms. A few teams have done it better than the current Mustangs squad (RIP, Houston Colt .45s and Casper Ghosts), but they’re not playing today. The Mustangs are still with us, and so they get a nod. Plus, few minor league teams beside the Toledo Mud Hens have such a rich uni-history for throwback games.



Hillsboro Hops – A NWL
Home and road

More views:

If you like beer, then the Hops are your favorite team rebranding of the last decade. Great concept, even better execution. Plus, the little blue cap the Hops mascot wears, with a white script H? The Hops actually wear that cap with their road uniform. Mascots with caps the team doesn’t wear is my personal #1 uniform pet peeve, so I love love love it when cap mascot wears a cap the team wears in real life. The Hops would make this list for that quirk alone.



Normal Cornbelters – IND

Green and gold are strangely underrepresented in the lower levels of pro ball. But a reconstituted MLB will need a worthy successor to the A’s, and for that we journey to the Corn Crib in central Illinois, home of the Normal Cornbelters. The ‘Belters seem to have switched from a more ornate home script drawn from their logo to a more traditional, Dodgers/Royals/Rangers style of script. A downgrade to me, but I suspect that most will regard it as a step up. Bonus: Quality softball tops in both green and gold.



Mobile BayBears AA – SL
Home with logo

What the hell is a BayBear? When a team looks this good, it doesn’t matter. Everything here, even the blue softball top, is pretty much mocking the Rays, saying, “Hey, Tampa Bay, this is how you do it.”



Spokane Indians A – NWL

So the story goes, the Spokane Indians were in the process of rebranding themselves in 2006 to minimize any reference to Native American imagery when the Spokane Nation contacted them with an offer to lend official support. As a result, the team brought back subtle Indian iconography – and a secondary logo in the Salish language of the Spokane Nation – and pretty much showed the rest of pro sports how to do a native-themed identity. Plus, the classic styling, prominent red (less common in MiLB than in the big leagues right now) and subtly unique red-navy-sky-tan colors give Spokane all-around uni excellence.



New Orleans Zephyrs AAA – PCL

A plain but well-executed uniform for the Zephyrs, who happily have dropped an incongruous beaver mascot in favor of a more abstract fleur-de-lis identity. A big ol’ Z shouldn’t look good on a cap, but the Zephyrs make it work. And the NOLA alternate is a nice touch, sort of the jersey equivalent of the Twins’ TC cap. Really the only problem I have with the Zephyrs is their NOZ road cap, but it seems they rarely if ever actually wear it.


Honorable Mentions

Boise Hawks – A (crappy new unis)
View with numbers
Another view, because awesome

Classic Grays/Cards style piping, rendered in green and red with a brilliant gold script and one of the most interesting cap logos in baseball? Busy, yes, but still somewhere close to perfection. So naturally, in 2013 the team took a sledgehammer to their uniforms and went all Marlins on them. The new Hawks uniforms are, well, they’re interesting. Innovative. Not nearly as terrible as most seem to believe, but not anywhere near making the cut for promotion to the big leagues.


2010 Lake County Captains A (downgraded unis)

Used to have one of the great jersey scripts in pro ball, as well as one of the best-ever mascot caps. Then, like so many minor-league teams in recent years, someone in the front office said, “Fun? Screw fun. What we need is less character and generic, blocky script.” I don’t know who started the contemporary jihad against whimsy, but few teams have suffered as dearly as the Captains.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thanks, Scott! Great set of duds for Part the Third. Huge thanks for undertaking this little exercise — it’s been educational as well as fun.

Readers? What say you? Anything to add?

Green Line

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 XI which is the second article here. You can also visit the Lewis & Clark homepage for more information and updates.

Yesterday we revealed the ninth set of concepts for the “Travelers” (you can still submit for the Voyagers [deadline 4/30] and the Rivermen [deadline 5/7]). And today, we’ll reveal the twelfth (and final) team for concepting.

If you missed yesterday’s post, which revealed the readers submissions for the “Travelers,” 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:

. . . . .

