See the reveal of our new sweaters presented by your Toronto Area Ford Dealers.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) June 24, 2016
By Phil Hecken
Yesterday the Toronto Maple Leafs, as had been expected for some time, unveiled new home and road uniforms, which you can see in the video above. While the Maple Leafs have been very consistent in their uniforms over the years (they began play as the “Arenas” in 1917, changing to the “St. Pats” — a period in which they wore green, becoming the “Maple Leafs” in 1927), they have almost always only had blue and white as their colorscheme. So it was a given their newest iterations would be blue and white, and in that regard, they didn’t disappoint. In fact, the pair of home and roadies are pretty darn fine looking.
Let’s take a look at the new unis, then break down the various parts. Here are the new home and away kits (you can click on any images below to enlarge):
At first glance, you might not even notice the Leafs have new uniforms — these are not a radical departure from their previous set. There are some differences however — our friend Chris Creamer has done a bang up job showing the subtle (and not so subtle) differences. The biggest and most obvious difference is the shape and size of the trademark maple leaf crest on the sweater. The more intricate leaf design replaces the smaller, simpler leaf of the previous set. There are also changes in the hem (two smaller stripes are now one thicker stripe) and the socks have gone from an intricate (and beautiful) striping pattern to one that now matches the two sleeve stripes. Finally, the breezers now have a white stripe (where before the pants were solid blue).
Let’s examine the uni from top to bottom.
As is now rote for new uniforms in many sports, the inside of the collar is inscribed with the slogan “Honour. Pride. Courage.” Those were part of a slogan coined by former owner Conn Smythe and have now been forever emblazoned into the fabric of the team (and the collar too):
The blue jersey has a white collar, and the white jersey has a blue collar. Here’s how it looks on the white sweater:
The biggest new change, of course, is the Maple Leaf:
According to the Maple Leafs, the club’s new mark has a number of distinguishing design characteristics (you’ll note the Leafs have used a logo similar to this in both 1939-62, and from 1963-67, after which they switched to the much more simplistic looking leaf):
• 31 POINTS: The new Maple Leaf has 31 points, a nod to the year 1931 and a defining moment in team history with the opening of Maple Leaf Gardens.
• 17 VEIN DETAIL: The new badge contains a total of 17 veins, representing the year the franchise was founded.
• 13 VEINS AT TOP: 13 veins at the top of the crest to commemorate the club’s Stanley Cup Championships.
• CONNECTION TO PAST: The new logo maintains a strong connection to the classic Leafs logo of the past while offering a fresh take on it for the future.
• THE OUTLINE: The outline, seen in the most recent version of this Maple Leaf from 1963-67, has been removed to create a cleaner, bolder look.
As mentioned above, the new uniform still has two sleeve stripes, as did the previous generation. The new hem has a thicker, single stripe:
The new pants have a single stripe down the side, while the last version was solid blue:
Moving south of the waist to the socks — and here is the one area where I’m torn — I LOVED the old socks (with their three beautiful stripes), but the new socks perfectly match the striping on the sleeves of the sweater, satisfying my OCD. I think they could have left this one well alone, but it does provide a nice symmetry to the uniform. They’ll wear blue socks with the home blue sweaters, and white socks on the road with the white jerseys.
And there you have it — really, not too much of a change, but the best change — the new crest — is awesome in my opinion. The rest of the changes are very simple and subtle, so the Maple Leafs you see on ice in the fall of 2016 will look, uni-wise, very much like the generations who’ve taken the ice before them. And that’s a good thing.
For a bit more information and some additional looks, I recommend you take a look at the excellent Maple Leafs page devoted to the new uniforms and also which provides a small history of their uniforms over the years.
But…while we expected the Maple Leafs to introduce new uniforms yesterday, what we didn’t expect were the Penguins to introduce a “new” road sweater…
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) June 24, 2016
Yesterday the Pittsburgh Penguins, in a well-kept secret, revealed they are making the “Pittsburgh Gold” black jersey their primary, and ALSO unveiled a brand new (well, retro) white jersey that ditches the previous metallic gold and features the color known as
yellow “Pittsburgh Gold.”
The new road sweater is basically a white version of their black alt (now primary) jersey in which they just won the Stanley Cup.
OK, it’s not a return to their original powder blue, but it beats the hell the shitty metallic gold they’d been using as an accent in recent years. Here’s a bit more on the switch. And more from SI. The color, folks, is called Pittsburgh Gold, so THE and others, please don’t call it yellow.
So — all in all — a pretty big day yesterday for Hawkey unis. The Leafs did a very nice job with their redesign, and the Penguins made the switch back to the proper color for a Pittsburgh team.
OK dear readers, what say you?
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards
I’m pleased to continue with a favorite weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” — now in Series III — which are created by Gary Chanko. This segment will appear Saturdays on Uni Watch.
Here’s Gary (click on image to enlarge):
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards – Series III
by Gary Chanko
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards returns to the Windy City to revisit Wrigley Field as it was during its early decades.
