By Phil Hecken
Yesterday, the Cleveland Indians hosted the Kansas City Royals, and both teams threwback to the 1970s, with the Tribe wearing their blue “caveman” top and white pants, while the Royals wore full powder blue. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the game, but from the photos I did see, it looked dee-lightful.
As with most throwback games, I had some problems with the players wearing their uniforms in contemporary cuts, and of course, many a player sported pajama-style pants — an anachronism that my OCD finds off-putting. But aside from that, it was a beautiful looking game.
I spoke to Jimmer Vilk, who did see the game, and he thought both teams did a good job with the uniforms. Of course, if you read Uni Watch on Friday, you’ll note the Indians screwed up the jersey patch. But other than that — it was a game chock full of color, pullovers and sansabelts (and a few players even wore their pants hiked up, exposing some delicious hosiery.
Here are some shots from the game (click on any photos below to enlarge):
While this is a pretty good job of hosiery, unfortunately, the Indians didn’t go the extra mile and put the old “Caveman C” on the helmets, instead opting for the current block “C” version
It’s one thing to have the current helmet not match…it’s another to have the throwback cap and the current…undershirt:
Tribe manager Terry Francona going with both Cs tonight pic.twitter.com/D9fN8J5O00
— Jim Vilk (@JimVilk) June 5, 2016
But it seemed that other than that, the Indians really nailed the throwback (and who amongst us doesn’t think the Caveman is their signature look?)
The club also got the NOBs and number fonts correct:
I know it’s just one of those things, and since MLB has no policy regarding lower leg stylings, stirrups/socks vs. pajamas will never be a mandatory thing (since it would have to be collectively bargained). I often wonder if stirrups/socks someday return (where everyone wears them) and teams do throwback games to the 2000s — will everyone wear pajama-style pants then? I hate this, but it’s not a battle worth fighting. However, stirrups with throwbacks should be mandatory. Just look how much better they look:
One thing I couldn’t 100% positively remember (so I had to ask Jimmer for confirmation): Did the Tribe ever actually wear the blue tops at home (remember, in the 1970s, many teams had no gray uniforms, and wore white unis at home and colored jerseys with white pants on the road). Jim confirmed that indeed, the Tribe had worn the outfit depicted yesterday at home — so the navy/white Indians vs. powder blue-clad Royals could have in fact taken place in the 1970s. Although you’d never mistake an oversized, pajama-clad game for one from that decade.
For their part, the Royals nailed their mid-70s unis as well. They are one club that always seems to do their throwbacks right.
The Royals, of course, didn’t need to get throwback helmets or caps — since what they’re wearing now they wore in the 1970s. But the unis were spot on:
All in all, a great looking game (I wish I could have seen it). And while I still enjoy a good looking white (home) vs. gray (road) game, I see no reason why one or two teams can’t return to the powder blue roads (and I wouldn’t mind seeing one or two teams completely ditch the gray pants and opt for wearing white at home and color over white pants on the road — although I know there was some talk that there may now be some requirement the road team has to wear pants other than white, so it might not be doable).
If you want to see more photos click here.