When the Dust Settles
By Ross Clites

The last team in the LCBL portfolio is the Settlers. Play around with the color scheme but avoid going full Colorado Rockies. Also, shy away from the temptation of a covered wagon. It may be the first image that pops into the mind when free associating “Settlers” but remember that Lewis and Clark’s expedition was hardly the Oregon Trail. Stick to the themes of the time and you will be just fine.This is your last chance to be a part of the design process, so play that ace you’ve kept up your sleeve. Pick that certain animal that needs to be a part of the LCBL that hasn’t been represented yet. Go big since the contest is going home.

. . .


With this post, the last ball is now in play. Next week the final 2014 franchise, the Voyagers, will be put to a vote. From there the bow will be tied on this contest. We will spend some time tidying up where we have been, what uniforms will be ordered for the upcoming 2014 season, announce all the winners, and reveal the iconic looks for future Lewis & Clark Baseball League seasons to come. The voting for the River Men and Settlers — being 2015 expansion teams with no urgency — will be revealed with lesser pomp and circumstance.

Once again, we thank all that have participated on both ends of this unique Uni Watch experience. The submissions have been professional and the feedback has been tremendous. I hope y’all enjoyed this experiment. I have laid out all the preliminary aesthetics on my desktop and I could not be happier with the outcome. Uni Watch should be in for a real visual treat when the big reveal occurs in the coming weeks; even more so when the uniforms return from production and the first on-field pictures surface.

No winners to announce from last week’s vote; we will withhold that information for a bigger splash in an upcoming weekend’s post. Thanks again and good luck.

~ ~ ~

Thanks, Ross!

Green Line

all sport uni tweaks

Uni Tweaks Concepts

We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.

So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.

Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.

Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.

And so, lets begin:


First up today is William McComas, who has some thoughts on a new Cav’s uni:

76cavswhite - William McComas

76cavsblack - William McComas

76cavsgrey - William McComas

Hey Phil,

I’ve been following Uni-Watch for quite some time, and have been particularly fond of the Uni Tweeks Section. For years I have been a huge fan of the Cavaliers 76 Era Throwbacks, but have been clamoring for someone to make a white version of those unis, so, I am submitting my desings for a white, gray, and black version of the jersey. Not the best work, but hey, it should do the trick. Keep up the good work!

Scott McComas in Cleveland, Ohio

. . .

Next up is Paul Lee who tweaked his Heat tweak:

Heat tweak(1) - Paul Lee


A re-tweaked Heat jersey.

Paul Lee

. . .

And we close today with Mike Brandofino who has some new logos for the New York Football Jets:

NewJetsHelmet - Mike Brandofino

new jets helmet 2 - Mike Brandofino

NewJetsLogos - Mike Brandofino


I love the Uni Tweaks that are posted occasionally, so I figured I would challenge myself to come up with a new logo for the Jets. The challenge was to incorporates an actual Jet back into their logo. Well, through the process I began to realize why they may have decided to let go of the jet imagery”¦it is extremely hard to incorporate a jet into the logo without it looking ultra lame/cheesy. I decided to modify the Winnipeg Jets logo to fit the NY Jet branding since it was the “coolest” example of jet imagery in a logo I could find. I kind of like the results logo wise, but I don’t necessarily love it on a helmet. Please take a look at the mock-ups I have created. I also added a light green color to the logo as an accent. I think that color could look cool incorporated into the uni as well, especially as a chrome face mask.

Thanks again for all you do for Uni-Watch, it has been a go-to site of mine for several years now and I love it!


. . .

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

Green Line

Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: Are there actually catchers in MLB who don’t wear a cup? Apparently so (via TommytheCPA). … The SF Giants commemorated Duane Kuiper’s only MLB homer with bobblehead night (which Brinke attended — more photos here and here). Apparently it was pretty cold. Also, Kuiper didn’t hit his lone home run as a Giant — he was with Cleveland (but is a Giants’ broadcaster). … We can never have too many photographs of Dick Allen with his “WAMPUM” NOB, can we? No we can’t (via Sully @pal3327). … It took almost a month, but the Braves finally broke out their flag desecration jerseys last night (h/t Clint Richardson). Here’s how they look on the field (more photos here). … A very small but subtle change has taken place to the Houston Astros’ orange cap logos — last year the blue star was solid blue, but this year it’s two-tone, giving it the appearance of depth (h/t to Ryan Dunsmore). … Check out this adorable photo tweeted at me by Justin McKissick, who wrote “ready for his 1st ever t-ball game, doing my part to teach him the important parts of the game.” Awesome. … The Oklahoma State Cowboys wore their all orange uniforms yesterday (via Andrew Wooley). … Are those merit decals (a/k/a pride stickers) on WVU’s helmets, asks Coleman Mullins. … “I love the University of Nebraska at Kearney Baby Blue jerseys,” says Jason Johnson. “Just wish they would get off the camo bandwagon.” … The giveaway at Shea CitiField last night was a Mets batting helmet with an orange squatchee! (thanks, Terence Kearns). … Troy Tulowitzki’s “Jeter fandom is well documented, tho I don’t believe I’ve seen him wear a Jeter wrist band before,” writes Philip Dauria.

