By Phil Hecken
Only moments after the four Hall Of Fame inductees for this year, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio and Pedro Martinez, were introduced at the Waldorf-Astoria, talk broke out amongst uniform aficionados of how bland and boring those caps and jerseys are. In fact, MLB has been using those very jerseys for some years now. Aside from the debate about what caps the Big Unit (more on that in the ticker) and Pedro Martinez would go in wearing (or Mike Piazza, should he get in), was the discussion about whether or not these jerseys should be changed. There was even some chatter about it on the Uni Watch comment board that day.
One of those whom I spoke to was Megan Ann Wilson, who I asked if she thought she could design a “better” introduction jersey, and if so, would she like to share that with Uni Watch. Her immediate answer was “Yes.” So I told her about the parameters of an article on UW, and she confessed she her specialty wasn’t the graphics — no worries, I told her, I was sure I could convince one of our graphics guys to help. So I reached out to Tim E. O’Brien who created the graphics you’ll see below.
I’m personally in favor of changing up the HOF introduction jerseys and caps — not because they’re bad — but because I think they can be better. And what you are about to see, I think is definitely better (click on any images to enlarge).
And now, I’m pleased to introduce Megan Ann Wilson and her thoughts on …
A New Hall of Fame Intro Jersey and Cap
By Megan Ann Wilson
Cooperstown is home to years of history, tradition and genuine love for the game of baseball. Every year, a new class of inductees to be rewarded for their contribution to the MLB and yet they’re presented with jerseys that look like reproductions of the Fightin’ Phillies shirt circa 1946-1949. The fit of them is so bad that even an ace like Randy Johnson can’t button them up right (yes I know he’s a lefty but it’s an excuse to show this gif AGAIN). The best of baseball deserves better and in my expert athlete stylist and sports fashion writer opinion, I say it’s time to edit and possibly overhaul the entire Hall of Fame induction jersey and the way the MLB celebrates their yearly honourees.
First, let’s examine all the design elements of the current uniforms. They’re done in a cream color that looks a little like worn in cotton and fundamentally shapeless. They feature a basic round collar that doesn’t sit quite right on the neck with tricolour stripes in signature MLB (and Hall of Fame) red and blue. The sleeve are large and untailored and also feature with the same tricolour piping ending before the seam so a bit of cream is visible.
The jersey has an extremely curved hem which looks rather awkward sitting down as it is traditionally worn tucked in – something that inductees don’t do during their time at the podium. The material is thin, likely a polyester or polyester-cotton blend and appears flimsy. The only apparent sleeve patch is the MLB Hall of Fame square patch on the left bicep, which looks a bit odd on its own. The font of the “Hall of Fame” stitched lettering isn’t bad up close but it looks muddled once you look at it from farther away than a head and shoulder shot due to all the loops and the heavy red pipping on the navy lettering. Since the lettering is placed so high up, it looks a touch awkward on the taller players – like 2015 inductee Randy Johnson.
The jersey are a big ole, ill fitting yawn. The MLB is a traditional league that is regarded as America’s wholesome, old time game and the HoF jersey reflects that. Rather than the wave of the future, likely never changing to say – the super tech uniforms of Nike or Under Armour (as Paul mentioned here). However, using different materials, patches, fonts and overall styling — the jerseys can be saved — or at least updated for modern times and sensibilities. Here are my jersey and matching cap concepts that I’d love to make into samples.
The Traditional Jersey Revamp:
Despite my above misgivings, there are still those amongst the MLB loyal and uniform nerd kingdom that like the very traditional-style MLB Hall of Fame uniforms. I’ve found a way to update and tweak the jerseys just enough so they read better on broadcast, online and in person without skewing too far from the heritage aesthetic.