But wait…there’s more
In another game I didn’t see (but wish I had), Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers threw back for a Negro League game yesterday. Both teams have worn these uniforms in years’ past, and the games then (and yesterday) have always looked spectacular. A few select tweets should give you an idea of how the game looked:
The #Tigers are wearing Detroit Stars
throwback uniforms today for the 22nd Annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game. pic.twitter.com/NoikCUf5WA
— #VoteTigers (@tigers) June 4, 2016
"American Giants" Negro League uniforms to he worn by the Chicago #WhiteSox later today #MLB pic.twitter.com/aWR7M4yttr
— Chris Creamer (@sportslogosnet) June 4, 2016
RECAP: @JDMartinez14 blasts homer, totals 3 RBIs in #Tigers' victory against White Sox. https://t.co/RmnPbm0yaj pic.twitter.com/TyYwdh1vLw
— #VoteTigers (@tigers) June 4, 2016
White Sox rookie Jason Coats leaves game after violent outfield collision https://t.co/VtxelN3yTH pic.twitter.com/CJ10j3p50j
— SI MLB (@si_mlb) June 4, 2016
White Sox throwbacks for today pic.twitter.com/NX9q8fNtmn
— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) June 4, 2016
Lookin' fresh, @FlavaFraz21. pic.twitter.com/00JoCg8y26
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 4, 2016
K-Rod’s 16th save of the season results in a win for the #Tigers.https://t.co/axEZau6kMg
— #VoteTigers (@tigers) June 5, 2016
.@AdamSpankyEaton's a gosh darn wizard in the outfield. https://t.co/HB2XRQ6jS2 pic.twitter.com/uDGIHiwPTq
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 4, 2016
Quite the pinstripe matchup with both the Tigers & White Sox sporting throwbacks today pic.twitter.com/TxCrraTUVG
— The Cauldron (ICYMI) (@CauldronICYMI) June 4, 2016
Nice, huh? Lots more game photos here.
Well guys — what did you think? And is it time for the Royals (or some team, if not they) to bring back a set of powder blue roads? I do.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Got a few colorizations today — all from John Turney, who runs the excellent blog Pro Football Journal. John (like Bruce Menard), tweets a number of his colorizations, amongst other excellent photos, and you can (and should) follow him @NHL_Journal. The following shots are from his blog (I’ll host some of these periodically).
Thanks John — tremendous stuff, as always!
UW’s Friday Flashback
In case you missed it, Paul’s Friday Flashback on ESPN took a look back at NBA Christmas Day unis from an historical perspective. Coming on the heels of Paul’s scoop of this year’s X-mas day NBA unis earlier in the week, he documents to progression (some might say regression) of NBA special unis over the past decade or so. There were some awful unis mixed in there, along with some nice ones.
Great read, so be sure to check it out if you didn’t catch it on Friday!
I’m sure everyone has heard the very sad news by now that Muhammad Ali, nee Cassius Clay, passed away on Friday night. I posted one of my favorite Ali quotes as yesterday’s QOTD.
I wasn’t going to say anything about this today, but in retrospect, I did want to say just a few words. Ali was the ‘first’ boxer I ever knew, having grown up during his reign (and also his biggest defeats). He became heavyweight champ before I was born, while he was still known as Cassius Clay, and subsequently became a Muslim, changing his name and also (among other things), refusing induction into the United States Army. During this time he was stripped of his heavyweight title, and a political lightning rod. He subsequently regained his license to box and with it, he began his climb back to the top of the boxing world. This is about where I have my first memories of Ali. I can barely remember his first fight (in 1971) against Joe Frazier, and as a young boy, followed his return to the top of the boxing ranks along with my pop, who always loved Ali. Over the next several years, Ali would win and lose several huge fights (many of which I was able to see either on TV delay, or a couple times live, when my dad brought me to a local bar that had either satellite or closed circuit tv or something that carried the fights. Later on I’d see them on HBO, which had scored a major coup by securing the rights to broadcast some of the big fights). I followed Ali through all of this, up through the really *final* loss — to Larry Holmes — in 1980. By that point, Ali was but a shell of his former self. Throughout all of this, my dad was always a big Ali booster and we’d frequently watch his fights (either live or on tape) together.
I’m not sure why my pop turned me onto boxing (he was far more of a ‘lover than a fighter’) and why he liked Ali in particular. If anything, I’d have thought his politics and Ali’s would have been in direct opposition. During the whole roughly 9-10 years I followed Ali as a fighter, I was never really aware of any of his life outside the ring — it was only later that I learned of these things and my respect for him grew only from there. I knew Ali only as “The Greatest” and then, not long after, of his downfall in the ring. Years later, I asked my dad why he liked Ali so much (after I’d learned about his conversion to Islam, his opposition to the Viet Nam, etc.). I don’t remember his exact line, but to paraphrase, he said something like: “He had more guts than any man I ever saw…and I don’t mean in boxing…I never thought Viet Nam was a good idea, but his statement on it really stuck with me. Anyone who is willing to go to jail for what he believes in has my utmost respect.”
