M's...er, Pilots...and O's Party Like It's 1969

By Phil Hecken

Yesterday afternoon, out in Seattle, the Mariners Pilots and Baltimore Orioles played a throwback game, to the only year the Pilots existed, 1969. For you kids out there, the Pilots were birthed 50 years ago, played one season in Sicks Stadium, and one year later had been moved off to Milwaukee, to be rechristened as the Brewers. This is not the first time the M’s have played as the Pilots, which I always have found somewhat peculiar as technically the team that currently plays in Seattle has nothing to do with the original Seattle franchise. But since Milwaukee pretty much wants nothing to do with that history, it’s nice they permit the citizens of Seattle with the opportunity to see the uniforms worn by those Pilots.

The Pilots actually had two home uniforms in 1969 — the first being this very plain jersey with “PILOTS” written in vertically arched lettering across the front of the jersey. They would shortly get the more “familiar” uniforms (to which the team would throw back) with the four gold stripes on the sleeve, the front uni number on the right chest, the lowercase “pilots” logo beneath the wonderful logo:

Of course, those uniforms would also come with the famous “scrambled eggs” cap, which is quite possibly the best cap ever worn in Major League Baseball.

As is their wont, the Seattle Mariners chose to outfit their opponents, the Orioles, in 1969 road uniforms, which themselves were quite beautiful, featuring “Baltimore” in orange script on a wool flannel base. Both uniforms, since they were worn in 1969, carried the Jerry Dior batterman patch.

So…uni wise, how’d they do?

Well, both teams pretty much nailed it. The Orioles uniform isn’t all that much different today from what was worn in 1969, but back then the road grays had a headspoon, the caps were black crown/orange brim (and a slightly different smiling bird), “Baltimore” was in orange script with black outline, front uni number in the same style, the unis had NOB, and the team wore the classic orange/white/black/white/black stirrups. Here’s how the O’s looked (for all images you can click to enlarge):

Pretty much exact, except for the anachronistic F-Robbie patch, but the team did nail the 1969 MLB batterman patch. With one possible exception, I believe every player went high cuffed and showed off those gorgeous stirrups.

Embed from Getty Images

Also, in every photo I saw, every player wore black or mostly black cleats, which was a nice nod to authenticity.

The Mariners, who take their throwbacks very seriously, also pretty much nailed their uniforms. They had all the details down, including the 100th Anny patch, and were just gorgeous. Like the O’s, the left sleeve contained the annoying Majestic Makers Mark, and the uniforms were an off-white (mostly cream) color — which was not authentic to the original — those unis were crisp white, but teams love to “age” their throwbacks with the off-white look. But those are small nit picks — overall everything looked great:

The team even went with Pilots helmets:

Not every player went high cuffed, but the Pilots had some pretty amazing stirrups, a beautiful royal blue with four gold stripes, so those who showed them off looked outstanding:

Awesome, right? And both the fans and the organist got into the spirit (fans were given a free Pilots cap):

Here’s the cap the team gave away to fans:

The team (and their social media) got into it as well:

Seattle’s on deck circle had a special wrap:

Here’s a couple looks at some in-game video:

Great stuff!

You can see lots more photos here.

I’ve said before that 1969 was the greatest uni year in baseball, and games like this only underscore how truly awesome it was.


Uni Concepts & Tweaks

After being dormant for a while, the Uni Tweaks/Concepts have returned!

I hope you guys like this feature and will want to continue to submit your concepts and tweaks to me. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).

• • •

I received the following e-mail from
Robert Siergiej
, who has a Canucks retro third tweak and Flying V concept:

Phil

I decided to make a tweak to the design of the Canucks’ new third jersey. The biggest change is that I reinstated the white V on the sleeve stripes from the original 1970-72 uniform. The numbers are based on the original unis as well. Finally, I changed the top collar stripe from blue to green.

I also threw in a look at how the black Flying V design could look on the Adizero template.

–Rob S (@rds9674)

• • •

Thanks Rob. OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

The game has returned! At least for a trial basis, but I got a lot of positive response to its return, so we’ll see how long we keep this one going.

Today’s scoreboard comes from “ojai67”.

The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).

