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How Low Can You Go: Reds Wore Full-Length Ponchos in ’72 World Series

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The first baseball season that I followed from start to finish was 1972, when I was eight years old. I remember watching the American and National League playoffs after the regular season’s conclusion, and I especially remember the World Series between the A’s and Reds (which featured what turned out to be Jackie Robinson’s final public appearance prior to Game Two).

What I don’t remember, however, are the full-length ponchos that at least two Cincy players were wearing in the dugout during Game Six in Cincinnati. Reader Tristan Ridgeway spotted them while watching this highlight video (they appear at roughly the 31:08 mark).

In fact, I don’t recall ever seeing MLBers wearing this type of garment. I do recall seeing a few photos of players wearing long overcoat-like jackets during cold weather — I think the examples I’ve seen all show players wearing them in the bullpen — but these Reds ponchos seem more like rain slickers, similar to NFL sideline capes. At least one of them even had a hood!

I did some poking around online to see if I could find a vintage example — no dice. So I asked a bunch of baseball historians and people connected to Cincinnati (including our own “Collector’s Corner” columnist Brinke Guthrie, who said he actually attended that World Series game as a kid!), all of whom said they’d never seen anything quite like the Reds’ ponchos. But one of the people I queried, Baseball Hall of Fame curator Tom Shieber, forwarded my inquiry to Chris Eckes, curator of the Reds Hall of Fame. He responded thusly:

The Reds definitely wore the type of coats or parkas that Paul recalls seeing other teams wear [in the bullpen]. There were at least two different styles, both made by Wilson: one with the script “Cincinnati” that’s shown in the 1972 World Series screen shots, and another that had arched block lettering similar to the look of a post-1971 road uniform. We have examples of both styles in our collection.

These are quilted but not heavily, which leads me to believe that the coats/parkas seen in the World Series images are of the same style/construct as the examples we have. I don’t recall ever seeing one that was not quilted.

Eckes provided the following photos of the items from the Reds Hall’s collection:

Note that neither of these had a hood. In fact, Eckes told me he’s never seen one with a hood. So maybe what I thought was a hood in 1972 World Series video was actually the back of the collar. Here’s a comparison — World Series “hood” on the left, back collar of Reds Hall parka on the right:

Hmmmm, maybe the “hood” was actually just the collar. So if the Reds players were actually wearing full-length parkas, as opposed to rain slickers/ponchos, during that World Series game, it would be the first time I’ve ever seen such a garment being worn in the dugout instead of the bullpen.

In any case: fun rabbit hole! And also a good reminder that we’re approaching the start of this year’s MLB playoffs and World Series.

(Big thanks to Tristan Ridgeway for bringing the 1972 footage to my attention, and also to Tom Shieber and Chris Eckes for their invaluable assistance with this post.)

It All Depends on How You Look at It

At the end of yesterday’s post about the Brewers’ home plate area, I mentioned that they also use a “dead-center” angle for their centerfield camera shot, which I find a bit jarring because it’s not what I’m used to seeing.

That prompted a comment from reader Ryne Jungling, who pointed me toward the video shown above. It analyzes how our perception of various types of pitches (slider, change-up, cutter, etc.) is hugely affected by the centerfield camera orientation. Faaaascinating stuff, and highly recommended. Thanks, Ryne!

Uni Watch Plus Update

We had 10 Uni Watch Plus sign-ups yesterday (thank you!). As promised, I randomly chose one of the new enrollees, who turned out to be Mike Mulcahy. He’s won himself a Uni Watch prize package consisting of the following:

  • Three Uni Watch pins
  • A Uni Watch koozie
  • A Uni Watch trading card
  • A Uni Watch magnet
  • A set of three Uni Watch coasters

I’ll continue to do this for any day in which we receive at least seven new UW+ sign-ups.

Prizes notwithstanding, we’d really like to keep growing the UW+ comm-uni-ty. So if you enjoy Uni Watch and have the means to help support it, I respectfully ask that you please consider joining UW+. (Want to learn more about UW+? Look here.) Thanks!

Contest Reminder

In case you missed it last week, I’ve partnered with the cap brand Official League on a contest to design an unofficial USMNT cap for the upcoming World Cup. Full details here.

Comments (12)

    Kinda love that Cincinnati script. Does an old poncho provide enough provenance for a quasi-throwback uni?

    I totally concur! Reds don’t have a City Connect uniform yet, so maybe they will incorporate that script into their CC design.

    These lightly quilted ponchos are great! I think that collar doubles as a semi-hood. And I will not watch that cursed World Cup in the desert in november, made possible by thousands of modern day slaves.

    How do I get the subscribe to notifications to work? I click the box, a yellow ring appears around it and that it. I click elsewhere on the page or scroll down and the border disappears. Thanks for the help.

    How do I get the subscribe to notifications to work? I click the box, a yellow ring appears around it and that it. I click elsewhere on the page or scroll down and the border disappears. Thanks for the help.

    That video on pitch movement was fascinating. As an Oakland fan, I found the Sean Manaea example to be especially revealing. When I watched him pitch at home, the results spoke for themselves. After all, he threw his only career no-hitter at home. But his pitches appear rather pedestrian when viewed from the park’s center field camera angle.

    Whatever clothing pitchers wore for the Reds, it had to be in the dugout and not the bullpen because Riverfront had no bullpen seating. Bullpens were along the foul lines. Pitchers not warming up sat in the dugout. Weirder, the Reds had a bullpen cart.

    I was 10 years old that year and although I remember watching every series back to the 1968 Tigers win, that was the first one where I watched every game and really absorbed it. I absolutely loved the Oakland uniforms and mustaches. I had an As hat and shirt and was Sal Bando! Dang I miss those uniforms!

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