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Padres Honor Johnny Ritchey with 1948 Pacific Coast League Throwbacks

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Although Jackie Robinson integrated the big leagues in 1947, the minor leagues had their own color line. On the west coast, it was catcher Johnny Ritchey of the Pacific Coast League’s San Diego Padres — forerunners of today’s big league club of the same name — who became known as the “Jackie Robinson of the West” when he integrated the PCL in 1948. Last night the Padres marked the 75th anniversary of that milestone by wearing 1948 PCL throwbacks.

As you can see above, the uniforms featured a cream base fabric with a navy chest script outlined in red. Nice, big numbers on the back and, of course, NNOB:

The Padres went the extra mile by producing a batch of throwback batting helmets — matte-finish, with a raised “S” logo:

As you can imagine, this uniform looks a lot better with high-cuffed pants. Unfortunately, I saw only one Padre going that route — shortstop Xander Bogaerts:

The one real bummer is that they included their regular sleeve advertisement (in brown, to boot), which feels even wronger than usual when appearing on a 75-year-old throwback design:

According to Bill Henderson’s jersey guide, this is the third time that the Padres have worn 1948 PCL throwbacks, with the previous two instances coming in 2006 and 2013. They’ve also wore 1936 PCL throwbacks (a completely different design) on three occasions, in 2005, 2011, and 2016.

Meanwhile, in case you’re wondering: Because this throwback was just a one-off, it doesn’t count against the “four plus one” rule. The Padres already had an exemption from that rule (because MLB was too chickenshit to make the team scrap one of its two camouflage jerseys), so the net result is that the Padres will be wearing at least seven different jerseys this season: whitetanbrowndark G.I. Jokelight G.I. Joke, City Connect, and last night’s throwback.



Going Mobile

My friend Elise has been teaching me to make mobiles. It’s really fun and satisfying, and you end up with a cool piece of home decor. I made this one for my mom, who’s gonna totally flip when she sees it. Here’s how it looks “in action”:

If you’re interested in trying this, there’s a really good video tutorial, which I found extremely helpful, here.



Can of the Day

I grew up using Rawlings Glovolium, but I didn’t realize that Spalding had its own version. Love the can design! They apparently updated it at some point, but I prefer the version shown above.


Comments (40)

    Now that is the kind of alternate uniform I can get behind.
    Was unaware that 1) throwbacks didn’t count against the new uniform policy, and 2) the Padres already managed to be exempt from it. So in other words, you don’t need to follow the rules when you want to have pandering camo jerseys, but traditional grays have got to go under the rules? MLB’s uniform policies and standards are now as bad as the NBA’s.

    It’s not that throwbacks don’t count, but rather that one-offs don’t count (like the Red Sox wearing Boston Strong yesterday).

    Thanks for clarifying. So presumably a team could have its 4+1 rotation and a slew of one offs, be they throwbacks, holiday themed, etc. Sort of silly.

    San Diego’s ‘48 Padres throwbacks are the rare old-timey uniform I don’t like. Between the uninspired jersey script and the cap, with its low-contrast red on navy and single letter for a two-word city name, it strikes me as just a poor-to-mediocre uniform. It’s a shame that history requires the ‘48 uniform, since the PCL Padres had a few really good looks over the years.

    I agree that the S vs SD, the sort of generic navy/red combo, and bland script font all make for a sort of boring uniform if you were making one today. But in the context of it being a 75 year old uniform, it works for me as a time capsule. Like here is an old style uniform they didn’t put too much thought into in the 1940’s, and appreciate it for that simplicity.

    Totally. Though one thing I’ve always liked about the PCL is that the western teams seemed to take uniform design more seriously than their AL and NL peers. Not every team – the Padres and Missions/Reds for example tended to be less innovative – but a lot of my favorite baseball uniforms from the 30s & 40s come from the West Coast teams.

    The Hollywood Stars wearing shorts, putting the number inside the star, and also using 3-D block digits, always seemed to have something amazing going.

    I was struck by how much the look of ’48 PCL Padres resembled the mid/late ’40s Cleveland (now Guardians) uniforms…while their minor league affiliation with San Diego didn’t begin until ’49.
    A serviceable design, certainly not a great one.

    For a time, the PCL Padres had an “SD” on the hat that was non-interlocked. That really looks odd to me…

    1. Nice Padres uniforms, but somehow having a simple “S” logo feels incomplete, like if the Dodgers just had an L or Tampa Bay had just a T. Was this type of thing more common years ago?

    2. Assuming the reference was intentional and not just a happy coincidence, thanks for putting The Who in my head in this morning. Great way to start a Tuesday, or really, any day.

    I assume the single letter used to be common practice, and the Packers G logo is another older example that comes to mind

    The Packers G is newer (circa 1961)…
    and stands for greatness; Tiki Barber told me so ; )

    I also was a Glovolium guy. However, our mutual friend Jimmy Lonetti recommends Pecard Glove Conditioner, which is made by Pecard Leather Care, a small, family-run business from Green Bay.

