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‘Radom Thoughts’ – The 1969 Seattle Pilots: One Team, One Season, Many Uniforms

[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]

Big Pilots 550

[Deputy Editor’s note: You guys may recall that last year, I asked uniform and logo designer Todd Radom if he’d share some of his logo case studies during Paul’s vacation, and he happily obliged. Todd is back again this year, allowing me to share with you some of my favorite columns — I’m sure you guys will enjoy it. After Todd’s guest column, be sure to scroll down for the THIRD Set (Groups E & F) of the Griffins Design Contest, with voting! ”” Phil]

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The 1969 Seattle Pilots””One Team, One Season, Many Uniforms
By Todd Radom

The Seattle Pilots occupy a unique space in the modern annals of Major League Baseball. They played only one season””162 games””in their sole campaign in the Pacific Northwest, wearing some of the most distinctive uniforms in the history of professional sports. The club moved to Milwaukee just prior to Opening Day of the 1970 season, reborn as the Brewers.

St Louis Cardinals coach Joe Schultz was named as the team’s first manager on October 10, 1968. The announcement took place during the ninth inning of the decisive seventh game of the World Series between St Louis and Detroit. He was depicted that day wearing a prototype road jersey and cap. The headwear features a simple italicized lower case “s.” The jersey typography is straight across; the “s” in “Seattle” matches the cap. The road jersey lettering is fairly close to what the Pilots would eventually wear during their only season.


I recently came across an image that was published in the New York Times on December 4, 1968, the contents of which blew me away. The shot shows Montréal Expos manager Gene Mauch and scout Peanuts Lowrey posed in front of a set of uniforms at the MLB meetings in San Francisco. The frontmost jersey is that of the expansion Kansas City Royals (it contains a detail that never saw the field of play in the end of the script tail, under the “R”.”) Next to that is a jersey for the Seattle Pilots with a blocky “Seattle” wordmark, something that I have never seen before.



We can only guess what some of the details were (including the “S”.) The coloration looks similar to what was eventually utilized. Here’s a rough but educated stab at what it may have looked like:

When the team reported to Spring Training in 1969 they wore simple jerseys featuring a block-serif “PILOTS.” The headwear contained a simple yellow/gold “S” with no additional embellishments. There were two jerseys, a white home version and a gray road version, each of which were devoid of trim or detail.


The Pilots played their first ever game on the road in Anaheim on April 8, 1969. Their distinctive powder blue road uniforms featured four gold “captain’s” stripes on the sleeves, an arched “Seattle,” and a derivative of the club’s pilot wheel logo.


The Home Opener took place on April 11, against Chicago. Here’s the white home jersey, manufactured by Wilson:



The team’s visual identity was created by Seattle Post-Intelligencer artist Stuart Moldrem. An April 11, 1969 P-I article says that the caps were originally to be “white”¦ with (a) blue bill on which was placed a gold band”¦on the bill (was) what the Armed Services call “scrambled eggs.” The American League seems to have had a rule against two-tone hats at this time, so the cap became all blue:

The same article indicates that the home uniforms were to feature blue belt loops and a gold belt buckle, neither of which ever saw the light of day. Multiple sources say that the jerseys were a work in progress right up until Opening Day.

Pilots pitcher Jim Bouton famously documented the 1969 season in his seminal book “Ball Four.” In it, he says of the Pilots uniforms:

“There was a lot of grousing about the uniforms. ”¦ I guess because we’re the Pilots we have to have captain’s uniforms. They have stripes on the sleeve, scrambled eggs on the (bill) of the cap and blue socks with yellow stripes. Also there are blue and yellow stripes down the sides of the pants. We look like goddamn clowns.”


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Phil here — THANKS Todd. As always, a tremendous article (and one of my personal favorites). I think the readers here know that I think 1969 was the greatest uni-year in Baseball, and the Pilots’ unis were a big part of the reason I liked it so much. Looking forward to sharing more “Radom Thoughts” as my weekday Uni Watch run continues.

And now for Part III (Groups E & F) of the Griffins Design Contest…

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Griffins Design Contest hed


Welcome to Part III of the Griffins Alternate Jersey Design Contest. Today we’ll look at Groups E & F, and have voting after each of the Groups are displayed. If you missed Part I please click here, which contained a full writeup and the rules on voting. As with the previous two design reveals (and every day there is voting held), the TOP THREE VOTE-GETTERS will advance to the “finals” (with the Grand Prize Winner to be ultimately selected by the Griffins).

