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Rainbows and Tridents and Stars … Oh My!

Astros & Mariners1 - 550

By Phil Hecken

Yesterday we were treated to TWO special throwback games — the Houston Astros and host Seattle Mariners turned the clock back thirty-five years, to that magical year of 1979. As you can see above, the Mariners wore their 1979 uniforms, featuring the iconic trident cap and pullover/sansabelt uniforms. 1979 was also the first year Seattle hosted the All Star game. I wrote about that a few years ago. The Astros wore their own iconic uniforms from 1979, the infamous “Tequila Sunrise” uniforms (also referred to by many other names, including “Rainbows”).

Also, yesterday, the host Detroit Tigers, and their opponents, the Texas Rangers, played in their annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game (it’s the 20th such game they’ve played). In that game, the Tigers wore the throwback uniforms of the Detroit Stars and the Rangers played as the Ft. Worth Texas Black Panthers. While much is known of the storied history of the Detroit Stars (and the Tigers have worn Stars throwbacks often), there really isn’t much information on professional black baseball in Texas (although that linked article tells some). We’ll get to the Tigers (Stars) and Rangers (Black Panthers) in a moment.

As a quick aside, yesterday I was at my summer place, and the Internet there is always spotty, at best, but yesterday it was out for several hours — as such, this is going to be a much shorter write up than I’d originally planned. I had hoped to follow along with both games, and get feedback from some contacts who were at the games. On Friday, I was able to speak with Kevin Martinez, who works in the Mariners Marketing Department, and yesterday he graciously was able to point me towards Nathan Rauschenberg, who works with Kevin. Nathan sent me some beautiful, hi-res images (a couple I’ll link to below, the rest I’ll post as a flickr set), which were taken by Ben VanHouten.

If you’d like to read about the genesis of this game, here’s the Mariners press release. Now for some photos from the game (click on any images below to enlarge):





Unfortunately, I didn’t see any of the game (or even highlights), but it appears both teams have done a pretty good job of replicating the originals. Nathan, in sending the photos to me, noted, “the all-stirrups look for the Mariners””some but not all of the Astros participated with that as well.” Every photo that I saw from the game showed the Astros going high-cuffed, but I will certainly take Nathan’s word that not every Astro played along. And, as seems to be the case more and more with these throwback games, the Astros wore black cleats, while the 1979 Astros sported white ones.

Here’s a few photos of the helmets, and from the field and the scoreboard — Kevin told me they were attempting to replicate the old Kingdome’s look (where the Mariners played in 1979) as closely as possible:



_Q9U4985-001 _Q9U4994-001


Pretty nice, huh? The Mariners batting helmets in 1979, as you may have noticed, featured a white front panel with a star behind it (which differed from their solid cap), and was the first year of that (previously the helmet was solid blue) — they’d wear that style until 1982. The reason they wore the different helmet? With Seattle hosting the All Star Game in 1979, the team decided to put the Game’ logo on their helmets. Pretty neat, eh?

As of 1:15 am (my time), there were 17 photos sent to me. If any more become available throughout the day, I’ll upload and post a link to them. But here’s the entire set from Ben. You can also view some much lower res photos of the game here.

. . .

The Negro League tribute game was, as most are, a beaut. Detroit wore the pinstriped home version of the Stars’ unis (which they have worn before):

Detroit Texas Throwbacks2

Detroit Texas Throwbacks14

Detroit Texas Throwbacks19

The Rangers (who wore their normal batting helmets) were dressed in gray uniforms that I can only assume were replicas of the Black Panthers:

Detroit Texas Throwbacks21

Detroit Texas Throwbacks20

Detroit Texas Throwbacks13

I liked the “Black Panthers” uniforms. It was a simple gray, with sleeve and placket piping, and the classic dark pocket flap that seemed common to Negro League uniforms. The Tigers didn’t say much about the uniforms worn by the Rangers, but you can read more about the whole tribute (it’s a three-day weekend tribute) in this Tigers press release.

There are lots more photos in this flickr set I prepared.