At the time, this was one of the ‘deepest’ things my dad had ever said to me, and it made me see him in a new light too (something that a teenager — I was probably 16 or 17 at the time — doesn’t often see). What was it that Ali said that struck my dad so?
Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.
Whether you agree or disagree with that, it’s one of the most powerful statements I’ve ever read.
I said I wasn’t going to say much about Ali, but I guess once I got started…I couldn’t stop. I could have written 10,000 more words, but these are plenty. I think tomorrow Paul will have more to say on the passing of an American icon.
Rest In Peace, Muhammad Ali.
[H/T to Brady Phelps for the graphic at the top of this section]
for the Ticker
I think our friend Leo Strawn, Jr. has found a special niche here on Uni Watch — and I have another submission from him for this “TGFTT” edition. This will probably end up being a semi-recurring (probably weekly) feature in the future. I’ll need to come up with a special name for it, but for now…here’s Leo:
The Scarlet and Gray version of TGFTT
I have a Buckeyes trivia question for you this week:
Who was the only team THE Ohio State Buckeyes ever played in back-to-back football games?
While you’re cogitating on that, let me share a couple of photos of Paul Sarringhaus and the National Champion 1942 Buckeyes.
This team photo contains some prominent names in Ohio football lore; Coach Paul Brown, Dante Lavelli (whom Brown chose to play for him in the AAFC just a few seasons later and who would be a member of 4 AAFC and 3 NFL Championship teams in Cleveland as well as being inducted into the NFL HOF), Les Horvath (who would win the Heisman in 1944 and go on to play for Coach Brown again in 1949 after a stint with the Rams in the NFL), and some lesser-knowns like Paul Sarringhaus.
This link has two shots of Sarringhaus. The first photo shows Sarringhaus running the ball in what I believe is the October 24, 1942 game at Evanston v. Northwestern. Bucks won 20-6. Apparently he suffered a facial injury during the season because that second photo shows him wearing a facemask during the final game of the ’42 season. Sarringhaus would go on to play a couple of seasons in the NFL for the Chicago Cardinals and Detroit Lions.
The opponent in that second photo of Sarringhaus is the answer to the trivia question: the Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks, who represented the US Navy flight school at Iowa during the war years of 1942-44.
Under Coach Paul Brown, OSU beat Pre-Flight 41-12 on November 28, 1942 to close out the season. The Buckeyes’ next game was the 1943 season opener, a 28-13 loss to Pre-Flight on September 25.
The more you know…Go Bucks!
Thanks, Leo. Next time I run one of these — it’ll have a new name!
OK. Now, onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: Oooohhhh. Check out these awesome Shea Stadium paper placemats and napkins found tucked inside a 1975 scorecard (from Jon Springer). I remember those (and I definitely had a ’75 scorecard many years ago). … The Kalamazoo Growlers wore these jerseys last evening for “What Would Have Been Night” (from Kalamazoo Growlers). … The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers wore these Star Wars-themed jerseys last night (from OT Sports). … Whoa — check out Braden Webb with the full-on Wild Thing haircut (nice spot by Daren Stoltzfus). … Check out these sweet Padres inspired uniforms (from Eric Furniss). … Sometimes, you just gotta love Minor League baseball (from Thom Pucks). … Here’s a look at Texas Tech wearing Under Armour Curry 1’s on a field turf infield (from Alex Raney). … It was Superhero night in Frisco (from Tyler #TimStrong). … Check out this very cool image from inside the Cubs lockerroom (from Nick Yelverton). … The Padres are passing out surveys to their season ticket holders, and the author of the article is very serious about brown and gold being the team’s colors. … “We’ve all seen catchers wearing their shin guards on deck,” says Cassian Wykes. “But until today I’d never seen one wear just one in that situation. This New Hampshire softball player did though, on several occasions during a contest today.”