You can vote on ANY of the jersey designs below (or some, all or none), but you may only submit a ballot once in each section. Please be sure to vote in BOTH sections (there are two in total). If you click on a submitter’s name, the correct box will automatically be selected (so if the check boxes don’t align exactly, just click on the name if you’d like). Review both Groups (Group “E” and Group “F”), write down any and all of the designs you like, click the designers’ names, and hit “VOTE” for each set. That’s all there is to it!

Let’s get started.



Mansueti, Jack

Jack Mansueti


Markiewicz, Scott

Scott Markiewicz


Marrett, Troy

Troy Marrett


Mayfield, Isaac

Isaac Mayfield


McElroy, Matthew

Matthew McElroy


McFarlane, Chris

Chris McFarlane


McLaughlin, Traver

Traver McLaughlin


Memering, Michael

Michael Memering


Merchant, Raj

Raj Merchant


Mikla, Alex

Alex Mikla


Miller, Randy

Randy Miller


Griffins Design Contest – Group E free polls

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +



Mohr, Derek

Derek Mohr


Morris, Heather

Heather Morris


O'Brien, Edmund

Edmund O’Brien


O'Brien, Nolan

Nolan O’Brien


Otte, Niklas

Niklas Otte


Pass, Blake

Blake Pass


Patterson, Jake

Jake Patterson


Perry, Ryan

Ryan Perry


Pike, Mikayla

Mikayla Pike


Qunici, Luke 1

Luke Quinci

Qunici, Luke 2


Rasmussen, Clark

Clark Rasmussen


Griffins Design Contest – Group F free polls

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Nice job by our third set (Groups E & F) — don’t forget to cast your votes in BOTH polls!

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News:  Has anyone else noticed that the white space (or webbing) of the Brewers “ball in glove” logo appears to be missing from the modern version the team has been wearing this season? (From  Thomas Juettner). … The Brewers wore said alts on Friday against the Mariners in a color-on-color game (from Tim Dunn). … The Nats’ Clint Robinson had some issues with his pants the other night (from our own Mike Chamernik). … Jose Reyes had some neon-sleeve/green screen problems yesterday (from Noah Sidel). …  We’ve seen the photo of  Manny Sanguillén and his eye white before, but check out Ron Hunt and his “lip white!” Looks like he has a mouth full of toothpaste (from  Tristan Ridgeway). …  The Miami Hurricanes’ baseball team will wear “Miami Maniac” hats for fall practice. Sebastian the Ibis is the school’s official mascot, but the Maniac is the only mascot that appears at the baseball games  (from  Matthew Lohr). … Check out the baseball branding on this jar of peanut butter (from  David Firestone).

Pro Football News:  We may have seen this already, but here’s the memorial decal the Saints will wear for Will Smith. …  The Cowboys have an “evolution of the uniform” exhibit at their new practice facility (from  Brad Sham). … Speaking of that display, has anyone seen this helmet or proposed logos before? (From Tim Roberts). …  The Browns infamous, never-used “CB” helmet is included on this electric football game (from  Pro Football Journal). …  The Toronto Argonauts went mono-navy for the first time this season on Saturday (from  Wade Heidt).

College Football News:  Per  Jason Terzis, the Miami Hurricanes are returning to a traditional dark green/orange helmet stripe after a few years of going metallic. Rutgers has a new BFBS alt (from Lee).  … New unis for Monmouth (thanks to all who shared). …  It looks like the artist gave a Texas Longhorn a Tennessee “T” in this Marvel drawing (from  Brett Baker). … Check out this Nebraska-themed wedding cake (from  John Muir).

Soccer News: Highly recommended: Great interactive graphic with every Premier League kit (from  Derek Linn). … Here’s a look at the new kits in Serie A (from Josh Hinton). …  The contract between Puma and the Uruguayan National Team expires in December, and Nike isn’t wasting time for a potential pitch. According to  Christian Bergara,  this is their mock-up for a potential kit. … New kits for the Florida Southern College women’s team (from  Wayne Koehler). …  Atlético Tucumán, an Argentine club team, is going full Charlotte Hornets with a purple/teal  striped kit (from  Trevor Williams).

Grab Bag:  Awesome graphic that shows the evolution of the Olympic sport symbols. …  Interesting look at how Busch Gardens developed potential logos for a new roller coaster (from  Michael LaJoie). …  Douglas Ford  spotted a Kansas City Chiefs fan at a Euro golf event in Prague on Sunday. … Matt Ryburn sends along a photo of the 1916 Fort Mill, South Carolina football team. If you look closely, you can see some of the players wearing nose guards. … Here’s a look at the logo for Mother Theresa’s canonization, and the artist who designed it. … Software company Mozilla is changing its logo.

