By Phil Hecken
This afternoon the Cubs, who have been throwing back on home Sunday’s this season to different decades over the hundred year span of Wrigley Field, will be throwing back to what was, in my opinion, the worst uniform of the double-knit era — the road, blue, pinstriped uniform of 1978. It has everything I hate in a uniform, all wrapped up into one tidy package: a pullover jersey, sansabelt pants, polyester doubleknit, and pinstripes on a road uniform! And I LOVE IT. Like a traveler passing a gruesome car wreck — I can’t possibly look away.
Not counting their brief foray into blue-tinged uniforms in the 1940s, the Cubs wore blue road uniforms for six years: 1976 through 1981, with 1976 and 1977 being solid powder blue, adding the pinstripes from 1978 through 1981:
Technically, the 1978 uniform was a “one-year” uniform, because it features the bear patch on the sleeve which was only worn for one season with the pinstriped roads. They added a red circle around the “angry bear” for the remaining three years of the run. I’m almost positive those 1978 uniforms were also without a name on the back; in 1979 the players’ names were added.
Here is a look at the pinstripes in action (there are surprisingly not a lot of photos of players in this uniform floating around the interwebs). I have
tried to find a definitive photo from 1978 showing NNOB, but am coming up empty found (thanks to Rob Holecko) the proof of NNOB. The 1979-1981 version of this uniform featured the Cub patch in the red circle.
There are a few examples of game worn (or supposedly game worn) uniforms from auction sites. This, from Legendary Auctions, is a 1978 Rich Reuschel jersey, which shows NNOB. Interestingly, it looks like the “8” was “upside down” on both the front and the back — anyone know if this was actually the style or if this is an oddity?
And while not from that same set, here’s a look at the pinstriped blue pants, in all their polyester sansabelt glory:
The Cubs’ opponent today, the St. Louis Cardinals, also wore powder blue, pullover sansabelt uniforms on the road in 1978. Since the Cubs have thus far been outfitting their opponents in period-appropriate uniforms, I am guessing they’ll put the Cardinals in the “home” white uniforms today. The Cards wore that style for a long time, and in fact have thrown back to that (although not the 1978 year) before. If they wear proper hosiery with their throwback (and not go pajama-pantsed), then this game might just have quite the 1978 vibe.
The Cubs themselves have done a nice job in wearing proper hosiery (or at least going high-cuffed) for each of their throwback games thus far (although their choice of footwear has sometimes crushed the excellence of their socks), but Cubs’ opponents usually wear their normal style of uniform cut (and if they go uncuffed during the regular season, they’ve usually continued that trend for the throwback games). Hopefully we’ll see the Cardinals, who have been known for ‘high socks Sunday’, will play along and wear their beautiful stirrups for today’s game.
While not the first instance, this is one of those very rare times when the home team will be wearing “road” uniforms. In most cases, the visitors are then equipped with their “home” uniform (and I would expect that will be the case today). However, when the visiting team is NOT equipped with throwbacks of their own, you get the rare sight of two road uniforms from different eras playing each other. And as great as a powder vs. powder on the awful scale would be, lets hope the Cubs outfit the Cards in white.
Hey, maybe the Mets can get this guy real cheap…
Take a close look at the image above. It was a giveaway yesterday at Coors Field in Denver. Looks nice, right? (Even if it is in Paul’s least favorite color). But there’s just one problem…his name is spelled TULOWITZKI (with an extra “T” before the “ZKI”), and those jerseys given away last night were ALL SPELLED WRONG.
As is its wont, the Twitter community jumped all over the mistake:
— Lauryn (@lauryn_franco2) July 26, 2014
— Gloria Reynolds (@gr8bugs) July 26, 2014
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 26, 2014
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) July 27, 2014
— Mike Oz (@mikeoz) July 27, 2014
Now, I’m not one to dump on the Rockies, but apparently a lot of “fans” out there thought this was quite an egregious error. I’m of the mind that, yeah, it’s pretty bad — brutal, in fact — but it’s not like the Rockies actually misspelled Tulo’s jersey. That would be unforgiveable. And it would live in uni screw-up lore forever. And I could add it to this set of jersey screwups and misspellings. Alas, it doesn’t quite make the cut. Unfortunately, the guy (gal?) who had these all printed up probably will also not make the cut. Or maybe not — the 15,000 lucky fans who got these will instantly have collectors items, making it perhaps the best giveaway ever.
Mike the Intern found a funny story on Cespedes Family Barbeque that almost instantly complied a list of the funniest jerseys in MLB if the other teams made an error like the Rockies did yesterday. Definitely worth a read.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Just one today — and it’s from Bruce Menard (plus a top/bottom comparison of the original and the colorized version).