NFL/Football News: With the Atlanta Falcons moving into their new home next season (hence, this is their last one in their current dome), this article mentions rumors of a throwback uniform to be broken out at some point this fall. It’s poorly written and probably just wishful thinking on the author’s part. … CROSSOVER Alert! Marshawn Lynch wore a San Jose Sharks jersey at Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals (also posted in the Hockey ticker). Thanks to Chris Flinn. … Check out all the stripage going on in this photo of the Cowboys vs. the Eagles from John Turney. … Also from John, “Otis Taylor with the tackle-twill numbers curling up or unironed. Not sure why their numerals did this.” … Still more from John: Earthquake Hunt in his Riddells and Houston Antwine in his blue suede Adidas Tournaments.
Hockey News: Reader John Muir notes site friend Chris Creamer tweeted this yesterday: A trio of new 2017 #QMJHL anniversary logos spotted at their Draft today. … CROSSOVER Alert! Marshawn Lynch wore a San Jose Sharks jersey at Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals (also posted in the Football ticker). Thanks to Chris Flinn. … Patrick Laine isn’t a Winnipeg Jet yet, but you can already buy his jersey.
NBA/Basketball News: I think we’ve had this as an item before, but the Golden State Warriors pay tribute to the time they spent in Philadelphia with the jerseys on their practice court (from Casey McHugh). … This is pretty cool — check out the “Hoosiers’ Reunion All-Star Classic” (good spot by Jason Rosko). … Here’s a great tweet from the Fort Wayne Pistons: “In late 90’s, gameday dress up for Jr. High bball required sweet 90’s logo-action ties!”
Soccer News: As you’re all likely aware, Swansea introduced new kits the other day, and this article’s author feels it’s an early contender for best Premier League kit for 2016-17. … At yesterday’s Copa, the Paraguayan team wore tank tops under their jerseys with a sponsor on them. Here’s what the normal jersey looks like, and here’s what the team wore yesterday. And here’s another look (nice spot by Josh Hinton). Here’s an an additional look. … Here’s the new Ligue 1 match ball (from Patrick Thomas). … Also from Patrick, the new Leverkusen jersey made by Joma. … Here’s the Man City away jersey (replica version) in real life (Patrick again). … Chris Howell notes it’s “Odd seeing Brazil in blue shirts and white shorts.”
Grab Bag: Tweeter James Gilbert notes The Daily Tar Heel (a Student paper) uses an out-of-date UNC logo in their commemorative issue with ladies and mens lax pics. … As you all (probably) know, UMich is switching from adidas to Nike, and now there is a countdown to the Nike switchover on the M Den site (from Destry Sangregorio). … Life University’s highlighter rugby uniforms disappeared into the superimposed ad (from Andrew).
And that’s all for today. Everyone have a great Sunday and I’ll catch you next weekend.
I’ll be back tomorrow with much, much more, but until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“The Cleveland Indians caveman throwbacks look great! It is a shame that most of these prima donna players will not go with stirrups for just one night! Shame on them!”
I see “sorry that link doesn’t exist” when I click the link in: “switching from adidas to Nike, and now there is a countdown to the Nike switchover on the M Den site”
*in the manner of Chief Wiggum* Those are some good lookin’ throwbacks, Lou.
Is it just me or does the sansabelt make the pajama pants look even worse? The Indians and Royals players going low cuffed looked like they were straight up wearing sweatpants. Or basketball warm-up pants. Or *actual* pajama bottoms.
It might be just me but the sansabelt makes EVERYTHING look worse.
Chris Howell notes it’s “Odd seeing Brazil in blue shirts and white shorts.”