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And that’s it for today. Thanks to Todd for the main article, Alex for the Ticker, and of course all those who participated in the Griffins Contest, and good luck to the third 22 entrants.

I want to offer a belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY (it was yesterday) to Rick “Ricko” Pearson, who just may have been the original Uni Watcher. I’m not gonna give his age, but let’s just say he’s got 20 years on me, so you do the math.

I also want to say “GREAT JOB” to Mike Chamernik for handling Friday’s entry — he wrote the lede, added some great extras, and compiled the ticker — basically, handled the whole thing, top to bottom, all by himself. Way to go Mike! Thanks for helping me (and Uni Watch) out in a pinch, and in a big way.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the fourth and final set of Griffins Design Contest submissions (there are now six finalists in the books, with six to go) and have the full 12 finalists designs after the final set of votes following tomorrow’s entry. Everyone have a great Monday, and … if you don’t already…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“The entire MLS trend of attempting to copy European names instead of establishing its own tradition is about the lamest thing in sports.”

— Dan Tarrant

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Comments (44)

    RE: Cowboys proposed logos…..

    Um, those branding irons would produce a backwards brand.

    Big D for dumb-dumbs.

    Also of note regarding the Pilots unit, their home jersey lacked the 100th Anniversary patch. That’s one thing that bugs me in any Pilots throwback game, they always have that patch on the home jersey.

    More information on the Joe Schultz prototype uniforms at the Fleer Sticker Project: link

    Nice post on the Pilots. I’ve always been bothered when the Brewers/Mariners throw back to the Pilots and use the 100th Anniversary patch on the home uniforms…

    More information on the Joe Schultz prototype uniforms are posted at the Fleer Sticker Project: link

    I find it odd that MLB would kill the idea of Seattle’s two-color cap, with the white crown and blue bill, considering one of the four expansion teams that year was the Expos, with their pinwheel ‘tres-coleur’ caps.

    Ouch, typo; that’s ‘tres-couleur’, although correcting French spelling on an English language website might be a tad OCD, no?

    “The American League seems to have had a rule against two-tone hats at this time, so the cap became all blue.”
    Confused by this since the American League champ Orioles had black hats with orange bills and the Angels had blue hats with red bills.

    Thanks for the article on the Seattle Pilots. Very clever and innovative uniforms. They were, no doubt, influenced by the LA Angels “halo” caps.

    Seconding Phil’s opinion….1969 was the greatest year for – collectively – MLB uniforms.

    I believe there is an error in the Cowboys uniform history display. The Cowboys introduced the blue chest and white double star uniform in 1995, so it would not have had the 75th anniversary patch on it. The previous year, they wore the white chest, blue double-star uniform, which did have the 75th anniversary logo. Someone with a better knowledge of this can check my thinking, but I believe I’m right.

    There are too many errors to even mention with the Cowboys uniform history, Roger Staubach never wore a #2 with that font. The Cowboys wore many different shades of gray on their game pants before going to a light blue in the late 70’s. All they did here was use modern shiny pants even on the 60’s and 70’s uniform. Mitchell and Ness did a decent white 1975 Staubach jersey, I wonder why they didn’t use one for this?

    Can’t find the photograph, but I recall the “seattle” lettering going uphill on one of the road uniforms before the vertical arch was settled upon. I wish they had stuck with the Z-shaped “S”, but everything to do with this team was star-crossed.

    Terrific piece from Mr. Radom today. One quibble: Judging by the visible fold running down the left side of the Pilots shirt in the photo with the expansion uni display, I believe we can clearly see the E, T, T, L, and E in Seattle, but not the S and the A, and that therefore the underline runs to the E.

    I’d love to see what the S and the A in that script really looked like. I understand why the team went in the direction it did with its jerseys, but I suspect I’d like the abandoned script from that photo better than I like what the team actually wore.

    Just me or anyone else having issues with the site? Whe trying to read on my ipad, it crashes 3 times. No issues on my android phone.

    Mother Teresa was a despicable fraud (there is no “h” in Teresa). If Hell did exist, she would be there and have a street named after her.

    And clearly you have irrefutable proof of this, to argue against the other 99.999% of the population that says otherwise?

    The Catholic Church does not consign anyone — not even You Know Who — to Hell (they leave that to God). How interesting that an unbeliever is so certain that someone is damned.