I wish I had been able to see either (or both) of yesterday’s games, because I’m sure even the photos don’t do the games justice. Good thing there are several more special games coming up over the course of the season.

Big thanks (again) to the Mariners crew for hooking me up with those beautiful photos!


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 Alan Filipczak, who has a fairly interesting and intricate proposal, the bulk of which I’ll link in his writeup (make sure you click on the link below):

Biloxi Barley2 - Alan Filipczak

Biloxi Barley1 - Alan Filipczak

Hello Phil,

I’m a long-time reader and occasional contributor to Uni-Watch. I’ve attached package of items that I put together in reference to the new Double-A minor league baseball franchise that will begin play in Biloxi, Mississippi in 2015.

Please review my article and images, and let me know if it is something that would be deemed Uni-Watch worthy.



. . .

Next up is Brian (no last name given) with a concept for the Cleveland Browns:

Browns Uni3 -  Brian

Uni Watch,

Because I fear the radical change coming, I offer my own less dramatic change. Matte orange helmet, striped socks, shadowed numbers


. . .

And we close today with John C. Brubaker who has a reworking of the San Diego Padres:

Padres Brown_All - John Brubaker


Wanted to forward my Padres uniform redesign. No more dorky ocean motifs, no shampoo bottle graphic design-y Padres wordmark, no poser Navy Blue, definitely no “sand.” No identity crisis. Just the original colors, brown and mustard.

The home wordmark is based on the old PCL uniform and also the ones they wore in the mid-70s. The SD logo is the one they used before adding the horrible sharp edges, you know, just because they felt like it. The brown used here is a bit darker than the brown the Padres have used in the past. It creates a more striking, cleaner look. Mustard is used as an accent to prevent PTSD from the old all-mustard look.

John Brubaker

. . .

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


FO Hed

French Open…2014

[Ed. Note: I inadvertently ran this piece last Sunday — but the French Open starts TODAY. Brinke’s updated with some new info as well — so enjoy. –PH]

It’s that time of year again — tennis season. Well, it’s pretty much always tennis season (they play almost 12 months of the year) — but it’s the time of the year when they play three majors (French Open, Wimbledon, U.S. Open) in the span of a just a few months and for a couple of days, anyway, people pay attention to the sport.

So today, I’m again joined by my doubles partner, Brinke, who’ll give us the rundown of the new looks (and more) for the…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2014 French Open
By Brinke Guthrie

Time for the tennis Grand Slam season to really get rolling, with the French Open starting today, Wimbledon in a month, and then the US Open three months from today. Nadal has won this event every year except for one since 2005- a truly legendary performance. Did I say legendary? Why, yes I did.

Let’s see what the other big guys are wearing on court.

• Nike, as usual, dominates. Serena and Maria’s stuff is here: Azarenka isn’t playing due to injury. Roger Federer’s look is here.

• Novak Djokovic will wear this from Uniqlo. Has anyone been to one of these places? They just opened up by my house- they carry sizes like, um, XS, S, M, and L. Do they realize the US market is a physically a little bigger than Japan? Memo to Uniqlo Dudes: I was past size L in high school!

• Jo-Wilfried Tsonga carries the weight of France on his shoulders, which is considerable — ask Yannick Noah. Tsonga cannot win this event as long as Nadal has a pulse, but he is one of the rare players who will actually wear a classic look polo, from Adidas.

• Olive green and lime from Adidas, for Andy Murray. Olive green…and LIME. Erp.

• Really like the Adidas cobalt/teal/orange for Ana Ivanovic. Same for Woz, who most likely won’t have Rory McIlroy in her entourage.

• David Ferrer’s Lotto shirt looks like a heckler tossed some paint on him. Maybe that was the look they were going for, anyway. Shoes to match are here.

• Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg take to the practice courts >with Google Glass, and the effect is a bit disorienting.

Classic Old School Italian Line News:

• Fila rolls out a new Heritage Line for their players. And Ellesse (pronounced “L-S”) has a new campaign going featuring their new signees, Tommy Haas and Elina Svitolina.