Well, they have been the Brazilian change kit since 1958, more or less, so it’s not too odd.
True enough. But how often is Brazil the team not wearing the yellow jersey on the field? It surprised me.
What was odd was that Brazil (IIRC) was the designated home team in the match and –if that was in fact the case– chose to wear their change kit. Perhaps they wanted to push sales of it. ðŸ¤”â˜¹ï¸
I’ve always loved that leaping-Joe Namath photo. People forget what a great athlete he was.
Whenever I see that photo I wonder how many knee injuries had he already suffered?
I’m a lifelong Indians fan and have never liked this set, but it was a welcome change and looked good last night. I’m loving the small crew of stirruped players the team has now, I just wish they would learn how to blouse their pants properly, it takes more than just bunching your pants above the elastic above your calves.
Also- were the socks wrong last night?
Like the Durham Bulls “Bull City Blues” set, the White Sox American Giants uniforms illustrates why dark jerseys should always be paired with dark pants in baseball. Such a better look than than wearing dark jerseys with white or gray pants.
Agreed. I don’t know why this all-too-obvious concept hasn’t caught on.
I loooooove those dark-blue-with-pinstripes Chicago American Giants uniforms. Those should be the regular look for one of the Chicago teams, both of whom have great histories wearing all-navy. Maybe make the pinstripes a little thinner, but really it’s perfect as it is.
And the Detroit Tigers always look great in their Negro League throwbacks. I love how they wear them so often.
I think there’s one small flaw in the Indians’ throwbacks: the link. No complaints because I like nice big readable numbers, but in the early days of NOBs there were a few teams who experimented with abnormally small number fonts before settling on the 8″ standard. The link are another example, with an even smaller font, and the link.
You’re right. When names on the back of jerseys began by the White Sox in 1960, they used link with rather link They kept the same NOB same style thru the various uniform changes until link Other teams had similar link when they adopted NOB’s. Here’s the Braves road link The Tigers and Reds kept smaller numbers and tall names into the late 70’s – maybe longer. I think today there’s a minimum number size, but that shouldn’t apply to throwbacks.
Michael, those are some great photos; your Google-fu is better than mine.
The Tigers continued to have small numbers and biggish names until the ’80s. And of course another huge offender in the big-NOB/small-number field was Cincinnati. link is sold in the official Reds store! (It wasn’t quite that bad when Dave Concepcion was really wearing that jersey, but it was close.)
“And is it time for the Royals (or some team, if not they) to bring back a set of powder blue roads?”
NO, it’s not time now, it’s long overdue.
Royals would be my first choice. I’ll try a condensed version of my usual style rant when colour uniforms in MLB baseball comes up and it strikes a nerve that day:
Padres – brown and gold, Phillies – burgundy tops, etc., etc. MLB – mostly sea of grey and white with tinges of blue and red. Replace “holiday/cause” jerseys with throwbacks. Not every team extra colour, some “newer” teams do … blah, blah, blah … even I’m starting to get sick of hearing me.
The Chicago Cubs should go back to link, which were way ahead of their time. I would even settle for the link.
Cubs would be my first choice. I want the 1978 awesomeness!
I like the Royals 70s unis a lot, but I actually think KC’s current whites and grays are their best look ever.
It’s interesting that the 1978 illustration shows the stirrups high side in the front.
I like the idea of honoring the rich traditions & history of baseball with the throwbacks. However I feel that players who wear the pajama bottoms are disrespecting those who came before them. (and they should not be sold to the public – demeans their historical “value”) Oh right! That’s why they wear them in the first place…$$$
And why can’t players who earn upwards of $20 million/season get a haircut! Some of these guys look like cavemen! Really uncool.
At least in the NHL playoffs there are superstitions involved with playoff beards, but a couple of guys on the Sharks just look ridiculous. (imho)
Compare the caveman look to the way NFL players enter their stadiums looking like pros in suits & ties.
