Good morning, and happy May! Hope everyone had a good weekend.
Now then: When Buck Showalter was hired to manage the Mets in late 2021, I wrote an article breaking down the various uni-related quirks and stories that have arisen around him over the past 30 years or so. But there’s apparently another such story that I didn’t know about at the time. Fortunately, Uni Watch reader Jonathan Daniel has now brought it to my attention.
Daniel belongs to a private Facebook group called For the Love of Uniforms. I’m not a member of this group, so Daniel recently sent me a screen shot of this post (which was posted there by another Uni Watch reader, Bud Parks):
Showalter managed the Orioles from 2010 through 2018. I had no memory of seeing him in this hat, or of hearing about him lobbying for a “B” hat in interviews. So I checked with some sources close to the O’s, one of whom confirmed the story. “The ‘B’ hat was shot down over concerns that Boston owned the letter, so it would look like the Orioles were copying them,” one source told me.
As you may be aware (and as I bet Showalter already knew at the time), the O’s did wear a “B” cap — at home, not on the road — in 1963. That was the year that the team experimented with a completely different home jersey insignia, along with the “B” cap:
Photos of this cap (and its corresponding batting helmet) are fairly rare, but here are some shots of it:
Now, it’s true that some of those photos do make the hat seem rather Bosox-y. But the script “B” that Showalter was wearing, based on the team’s road jersey script, is much better and would have worked nicely. Too bad team officials didn’t want to give it a try.
Meanwhile: Showalter continues to amaze with his interest in uniforms. He clearly Gets It™!
Update: Reader/commenter Brian Griffiths has found an article about Showalter lobbying for the “B” cap in 2013.
If I didn’t love the cartoon bird on the Orioles’ caps, I would be in on the script B for the road set. And the argument that the Red Sox “own” the B is ridiculous garbage, since they had the same cap insignia as the Brooklyn Dodgers and nobody seemed to mind. We also have no trouble telling the Cubs, Reds and Guardians apart, nor the Phillies and Pirates, nor the Brewers, Twins and Marlins, nor the Angels, Braves and D’backs, nor the Yankees and Mets.
The Brewers haven’t used an M on their hats in a few years. They switched back to a tweaked version of the iconic “ball and glove” logo for their 50th Anniversary season. The “barley M” isn’t part of anything anymore so there is no chance they could get confused with the Marlins or Twins.
Noted; my point is that for years they had an “M” monogram at the same time as at least one other team, and we all survived somehow.
That’s the most likeable thing Bucko has ever done.
The Orioles don’t like to admit they are from Baltimore. They still pretend that they are a regional team for the whole Chesapeake Bay. They even got a sweetheart deal for the super majority of the Nats broadcast rights and go to court to avoid honoring it. Terrible franchise.
This is an old story. They added a Baltimore road jersey and a Maryland flag based patch on all unis. The ownership is definitely toxic but I disagree that the team is still considering itself a regional team.
Showalter’s quest for the B dates all the way back to 2013: link
Thanks — I’ll add that to the post!
If I were emperor, but not a powerful enough emperor to ban public subsidies for stadiums entirely, I would require any baseball team accepting public subsidies to have its city or geographic name on its road uniforms and its geographic initial on its road cap. That clause would be in a contract somewhere. Represent the people who built you your means of production! That the Orioles don’t, and their absurd, inferiority-complex-infused reason for not, is just a perfect encapsulation of how the suits who run the team have operated for the last few decades.
I understand why Orioles suits might be especially sensitive about the Red Sox, since it’s been a truism for many years that Boston fans outnumber Orioles fans at Camden Yards, but that fact argues for the Orioles having their own B cap. To the extent that there’s any resemblance between a red B on dark navy and an orange B on black, it will make home games against Boston look more friendly in broadcast and photos.
So would the Braves be renamed the Cobb Braves since Cobb County and not Atlanta gave the subsidies?
Right, under this rule we’d have the Maryland Orioles, since the whole state subsidized (and is subsidizing) the Baltimore stadiums.
Why not just be a full-on emperor and outright ban public subsidies for sports stadiums? I’d vote for you in your rigged farcical election.
Forget Boston. Buck’s Orioles cap looks a LOT like the Chicago Bears “B” cap coaches often wear on the sideline:
Was just going to post this. It sure does.
Exactly the same thought here. An orange Bears coach type B…
Totally agreed. My first thought as well. -C.
Surprised to hear Buck’s push for a “B” Orioles hat isn’t common knowledge. I’d prefer it over the “O’s” alternate. Scrapping that cap would eliminate Paul’s apostrophe catastrophe rage BUT the Bird on the regular home and road caps wears the “O’s” cap…so it probably won’t happen.
