By Phil Hecken, with Jim Vilk
A couple of weeks ago, an article written by Ben Cosman appeared on MLB’s Cut4 entitled “Reminisce with us: Which uniforms of yore should be brought back?” If you take a look at the article, the author mentioned several uniforms from the 70s and 80s complete with pictures. The premise was simple: The Padres had just announced they would be wearing their brown uniforms for a few games during the season, and they put together a few other retro uniforms they’d like to see make a comeback.
I tweeted out that article, and got a few replies, but our own Jim Vilk replied to me with a dozen (or more) retro uniforms from the near and distant past he’d like to see make a comeback. After a while, I said to him, “why don’t we just do a post on this for Uni Watch?” After discussing it for a while, we decided the article didn’t nearly go far enough, and that we’d need to do a column on retro uniforms that need to return…on steroids.
After a few back and forths, we decided we would break it down into two different types of uniforms that would need to make a comeback: pre and post-polyester era uniforms. We also decided to break down the uniforms into four categories: (1) A “one-shot,” meaning a team would break out an old uniform and wear it once, then retire it again (similar to what the Cubs did in 2014 when they had their “decade” uniforms); (2) An “alternate,” meaning the team should introduce a retro uniform into the uniform rotation, to be worn as an alternate (and hopefully sparingly); (3) “Sunday Home”: A uniform to be worn on Sunday home games (the way the Mariners, Pirates and White Sox do); it would ONLY be worn on Sundays; and (4) “Just Go Back To This”: A uniform that should replace a team’s current uniform, and be worn as the standard home or road (or both).
We’ve come up with quite a few (and some of the teams were very difficult, as there are probably two or three retro uniforms we’d like to see return), and we tried to keep the list to one single franchise each. We’ve broken them down chronogically, so the list you see today are not only pre-polyester, they’re also likely uniforms worn before most of us were born. Click on any inline images to enlarge.
I’ll let Jim do his intro and then we’ll get into the first set. Here’s Jimmer:
When MLB asked what old uniforms we’d like to see, they probably figured most people would give one, maybe two answers. I didn’t know if they meant for good or just a throwback, so I sent them replies for every team. I wanted everyone, even the Yankees, to take part in this exercise. Looking back at my original list, there was a bit of a gap – lots of turn-of-the-20th-century looks and lots of pullovers, but not as much from the so-called “golden age of baseball.” Going through it again I tried to even things out a little. My overall guideline is the same, though – whether it’s a redesign or a one-off, I want to see something different. Oh, and I have two more guidelines: 1) If it’s from the pre-numbered era, I want numbers on it, or forget it. 2) I picked these because I’d like to see both the homes and the roads (with one exception). Anyway, let’s get started with Part One.
In each case, we’ll indicate whether the uniform was Jim’s choice (JV) or mine (PH):
1900 St. Louis Cardinals (JV): Even the “best fans in baseball” need a little break from their “best uniforms in baseball.” Love the laces on the home jersey! One and done.
1901 Baltimore Orioles (PH): While this franchise technically is the Yankees, I’d want the O’s to wear this, and I’d love it. Just the road version, but they could wear it at home. Those socks! One and Done.
1903 Cleveland (Naps) (JV): Take these Naps unis and take the even older “Blues” name, and keep them. Imagine a Reds/Blues battle of Ohio! Everyday use.
1904 Yankees (Highlanders) (JV): Rest easy, Yanks fans…it’s just a good idea to remind everyone that on the eighth day the Yankees weren’t formed from the clay wearing pinstripes. One and done.
1906 Washington Nationals (PH): In 1905, the “Nationals” became the first team ever to wear a team name on their jersey, and that’s righteous. They’d keep that for two seasons, but in 1906 they introduced a dark roadie. Each one should be worn once at home (yes, this is the Minnesota franchise, but c’mon…) One and done.
1908 Boston Red Sox (PH): The Sox have actually thrown back to this one before, so it’s completely logical they do so again. I LOVE the logo on the chest (the could probably ditch the drawstring collar though, because I’d like to see this one more than once). Alternate.
1912 New York Highlanders/Yankees (PH): Unlike Jim, I ONLY accept the Bronx Bombers in pins, and this was the FIRST year they wore the pinstripes. This is close enough to their current uni (and the roadie is sweet) that it could almost replace it. We know that won’t happen, but I can dream. I’d like to see this one a few times a year (home and road). Alternate
1916 Cleveland Indians (PH): It not that this uniform is remarkable in and of itself, but it represents the first time numbers were ever used on an MLB uni. And look at those gorgeous numbers on the sleeve! Yeah, just once, and just the home, but I’d like to see it. One and Done.
1924 Philadelphia Athletics (PH): This one was worn for a few seasons, but I just LOVE the outlined elephant on the chest. It could work for the current Oakland club, since there’s no indication this is a Philly uni. Not one I’d like to see more than once, but that’s fine. One and Done.
1926 Chicago White Sox (PH): While both the home and road are outstanding, it’s the road uniform I would love to see made permanent for the Sox. Dump the bland gray, and bust this one out every road game. Winning. Everyday Use.