    By the exacting standards of the Christopher Hitchenses of the world, Mother Teresa was no saint. And they’re right! Which is just ironic evidence that the popular, secular definition of “saint” has little relationship with the Roman Catholic (which is to say, original) definition of what a saint is.

    On topic, Mother Teresa was a bit of a uni fanatic, ditching the formal habit of her order for a less formal, plainer habit under a sari worn in the local style. And when a nearby Catholic community developed a sari with three stripes, instead of the one stripe then-Sister Teresa had adopted, she petitioned the local bishop for permission to adopt that pattern in place of the one blue stripe she had previously worn. The outfit Teresa designed has become the official habit (or uniform) of nuns of her religious order worldwide: link

    …”when a nearby Catholic community developed a sari with three stripes…”


    adidas sued?

    Which probably explains why the Missionaries of Charity sari has three unequal stripes: One thick, two thin. Also, didn’t Northwestern originally have three equal stripes, and then widen the inner stripe after adidas sent a cease-and-desist?

    I chose that article because it was “an outside source.” Had I chosen one from a Catholic agency, people would’ve said, “Of course *they’re* going to stick up for her.”

    Anyway, as Paul or Phil usually say, this is a uniform site, not an attack someone’s character site. Let’s move on.

    An interesting thing about the Pilots first home game (at least to me!) is they were playing the White Sox. Yep. The 69 White Sox – who were also in brand new uniforms that wouldn’t last long. The grey (Mitchell & Ness got it right!) road unis the Sox wore actually had link I don’t know how long this lasted – probably until they returned to Chicago and had a chance to replace the backs with blue names and numbers.

    Prior to the double-knit era this may not have been much of an oddity, but I notice both teams featured belt loops rather than the more-prevalent tunnels. When would you guess the last game between two looped teams took place? Discounting throwback games, I’d guess the ’90s, between the Tigers and either the Orioles, Royals or Brewers.

    The white lettering and numerals on the back of the 1969 White Sox jerseys were removed and replaced by blue by the very next road trip. Management did not like the way the back of the jerseys appeared in b/w photographs published in the newspapers. Too bad. Big fan of that style…even had my Uni Watch card printed up that way.

    I can’t blame Bevo for wanting to wear a Power T and associate himself with the one true UT.

    There are a few that are truly unique… Others, though good in design seem like standard fair. If a graphic designer took Raj Merrchant’s concept and ran with it, I think they’d be tough to beat.

    That Tudor EF game was the exact one I got for Christmas that year – Bears vs Cards – always loved the helmets on the side …lool

    Did the Cowboys buy cheap knock offs from ebay? The number font on Roger’s jersey is wrong. It should have the serrifs. And the Dorsett jersey? They have never worn that font. Plus those appear to be the late Landry away unis and they had silver pants for those.

    I pretty much said the same thing Brent. It almost looks like the Cowboys had an intern with no knowledge of the teams uniform history put together this mess. The Staubach jersey looks like one of those Sears ones from the early 70’s.

    An older website that doesn’t seem to be updated anymore, but still has some good Pilots information on it:


    Re: Mono-navy Argonauts post.

    Further detail to clarify. Argos have worn mono-navy (or Oxford blue) in pre-season. Saturday was first time we saw the combo of the white helmets with navy pants and jerseys. The white helmets and navy pants have been the primary look on the road with the white jersey this season.

    Not a fan of this look on Saturday compared to usual home combo of navy helmets, navy jerseys and white pants.

    I love the whole IDEA of the Pilots – have a real good cap, a decent uni top – #56 of course, and a fairly fake nylon jacket – in fact, you met me at the UW meet up last fall, Phil. It’s amazing the number of people who come up to me when I’m wearing the cap, and comment on it.

    How long is the voting open for the design contest? Just one day or until the very end of the reveal?

    Just one full day — I have taken screen shots approximately 24 hours after each poll was posted, and the three designers who had the most votes will move on to the finals. I will do so again tomorrow morning and Wednesday morning.

    Because I use a free poll service (Poll Code), there are some things I can set (multiple voting, the ability to limit it to one vote per week, etc), I’m not able to set the poll to automatically close off after 24 hours, which I why I take the screen shots 24 hours after the poll opens.

    That’s why I announced today we have six finalists (out of 12) with the remaining six (three from today and three from tomorrow’s final set) to be determined. I’ll announce the final 12 later this week, and pass along those final designs to the Griffins, who will select a winner(s) from those 12.

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