[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 may be popping up here occasionally.]
By Phil Hecken, with Bud Parks
Earlier this month, I ran some concepts (more like tweaks) that reader Bud Parks had come up with for the American League, and today, we’re going to take a look at the National League. If you missed that post, be sure to click here to see what it’s all about.
Please note some of these tweaks were done PRIOR to the start of the 2019 season so the uniforms shown on the “top” level may not reflect the current uniforms, but Bud does note that in his writeups — PH
There’s a lot to get to, so let’s get started. Here’s Bud:
National League Uniform and Cap Concepts
By Bud Parks
***all credit goes to Chris Creamer of sportslogos.com for the creation of the uniform templates and some logo templates I used. Thanks Chris!
***the top row is what the team currently uses as their set. The bottom row are my edits. A number of teams have made changes to their repertoire since I worked on them, so the top row may be outdated every so often. Sorry!
***alternates labeled “weekend” = Friday and Saturday, but not Sunday. Alternates worn on Saturday and/or Sunday are labelled accordingly
***”Whenever” means exactly that. sometimes ‘whenever’ means pretty often, like the Pirates black alternate, other times whenever can mean 2 or 3 times a season, like the Dodgers throwback cap
***Contrary to what this site usually preaches, I really appreciate color on the diamond so every team has at least one alternate jersey. Even the Yankees!
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
The Braves have since changed their alternate jerseys quite a bit that come close to matching what my edits are, but I still think they could benefit from some thicker trim, something sort of unique to them and also more in line with what their regular home and road duds still have. Their current road hat suffers from a lack of red; that may be intentional, but I think a better option for them would be to approach it the way that the A’s currently do with an all-white logo on the home hat and a little bit of color inside the logo of the home hat. This would basically be their Diamond Era BP cap from a few years ago, re-done in the on-field material. And finally, while the tomahawk is certainly a visual staple of their program the last 30 years, I can understand why some people may want to start to move away from that imagery, so replacing it with numbers below a resized wordmark and adding the fauxback’s sleeve patch to all of them might be a good compromise in the meantime.
This is another one where I worked on the team before they made their own changes, so what they currently wear is clearly completely different that what’s on my image. But either way, my edit suggestions are clear: just go back to the original teal, already. And there are way better ways to go back to the old days as I’ve hopefully illustrated than what they were doing right before becoming the Miami Marlins, when they were drowning in black and silver.
I can see the torches and pitchforks coming for me all the way from Maryland, but the truth is that a lot of the Mets’ black worked for me back in the day. They were one of the first to hop on the BFBS trend before it really took off, and they were one of the ones that did it best, at least with some of their combos. The BFBS doesn’t need to be as widespread as it was, but an alternate black top and hat with the older blue-orange lettering of their one former hat I think would look plenty sharp. I’ve always preferred the snow whites to the white pins of today, but I like them better with orange trim instead of blue to balance out the usage of each color within their overall set. I also have always kinda been bothered by the quasi-repetition of the Mets script on their chest and on their sleeve patch, so I created an alternative with the NY logo taking a subtle yet firm place in the baseball/skyline instead. Squatchee colors get a small update as well.
It’s clear from their one prototype from the 90s that Philadelphia is too long of a word to fit properly on the front of a jersey, but what’s wrong with having a little fun with the fact that your city name and team name are almost identical? Frankly I love the idea of a team that’s embraced a mascot like the Phanatic having fun as the Philly Phillies, incorporating the underlining of their actual script into the Y of ‘Philly” and making it a tail like so many baseball scripts have. Add in a new sleeve patch (designed before their recent switch to an all-new primary logo), clean up a trim a little, switch the home squatchee and add and alt blue-brimmed hat, and you’re all set.