. . .

Thanks, Brinke!


Uni Watch News Ticker:

Not a lot of ticker submissions (and that’s not all that surprising, given that it’s a “holiday” weekend). So it’s old school style ticker today:

Rays 3B coach Tom Foley is wearing Don Zimmer’s #66 jersey (from Mike Edgerley). … “Even USA T&F is going BFBS at the world relay champs!” exclaims Kenton Hagan. “What is Nike thinking? An international champs event and we can’t stick to the red, white, and blue? … San Francisco 49er’s draftee Carlos Hyde posted a picture on his Instagram of him wearing a visor with the 49er’s logo on it (nice spot by John Alexander). … Check out the old school UNM basketball photos, sent in by “JBird”. “Found at my local Tux Shop hanging on their wall.” … Couple old baseball jersey (beauties!) sent in by Bruce Menard: This 1950’s Rikers Island Nutcrackers (listing) and this 1930’s Wolf’s My Clothier Game Worn Flannel (listing). Of the last one, Bruce says, “Awesome clock patch on the back!” … Apparently, there are war helmets in the San Francisco Giants’ clubhouse (thanks, Brinke). … “A little while back I bought the hat in the attached picture because I had never come across such a retro design. … (W)hen I saw that the tag on the inside said ‘Sample Not For Sale” and it was, in fact, for sale, I decided I would,” says Jeff Matus. “Also, I didn’t know what the BPC stood for and figured I would just look it up when I got home but I have been almost completely unsuccessful with that. The only relevant BPC that I have come across is Battery Park City but I haven’t found anything about a baseball team there. Would you or your people know what the BPC stands for?” Anyone know? … Here’s a video of the five most memorable baseball jerseys of the 2014 College baseball season (thanks to Tim Dunn) — and 4 of those 5 may be memorable, but that doesn’t make them good. … Brewers team up on beer to help military families (from TommyTheCPA). … There have been a bunch of vintage baseball movies recently released on the Internets, so forgive me if this one, sent in by Frank Mercogliano has already been posted: 1917 World Series game one: The Chicago White Sox versus the New York Giants from Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois. Says Frank, “Not sure which is cooler to see….a Play-o-Graph type machine in action at the end of the video, or John McGraw’s killer sweater!” … Check out this unopened bobble head of Brian Urlacher (h/t “JBird”). … Check out the all orange uniforms (and sweet stirrups) of the Huntington Beach Oilers! More on that here. … Yesterday’s ticker featured a picture of colored sanis. Kevin Wright saw that and wanted us to know that Florida (sometimes) wears orange sannies with their blue throwback stirrups. … Our own Jim Vilk is VERY upset that the Chihuahuas’ cap was voted best in MiLB. … Anthony Nuccio Spotted this at the Kohl’s in Lake Zurich, Illinois — USA Soccer and adidas??? … Michael Kinney writes, “I know how much you love Memorial Day and how it is miscelebrated around the country. How about this sign on the video board at the Reds game tonight? They can’t even spell heroes correctly. Remember kids…not all soldiers are heroes, and not all heroes are soldiers.” Amen. … Ooooohhhh – check out these 1960 American Football League Custom Bobbleheads Nodders (from Leo Strawn, Jr.). The butt fumble jersey generates more than pocket change (thanks, Brinke). … And finally — does MLB have too many logos? Vincent Delestrée says, “Do you think it is a Major League Baseball game you’re watching? 7 logos in on argument.”


That’s all for today, kids. Be sure to check back in tomorrow, though, because Paul has something really special and you’ll want to see. OK? OK!

Everyone else have a great Sunday, and remember what we’re really remembering on Memorial Day, ok? The day isn’t about parades and barbeques and sales, and it surely isn’t about wearing camo — but MLB will anyway. Try to enjoy that. I’ll catch you next weekend.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“Wearing 1984 throwbacks not once, not twice but THRICE against the Cubs? That’s a straight-up troll move. Fuck the Padres”
–James T. Huening

Comments (40)

    Wow — the Rangers’ throwbacks look like real flannels!