Click either image to enlarge:
Just wondering if you might want to post my latest colorization for the weekend Uni Watch – (1904 [Jul23] West Side Grounds Chicago Cubs vs NY Giants Panoramic).
I made a before/after comparison as well. The original comes from the LOC, found here: https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2007663698/
Thanks Bruce. Tremendous stuff, as always. Please keep them coming!
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 Rob Holecko, who last weekend showed us what he thought a Devil Rays fauxback (based on what they did for their fake “1979” uni looked like) would look like. Today, he transitions them from 1979 to the year they actually came into existence in MLB (1998):
Here’s a couple more uniforms as the 1970’s Devil Rays transitioned into the 80s and 90s…
And we close today with Paul Lee who thought the new Celtics Logoman could transition to…well, the NBA logo? (this one is, unfortunately, full size):
Change the secondary logo a little bit, and voila!
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
As I noted last weekend, soon Paul will be beginning his annual (and well-deserved) sabbatical, and as such, he’ll be leaving me in charge of the weekday Uni Watch postings.
As in the past, I’m always looking for readers for their help in suggesting topics and working with me to bring them about. I’ve already lined up a few of you for stories (plus I have some good ones that were already planned for the summer hiatus, including a uni design contest I think you’ll really like), but I can always use a few more. I’ll also be back for what has become a regular Friday feature while Paul is on summer vacation that I like to call “Fridays With Morris” (featuring Morris Levin), so that should be great.
If you’re interested in working with me on a uni-related story, please shoot me an E-mail (Phil.Hecken [at] gmail [dot] com) and pitch me.
On a related note, I’m planning on a doing a story with Randy Alleman, and he’s looking for a little help from you guys for his research. Here’s Randy:
I am working on a future Uni Watch article and could use some assistance from the UW community. If you know of any pitchers who have a visible marking on their cap (from rosin, pine tar, etc.) please let me know. You can contact me at email@example.com.
Looking forward to working with a few of your fine readers in the next few weeks.
Uni Watch News Ticker…
[Not a lot of submissions yesterday, so we’ll go with the old school format on the ticker today. — PH]
Yesterday the Nashville Sounds, a minor league team, wore these jerseys (neat city skyline at night design too), with thanks to Steve Uhlmann. … The Western Storm made their debut in the Tasmanian State Football League in 2014, and their jerseys play on their nickname, with lightning flashes prominent on both the home and away kit (thanks to Graham Clayton). … The AFL is testing computer chips in its Australian Rules footballs. Aside from assisting in training purposes, the ‘chipped balls could also be used to assist in score reviews in the future (via Leo Strawn, Jr.). … Newly acquired catcher for St. Louis, AJ Pierzynski (shot by Benjamin Thomas) wore his old blue gear, including wearing a blue helmet, even though the Cards were wearing their red caps and helmets vs. Cubs yesterday (those photos from Matt Larsen). … Pallbearers at Leafs fan funeral wore Toronto Maple Leaf jerseys, to ‘let him down one last time’. … “Seriously I have a problem,” writes Frank Mercogliano. “Noticed on this pop tarts box (reduced for quick sale!) they use Milwaukee’s old ball and glove logo.” … Brandon Owen asks is this a “new number font for Kentucky basketball? Old on the left, new on the right.” … Several neat tid-bits from Gene Sanny (some I know we’ve seen before, but what the hell): 1) 1968 Mel Farr Detroit Lions helmet camera; 2) Broncos AFL early helmet cam; 3) Lee Majors wearing an LA Express shirt (part owner of the club) in an episode of Fall Guy; and 4) an Auburn player wearing a sun visor on his helmet during a game in the early 70’s. … Ryan Progin sends a correx: The link you posted yesterday to the FC Bayern Muenchen 3rd Kit is incorrect. The jersey shown on that site is the 2014/15 FC Bayern Away Kit; FC Bayern actually wore the Away kit yesterday. The actual 3rd kit has not yet been released but it is posted on Footy Headlines with all 3 kits for this year.
And that’s going to do it for this fine last Sunday in July. It will also be my last weekend post until after Labor Day. I’ll be taking over the weekday duties for Paul in August, and when that happens, our weekends will be covered by Johnny Ekdahl, our webmaster (whose had that duty each summer when I’ve subbed for Paul). So, for those of you who are used to having me on the weekends, I’ll see you in a little over a month — but I’ll be on weekdays beginning August 5th. So that’s the good/bad news, depending on your perspective. I’ll catch you real soon (and don’t worry, I’ll have a LOT of great stuff while Paul’s away — or at least, that’s the plan).
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“I would gladly keep my mouth shut about the Marlins’ disdain for their orange caps if the Padres would bring back the brown!”
— Jim Vilk