1927 Detroit Tigers (PH): If the current Tigers uniforms weren’t so damn purdy, I’d say this one should be their full time outfit. I mean, look at psychotic tiger on the chest! Nevertheless, I’d love to see both the home and road worn as alts. Except Detroit doesn’t have any alts, and that’s not a bad thing. Alternate.
1929 Detroit Tigers (JV): It’s different, yet it still has the olde English D. Love the socks, too. Sunday/alt.
1931 Boston Red Sox (JV): What do you know…red socks! Plus I’d love to see Boston wearing pinstripes when they play the Yankees. Everyday use.
1932 New York Giants (JV): Love the regular black and orange, but this has to be worn, especially at Citi Field. Everyday alt.
1933 Chicago White Sox (JV): Not just for the white socks…I like the home logo. One and done.
1933 Brooklyn Dodgers (JV): Just replace the B with an LA and you have your Everyday alt.
1935 Philadelphia Phillies (PH): How great are these unis? Both home and road are outstanding, but it’s the road I’d like to see made permanent, so that’s my call. Everyday road use.
1936 Cincinnati Reds (JV): Because red legs! Everyday use.
1938 Pittsburgh Pirates (PH): Before the Pirates wore black and gold, they wore red and blue, and some of those unis were gorgeous, like this one. They can never go back to these colors, so I’d love to see the home uni worn at home once. One and Done.
And there, folks, is our opening shot across the bow for this little exercise. Next time we’ll have much more modern unis, and we’ll breach the polyester era with that batch. Our final set will be ALL the more modern uniforms (many of which we grew up with) and that we’d like to see again.
What say you readers? Do you agree with any of these choices? Do you have a uniform in this range (1900-1940) you think you’d like to see brought back? Let us know.
Down a Rabbit Hole (sort of)…
Every so often, someone will tweet an old photo at me and I’ll simply re-tweet it, but those viewing it afterwards are crawling down a rabbit hole of history. Yesterday was one of those days, when a tweet of a photo we’ve seen on Uni Watch before led to some interesting replies:
— Stirrups Now! (@uniformcritic) February 7, 2015
It’s an odd photo, as Willie Mays is seen wearing the pillbox cap prevalent during 1976 — but he’d retired by that point. He’s posing, of course, with Hank Aaron, who is wearing a uniform the Brewers did wear that year. And it’s an odd-looking Mets uniform. It was thought the photo might have been taken at the 1976 All Star Game, (that’s a road uniform Willie is wearing), and the Mets had some odd road uniforms that year — but the ’76 game was played in Philadelphia. Willie wouldn’t have been wearing a road uniform (he was a Mets coach in 1976). If you follow the replies to that tweet, you’ll see it those guys were playing in the 1976 Hall of Fame game which was played on August 9, 1976, in Cooperstown, NY. (You can read more about those games here.)
Nevertheless, that one photo led to some interesting twitter discussions and the following old photos were discussed — the Mets 1976 road uni and pill box caps. We may have seen these photos at one point or another, but it’s always cool to look back at the bicentennial and how some teams (and umps) celebrated:
— Steve Presser (@stevenmpresser) February 7, 2015
— Steve Presser (@stevenmpresser) February 7, 2015
— Stirrups Now! (@uniformcritic) February 7, 2015
— Dan Epstein (@BigHairPlasGras) February 7, 2015
— Scott Neukam (@scottneukam) February 7, 2015
So, cool stuff, and a history lesson for those who didn’t know to boot! See, Twitter is educational!
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 Weeks 23 & 24:
I know this is normally something that falls under the purview of Mike Chamernik, but after an extensive discussion on Twitter yesterday, I thought it would work for us as well.
It began simply enough. I saw a tweet which showed a Los Angeles Angels of Los Angels cap, but in A’s colors. Now, we’ve seen stuff like this before — they’re fashion caps created for the sole purpose of selling $30 caps — and I didn’t think much of what I considered to be a throwaway tweet in response:
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) February 7, 2015
However, reaction was swift and severe, and eventually folks were tweeting all kinds of awful caps at me: A Dodgers/Giants frankencap, a Yankees cap in BoSox colors, caps in opposite colors for both New York teams. They apparently make these things for basketball too. It got so bad that I learned there is even the ultimate frankencap: the split team cap.
Turns out there must be a whole new batch of New Era Twisted Caps out there — you can get almost any team in the colors of that teams rivals, cross-town Interplague opponents, even teams that don’t seem to have a rivalry (actually, as Hugh McBride, the guy who “started” the whole tweetfest, pointed out — throwing out the “why the fuck would you ever do this?” aspect, the A’s colors look pretty damn good on every team).
Some people couldn’t even believe these things existed — I even got a DM from Keith Olbermann asking if these things were real. Sadly they are all too real.
So here’s my question(s) to you: What do you think of these frankenhats? Do you own, or would you ever wear one? It is blasphemous, as it were, to wear your rivals colors, even with your own team’s logo? Do actual “fans” of either team depicted actually wear these things, or are they strictly a fashion piece? Have you ever been to a game where one of these caps is worn?