As a baseball fan in the area that did not make the switch to the Nats from the O’s when they moved here (my hometown is closer to Baltimore anyway), their current visual program has always come across to me as an immense over-reliance on the curly W, used in almost everything they do and put out. And now, since I first created my edits for them, they’ve added two more jerseys and two more hats, with squatchee and grommet colors all over the place; resulting in a uniform set that is frankly a complete mess. Their DC logo without the gold beveling is somehow technically not retired even though it doesn’t exist literally anywhere in anything they do, but to me it’s always been the stronger mark and should be used as their hat logo, as well as their sleeve patch on their road grays and alt reds to avoid logo repetition. Switch out the curly W on the home chest with the excellent Nationals script they have, bring back the DC flag motif on the alternate navy jersey, clean up some trim, and their set is suddenly a whole lot more respectable.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Trying something other than the familiar home pins may seem sacrilegious, but as this blog has uncovered many times, the Cubs uniform history is a lot more involved than it may seem on the surface. The ‘Chicago’ letting on the road uniform runs a bit thin these days, and could use a bulking up like it was in the Slammin’ Sammy days, but I was tempted to go with the completely-level block lettering from the Rookie of the Year era. I like that the alternate jersey has a different chest logo than the home whites, but the white jersey currently has a smaller version of the alt logo on their sleeve, and the alt doesn’t reciprocate. I think it should…and the roadie should split the difference between the two and have both sleeve logos! I also really miss the old red-brimmed road cap, so that’s gotta come back, and the home blue hat should have a blue squatchee to match.
Pop quiz…what color is the Reds C logo on their home white jersey? Gotta be red, right? Wrong. This has always baffled me, so I think it’s time we try making it red and see how it goes. I’m definitely glad their overuse of black from the early 00s has been tremendously dialed back in recent years, but I think it works really well for them as an accent color, and would like it to stay where it is as a shadow on the script and the brim of the roadie cap. They also used to have black trim on their red alt, which I always liked better than the white trim it currently has, so let’s bring it back.
The Beer Makers are another team where their set is kind of a mess, due to them trying to have it both ways. They want the current navy/dark gold AND the throwback royal/yellow, they want the M with the wheat stalk AND the ball-in-glove logo and don’t really know how to merge the two aesthetics together properly. I did my best to take the best of both worlds into a single set; new navy and old yellow, ball-in-glove on all sleeves, M with wheat stalk mostly as an alternate hat, and of course finally adding their “Milwaukee” script to the road grays. Also gotta bring back the pants trim that’s be noticeably absent the past few years.
This whole tweaking project started for me with the Pirates in an effort to fix some of their details that have always bugged me. The first issue is that the yellow lettering trim gets swallowed up by the white and gray of the home and road jerseys. The most best way to fix it I thought was to add a second black outline similar to what the Penguins did with their numbers and NOBs in their Vegas gold era, and switch the trim coloring from black->yellow to yellow->black. The second issue is how unnecessary their alternate hat is, just because they wanted it to match the alternate black jersey with it’s white outline around the P. They’ve tried outlining their P a couple different ways, but the plain yellow P always ends up sticking, so that’s what they should go with all the time. The last issue is the sleeve patch; I think just about every Pirates fan dislikes it, or at least is indifferent to it, so they should replace it with what they love to say after wins: a Keystone State jolly roger to raise. Switch back to the vests for home and road, clean the trim up on the alternate, and viola.
I struggled with the Cardinals’ hats, torn between my clear preference for their navy hat and how they’ve recently started using it way less in favor of their standard red hat on the road, which makes way more sense for them as a team. But in the end, I had to go with my gut. As for the jerseys, removing the cluttered feeling of the lower front numbers and adding sleeve/placket trim I think elevates an already-great jersey into the stratosphere, and repeated those steps on the other offerings as well. The St. Louis script takes its rightful place on the road gray, and I tried a couple different versions of a colored alt. A red jersey with white lettering felt a little boring to me, and red on red gets swallowed up and details disappear. I know there are already a lot of navy jerseys in baseball, but I think this has the potential to be one of the best in the league, with the red birds and yellow bat really coming to life on a darker background.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
Things from their current set that can be salvaged: the current shade of red and teal they use on various pieces, both their D*Backs and Arizona script, the A logo they’ve used in various forms since their inception. Things to get rid of: pretty much everything else. A lot of Arizona’s culture puts a high value on bright colors and a somewhat garish use of them, which is not a bad thing on its surface. But there’s a right and wrong way to execute eye-catching designs, and they’ve been on the wrong side for way too long. Celebrate the bright colors, but have it still look like, oh I don’t know, a baseball uniform.
The Rockies currently have too much black and too little purple on too many of their options, and even where there is purple it’s not super noticeable. The slits inside the font lettering is unique, but I don’t think achieves the effect they’re going for, it’s either invisible or looks like pieces of the letter are literally missing. It’s time to re-think them and relegate them to the CR cap logo, and to re-think their use of purple altogether. Switch up the uses of the home and road caps, use the two versions of the BP cap’s mountain logo as sleeve patches, throw some sleeves on the black alt, standardize the sleeve and placket trim, and they’re good to go.