This one probably rates a 2 out of 10 on the difficulty scale. Maybe a 1. But it’s a fantastic photo and reminds us of a simpler time!

Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):

If you guys like this, and want to continue this as a weekly feature, let me know in the comments below. You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.

Too Good For the Ticker
Too Good…

for the Ticker

Got an e-mail yesterday from Greg Franklin who sent in this video (with great background information) that’s simply TGFTT.

Check it out:

• • •

If you have 23 minutes, this is an old-time color film you might want to watch.

From the description:

“Tom Holcombe: My mom worked for the Washington Senators baseball team from 1945-1955. This film was made to promote the upcoming 1955 Baseball season in Washington. My mom worked in the ticket office at Griffith Stadium and is seen in this video briefly (15 seconds) starting at approximately the 16:30 mark.”

The pinstriped W uniforms of the Nationals (their official name at the time, not the Senators — despite one clip of a sign welcoming the “Washington Senators”) are on full display in motion. The film covers the team from spring training in Orlando through and including Opening Day 1955 at Griffith Stadium, attended by President Eisenhower, 85-year-old owner Clark Griffith, the visiting Orioles, and turf that makes the Oakland Coliseum look lushly pampered.

There is much more of historical interest – including a spring-training lunchroom scene, a ticket office scene, and excessive intrasquad golf footage involving Clark and Calvin Griffith, the players, the media, and beer execs. Film production was backed by National Bohemian and the Washington Nationals Baseball Club.

The team and year struck me because, as a kid in the late 1980s, I played Micro League Baseball on my PC. The game disk came with playable rosters of baseball’s greatest teams – and the 1955 Senators as the “token stinker team”

“So no kidding, about ten years ago I’m listening to sports talk radio and one of the announcers was talking about Micro League Baseball and how he loved to play the 1955 Washington Senators. I just about drove off the road laughing.”

So the particular team featured in this film is probably more infamous than famous, at least in my circles.

Greg Franklin

• • •

OK. Now, on to the ticker…

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: I’m pretty sure we’ve had this in the ticker before (so apologies in advance), but Hoodie Gleyber asks “Has anyone ever noticed this before? This is Gary’s wristband for Paxton. El Kraken & Big Maple.” In fact, there’s a full thread on it. … Tweeter Rob Bergeron says, “In an annual backyard tradition, this is our MLB-approved & continually mass-produced Nats “1905” flag for a franchise that was founded in 1969.” … JFC — if you’re going to make faux stirrups, at least have the decency to not (literally!) half-ass them (from Funhouse). … Speaking of odd sights on ballplayers, check out this red/white/blue helmet with a bizarre pattern (from Chitty2Bang2). … The Kingsport Mets are gave these jerseys away last night. Submitter Elliot Teichman notes “they look awfully similar to the quality control issue Frazier pullovers from last year from the big league Mets.” … Minor League Promos says “It looks like some @okc_dodgers players get special Cielo Azul de Oklahoma City helmets! First I’ve seen unique helmets done in the Minors.” … In a rarity, the Mets blew out the Cubs yesterday, which led to the Cubs using a position player to pitch. “Catcher Victor Caratini pitching for the #Cubs with a lopsided score. Also single digit pitcher!” writes James Beattie. … The champions of the two Little Leagues in Greenville, North Carolina wore this as a sleeve patch in their recently completed 3 game series for the City Championship (from Brian Weingartz). … Yesterday, my curling buddy (and sometime skip, sometime second) Johnny Lusardi was down in Philly, watching the Phils/Marlins, where he snapped photos of these bobbleheads, these Phanatic ornaments and (because he knows me so well), these historical jerseys. Nice! … Yesterday, a Royals’ affiliate (Wilmington) gave fans a ‘Dodgeball’-themed Whit Merrifield bobblehead (from Trent Guyer).

NFL/CFL News: “I’m not sure whether this was reported before, but the CFL officials have reversed the cap colour convention this season,” writes Johnny Garfield. “The referee-in-chief wears a white cap, and the other officials wear black ones; this is now in line with all levels of gridiron football in the U.S. (NFL/college/high school); for a long time the reverse convention was used.” It’s also nice to see several female referees! … The BC Lions wore their new road uniforms for the first time on Friday night in Edmonton, notes Wade Heidt. The first look at the new black pants. He adds,”Worn with solid white socks.” … Baker Mayfield made good on a Rookie of the Year bet he made with Saquon Barkley by sending him a custom-made pendant with the word “Quads” on it (from Kary Klismet). … More from Wade Heidt “The Toronto Argonauts have opened their season at home (yester)day. They wore blue jerseys over white pants during the pre-season. Made the decision (yester)day to go mono Oxford blue. First time with the new uniform. Which is too bad. The blue over white is a stellar uniform and much better compared to this.”

College/Kids Football News: It may be off-season for college ball, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some gaudy helmets to be seen. Reader Phillip Tutor saw these for sale at the Notre Dame campus bookstore — crystal-covered helmets and a crystal-covered football for as much as $10k. Because every fan doesn’t have enough gear until he/she has one of these. … JFC. You know you probably should expect some flak (pun intended?) when you have a little league football fundraiser and you offer up a Glock 48 9MM pistol as one of your prizes. But hey, at least the winner “must pass a background check,” so that’s something, right?

Hockey News: The NHL Draft was Friday night, and many folks pointed out that every player got a “’19” jersey (yes, with an apostrophe) — which was blank on the back. However, reader George Flory “thought this was an interesting draft day mock up by the Redwings.” Note the use of the vertically arched nameplate (which the Wings use during the season) but it was apparently just velcroed on his back. … “We did see the new Vancouver Canucks jerseys unveiled just over a week ago. No patches on the front of the jerseys,” writes Wade Heidt. “It is now clear the jersey will have the club’s 50th anniversary patch on the front for this upcoming season. Here is a look after the jersey was present to first-round pick Vasily Podkolzin.”

NBA/Pro Hoops News: More apologies if this is a repeat, but I want to make sure. Forbes recently posted a picture for an article with a Minnesota Timberwolves jersey pictured. However, they removed the T-wolves wordmark — but left the FitBit ad and swoosh on the jersey (good spot by Chris Mycoskie). … “Interesting uniforms for the Midwest Professional Basketball League teams, the Cedar Valley Court Kings (white) and the Minnesota Broncos,” writes Jason Gomez. “Never seen uniforms with mascot on back of the Jersey, and the Court Kings uniforms have an interesting design.”

College Hoops News: Here’s a very cool story about the jerseys worn by NC State’s legendary 1974 NCAA Championship basketball team, which were rescued from a surplus bin three decades ago by alumna Leslie Lewis. They’ll soon be back together in Reynolds Coliseum as part of the Athletic Hall of Fame (from Hunter Towns).

Soccer News: Bob Seger closed out his final tour in Clarkston, Michigan by wearing a black Adidas soccer jersey, with no team crest, sponsor or number (from Ryan Keberly). … Here are several submissions from Kit Clash Account: English second-tier side Queens Park Rangers (QPR) release their @ErreaOfficial home and away kits for 2019/20. The also released goalkeeper kits. … Also from Kit Clash Account, English fourth-tier club Carlisle United releases their new @ErreaOfficial home and away kits for the upcoming 2019/20 season. … Still more from KCA: “English side Crewe Alexandra FC have released their 2019/20 home and away kits.” … FC Emmen have released their new 2019/20 home and away kits (from Josh Hinton).

Grab Bag: Reader Chris Flinn sent this one in, *just* for Paul: Capers were mentioned towards the end of this article on expensive lobster salad. The store is Loaves & Fishes, located in Sagaponack (a mere minutes from my Summer place dontchaknow!), but I must confess I’ve never had their Lobstah salad. Capers or no, I don’t think I’ll be trying it anytime soon. … Got an e-mail from John Muir, who put “Indian Headdress at the ICC Cricket World Cup” as the subject line. I’m thinking, “OK, India is playing, so this should be interesting.” Nope: Literally. An Indian headdress. “Not sure how to process this,” John adds. … Ticker intern emeritus Mike Chamernik writes, “Pizza Hut is bringing back its classic logo. 80s and 90s kids are stoked!” … Well, that’s a shame: both adidas and Nike are significant trademark problems within a few hours of each other (thanks, Brinke). … Tennis player Venus Williams will now dabble in golf gear, with her brand, Eleven (also from Brinke).

39 comments to M’s…er, Pilots…and O’s Party Like It’s 1969

  • MJ | June 23, 2019 at 8:15 am |

    The Pilots’ “other” home jersey has vertically arched lettering.

  • Kevin | June 23, 2019 at 8:25 am |

    June 15, 1958 is the date for the scoreboard. Yankee Stadium, second game of a doubleheader. I noticed the Yankees were shut out in both games. The only significance I can come up with is that maybe it’s the only time the Yankees were shut out in both games of a DH at home.

  • Wade Heidt | June 23, 2019 at 8:30 am |

    The New Era launching of CFL uniforms has been interesting. Showed us just the jerseys and helmets at the official unveiling. Did not bother to show us any of the new pants. So we end up getting surprises during the season. No idea that the BC Lions had a set of black pants in addition to their orange ones until they showed up on the field for the first time in the new road uniforms.

    The BC Lions uniform seems somewhat LA Rams style. A uniform change has happened but they had to keep the same jersey template/striping this first season under New Era. This jersey striping better matches the old uniform.

    However, there has been a pleasant coincidence with this uniform. The new black jerseys and pants, along with the black number in the orange sleeve, gives a bit of a nod to the look of the old 1960s Lions road uniforms.

    http://cfl.mrx.uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/bc/images/inside/2011/02/Joe%20Kapp5901.jpg

    http://d3ham790trbkqy.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/12/Tom-Brown-1-641×800.jpg

  • DJ | June 23, 2019 at 9:25 am |

    The Mariners also tweaked the small manual scoreboard in left field; it sported the 1969 Orioles logo and the Pilots logo flanking the line score.

  • Jack | June 23, 2019 at 10:07 am |

    The Forbes photoshop is a repeat from….yesterday.

  • TDJ | June 23, 2019 at 10:10 am |

    That picture of Ichiro in the Pilots jersey….what’s up his his glove?? Two webbings?

    • MG | June 23, 2019 at 11:28 am |

      That is Mizuno’s version of the trapeze web.

      • TDJ | June 23, 2019 at 12:13 pm |

        Thanks. I hate it.

  • AV | June 23, 2019 at 10:18 am |

    If it stands for what I think it stands for then a respectful request that “JFC” not be used on the site (longtime reader and never noticed before but two instances in the ticker today). Thank you for your consideration.

    • MJ | June 23, 2019 at 11:35 am |

      Your personal standards are your right and you’re welcome to maintain them within the bounds of your life, but this is not your platform. Nobody is making you come here, so who exactly do you think you are that you can come here as a guest to someone else’s site and try to censor someone else’s work? Nobody tells you how to live. Don’t impose your will on others.

      • Jim Vilk | June 23, 2019 at 12:11 pm |

        He made a simple request. He’s not “imposing his will.” And seeing how most people wouldn’t dream of disrepecting Mohammed’s name or Buddha’s, etc., it’s not that unreasonable of a request. Of course Phil is free to ignore the request, but AV is also free to express his displeasure.

      • Jim Vilk | June 23, 2019 at 12:18 pm |

        In case my original reply gets lost in moderation, here’s a condensed version: AV made a request. He’s not “imposing his will.” He has a right to express his opinion just as Phil and you have a right to ignore it.

      • AV | June 23, 2019 at 12:20 pm |

        Just a longtime reader who has gotten a lot of enjoyment out of the site for many years offering up a suggestion for consideration. I have always liked that the site has carried the torch against ethnic offensiveness (Chief Wahoo, ‘Skins Watch, etc.) but the term in question is religiously offensive to me (and maybe others). In the spirit of an inclusive community I feel there are more appropriate ways to express exasperation without potentially alienating a portion of the readership. So again, just a request that the site can take or leave.

        • Matt | June 23, 2019 at 7:16 pm |

          Thank you AV. I agree and support your stance. Thanks.

  • Dave | June 23, 2019 at 10:26 am |

    Love how you worked in the Pilots stripes to divide the sections!