Old George (Stienbrenner) must be rolling around in his grave….
Interesting that the QMJHL Quebec Remparts have a 20th anniversary patch, as there have been more than 20 seasons of Quebec Remparts hockey.
To provide more detail, this is the anniversary for the revived Remparts, as the first version was in existence in the Q from 1969 to 1985.
@Ticker — the new Leverkusen jersey is made by Jako, not Joma; see also link :)
Otherwise, excellent post about both MLB throwback games!
The Royals powder blue home alt looks good, as a nod to the past. But all powder blue on the road all the time? No. That is a hideous look and that’s likely why no team has done it or will do it any time soon. Some things are best left buried in the past and 70s/80s fashion is at the top of that list.
Royals throwback looks perfect. Glad they went NNOB, as they would have screwed up the vertical arching.
The Indians throwback looks good, but the INDIANS wordmark looks too small. Not a major deal, but something that easily could have been done correctly.
The Namath colorization is about the best you can do. One suggestion, because I am such a Shea Stadium fan…the QTR and NY on the scoreboard was white and the numbers below that a bit more orange. Use this for reference:
Um, they were NNOB until 1978 or 79. These are from 76.
I’ve always thought the Royals should bring back the powder blues, even if it’s with the current uniform design (as opposed to a straight-up re-creation of the ’70s or even ’80s looks). Additionally — based on current designs — I’d think the Rays and Blue Jays should/could go powder blue on the road, and a Brewers re-design with the ball-glove logo as the primary could reintroduce the powder blues in some road capacity.
Though…I wonder if powder blue in the road is all that necessary nowadays. The fans that love that look — especially Royals fans — get to see the team wear powder blue alternates in their home stadium. On the road, wearing a particular uniform isn’t as relevant as at home in front of the fans that most want to see that look. *I* want to see powder blue road uniforms because those are my tastes, but if a team wants to avoid the color full-time on the road in spite of fans desire for the color, they can compromise with home alternates. That may be what we’re seeing in Kansas City and Tampa Bay, and to a certain extent, why the Blue Jays had those full powder blue throwback alternates at home a few years ago — a nod to the home fans that liked the look.
I wish people would stop saying the Caveman look is the Indians signature, most in th Cleveland area would not agree.
Remember…”signature” doesn’t mean best (but in this case it is), most popular or longest worn. It just means instantly recognizable as coming from that team. The Tribe spent a large part of their history wearing a wishbone C cap, just like the Cubs did and the Reds still do. The Wahoo caps are one of a kind, but the rest the regular uniforms are pretty standard. No one else has gone caveman, though.
I neither agree that it is their signature look nor their best. Those honors belong to the ’48 and ’54 sets respectively.
Proofreading: During this time he was stripped of his heavyweight title, and a political lightning rod. (Missing a word in there.)
And possibly: (after I’d learned about his conversion to Islam, his opposition to the Viet Nam, etc.). (May be missing a word in there, too.)
… and it’s spelled “Muhammad”.
I believe the curling got the numbers on those durene jerseys was due to the launderer using high heat in the dryers, a.k.a shrinkage.
Re: “At yesterday’s Copa, the Paraguayan team wore tank tops under their jerseys with a sponsor on them. Here’s what the normal jersey looks like, and here’s what the team wore yesterday. And here’s another look (nice spot by Josh Hinton). Here’s an an additional look”
FieldWiz is a sports analytics company, so I would guess that what was seen beneath the Paraguayan tops were actually trackers of players’ movements, HR, distance run, etc…
I know I’m in the minority here, but Cleveland’ throwbacks looked much better with pants down and white shoes than it did with the stirrups and black shoes. Chicago’s and Kansas City’s throwbacks definitely need to be worn socks up though.
The Cleveland throwbacks do look better with stirrups… especially those not worn backwards. How is it that so many get it, well, backwards when wearing them?
Count me among those that feel the Indians signature look is the one worn for “Major League” by Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn.