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Good Easter Sunday morning, Uni Watchers. I hope everyone had a good Saturday.
Last evening, Atlanta became the first team of 2023 to debut their “City Connect” (CC) uniforms, doing so on the 49th Anniversary of the great Henry Aaron breaking the legendary Babe Ruth’s (then) home run record of 714, at the time considered one of the greatest feats in sporting history. In case you somehow never saw that event — or even if you have and you want to relive it — here’s video of that historic evening:
Because of the magnitude of the game, it was broadcast on national TV (NBC) and Curt Gowdy had the call. The recording you hear above is from the immortal Vin Scully, who called the game for the Dodgers. I was always struck by his words:
“What a marvelous moment for baseball. What a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the State of Georgia. What a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A Black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol.”
I have vague recollections of that evening, but I know my pop had the game on and I witnessed the moment in real time, although its significance was somewhat lost on me as an eight year old. But forty-nine years later, it is still one of the greatest sports moments I ever saw on live TV.
And last night, on the forty-ninth anniversary of that seminal moment, Atlanta debuted their new CCs, in uniforms more than reminiscent of those worn by Aaron and his teammates on April 8, 1974.
Paul covered the unveiling of the CC unis as the news broke, so if you want to read (or re-read) about the gimmicks particulars of the unis, you should start there.
As far as CC unis go, these are fine. They are enough differences between what Aaron wore (here’s a look at the back) and the CC’s as to qualify them as merely 1974-inspired, but the similarities are there.
Both uniforms featured royal blue raglan sleeves and a two-tone royal cap with a white crown (the CC cap is in a modified bell shape).
The CC unis, rather than spelling out the team name on the jersey, feature a script “The” and the “A” logo the team currently wears. I don’t love this, but I guess this is the best Nike could come up with as a nickname for Atlanta.
The 1974 Atlanta team featured a similar white crowned royal blue cap with a lower case “a”, while the CC caps use the current upper case “A” logo, rendered in blue with a red outline.
Note that the white panel on the CC cap features the modified bell look, whereas the 1974 unis had a slightly different panel color construction. Also, the “a” was red outlined in blue, while the CC cap is blue outlined in red.
The 1974 uniforms also featured a stylized “feather” logo on the sleeve, and uniforms were NNOB. The CC unis have what to me is the best part of the new uniform — a stylized “A” that actually forms a graphic “base”. The CC unis have NOB in red, in a slight radial arch.
If you look at the first picture above, you’ll also see the pants have a thick royal blue stripe, bordered by two thin red stripes.
After promising to release all the CC uniforms by 2023, Nike has dialed that back, with only six teams debuting them this year. Those are: Atlanta, to be followed by the Rangers, Mariners, Reds, Orioles and Pirates. Here’s the schedule for the five remaining team debuts (and we can assume each will be unveiled shortly before their scheduled debuts):
Texas Rangers: April 21
Seattle Mariners: May 5
Cincinnati Reds: May 19
Baltimore Orioles: May 26
Pittsburgh Pirates: June 27
Assuming MLB/Nike release the remaining CCs in 2024, that would mean TEN teams will be outfitted next season. (7 in 2021 + 7 in 2022 + 6 in 2023 = 20 teams). MLB has gone on record as saying “Over the course of its first two seasons, the Nike MLB City Connect Series has been the most successful consumer product initiative we’ve ever had,” (from MLB chief revenue officer Noah Garden). So don’t expect them to be going away anytime soon. But six of these in 2023 won’t be too bad.
In an unannounced move (at least as far as I was aware), the Colorado Rockies broke out their CC unis last evening but with a twist. Instead of pairing them with their green pants, as they had worn in 2022, the team paired the CC caps and tops with white pants!
The difference was, almost literally, night and day:
Without a doubt, the most debated feature of the Rockies CC uniforms is their overwhelming green. Having seen the original and now the 2023 edition featuring white pants, I think replacing the green pants is the proper aesthetic choice.
The Los Angeles Dodgers also slightly changed their CCs. The original 2021 uniform featured a solid blue cap with “Los Dodgers” in script. The 2022 uni changed the cap to read “LA” and replaced the blue brim to a black brim.
In all three of these cases, I think the teams made the correct decisions to alter their CC unis — of course, the new pants for both Arizona and Colorado are major changes (both for the better, IMO), while the Dodgers modification of their cap was minor, but also for the better. It will be interesting if the green Rockies CC pants are now gone for good, or if they will mix-and-match as the season progresses.
You can see more photos from yesterday night’s game here.
The Dallas Cowboys Missing Golden Receiver
Got an e-mail from UW friend/pal and contributor Jimmy Corcoran, who has solved a missing persons mystery that has bugged him since he was but a wee Uni Watcher back in the day. It’s a fun story. Enjoy!
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The Dallas Cowboys Missing Golden Receiver by Jimmy Corcoran
Well Phil, it took me forty-five years to solve this, but I finally see what they did here, and I can finally put this Cowboys caper to rest. As a kid I collected team photos, most teams would send you one for free if you wrote a nice letter and some teams would charge you a dollar. I would also get some cool team photos that weren’t available to the public, my father’s old coach Ron Waller had friends on just about every NFL team, he was a star player for the Rams in the 50’s and spent the rest of his career as a coach or scout so he would get quite a few Christmas cards from friends in the NFL. Some of these cards were team photos and a few teams would do a sort of gag photo where they would clown around in the team picture and that would be their Christmas card. The cards that had a team photo on it he would bring with him and give them to me when he would stay with my family for Christmas.