  • Jim Vilk | June 23, 2019 at 10:39 am |

    JFC…

    JFC…

    You jonesing for some jerk fried chicken, Phil?

  • BvK1126 | June 23, 2019 at 10:51 am |

    Reader Phillip Tutor saw these for sale at the Notre Dame campus bookstore

    I spotted a similar football – with a similarly ridiculous price tag – at the University of Texas Co-op a few months back:

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/dWHbUFaSdt7siesT7

    So apparently, this is a thing in big-time college football. Gotta sustain those $200 million-per-year athletic budgets somehow, right?

  • GREGORY M LA SORSA | June 23, 2019 at 11:01 am |

    Scoreboard Jun 15, 1958…Yankees drop a Sunday DH to Detroit, whitewashed by Yale Lary (notorious Yankee killer) and by future HOFer, US senator and 1964 Father’s Day perfect game pitcher Jim Bunning . Interestingly, June 15, 1958 was Father’s Day also, so Bunning, father of 9, was giving us a harbinger of things to come 6 years later when, as a member of the Phillies, he threw a perfect game against the Mets on Father’s Day 1964

    Plenty of clues in this one…for me the key was since the scoreboard in the photo was only in use between 1950 and 1958, and SF and LA are noted on the scoreboard, the only year it could be was 1958.

    Other clues involving the stats (eg Mantle’s 12 homers, Bob Cerv leading the league in HRs) and the upcoming game vs Boston on Saturday Jul 5th are there.

    I see that a game is advertised for Jun 22 between the Ind. Clowns and the LA Hawks. I’m not sure what game this was. Minor league? Semi-Pro? I assume Negro Leagues were no longer operating by that time.

    • Casey C. | June 23, 2019 at 11:00 pm |

      The Clowns continued as a barnstorming team for years after the demise of the Negro Leagues. They were entertainers like the Harlem Globetrotters. Guessing the “Hawks” were their Washington Generals.

  • Steve | June 23, 2019 at 11:50 am |

    The M’s almost nailed the Pilots uniforms. One quick, odd, note is that the Pilots did NOT wear the 100th anniversary patch on their home jerseys. It was only worn on their road jersey.

    Aside from that, it was a fun day at the ballpark. The giant centerfield scoreboard was made to look like Sicks’ Stadium, including old logos from some of their sponsors, plus ads for 1970 season tickets!

  • Kek | June 23, 2019 at 12:04 pm |

    As far as giveaway caps go, those Pilots ones are pretty sharp!

  • Uni Commenter | June 23, 2019 at 12:05 pm |

    So, then, Bob Seger’s “soccer jersey” with no team name, number, or crest is actually just an Adidas t-shirt that is readily available for purchase in any sporting goods store.

    • John in Athens | June 23, 2019 at 1:07 pm |

      I was thinking the same thing.

      I clicked to see what the template looked like, but I think it’s just a shirt.

      Bob looks good, though!

  • Matt | June 23, 2019 at 12:06 pm |

    The Brewers do stock Pilots caps at the team store in Miller Park, so they haven’t totally ignored their legacy.

    • ChrisH | June 23, 2019 at 3:20 pm |

      It’s been 20 years since the one (and only?) time the Brewers have thown-back to their days as the Pilots.
      I have less of a problem with that than I do with the Mariners’ display yesterday, even if MLB and the Brewers didn’t oppose it and the fans loved it.
      Phil featured a good debate on the subject many years ago:

      https://uni-watch.com/2010/08/10/throwbacks-just-who-should-wear-them/

    • T. Nik | June 23, 2019 at 8:07 pm |

      Matt. The throwsbacks that I have seen there for years were not accurate. The were made by American Needle and features “scrambled eggs” and not the palm leaf design. Wrote to the Brewers repeatedly to point out the error, but they told me, in effect, to pound sand.

  • Chris Lanz | June 23, 2019 at 12:14 pm |

    While watching yesterday’s Pilots’ throwback game, I was disappointed that while the caps had no MLB logo on the back, they still had the NE flag on the side. Is there a contractual agreement that all on-the-field caps must have that maker’s mark? Also, I would would have thought the ’69 O’s roadies would not have had NOB. How prevalent were NOB on MLB jerseys in 1969?