Wrigley Field – 1930s
Baseball Home of: Chicago Cubs (MLB) (1916 to present)
Football Home of: Chicago Tigers (APFA) (1920); Hammond Pros (NFL) (1920”“1926); Chicago Bears (NFL) (1921”“1970); Chicago Cardinals (NFL) (1931”“1939)
During the inaugural 1914 season, the ballpark (then known as Weeghman Park) featured a scoreboard in left field. For the next season, bleachers were added in left field and the scoreboard was relocated to center field were it remained until another expansion in 1937.
That well known, manually operated scoreboard above the center field bleachers (featured in an earlier posting) was constructed as part of the 1937 renovation, including the famous ivy covered outfield wall. Both are now landmarked by the Chicago city council.
For a concise history of Wrigley Field’s renovations and expansions, see this wiki article.
The Doublemint Elves
In 1921 Philly home boy and chewing gum tycoon, William Wrigley Jr. gained majority ownership of the Cubs franchise. Wrigley’s Doublemint Gum product was introduced in 1914 and featured rather bizarre twin elves for advertising promotion.
The twin elves, outfitted in baseball uniforms, were featured atop the scoreboard for most of the 1920s and 30s. Research yielded little information about the scoreboard elves, except for a few B&W photos. Colors are simply a best guess. The scoreboard structure is based on this illustration depicting a green color.
1935 World Series
The illustration recreates the scoreboard during Game 3 of the 1935 World Series. The Tigers defeated the Cubs 6-5 in 11 innings.
A Few Things to Know
• During the 1937 construction that added the center field bleachers, the Doublemint Elves scoreboard was temporarily relocated to left field. The center field bleacher expansion wasn’t completed until the last month of the season.
• The ballpark was designed as a multipurpose stadium from its inception. In addition to baseball, Wrigley Field provided a venue for pro and college football games, soccer, ice hockey, boxing, circuses, concerts and more. In 1944 there were even ski jumping competitions.
• The infamous outfield ivy was originally planted with 350 Japanese Bittersweet plants and 200 Boston Ivy plants. Interestingly, the bittersweet ivy vine is considered an invasive, environmental menace! If you previously attempted to create your own Wrigley Field outfield wall and now have second thoughts, here’s how to get rid of the evil vine.
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.
UW’s Friday Flashback
The clipping you see here, announcing the release of the Cincinnati Royals’ new logo ”” the same logo that was recently revived by the Royals’ current incarnation, the Sacramento Kings ”” appeared in The Cincinnati Enquirer on April 2, 1971. As you can see, it mentions that the logo was designed by a graphic designer named Bob Grove.
Grove’s name has been lost to history, and his story has never been told ”” until now. Paul had an exclusive interview with him for his Friday Flashback column this week on ESPN. Check it out here.
for the Ticker
Received an e-mail yesterday from reader Noah Breuer, who submitted a, shall we say, interesting piece on the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and their hockey team, which as both a unique name and mascot.
I’ll let Noah explain…
I played club ice hockey at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) from 2000-2004. As alumni of an art and design school, me and several of my former teammates (including AirBNB founder/CEO, Brian Chesky) are avid readers of Uni watch.
While we were no juggernaut on the ice, we have always thought that our logo and uniforms were THE BEST in all of college hockey. As you may be aware RISD’s hockey team is called the Nads, as in, gonads, or our preferred cheer; “Go-Nads!”
The Nads date back to the 1970’s but the current logo and uniform are from 2000 and were designed by a Furniture Design major named Aaron Chang when he was a sophomore. The RISD store still sells shirts hoodies, etc with his logo. The jerseys were modeled after what the SJ Sharks had been wearing at that time with Colorado Avalanche typeface for the numbers. 2000 was also the first year for our mascot, scottie, the 7-foot penis. Scottie was made by some students in a RISD puppet-making class. Pretty hilarious, uh?
Anyway, if you want to use any of these photos or info for a story to get you through the dog days of summer, feel free. I’ve got better photos too if you want them.
Keep up the good work,
OK. Now, onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: Sunday marks the 100th anniversary since the Cleveland baseball team were first to wear jersey numerals (from Chris Walker). Our pal Todd Radom has much more on that (a must read). … Of this year’s
Stars & Stripes ‘Murica gear merchandise, Jerry Kulig says, “It’s back — and worse than ever.” Here’s more. … Tonight, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers will wear very special Youngstown State jerseys (from OT Sports). … At Thursday’s Congressional Baseball Game, Rep. Jared Huffman of California was rocking some blue stirrups (from Robert Bonasia). … The Brevard County Manatees wore these specialty jerseys last night and this weekend, and now you can buy one at auction if you so desire (from Dave Doop). … The Birmingham Barons will wear these Ghostbusters-inspired jerseys on July 9th (from OT Sports). … “I don’t recall seeing this posted previously, but my apologies if it has been,” writes Joe Werner: A western Pennsylvania author is writing a book about the uniform number history of the Pittsburgh Pirates. … Also from Joe, the Rochester Red Wings are having a shit ton of promotions, including this Star Wars-inspired jersey, during their current homestand. … Casey Hart forwarded a tweet from C. Trent Rosencrans, which says, “that’s how a baseball uniform should be worn, says the old guy.” This old-ish guy agrees. … The Omaha Storm Chasers celebrated Miles Mortensen (the four year old son of a reliever, who is battling cancer) with special themed jerseys last night. Here is a bit more on that. … During their current homestand, the Mariners will sport three different uniforms in three games (from Kevin Martinez). … Last evening the Cincinnati Reds wore throwbacks from 1976 (from KT). Here’s another look from KT. It’s Pete Rose weekend in Cincy. … MFarms Brewing captured some good good screen shots of those 1976 Big Red Machine duds. … If only they didn’t wear throwbacks in modern cuts (from Nick Colosmo). … As part of the Pete Rose Weekend, the Reds will have a 14 patch on their jerseys (from Zachary Fields). … The Milwaukee Brewers again wore their “retro” Batting Practice jerseys last night (h/t Johnny Okray).