The first upgrade is changing the fabric to something a little heavier weight and natural like cotton flannel that Ebbets Field uses. The current fabric is a bit see through which doesn’t work well in flash photographs. A heavier weight fabric photographs better, look higher quality and wear better as a layering piece. Color wise, switching cream to an off white with a blue undertone. Off-white looks much crisper on camera and allows light to reflect on the inductees’ faces and punctuate the contrast color of embroidery of the jerseys much better. The collar is updated (like so) to a slight v-neck as the current round neck doesn’t rest well and looks a bit like a vest. Next, the font is updated to a new cursive type that is easier to read as it’s better spaced out (example here). Also, switching the primary font color to blue and the secondary outline color to red and making the outline thinner make the embroidery much more impactful (example here). The text is slightly bigger, curved and slightly slower on the chest. Pipping on the collar is eschewed in favour of red, white and blue tricolor stitching on the sleeves only. The sleeves are also taken in a touch so they do not flare out like the current jersey. Lastly, I would change the curved hem to a straight hem to ensure that it looks better when it’s worn out (example here).
For the matching cap, I would have it be a dark navy, New Era fitted cap with Hall of Fame written in cursive (the same font as the jersey), the MLB logo on the back of the hat and the MLB Hall of Fame logo on the left side. The number 15 – for 2015 – would be embroidered on the underside bill of the hat and the player’s signature would be in the embroidered in the sweatband of the hat in white for an extra touch and lined in red, sweat wicking fabric.
The New Flannel-Inspired Jersey:
I love a traditional flannel baseball shirt and it’s fitting for a ceremony at Cooperstown. My next designs are navy and heather grey flannels.
I’d use a slight v-neck, button front jersey with matte matching buttons. I would add the final two numbers of the year – 15 for 2015 – to left sleeve of the jersey in white with red pipping on both the grey and navy jersey. There is plain white pipping along the collar and on the edge or the sleeves only. The MLB HoF logo is on the right side, lower on the bicep than the original jersey. The “Hall of Fame” script is arched and in a stylized printed style instead of cursive for ease of reading and recalling older uniform typography (example here) in white with red pipping, like the numbers. On the back collar of the jersey, there’s the player’s signature embroidered in white. The sleeves are slightly shorter and narrower to just cover the mid-bicep so the jersey lays better when layered over a button up and is custom cut to each player’s size specifications. Finally, a straight hem with a split is used to ensure that it looks appropriate worn outside of pants and the slit accommodates various lower body types.
The hat is red New Era fitted cap with the year number – 15 for 2015 – in the same font as the number on the front of the jersey with Hall of Fame logo on the left, the rectangular MLB logo on the back with the player’s home country flag on the right of the hat. The player’s signature is embroidered in the sweatband of the hat in white for an extra touch and lined in grey or navy (whatever color the jersey is not) sweat wicking fabric.
These are my three choices for what I think could lead to at the very least, a stronger sartorial salute for new Hall of Famers by the MLB. Let me what you think — have I desecrated a traditional staple or create a new classic? Be sure to let me know on Twitter @shegotgame or in the comments below.
Wow! Thanks so much Megan! I could (and would love to) see the class of 2016 wearing something along those lines — great concepts (and also a big thanks to Tim E. for turning these sketches into those concepts — stellar job).
OK readers — what say you?
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards
I’m pleased to continue with a new weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” which are created by Gary Chanko. You probably know Gary best for his wonderful colorizations, but he has been a solid contributor for many years, and this is his new project. This segment will appear every Saturday on Uni Watch.
Here’s Gary (click on image to enlarge):
Classic Football Scoreboards – Seventh in a Series
by Gary Chanko
This week the series features a classic scoreboard from a venue familiar to all pro football fans – New City Stadium, as it was called for its first eight seasons. Renamed in 1965, the stadium is known today as Lambeau Field.
Home of: Green Bay Packers, of course! (1957 to present)
Opened:1957; Expansion and Renovations: nearly continuous since 1961
Green Bay’s new $1.5 million City stadium was formally dedicated in September 1957. Among the dignitaries attending was then Vice President, Richard Nixon and Miss America, Marilyn Van Der Bur. Curly Lambeau, for whom the stadium would later be named, was not among the 32,000 present for the inaugural game. Now in its 58th NFL season, itLambeau Field is the longest continuously occupied stadium in the NFL.
The local news media described the scoreboard as “a large green sign with white and yellow lettering, carries the score and time of the game in lights as well as the other usual statistical data and the scores of other league games.” Awesome!
The date is November 18,1962 and, as the “large green sign” scoreboard illustration shows, the Packers are in route to defeat John Unitas and the Baltimore Colts.