  • Joseph Gerard | June 23, 2019 at 12:23 pm |

    Just an FYI, I was reading the link from this article for the 1969 season unis. One of your White Sox links from that article leads to a porn site.

  • Sealsfan | June 23, 2019 at 12:34 pm |

    Speaking of the New Era CFL jerseys, I love, love, LOVE how the Argos use the Columbia Blue numbers on their jerseys, especially the home Navy, but why did they get rid of the sleeve stripes? Put sleeve stripes back on those jerseys, and paiir them with white pants, and you have the best look in the CFL!

  • Greg Franklin | June 23, 2019 at 12:36 pm |

    Thank you for the TGFTT elevation, Phil. To clarify, I wasn’t the one who nearly drove off the road — it was the Silver Age Comics guy.

    Anyway… the Senators. Those Winter Garden spring training “facilities” have to be seen to be believed, and they starred in the first half of the film. Surely the Griffith Stadium scenes would look nicer…

    • Genevieve | June 26, 2019 at 11:01 pm |

      Actually, the Packers played 3 home games a year in Milwaukee from 1961-1994. Prior to 1961, https://ggstreetview.com when the league schedule was 12 games, only 2 dates were in Milwaukee. That means from 1961-77, when the schedule was 14 games, the Packers actually played 43% of their home games in Milwaukee. That dropped to 38% when the schedule went to 16 weeks.

  • Patrick | June 23, 2019 at 2:21 pm |

    Nice call-out to Micro League Baseball! I obsessively played that game back in the 80s and 90s. I even kept a box score of every game I played. Sure wish I could play it again

    • John in Athens | June 23, 2019 at 3:01 pm |

      Same!

      There was nothing more satisfying than the buzz and hum as the Apple IIe dot matrix printer etching out the box score of a Micro League Baseball win!

      To be a twelve year old in the 80’s again…

  • Michael Emody | June 23, 2019 at 4:46 pm |

    Re: the two Pilots home jerseys.

    I don’t believe the Pilots used the plain vertically arched jerseys during the regular season. I would guess those were just for spring training because… well, they needed something! A lot of guys wouldn’t make the team and those plain jerseys could then go to the minor leagues.

    Those vertically arched Pilots jerseys seem to have all be photographed during spring training. There’s a photo I found on the internets years ago I find fascinating. It’s labeled as “Pilots opening day” and shows the Pilots in the classic stripes on the sleeves jerseys lining up with the visiting team for what appears to be an opening day line-up ritual. The Pilots are lined up along the third base line and the visiting team, the Chicago White Sox are all on the first base line.

    The reason I love the photo is that it looks like the first time the Sox wore the gray two-season jerseys. And the Sox all have WHITE names and numbers on their backs! Obviously someone decided to change the white numbers and letters with blue ones outlined in white, probably when they returned to Chicago. We all presume the Sox used blue numbers during those two years – but the photo proves that the Sox started out with the same white with blue outlined numbers/letters as the script “Chicago” on the front.

    Anyway, the Pilots in the photo are wearing the same uni as seen yesterday and I doubt they used the vertically arched plain ones during the season. I could be wrong, but…

    It also looks like the Pilots got the correct number font – a Wilson Varsity – instead of the McAuliffe (Red Sox style) numbers most reproductions use. Whether those classic McAuliffe numbers were used additionally on the Pilots jerseys – that I don’t know.

    But a great throwback game. People are paying attention to details!

  • Jason Gomez | June 23, 2019 at 4:52 pm |

    In regards to my post about the Cedar Valley Court Kings, and the Minnesota Broncos, here is the league’s website
    http://www.officialmbl.org/ as you explore the site you will see the quirkiness of the uniforms, league wide.

  • Paul Lee | June 24, 2019 at 2:16 am |

    Now I only wish Taco Bell and Del Taco also brought back their old logo.

  • Timothy J Jenkins | June 25, 2019 at 11:18 pm |

    The Pilots didn’t wear the 100th Anniversary patch on the home uniforms. Also, the basic home jersey was used strickly in spring training.