College Football News: The Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks in Flagstaff, Arizona, unveiled a new logo and uniforms for their athletic department, notes alumnus Jason (no last name given). “I’m biased but I think it’s an improvement from their previous set. I’m a big fan of the NAU logo inside the axe. Full press release and galleries here. That was also sent in by Tim Tribou, who is also an alum. … Interesting article on chinstrap security here (thanks to TommytheCPA). … At their spring practice yesterday, the MSU Spartans wore a “B1G Champs” patch (more here).

Basketball News: Here’s an interesting Esquire article, “Is NBA Style Redefining Masculinity?”, Fashion and the NBA – Basketball Pros Redefine Black Masculinity Via Fashion Choices (sent in by TommytheCPA). It weighs a bit heavily on race (but the NBA is 78% black), but it’s a good read.

Hockey News: “Last week you had a link to old hockey videos, Blades and Brass, there was another video link on that page to Just Another Job,” writes Rick King. “It is about the creation of the Nordiques. At 13 minutes into the video the artist who created the uniforms shows his ideas and the changes.”

Soccer News: “Huddersfield’s Adam Clayton has taken football beards to another level,” writes Lee Wilds. I think in this instance, I would have to wholeheartedly agree. … What’s this? If you guessed Columbus Crew member Dominic Oduro with a slice of pizza on the side of his head, you win a prize.

Grab Bag: For everyone not named Bruce Menard: are you a vintage sports photograph collector? Then this auction may be for you — over 1,000 vintage sports photos there (big thanks to Chris Flinn). … I’m not sure if we’ve seen this particular “food chart” before, but here’s a 1875 Pork Map of the United States (sent in by Kurt Esposito). … “SURE these were uniforms!” writes Bob Kyle, as he sent in this Playboy Bunny uniform retrospective. … Very cool submission from Leo Strawn, Jr., who says, “A few clubs have taken part in the annual AFL indigenous round in years past, but this year, for the first time, all 18 clubs will have a special jumper designed to wear. Melbourne Demons jumper is featured in the story on that link. Geelong Cats design looks simply horrible.”

Green Line

OK, folks — that will do it for today. Thanks to R. Scott for the lede, Ross for the final contest submission, the concepters for their concepts, and the ticker submitters for their submissions. You guys have a great day.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“I guess I just don’t have a moral issue with taking someone else’s work, improving it, and calling it your own. I mean, look at the legendary Led Zeppelin.”
–THE Jeff Provo

Comments (36)

    RE. New Orleans Zephyrs:

    I too used to think the logo was an “incongruous beaver” until my cab driver from the ballpark laughed and explained that it was a nutria, being a large rodent native to the bayous notable mainly for it’s orange teeth. (Check out a close up.) As for the alt fleur de lis logo, that’s another New Orleans tradition. The Saints use a straight up fleur, the Hornets had what they called a “fleur de bee” and the Zephyr’s version with the bat in the center is called their “fleur de Z.” One final note, while they inherited the name Zephyrs from their previous home in Denver, the same cab driver explained that the Zephyr was the favorite roller coaster at the defunct Lake Ponchartrain amusement park. Thus, the short time the Z’s were a Mets farm club, that made them the only big league ball club with two teams in their system named for amusement park roller coaster rides, the other being the Brooklyn Cyclones. That may have been a truly unique stat of affairs.

    Thanks RB,

    Always was curious about the Zephyr origin story. Baseball savvy cabbie.