    No maker’s mark on them. Anyone know who made them?

    On the Astros not going high-cuffed last night, I was told they had stirrups available to wear for the game but they were not mandatory. I would guess the two Astros (I saw) not high-cuffed decided to not wear them. Love the look of both the Astros and M’s…though they looked way brighter then they originally did.

    Phil, quick correction, the Mariners played in the Kingdome, not the Astros. Astros played at the Astrodome.

    That was quick, as soon as I typed it I looked and it was fixed. Nice job.

    Those M’s throwbacks, are probably one of my favorite from that era. The Astros, were always number one for me.

    Best throwback detail of the day has to be those Mariners batting helmets. I loved that helmet and always wished they’d put that design on a cap – make the white panel similar to the old Padres hat.

    Matus mystery hat solved….the logo on question is 1908-1909 Pirates….he’s got the order wrong…it stands for “Pittsburgh Baseball Club”:….scroll down on this page

    Yup, that’s correct. Also, it was strictly used as a logo on the jersey/jacket sleeve, I don’t believe it was ever worn on a cap.

    That’s what we call them down here in Houston. I’d say only 10% of our fanbase refers to them as “Tequila Sunrise” primarily.

    I just don’t understand why Majestic can never get the Astros wordmark correct on the rainbow guts. They consistently use the font from the rainbow sleeves from the late 80s instead of the font that was actually worn on the rainbow guts. They’re wrong on the replicas they sell in retail, too.

    Also wish the Astros would buy those orange helmets from the Mariners for use during the Saturday home games when they wear orange caps. Ridiculous that the Astros don’t have helmets that are an extension of whatever cap they’re wearing on a given day. They also violate that by not wearing orange-brimmed helmets on the road.

    Outside of all of that griping, both teams looked pretty sharped.

    For as fun and innovative as those Astros uniforms were, the club seemed to be conservative when it came to the road version. The road version should have kept the rainbow pattern, but substituted black for white everywhere else, from the pants to the jersey, and the word “Houston” should have been in white across the top, replacing “Astros”.

    Because of the large percentage of the rainbow colors, especially on the jersey, having black on the road wouldn’t have been the heat factor it would normally have been for another club who either wore a black monochrome(like the White Sox or Pirates from that era)

    While not all soldiers are heroes, enough of them are that we can salute them. The Reds’ typo is unfortunate and embarrassing, But the sentiment is spot-on and appreciated, especially during this weekend.

    Thank you, Reds!

    My sentiments exactly. The Reds video board operator misspelled “heroes?” Oh the humanity!

    Happy Memorial Day

    Was grooving on the tequila sunrises so much in jersey form part of me forgot that they had a three-color stripe down the pants leg.

    As someone who remembers (and mourns) how the Expos “throwback” was issued in grey rather than sky blue, I love when repros are not toned down.

    The 1917 WS footage shows the Giants in their fuchsia-billed caps and gray roads with fuchsia lettering and fuchsia trim sox. It’s hard to make out those details unless you look closely at the stills they have provided in full size. I still can’t see the plaid pattern, though (although I trust Okkonen on that since he was able to pick that fuchsia lettering out on those gray unis, and probably had better photos for reference than stills from a grainy film).

    Amazing stuff! Had never seen those outside of his database/book on baseball uni history, and had I not been aware of them, I would never have picked that out upon first glance at the footage.

    The still where you can see the lettering and hose trim is amongst the ones of the Giants pitcher warming up on the mound. After looking again, I think I can almost make out the plaid, but it could just be that I want to, therefore I do, but you can see the faint trim on the sox and the faint NEW YORK on his jersey front if you look closely.

    The Astros and Padres not wearing the period-appropriate white shoes is a bit irritating (the White Sox switch to red shoes when they wear their 1983 approximations). What takes away more from the effort is the cut of the uniform. Those uniforms look better with a tighter cut, and players these days simply don’t wear their uniforms that way.