A Few Things to Know
• Lambeau Field is the first stadium designed exclusively for pro football and was purposely planned for future expansion by the original architect. The current capacity of 80,735 is 2.5 times the original but still retains the original bowl seating configuration.
• In the mid-1960s only two beer brands, Rahr’s and Pabst Blue Ribbon, were sold at Lambeau Field. As best I can determine only Pabst appeared as a scoreboard advertiser. The letter “t” on the Pabst signage was designed to light up for Packer touchdowns. This is similar to the Ebbets Field scoreboard (and a few others) where the “h” and “e” in the Rheingold Beer ad were used to highlight hits and errors.
• An undated artist rendering appears to be the planned replacement for the original scoreboard – Pabst is still the sponsor. And this 1985 game photo shows the scoreboard is a close match to that mockup sketch. By 1993 the first Jumbotron was installed at Lambeau. Today the scoreboard is an LED high definition extravaganza.
Next time the series heads to Old Yankee Stadium and a look at a classic scoreboard during the NFL’s Greatest Game Ever Played.
If anyone is interested in purchasing a digital copy of these posters, Gary is working on an online purchase option. In the interim you can contact him directly at Classicscoreboards@gmail.com.
Queens Baseball Convention
As most of you know (and some of you were actually there), last Saturday Paul hosted the “Mets Uniform” panel at the Queens Baseball Convention, which is basically a fan-sponsored (as opposed to officially sanctioned) fan fest for Mets fans. As he did in 2014, Paul hosted the uniform panel, which was composed of the following (left to right, below — click to enlarge):
Todd Radom, Nick DiSalvo, Bill Henderson, Jon Springer, Phil Hecken, Russ Gompers and Paul Lukas:
Lots of stuff that we discuss on Uni Watch were discussed all the time (albeit with a Mets bent), and I think you’ll enjoy the banter, including where most of us kill the Mets black jersey and the new camo alternates, dead guy patches and Mr. Met’s uniform. Put it on in the background while you do other stuff — it’s good chatter! And if you want to see more photos from the entire event, go here.
Each week, as we have done on Uni Watch for the past five seasons, we’ll be tracking the uniform combinations of the Oregon Ducks. Back for his third season is Tim E. O’Brien, who’ll show you what the Ducks wore in their last game, and add a few words of wisdom.
Since the Ducks made it to the final (Football Playoff) game this year, there is still one last Duck Tracker for 2014.
Here’s your FINAL Duck Tracker of 2014 (click to enlarge):
And now, here’s Tim with his final Duck Tracker report for the 2014 season:
I know this probably sounds unpopular but that helmet design is great and unique, the jersey template is beautiful and the pants… well, the pants are innocuous enough to ignore despite the stupid “Fighting Ducks” on the thighs.
When I was asked before the Championship if I believed these unis were great or terrible, all I could think was that the question wasn’t fair. The only true way to describe these, in my book, is as a disappointment; a missed opportunity.
In a perfect world, these unis would’ve been a great regular season road look and would’ve been one of their best in years. But alas, they were worn in the Championship game, as the home team no less. The opportunity to break out a more classic look akin to their Rose Bowl combo but with more yellow elements was missed.
I assume this missed opportunity likely arises from some pressure from Nike. Now, this is just a theory, but just follow my logic here. If Nike believes Oregon was going to win the Rose Bowl, their likeliest scenario would be to play the higher ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, a match up of which puts Alabama at home and Oregon on the road. Having made a uniform set just for such a scenario means they had to make a white uniform and thus asked or pressured Oregon to wear the already manufactured uniforms anyway.
Again, this is all speculation but I think it’s logical. And to be clear, I can’t really blame anyone. Nike was just trying to give the Ducks a road option for what they – and a lot of people – thought would be the most likely Championship situation. I also can’t blame them if they asked Oregon to wear them. They spent a lot of money on Oregon’s new uniform set, it would be nice of Oregon to oblige them and wear the white set.
And lastly, I can’t blame Oregon for being the good soldier and going along with a white at home look. Hell, it almost fits perfectly into their ethos aesthetically: Do the unexpected and never be predictable.
But what can be said, without question, is that this was a missed opportunity to see Oregon in Yellow, Green, Yellow perhaps even with a Color V Color match up against the Buckeyes.
It’s been a great and fun year with the Ducks again and I’d like to thank the followers and fans who’ve helped me track the Ducks, Paul for the hat-tips and shoutouts he’s given me but most of all Phil for putting up with my shenanigans and some of my tardiness. I look forward to next season which I believe I will be more focused on the Ducks than ever before. It’s an exciting time in college uniforms and Oregon football, and I just want to thank all of you for letting me be a small part of those two phenomena.
Thanks, Tim. And thanks for ANOTHER great year of Duck tracking. Look forward to having you back doing what you do so well this fall!
Each Saturday or Sunday, Alex Gerwitz will be tracking the kit combinations (shirt/shorts/socks) of the teams in the English Premier League from the previous weekend and the current weekend.
Here is the EPL tracker for Week 21:
[The UWFFL, based on reader feedback, will be scaling back its Uni Watch presence. After speaking with Rob, we’ll include Andrew Seagraves’ artwork and a short writeup for the league below that. Make sure you head on over to their site to vote on all the games and for additional information/updates — PH]
by Rob Holecko (artwork by Andrew Seagraves)
Today is the Eastern Association semifinals, Staten Island takes on St. John’s and Toledo battles Youngstown, plus international games from La Lega. Head on over to uwfantasyfootballleague.com for full coverage and to vote on today’s games. We’ll be back tomorrow with Premier League action.
for the Ticker
Got an e-mail from Colin Sherrod, who sent a rather long e-mail with several photos. Rather than try to edit it down, I’ve shared it below, with pics inline. You can click on most images to enlarge:
I found this jersey at a thrift store the other day and I bought it because I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a Florida Marlins batting practice jersey with hoodie style pockets. It has the authentic “Diamond Collection” tag on it as well.
I had not seen an authentic batting practice jersey with pockets on it before, so I assumed it was sample or promo jersey. But after and exhaustive search I found a picture of Mark Kotsay wearing it (Kotsay played for Florida from 1997-2000) and the picture tag said this is from 1998. You can see the Majestic branding on the right pocket is the same in both pictures. Was this a special order for the Marlins only?
I know at least a few other teams, in 1998, did NOT have pockets on their jerseys:
Anywho, I thought that was interesting.
Good stuff, Colin — thanks for sharing!
OK, now onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Hurler Dizzy Dean had a birthday yesterday, so Bruce Menard found this tremendous photograph of Diz and a friend on a bicycle built for two (love the ‘rups too)! … I’m sure we’ve seen this before, but once more couldn’t hurt: how great is this photo of Ted Williams hitting grapefruits tossed by Red Sox Manager Joe Cronin? (thanks to Jonathan Daniel, who found that on Pinterest). … The San Diego State University Aztecs will have Tony Gwynn patches this season. … Not that this is any real surprise, but The Big Unit will go into Cooperstown wearing a Diamondbacks cap (will it be that cap? We’ll see.) The remainder of this years HOF inducteed’s cap’s will be announced on January 22nd (Biggio & Smoltz are givens — Petey? Gotta be the Sox, right?). … The Phillies 2015 calendar features at least one player who isn’t a Phillie anymore, and a few who might be gone before the season starts. … Yesterday’s ticker had a shot of Reds’ skipper Dave Bristol with his name misspelled. Eagle-eye reader Tom Pachuta asks, “Has anyone noticed that on the Dave Bristol picture in [yester]day’s column that the word ‘mispelled’ is actually misspelled?” … More great old photos: love the Birmingham Black Barons cap on Jim Zapp (who has a sad story too — h/t N. Diunte). Speaking of caps, check out this photo of Mel Ott trying his hand at managing the Oakland Oaks (h/t to @uniformcritic). … Check out this Kingsford Oakland A’s oven Mitt, which Mike Davie describes as a “Kinda cool promo item from the 80’s or 90’s.”
NFL News: “Time for a new sewing machine,” writes HT Adjemian. “Big Vince’s 75 has taken a beating after this practice.” … According to this tweet, the Dolphins are changing their orange seats to blue seats because that will make it “harder to see empty seats.” But it’s all part of the plan to improve the Stadium, which will look something like this when finished. Nice! Here’s a few more looks at what’s planned. Eventually, it will look like this. … Jeff Flynn asks, “have you ever discussed the placement of the G on the Packers helmets (rhetorical question, you don’t need to reply!)? Was a lot lower in the 70s and 80s.” Jeff spotted that picture in yesterday’s ESPN article. … Fox Business Network attempted to report on Super Bowl ticket sales yesterday with threats that “the NFL is expecting record-low attendance.” The only problem?
They’re complete fucktards It’s not true (h/t to Paul for shooting that my way). … Marshawn Lynch will be wearing cleats that are supposedly painted with 24 carat gold for tomorrow’s NFC Championship Game vs. the Packers. … If your name is Chance, Johnny O, or really anything, you might want to check out this auction with rare Packers collectibles (nice find by Scott Hurley). … Gillette was getting ready for tomorrow’s Pats vs. Colts AFC Championship game yesterday. … What was he thinking? Oops. An intern for Bengals stole and had a friend sell game-used Cincy items on eBay. Submitter Leo Strawn, Jr. opines, “As Bugs Bunny would say, ‘What a maroon!’.”
College Football News: There is no denying THE Ohio State Buckeyes their “undisputed” National Championship. But that doesn’t mean a few folks aren’t having some fun reminding them there was one team who did beat them this year (h/t to Daniel Brown). Pretty sure the site selling those has been shut down now.
Basketball News: Pomona College (located in Claremont, California), had the first women’s basketball team waaaaaaaay back in 1903. Here’s what their “uniforms” looked like back then (thanks to @pal3327). … UCLA will be getting fauxback uniform “inspired by the 1965 National Champions” (h/t Michael Ehrlich). Here’s a bit more on that. … The Oregon State Beavers got a new set of white uniforms. … Bit of a rarity (and lets hope it stays that way) last night, as the Suns and Timberwolves went color-vs-color AND both teams were wearing their sleeved alternates (h/t Adam Vitcavage).
Hockey News: The Lake Erie Monsters will be having a shit-ton of alternate jersey nights coming up during the remainder of their 2014-15 season (h/t to Chris Creamer). … Here’s a look at those awful NHL All Star Game jerseys on actual players (that’s Kane and Toews). Pic from the Blackhawks. … Last night, following the announcement that all of Penn State’s victories during the Joe Paterno era were reinstated, the Penn State Hockey team wore stickers with “409” on them (representing the total number of NCAA wins under JoePa). The twitter commenters were NOT happy with this. UW friend Keith Olbermann had some thoughts on that. Apparently the basketball team will wear a “409” recognition as well today. … Did you know there was once a minor league hockey team named the Seattle Seahawks. Well, now you do (thanks to Chris Mizzoni). … We often talk about color on color games, but what happens when you get white vs. white (that happened during the 2011 Hockey Day in Minnesota, in Moorhead–accidentally).
Soccer News: The process of creating MLS Atlanta brand has begun (thanks to John Muir). Also from John – Adopting Tottenham on Twitter: Bill Nicholson (Tottenham manager 1958-74) took the time to thank the uniform manufacturer for getting his “extra large player” the right jersey in time for their FA Cup match. “Sharp letterhead as well,” he adds.
Grab Bag: Anyone up for a road trip/Chicago meet up in early July, possibly based around this? Just throwing that out there (and if there is any interest in the linked thing, who wants to try to score some tix???) … Not uni related, but very cool: Imagine leaning out of an open door of a helicopter 7,500 feet over New York City (from Pete Woychick). … It’s not, but this landing pad sure looks like a Reebok logo (thanks to Chris Bisbee).
Wowsa. That’s going to do it for this fine Saturday. Big thanks to Megan Ann, Tim, Gary, Rob and Alex, and to you fine readers for all your contributions via e-mail and Twitter. Great stuff today. Enjoy your Saturday and I’ll be back with more tomorrow (and some more neat stuff, I promise). Till then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“The Uni Watch ‘team’ does not do radially arched lettering.”
— Paul Lukas