    The Denver Zephyrs, BTW, were named after a passenger train from the golden age of rail. The train itself was named after the west wind. A bit sad to see that the team lost green as a color.

    Awesome info – thanks!

    My real problem with the old Zephyrs rodent logo wasn’t so much the incongruity of the animal, and by incongruity I didn’t mean “why a beaver for New Orleans” but “why a rodent for the Zephyrs,” but that I just didn’t think it was well designed or rendered. Take the cap logo:


    Much too much fine detail, and the design fails to settle on either a baseline or a vertical axis to unify the elements, and there’s a terrible clash of realism and abstraction within and between the elements of the logo.

    For the Columbus fans out there, the Zephyrs are the anti-clippers for me. The Clippers of a decade ago had one of my all-time favorite baseball uniforms at any level. Since then, they’ve subjected their uniforms to the death of a thousand cuts, making almost annual tweaks to one or another element until today they have some of the absolute ugliest logos and uniforms in the game. (Affiliating with the Nats seems to have started the downward spiral.) A shame, because the Clippers are a great franchise that deserves uniforms good enough to make a list like this.

    Just one more bit about nutria-

    They are not native to the bayous. Nutria are an invasive species. They were brought to Louisiana during the 1940s because it was believed that they’d be a boon for the fur trade in the area. In reality, people didn’t want fur items made from creatures most see as “rats” (although they technically aren’t rats).

    With the failure of the nutria experiment, most of the animals were released into the wild. They now menace the marshlands by eating the grasses and plants that provide natural protection for our area against hurricanes.

    From a “uni” sense, though, never a great mascot. The inclusion of the nutria to the Zephyrs brand allowed the team to have a “mascot” to walk around. First, it was “Boudreaux”, a male nutria in a baseball uniform. Then “Clotille” was introduced. In true minor league baseball fashion, they were “married” at the ballpark.

    And you’ll notice the Pelicans now have their own fleur de lis (fleur de p?) logo…

    Exactly, I suspect people think that because he reacted in pain he’s not wearing a cup, but that’s ridiculous. Wearing a cup doesn’t make getting hit there feel like nothing.

    The three installments of the King Ralph league did a good job of showcasing several great uniform sets, but there are a few that I would’ve liked to see on the list.

    -Beloit Snappers. They went with a traditional look a few years back, and that deep green really looks nice; especially on their road unis. link

    -Charlotte Stone Crabs. It’s definitely a play on the parent club Rays, but I think it works great. link

    -Stockton Ports. One of the few contrasting-sleeve unis that really works. (honorable mention to the Brooklyn Cyclones) link

    Does “play around with the color scheme” include altering the type of purple, say more of a bright violet instead of the dark plum, for better contrast with the black?

    I think Ross is just acknowledging the obvious — purple and black is a really shitty combination.

    Oh, it looks OK up close. Actually, up close it can look really good, but from any distance, it’s just not appealing at all.

    So maybe he’s saying the designers should feel free to use a tertiary color that does provide some good contrast.

    The Wildcats of Northwestern University and the Baltimore Ravens don’t know WTF you’re talking about. Purple and black is a perfectly fine color scheme.

    I was disappointed when the Denver Zephyrs moved to NOLA for a few reasons. I am a bit of a railroad geek and was a big fan of the historic Zephyr trains ran by the Burlington Route. While the roller coaster tie-in works it would have been cool to see them in other Zephyr destination locations such as Texas, California, Nebraska but those markets are tapped out.

    For a limited time only. An unnamed NY-Penn league team will be moving to Morgantown, West Virginia in 2015. While it isn’t set in stone that the team will be Jamestown, all signs (particularly the PDC with Pittsburgh) indicate that it will be. I highly doubt that it will be the Morgantown Jammers, so buy those caps while you can.

    I left off a number of teams with one or two excellent elements – great caps, or jerseys, or logo – but whose total package didn’t hold up for me. Jammers and the Stone Crabs among them; both among my favorite caps in the minors, but the rest of their elements just don’t hold up for me. “For me” being the important thing there.

    For the first time in a while, the Rockies have brought back the link. I’m hoping that the drubbing experienced in them last night will relegate them to somewhere at the back of the equipment room.