One of those cards was the 1978 Dallas Cowboys and that’s when I first came across the mystery that Golden Richards disappeared. The Cowboys Christmas card he gave was small and the photo was black and white so you couldn’t see it very well, but I was intrigued by how the regular photo was so serious and a second later they were all joking around? as I looked at each individual player in the Christmas card I got to the top of the photo and saw something odd, where was Golden Richards? He was in the regular 1978 team photo I had, this Christmas card photo was taken at the same time, how did they make him vanish, and why did they make him vanish? players are sometimes released after a team photo is taken but you don’t see teams removing them from the team photo.
As a kid this would be twenty years before I would own a computer and I had never heard the word photo shop before and had no idea what it was. I recently came across a large color photo of the Cowboys playing around like in the small Christmas photo I had as a kid and it’s a lot easier to see what happened now. Teams take their team photos at different times of the year, the Cowboys would take theirs before the first game of the season, other teams would take their photo well into the season. The Dallas Cowboys opened the 1978 season on Sept. 4, 1978, a 38-0 shutout of the Colts. This would be Golden Richards last game as a Dallas Cowboy, he played sparingly after losing his starting job to Tony Hill and caught one pass for 2 yards and was traded the next day to the Chicago Bears.
When I look at the large color photo now of the Cowboys playing around, I can now see what happened to Golden Richards, they used a crude form of photo shop and made him disappear. If you look at #80 Tony Hill they were unable to save his hand, they made it into a nub with what looks like a white towel wrapped around it and his forearm has an unnatural looking bend to it. It looks like he was probably shaking hands with Golden Richards the same way that #86 Butch Johnson is shaking hands with #87 Jay Saldi, it also looks like they drew blue pants on the coach and the coach behind Tony Hill now has a much bigger and squarer shoulder than he did in the regular team photo. Why remove Golden Richards in the first place, were they mad at him? players get cut or traded all the time after a team photo is taken.
Also interesting is that when Golden Richards got to the Chicago Bears, they had not yet taken their team photo, so he ended up in two different team photos in 1978, I wonder how many players have been in team photos for different teams in the same season? The timing would have to be perfect, if the situation had been reversed and he was traded from Chicago to Dallas he wouldn’t have been in either team photo since the Bears had still not taken their team photo when the first game of the season was played, and the Cowboys had already taken theirs. I can rest a lot easier now knowing that Golden just didn’t vanish into thin air.
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Great detective work, Jimmy! Thanks for sharing with the UW community!
Guess the Game from the Uniform
Based on the suggestion of long-time reader/contributor Jimmy Corcoran, we’ve introduced a new “game” on Uni Watch, which is similar to the popular “Guess the Game from the Scoreboard” (GTGFTS), only this one asked readers to identify the game based on the uniforms worn by teams.
Like GTGFTS, readers will be asked to guess the date, location and final score of the game from the clues provided in the photo. Sometimes the game should be somewhat easy to ascertain, while in other instances, it might be quite difficult. There will usually be a visual clue (something odd or unique to one or both of the uniforms) that will make a positive identification of one and only one game possible. Other times, there may be something significant about the game in question, like the last time a particular uniform was ever worn (one of Jimmy’s original suggestions). It’s up to YOU to figure out the game and date.
Today’s GTGFTU comes from Chris Hickey.
Good luck and please post your guess/answer in the comments below.
Uniform Concepts and Tweaks
Time for more Uni Tweaks from the UW readership.
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).
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Today’s concepts come from Jeffrey Kruger.
You may recall last weekend Jeffrey sent the following, and then followed it up with a bit more fleshed-out set, which you can see below.
Love this feature, pleased to participate!
Goal: Six hockey teams that could go color-on-color
Theme: Defunct Las Vegas Strip Hotels
My choices, and their specific branding style dates:
It was fun to collect various samples from photos and ephemera, and whittle down the assets. Most resorts had evolving color schemes, wordmarks and secondary identifiers to select from. Making it perfect for hockey sweaters, don’t you think?
Wishing you a fine day.
Las Vegas, NV
Here’s Jeff’s addition:
Good day, Phil.
Please allow me to substitute the attached quartet of items for my prior, one-jpg submission. Thx!
This now has a title page as a cover, an important part of any book report, I seem to remember. LOL
I’ve included my inspiration board. These selected morsels are reflected in the uniforms I created.
Then, two clusters of concepts, six in each jpg (my Original Six, and Expansion Six).
I realize that this will be retained for deployment during slower sports news intervals (mid- to late-year).
So I’ll be on the lookout for this eventual post, to enjoy when then becomes now.
Thanks, PH, for permitting me to share this expanded design exercise.
With kind regards,
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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.
Uni (Helmet) Tweet of the Day
This comes from our own Jimmer Vilk. Take a gander and see if you can’t help him out…
Went thrifting again this morning and found another Franklin replica helmet…my fourth.