If Uni Watch had existed in 1873 the baseball (or base ball, or base-ball, or just B.B.) uniforms shown above might have been featured in one of my first posts. The team at far-right should be familiar to most of you, of course — the Red Stockings became the sport’s first professional team in 1869, one year after they became the first team to wear knickers and colored hosiery. As for the other teams, I don’t know much about them, but they sure looked sharp!
Those images come from an 1873 uniform catalog from Peck & Snyder, a sporting goods brand that was later swallowed up by Spalding. It’s filled with interesting stuff, including a surprising amount of space devoted to baseball belts:
Note that some of the belts are for the team’s captain (which in those days was analogous to what we now call the manager). That jibes with the famous story of Bob Ferguson, who was captain of the 1876 Hartford Dark Blues and, according to this page, “wore a white belt with the words ‘I AM CAPTAIN’ in capital letters just in case someone was unsure of who was in charge.” The weird thing about the catalog illustrations, though, is that the “CAPTAIN” lettering appears to be on the inside of the belt and thus wouldn’t be visible. Hmmmm.
Peck & Snyder supposedly invented baseball caps. Here are some of the styles they were offering at the time:
Naturally, I like the page devoted to socks:
Here’s something interesting: Before the advent of foul poles, did you know that teams used to have their own team-colored foul flags? Check it out:
There’s a lot more, including shirts, pants, shoes, bats, balls, and uniforms for other sports (and also for firemen, oddly). Most of the catalog is in black-and-white, not color, but it’s definitely still worth checking out. You can see the entire thing here.
(Big thanks to longtime reader Eric Bangeman for pointing me toward this one.)