    The Legends’ cream-colored uni looks pretty nice, but the caps and alternate jerseys make the set one of the biggest downgrades in sports history and a true embarrassment for all involved. The “old caps were awesome. The mustache hat is clearly silly, but I could live with it as a gimmicky alternate. The LEX caps are astoundingly stupid and ugly.

    Tulo has been wearing the Jeter Jordan wristband since the start of the season and the catcher is wearing a cup; its just that Goldschmitt’s bat actually hits his mitt, so that its out of position once the ball gets there; thus hitting him.

    Thanks Chris for the Bruce Menard photos.

    I found this interesting Otto Graham at Northwestern one with helmet and odd facemask


    Looks like Donald Sterling’s most recent racial fiasco has taken a Uni Watching turn. Players warming up with their warmups inside-out.

    Addendum: The Clippers dropped all their blue jackets at center court, revealing those red either inside-out Clippers warmups or solid red official-for-the-NBA Adidas undergarments. Objective: as few CLIPPERS logos as possible, and as non-visible as possible. In addition, everybody had a black sweatband on the left wrist, and black socks.

    R. Scott, C’MON MAN! I thought you said the Columbus Clippers would make an appearance this week! Hahaha, let’s go Clips! And be Clips I mean the Clippers team NOT owned by a racist

    Like I said above, I wanted to include the Clippers, and if they still looked like they did in, say, 2005, they’d have been literally the first team I chose for the final 30. But right now, today? They’re one of my handful of least-favorite-looking teams in professional baseball. Honestly, the Clippers today don’t even pass my basic “do they look better than the Marlins?” test. Alas, because they’re one of my favorite MiLB franchises. But tastes differ, and even if I don’t like their uniforms, if any team deserves actual promotion to the bigs on the basis of the quality of the franchise and its fans, Columbus would be right there at the top of my list.

    OK everybody, I’m saying this only half jokingly but I can’t be the only one to notice this and point it out. I love (most of) the submissions for every one of the Lewis & Clark Uniform Design Contests. Week after week I’ve looked forward to seeing what everyone has come up with and despite my weekly eye rolls at the fact that there will be at least 1 White Sox Beach Blanket and 1 Tequila Sunrise look somewhere in the mix the rest are all usually really good.

    But please tell me I’m not the only one that noticed that a design contest on a site filled with a majority hating “softball” tops and wanting white at home and gray on the road that this contest has had very few gray road uniforms. Just about every submission has been white at home and a team color top on the road with or without an additional “softball” top alternate thrown in. Personally I like the white home, gray road, “softball” top rotations because I like seeing the additional colors. But I’m stunned at the small amount of gray road uniforms I’ve seen in this contest. If anything I would’ve bet it went the other way and the “softball” tops would be the one that was hardly seen.

    Many college baseball teams have uniforms that would fit the premise of the “League Ralph” posts. This might be a way of continuing this enjoyable idea. The thing about college baseball is many teams seem to add a new set each year while continuing to wear two or three older sets which can create an inconsistent look.

    I was thinking about the “League Ralph” series last night as I was watching Tennessee on ESPN3 and found myself loving the Vol’s link They have another awesome set they wear with the tequila sunrise uni’s, which I believe was posted here a few weeks ago.

    Finding photos of college baseball games can be challenging. It’s a low priority at most sites.

    If a player on my team showed up with a slice of pizza on the side of his head, he wouldn’t leave the bench. We play for the name on the front, not the one on that back.

    Idaho Falls Chukars (PL) has a nice set of pinstripes with an AWFUL number font. Their greys I think are good and their red softball tops need something other than screen print because the white letters become pink after a few washes. They do wear their pants high cuffed! which is a plus. Love their hat (well their 2012 hat with just the Chukar head). The one throwing the ball is okay, not as good.

    Not crazy about the Braves new red jerseys, but they will be auctioned off so the proceeds can be given to the wounded warrior project. Interesting that these jerseys do not have tomahawks on them. The Braves are wearing their Hank Aaron patch on the right sleeve on all their jerseys (white/cream/grey/navy/and red) – I think because they’re wearing the flag patch on the left sleeve of the red jerseys.

    Watching ASU-Arizona and noticed ASU’s stirrups not only feature pitchforks but also player numbers.

Comments are closed.