A classic look most think couldn’t look any MORE classic, but I tried to do just that. Eliminate the Los Angeles road offering (they wear the Dodgers one so often these days anyway) because it’s too long to fit properly and still have it read well, eliminate the LA sleeve patches, and you have a home and road set that can pair well with a perma-throwback option of the Brooklyn B cap. Adding a simple blue alt jersey was an easy decision, but I went back and forth on several occasions between white front numbers and their usual red, opting in the end to leave that little piece of history on the more traditional options.
A lot of Friar fans are clamoring for a return to the brown, which I totally get, but for now I actually kind of like and enjoy the simplicity of their navy duds, which also uses a great, less dark shade of navy compared to a lot of other MLB teams. A lot of their extra trim on the home whites and navy alts can be consolidated, and they seem to like navy-on-navy lettering everywhere except on their actual jerseys which I think could work well if they tried it. The brown gets to stay as a second alt option for weekends, but a cleaner hat will help their look in the field the way their helmet helps their look in the batter’s box.
You know how if you say a word enough times in a row it starts to lose its meaning? That’s how I feel about the current SF logo. If I look at it long enough, there’s so much detail, so many angles that it starts to look like not an S OR an F in my mind. The older SF logo from the 80s and 90s fixes that completely, and is still designed well enough to not look over-simplified. The throwback script currently on the orange alts deserves more air time as well, but it should still put on a fresh white home instead of the creams they currently sport. Eliminate the San Francisco roadie that is too small to fit properly on the chest, the gold outline on the numbering that nobody knows is there anyway, and fix the trim so there aren’t two different styles on the placket and sleeves. And finally, the black-on-black alt shirts and hats were impossible to read back in the day, but now that society has graduated out of standard-def TVs, it’s time to give them another chance.
Thanks, Bud! Well readers, what’s your verdict on Bud’s tweaks?
Griffins Jersey Contest Vote Results
The results of the third of voting for the Griffins Jersey Design Contest are now in.
Group C featured one clear favorite, with the remaining top vote getters bunching up pretty closely, although the top 3 (who move on to the final 12) were alone at the top.
I want to thank the great Larry Torrez for all his help with the polling. Larry informs me this group had the fewest amount of cheaters/ballot stuffers yet, so thank you all for playing fairly!
OK, let’s take a look at the results for the penultimate group.
Here are the three finalists (you can view their submissions by clicking on their names):
And there you have it — congratulations to next three finalists.
I’ll have the results of the final group tomorrow, and on Friday, I’ll have the announcement of the Grand Prize Winner, which will be selected from the group of 12 finalists by the Grand Rapids Griffins.
For those who don’t wish to click the links, Graig paints baseball heroes (and regular guys) from the past, and is an immense talent.
Occasionally, I will be featuring his work on Uni Watch.
Here’s today’s offering (click to enlarge):
Title: “Buck O’Neil, 1942” (color study)
Subject: Buck O’Neil, 1942
Medium: Oil on linen mounted to board
Size: 5” x 7”
In 1994, Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary gave the country an extensive yet digestible look into the history of baseball. The director’s trademark visual techniques combined with interviews from historians, artists, writers and ballplayers created a tapestry unlike any that ever been successfully attempted in the television format. Of the latter category, there was one figure who seemed to shine brighter than anybody – the great John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil.
Buck had grown up in Florida in the 1910s and 20s, leaving in the mid 1930s to barnstorm semi-professionally. It was in 1937 that his skills landed him with the Memphis Red Sox in the Negro American League. However, it was the club he was sold to the following year – the Kansas City Monarchs – that he became synonymous with.
Playing solid first base for the club for the majority of his career, he played in three different East-West All-Star Games, and in two Negro World Series (winning one). After returning from joining the U.S. Navy, he started managing the club in 1948 through 1955. After the team was sold by Tom Baird, O’Neil became a scout for the Chicago Cubs, and would later sign Lou Brock to his first professional baseball contract.
Remaining in baseball until his final years, Buck helped establish the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City in 1990, in the hopes of preserving the legacy of the Negro Leagues. But it was through the documentary that O’Neil’s impact was and will forever be most felt, introducing a younger America to what life was like in the world of baseball during segregation, and doing so via the millions of television sets across the country.
Here’s Buck with the Monarchs in 1942. This is one of 200+ paintings of mine that will be on display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the spring of 2020.
Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.
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 reader “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).
Although the game hasn’t started, there should be enough clues on the scoreboard to give you the date — location should be fairly easy. I can remember the name of every N.Y. Mets players by their number (better than I could ID them today!). It’s also a pretty important game in baseball history. Good luck!
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, please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.
LAST CALL for the cycling jersey: Paul here, reminding you that today is the final day for you to pre-order the Uni Watch Cycling Jersey, which is fully customizable with your choice of number and NOB. Full details here.
Tomorrow: The annual Uni Watch College Football Season Preview!
That’s all for today. Remember, I’m not reading the site comments this month, so email me directly if you have questions about any of this. Now back to Phil for the rest of today’s content.
By Lloyd Alaban
Baseball News: Mets P Chris Mazza wore stirrups on the mound last night. According to the Mets broadcast team, Mazza bought the stirrups himself from Amazon (from many readers). … MetroLink, the transportation system of the St. Louis area, released photos of a Cardinals-themed bus from their fleet (from Dwight Ternes). … A unique situation in Asheville, NC, as the Asheville Tourists, Single A affiliate of the Rockies, both fielded pitchers with single-digit numbers (from John, who didn’t give his last name).
NFL News: ESPN reports that the NFL has made an exception to rules limiting tinted helmet visors in favor of Oakley, which — surprise surprise — is an official league advertiser (from Mike Chamernik). … The Falcons used the Titans’ old helmet in this uniform graphic (from Wayne Smith). … The Bills have released their 60th season logo. … Here’s how some NFL players chose their uniform numbers. … At least one sportswriter thinks it’s a good idea for Washington to bring back their white on white look by wearing white pants (from Tommy Turner). … Here are a couple of shots from 1972 of legendary Jets Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath wearing a fake Jets jersey on the set of Here’s Lucy (from @ojai67).
College Football News: TCU is teasing a fourth uniform (from Chris Mycoskie). … Kentucky QB Terry Wilson will honor former UK QB Jared Lorenzen by wearing these custom-painted cleats during pregame activities for this Saturday’s season opener. They will not be worn during game. … Florida State is reverting back to white numbers on their home jerseys for 2020 (from Chris Creamer). … Here’s every possible uni combination UCF can wear this season. Click to enlarge (from multiple readers). … ESPN posted this sketch of Miami QB Tate Martell (far left) in a uniform using the team’s old Nike template. Miami’s current uni manufacturer is Adidas (from Notre Dame 12-0). … Iowa is adding graduation cap decals to seniors’ helmets this season (from multiple readers). … The New York Post managed to use the old logo of every conference pictured here (from Dylan, who didn’t give his last name). … Reader Blaise D’Sylva shared 35 of the 36 ECU helmets he’s collected over the years.
Hockey News: The Capitals are letting fans design the can for the next Caps-themed design for Devils Backbone Brewing Co (from William F. Yurasko).
Basketball News: Sports news website Stadium posted a photo of Lakers C Dwight Howard wearing his new number, 39. But it looks like they simply photoshopped the team’s current number font onto an old Adidas jersey (from @BearsnCats). … For the latest on new NBA uni number assignments, head over to Etienne Catalan‘s Twitter feed. … Here’s a time-lapse video of Saint Joseph’s assembling their new court at their home arena (from Mike Horowitz).
Soccer News: Liverpool D Virgil van Dijk wore all-red socks on Saturday against Arsenal. The regular team-issued socks have a red upper half with gold accents and a white bottom half. Van Dijk has done away with the white bottom half, making his socks completely red. It also looks like van Dijk’s socks have tiny New Balance maker’s marks on the back (from Josh Hinton). … For more kit news, follow Josh‘s Twitter account. … Red Star Belgrade wore a new shirt in their Champions League match last night. New shirt on the left, old on the right (from Ed Zelaski).
Grab Bag: NASCAR’s Southern 500, which traditionally has drivers outfit themselves in throwback schemes, has throwback-style Goodyear tires for all participating tires (from Christopher Hickey). … Speaking of the Southern 500: We’ve been ticking various drivers’ paint schemes over the past few weeks for Sunday’s race, but here’s a compilation of liveries you’ll see at Darlington, SC, courtesy our own Brinke Guthrie. … Here’s something that some of our UW staffers will enjoy: A brief history of the curling stone (from Devon Kuckenbecker). … None of American Airlines’s MD-80s — which they are retiring next week — have ever been painted in the company’s primary livery which has been around since 2013. Their in-flight magazine shows otherwise (from @abqdallas).