    Love the mobile! OK, where do you even start in the process? Do you start with a top piece, or start with the bottom up? Is there trial and error until you get pieces that balance? It looks complicated!

    That is a beautiful uni, I’m not normally all in on cream uni’s but that navy with the red is really eye catching. Just fantastic.

    A) Love the mobile- Calder influenced?
    b) I can hear and smell that picture of the glove oil; the sound of the metal can as you push on it, and one of the most nostalgic smells of all time! Just put a smile on my face!!

    I love the product of the Spalding can being described as mitt and glove dressing. I will ask for it the next time I visit a salad bar.

    Yesterday was a “Tale of Two Uniforms.” It was the best of times with the Padres’ throwback and the worst of times with the Rangers’ CC.

    I have a couple old tins of the Rawlings and Spalding glove oils. Not for use but just for display on the workbench. I really don’t recommend liquid oils for conditioning gloves. If it is over applied it can soak through the leather and get into the padding of the glove. That’s what causes a glove to become heavy and floppy.
    D&J Glove Repair

    Albeit it’s not brown, the simplicity of the spoon jersey, a simple script is nice. And this isn’t the first time they wore this throwback.


    Speedreading. When you want the essence, but don’t have enough time for the details.

    One thing that the Padres’ throwbacks show is the total lack of necessity for player names. On Jackie Robinson Days when the teams wore numbers in their own styles, we saw that absolutely every uniform, witn no exception, looks better with no names.

    The same is demonstrated here for front numbers. Very few jerseys look better with front numbers than without. Jerseys with horizontally symmetrical lettering (Houston) or offset single-side logos (Cincy, DC) should never, ever have front numbers. But even upward-sloping cross-chest lettering, where the front number can provide visual balance, often look better without. The ’48 Padres script is so heavy that it would not be improved by adding a number on the bottom right.

    I won’t argue this too strenuously, but I think it’s more of an “eye test” thing with regard to front uni numbers. I know the Mets were sans front number from their inception (1962) through 1964, and added the number from 1965-present. I personally think the jersey looks better (even the road, which has radial arching) WITH the front number than without. link

    Granted, in the link above the “NEW YORK” might be slightly lower if numbers were removed (rather than simply left in place), but it looks … empty? … without the number. Perhaps it’s just that I’m used to it, but I’ve always liked the Mets unis WITH front number.

    You’ll get NO argument from me for teams like Cincy or DC, and I’m sure there are a few teams with an upwards script or straight/radial lettering that might look better without…but I wouldn’t make that as a blanket test for all. The eye-test is needed here, IMO.

    I disagree with that. Every jersey you mentioned looks better with a front number. (The Nationals’ jersey with the W and with the front number in a lowered position is particularly sharp.)

    Add to those the jerseys of the Mets, the Royals, and the Dodgers themselves, all of which formerly did not have the front number but were improved by its addition.

    Totally agreed. Nice big, readable numbers are perfect. You can have multiple layers and shadows (like the Reds do, the Mets once did, and the Marlins still do to an extent) and it doesn’t look too busy. Add names and it looks awful (see those turn-of-the-millennium Mets again).

    I really hope my Chicago Cubs go back to NNOB, at least at home, before Pete Crow-Armstrong makes his debut. If his sesquipedalian name has to be fit above a number, it will look so awful.

    The best glove conditioner i have found and the only thing that will ever touch my glove is Lexol.


    The Padres are the one team in all of sports (save possibly the service academies) that I give a pass on wearing the GI “Jokes.” Two significant reasons: 1) I don’t have studies to prove this, but I would be absolutely floored if the Padres did not have the highest percentage of fans with at least one immediate family member having served in the military. San Diego is already a small media market to have a major pro sports team, add in its proximity to 2-team LA, and it is easily the smallest fanbase in baseball. San Diego County is home to huge Marine and Naval bases, as well as other military installations. Long before the uniform fad, it was common to see Marines and Sailors in uniform at games competing to see who could sing their branch’s anthems the loudest. 2) Again, I don’t have documentation on this, but I am quite sure the Padres were the first team to implement camp-themed jerseys, at least with any regularity. They’ve been a regular part of their wardrobe since at least the early 2000s. In short, the have more of a reason to do it – and they were first to do it!

    Most of the camo/ flag themed unis, I agree are over the top and patronizing, to put it mildly. But I give the Pads a pass. Anyone else agree?

    So the Padres are actually “six +1” ? Why do they get an exemption? Do any other teams exceed the limit? Is there a source that shows all the “four+1” uniforms approved for this season? Thanks.

    As already explained, the Padres got a sixth jersey because MLB didn’t want to make them scrap one of their two camouflage jerseys, and they got a seventh because the throwback was just a one-off.

    The Marlins also have six jerseys, for reasons that haven’t been explained.

    MLB seems to by making all of this up on the fly.

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