NFL/CFL News: Atlanta Falcons prexy Rich McKay wants to see throwback uniforms at the Falcons new stadium, which is set to open in 2017. … For a good portion of yesterday, the Dolphins posted an article featuring questions with Cameron Wake. Only problem? They used the wrong guy. Later in the day they got a proper picture (great spot by Dillon Brott). … Last night, the Montreal Alouettes went with a white helmet (from Nelson Hackewich). Here’s a better shot. The Als played the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and (especially with the Bombers’ new unis) the matchup was surprisingly excellent. That had been a brutal looking pairing in years past.
College/High School Football News: Some Notre Dame football guys doing community service wore an “Irish Around the BeND” logo (from Jude S.). Here’s some more information on Irish Around the BeND (also from Jude). … As per tweeter Nic Isom, Bronco Mendenhall leaked the new University of Virginia uniforms (which you can sorta see on the mannequins to the left of that photo). Here’s a bit more on that. … “I noticed you linked to a football helmet in a headdress motiff,” writes Lance Hemmert. “My old alma mater [Spokane Schools] is introducing one for this Fall’s football season. I think it’s nicely done.” … “I just checked UW and didn’t see anyone submit this, so feel free to add to the NCAA football ticker,” writes Leo Strawn, Jr.: Toledo Rockets have new helmets for 2016. Not a fan of the Jaguars lids, but these look fairly decent to me. Maybe the color scheme?
Hockey News: Now that the Penguins have unveiled a new road uniform, Jimmer Vilk thinks the Pens also need to bring back the gold helmets of yesteryear. In fact, he wants all of Pittsburgh’s hats to be gold. … “It’s a year early, but is this a first sighting of NHL/adidas apparel?” asks Chad Witherell. “No silver trim on the logo.” … Here’s a look at the Arizona Coyotes 20th Season patch (from Matthew Crooks). … Here’s a closeup of the patch (from JC Crawford). … The St. Louis Blues, who entered the league as an expansion team along with the Penguins, will have a “50” patch (h/t Drew Ebert). … Here’s a better look at the new patch (from Pastamaniac).
NBA/College Hoops News: During his radio show yesterday, Dan Patrick was wearing headphones with the Cleveland Cavaliers logo on them (good spot by Retire Fifty Tu). … “I was searching your site for reaction to Butler University’s new men’s basketball uniform,” says Jered T. Petrey. “Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything. Here is a link. the Butler Men’s Basketball Twitter was the first to tweet them out on June 1.” Readers? What’s your take? … The Denver Nuggets had first round pick Malik Beasley pose with an old uni during Thursday Night’s NBA draft (from &rew).
Soccer News: AFC Bournemouth of the Premier League have new away uniforms (from Josh Hinton). … Here’s what MLS players will wear when they face Arsenal on July 28th (h/t Tim Cross). That’s the MLS All-Star Game. Here is a more in-depth look at the jersey (from Josh Hinton).
Grab Bag: The Smithsonian posted this look at a century-old catalog of graduation garb. Says submitter R. Scott Rogers, “Fascinating stuff!” … Reader Jesse Agler is “Here w/Padres in Cincy and made a non-sports uni observation”: Cincinnati PD officers seem to all wear white-topped hats. He adds, “Around town, at the ballpark, makes them EXTREMELY noticeable. Wonder if there’s something to the psychology of police presence or just an old tradition. But something I found interesting and thought you might as well. Chicago PD with the light blue shirts another differentiating example among big-city police that I can think of; but like I said, these white hats really make the officers stand out.” … You know your uniforms for the upcoming games are bad when even Brazilian athletes find their unis too tacky.
And that’s all for today (phew!). Thanks (and welcome back) to Gary for another fantastic set of scoreboards and to Noah for his um, interesting bit on RISD and their hockey mascot.
I’ll be back with more tomorrow, but until that time…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“The only people who would ever even think of bringing their weapons to a baseball game that will be filled with other armed folks, kids, and alcohol, are Responsible Gun Owners, and history (and daily news reports) clearly demonstrate that Responsible Gun Owners never make mistakes, have accidents, or do stupid stuff that results in harm to themselves or others.”
— Hugh McBride