Personally, I think these are 1) incredibly stupid, 2) borderline offensive, and 3) completely unnecessary. But a guy who I corresponded with works in a store that sells them, and he says they’re constantly restocking this particular type of cap, so clearly there are SOME people buying them.
But what about you? Let’s hear your thoughts on this.
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Here’s a bee-you-tee-ful shot of the Brooklyn Dodgers during Spring Training in 1935 (from Bruce Menard, of course). Also from Bruce, check out this shot of Casey Stengel during 1935 Spring Training (love those sleeves!!!). … I’ve touched on this before, but the Rays will be outfitting many little leaguers this year — there are 18 different uniform tops in all. Lets hope the big club doesn’t get any ideas. … Our friend Clint Richardson will be doing an Auburn softball tracker this season. … Here’s another look at the new San Francisco Giants alternate black jersey. And speaking of the black alt, Brinke has some interesting news: “The Giants will wear new alternate black jerseys on Saturdays, starting with Metallica Day on May 2. Players and coaches wore the black tops as they walked around AT&T Park on Saturday, but (Javier) LÃ³pez admitted he wanted a different look. ‘I voted for orange pants,’ he said.” … Still more goodness from Bruce Menard: this beautiful 1936 composite of the St. Louis Cardinals (is it too late for me to change my throwback preference?). … Here are a couple of neat photos of Satchell Paige wearing an Astros uni “testing out” the Astrodome in 1965 (thanks to Jonathan Daniel). … Look at the beautiful 1950 Philly A’s jersey (h/t Stirrups Now). … The writer of this article thinks the Astros should change uniforms — but it’s not quite what you think — he wants to change up the caps worn with the current unis.
Hockey News: This is just: The AHL All pink everything (h/t jStevenO). … The guys on UMD Hockey team were using pink sticks last night in support of fighting breast cancer (via Darren Rovell). … Top shelf camo: “Saw these Flyers jerseys in a lids the other day,” says Jason Ricles. “No context on what the camo was for. But pretty ugly and hope they don’t wear any time soon.” … The Lake Erie Monsters wore Cleveland Cavaliers-inspired uniforms last night (h/t Chris Creamer). … The Bruins invited the Patriots to their game last night and Rob Gronkowski spiked a puck so hard, he broke the interwebs. … Michigan and Michigan State played the “Hockey City Classic” at Soldier Field (outdoors) in some alternate unis (h/t CJ Fogler). Western Michigan and Ohio also played earlier in the day. Here’s a close up look a the MSU uniform (via TomboyChick). And here are the jerseys.
Soccer News: Apparently there was a leak of the Columbus Crew’s new jersey yesterday. I’m told the leak was repaired, but the damage has been done. The full (official) reveal is, I believe, March 3 (thanks to Patrick Mulcare). … Speaking of leaks, this is apparently the new jersey for Sporting KC (h/t Alex Boyer). … Leaking still, it looks like we have our first look at the new New England Revolution secondary kit (via Doug Hazard). I like this one. … Still more leaks: the Houston Dynamo, the Portland Timbers and Toronto FC. … In non-leak news, MASL’s Baltimore Blast & San Diego Sockers played “in a glorious color vs color matchup” (according to Jim Vilk). Wait, aren’t a lot soccer matches color vs. color? Does the MASL play a lot of white/color matches? So many questions.
College Hoops News: It’s getting so that color vs. color matchups aren’t really that big a deal anymore, since they seem to happen almost every day. Yesterday had St. Johns vs. Creighton (thanks to Adam Treiber). Also going color vs. color was Pitt and Syracuse (via Mr. Mack). And Auburn wore orange at home against Ole Miss (in blue), for another color vs. color matchup (thanks to Clint Richardson). … More color vs color: last night Alabama and LSU played red vs. gold (nice shots from Stetson Pevear). … And here’s Gonzaga vs. San Francisco in living color vs. color (h/t Daniel Evans). … Yesterday, Georgia Tech wore special Autism Speaks shooting shirts for their game with Wake Forest (via GTJacketHive). … Reader Garrett Holt was watching the UT Arlington-Louisiana-Lafayette game and “number 25 on UT Arlington appeared to have inconsistent coloring on the neckline of his jersey. It’s not as noticeable in the picture as it was just watching the game.” … New uniforms for the Oklahoma Sooners ladies team (from Joe Buettner). … Northern Illinois University has a new floor (via DJD). … There are bad floor designs, like NIUs, and then there are really bad designs (h/t Matt Tulli).
Grab Bag: It seems like the French Rugby team was forced to break with tradition and had to wear red against Scotland in the Six Nations opener (thanks to George Chilvers). … Pink Beavers. Against cancer. Doing gymnastics. … You know how we always talk about how the shirts of the losing Super Bowl team end up in faraway lands? Well, here’s a whole bunch of Super Bowl Champions logos that never happened either (h/t @chibearsm)
And that’s going to do it for today. Thanks to Jimmer and Alex, and everyone who tweeted (it was a LOT) and who sent in ticker submissions via the e-mail. Everyone have a great week and I will catch you next Valentine’s Day.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Given the large number of games in a baseball season, I’m really ok with teams having more alternate uniforms than in other sports.”
— THE Jeff Provo