    It wasn’t a perfect throwback. But it was perfectly awesome.

    I wouldn’t want every team to go back to 1979, but if these two teams (and the Rays) were to do it permanently, I’d be extremely pleased. And the Padres need to go back to those ’84 uniforms full-time.

    Unlike Phil, I DID watch the game (as I do most Mariners games in this part of the woods) and can tell you the M’s played like they were in a 1979 time warp. They lost a lot of games in those duds, and seldom looked very good doing so.

    Wish they would bring back those Pilots throwbacks they wore for a game a few years ago. Now that was a cool uniform.

    “Wish they would bring back those Pilots throwbacks they wore for a game a few years ago.”

    Those belong to the Milwaukee MLB team’s history; only they should dress in them.

    hold the phone, is no one else except for me concerned that the Astros got away with wearing WHITE on the ROAD? Or did they always do that in that era, as shown in the photo of them at Dodger Stadium also wearing white? What’s the deal there? Teams are aloud to wear white on the road???

    I’m pretty sure they did that originally, but in any case it’s kinda awesome isn’t it? Colored baseball jerseys look so much better with white pants than with gray.

    That uniform was so different, they didn’t need a gray or alternate one. They wore the same thing home and away for years.

    “…no one else except for me concerned that the Astros got away with wearing WHITE on the ROAD?”


    James, er, Jim and THE both got it correct — they wore the tequila sunrise unis both home and road. There were several teams in the 70’s and 80’s who wore white pants on the road — top of my head, As. Astros and Giants, and I’m sure there were others as well (I think Cubs did too when they wore their blue tops on the road).

    In fact, if teams today insist on wearing the softball tops, they may as well wear their white pants with them, since in most cases (the Mets being the exception, albeit a shitty one — because their road royal attempts to match the gray from their road pants) the softball top goes MUCH better with white pants than gray.

    The Astros, after they jettisoned their rainbow guts tops (moving to rainbow sleeve stripes), actually wore a very light cream/gray uniform that was identical to their home, and was only subtly different from their home uniform. It was virtually impossible to tell the home from the road version.

    Oh, one more thing about that 1917 WS video:

    The Giants sox are gray (darker than their road pants, see link below), not white, as Okkonen/NBHoF has in the database.



    Not sure if he’s on the list, Victor Martinez of the Tigers wears that mizuno belt also. Fox sports detroit got a good shot of it in the bottom of the 3rd after his double.

    Do these throwbacks look brighter to us because we’re comparing them to old photographs or are they actually brighter than the originals?

    I watched the whole Astros game, and I’d say at least half, if not more, of the guys did wear stirrups. I was kind of pleased, because in the past, it was usually just 1-3 outliers that really did it. But you had the starter, Oberholtzer, Altuve, Springer (the big star of the night, 2 HR) and a bunch of other guys wearing them. It was an improvement.

    The black and orange cleats though…yeah…

    RE KOHL’S TEE: I’m no lawyer, but if addidas doesn’t use any official USA SOCCER logos then NIKE & USAS have nothing to worry about. They should be able to sell a tee cheering on U.S. SOCCER.

    This happens a lot. adidas wants in on the business, so they try marketing it too. Various stores, online or in store, carry numerous products of “US soccer” with different brands (popular or not).

    I still say the Cardinals are looking so much better in the navy tonight than they do in the red on the road.

    Also I finally got to see the new A’s green alt in action. Can’t say I’m a fan of that or the new road hat. The previous look for both was so much better!!!

    The Milb hat contest was far from a fair representation of what people would vote for the best minor league cap.It was battle style ( x v.s. o ) and the system would often generate the same cap multiple times in a “battle” before you would even see a fresh cap.So those mad about El Pasos victory are justly so

    Follow-up on the USA Soccer shirt by Adidas at Kohl’s. One thing really stuck out and that is the soccer ball that is pictured on the front of the shirt. That is the design of the ball,Questra, that was used in the 1994 World Cup here in the US. Also in 1994, the US jerseys and ball were both made by Adidas.

Comments are closed.