And while Buck’s mock-up looks good, I can’t see it being a hit. Too much like the Bears’ George Halas cap (as stated) and just too plain, would not look as good on the field with the current road set.
Give it an orange brim like the caps have now…plain-ness problem solved?
PS – The O’s must not revive the gray road caps in any way/shape/form.
I totally forgot about those road grey caps, jesus they were horrid.
Ugh…those gray caps were among the worst of the worst of their contemporaries in that thankfully brief moment clubs rolled out alternate white or gray lids.
I agree a white outline, orange brim and squatchee, or something would help. It’s not a bad idea, but maybe a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
Didn’t know the O’s wore a gray cap. Now I wanna own one.
They wore those gray hats once or twice in 1995.
Just like they wore those all orange uniforms just a few times in 1971-72.
When they wore those uniforms as a throwback in 2011, Buck Showalter said they wouldn’t wear them again.
The canard that any team (or city) owns a letter of the alphabet is preposterous. Even the mighty Yankees concede the Mets need an interlocking NY. The devil is in the details, and the typeface and colors play a crucial role here. The Orioles used to wear an Old English “B” on their batting helmets, and I wouldn’t confuse it with Boston or Brooklyn.
+1 for using the word canard. Well played, sir.
Boston does not own the letter B any more than the Phillies own the color red. Such weak rationalization for poor decision making.
The Mets and Yankees seem to avoid confusion despite both wearing interlocking NY caps and playing in the same city. The Padres and Giants seem to know that SD and SF are not the same. The list goes on.
All that said, I like that the Tigers are the only team right now that has a real home/road cap.
What about Oakland, Cleveland, Minnesota, Texas, Atlanta, Washington, Cincinnati, Arizona, and Colorado?
The Orioles also used a B…gothic, like the Tigers D…on flocked batting helmets in ’55:
Correction, Old English, as walter stated above.
It looks too in this pictures that the oriole head patch on the sleeve hangs over the sleeve piping.
Would love for them to go with a B on their caps, should go with the old Baltimore Baseball Club logo style B that is found on the seats at Camden Yards.
Now THAT would look nice.
The “B” hat looks fine, but not great, in my opinion. As a fan of the team I like the bird and live with the “O’s,” so unlike other commenters I am not losing any sleep over this. But I admit would have been neat, at least as an occasional alternate.
As an aside, did Buck have anything to do with the 2012 uniform revisions (cartoon bird, white panel hat, orange alternates)? He was hired mid-season 2010 so the timeline would track.
I’m curious to know where Paul would put the ‘ on that Factory Pizza sign.
I give them props for including an apostrophe at all.
Well, for starters, I’d orient the apostrophe right-side-up.
I would have given the apostrophe its own line.
I’d have made enough room–using smaller letters if necessary–to have made the T’S (or IT’S) slightly diagonal:
…But with the apostrophe a little lower, near the bottom of the T.
I had no idea this was gonna be today’s lede! A fun surprise haha
The article that Brian found, it should be noted that while it’s an old article and that’s why the picture at the top of it is broken/aged off, it WAS a photo of Buck in the dugout being interviewed, while wearing a hat that was modeled old English B that was on the O’s HELMETS for a little bit way back when.
I like anything the Orioles put on their heads and I would have liked this Bears…Orioles B hat as well.
Pretty sure this has been covered on UW before.
Don’t know why manager Paul Richards is wearing the helmet:
The hat has been sold by American Needle in their Cooperstown Collection., calling it their 1955 model:
I don’t think the helmet or the hat ever made it on to the field during a game.
It *may* have been a proof-of-concept, but I’m not so sure that it was just a photo-op head topper.
While I look around for in-game evidence (fingers crossed!), here’s another shot of the flocked/OE B helmet:
A very similar B logo has been used by the minor league Buffalo Bisons. This cap on instagram is from 1988-89.
And Sportslogos says the script B was used from 1988-97.
Brainerd, Minnesota. You may remember it from the film, Fargo.
Also I was called for goal-tending there as a visiting high school basketball player back in the late ’70’s.
Wow — still annoyed by that call after all these years, Jim?
I can understand that. There are a few moments from my own childhood sports career that still haven’t worked their way out from under my skin…
Didn’t the Orioles once (1970s?) wear black jersey and black pants in a regular season, late September game?
Interesting uni /team name fact . The Baltimore Orioles are the only team in which the entire name is both the team name and the mascot . The mascot is literally a bird named the Baltimore oriole (Icterus galbula).
I love Buck but hate that he doesn’t seem to wear his jersey at all. He just wears the jacket in the dugout. His pitching coach, Jeremy Hefner, does the same. I’m close to writing a letter to the Mets about it.