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Envisioning Better, More Accurate Throwbacks for MLB at Rickwood Field Game

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Good morning Uni Watchers and welcome to Humpday. I hope everyone had a good Tuesday.

You’ll all likely be familiar with Oliver Kodner, a long-time reader and friend, and who you may recall is a St. Louis Cardinals historian and uniform expert, and who created the increbibly comprehensive “Cardinals Uniforms and Logos” database. I featured his handiwork back in January of 2023.

When Oliver saw Monday’s article on possible Negro League throwbacks for the Cardinals and Giants, at the soon-to-be-played “MLB at Rickwood Field” game, he reached out to me, writing in part, “I saw you posted a bunch of Bill Henderson’s images, but from our research, all of the Negro League Throwbacks the Cardinals have worn have been modern fabrications and are not historically accurate. We are trying to rustle some feathers per se, and see if we can’t get some more photos and accurate depictions of the Stars.”

I agreed and said we’ve noted on UW before that throwbacks, whether they be for MLB or Negro League teams, usually don’t quite capture all the details, and some are much better than others. Even discounting evolving uniform styles — it’s often tough to recreate a 1920s uniform on a modern template — we frequently see some errors or omissions. It’s not always the fault of the designers. Sometimes there are isn’t enough physical or photographic evidence to accurately create throwbacks.

Oliver noted that the throwbacks worn by the Cardinals, and in particular the Negro League throwbacks they’ve worn over the years, either take some liberties or are just not quite exact. In life, and in baseball, sometimes we try not to let perfect be the enemy of the good, as I believe a mostly well-done throwback is better than no throwback at all. Still, with some effort and research, modern throwbacks can be better and certainly more historically accurate. And Oliver has set out to do this at the Cardinals Uniforms and Logos database.

He’d done a lot of legwork on this already, but proposed we run a joint column — what follows will also appear on Oliver’s site — and in which he wanted to show new and improved NLB throwbacks for the Cardinals.

We still don’t know the uniforms either team will wear for the June 20th game at Rickwood Field, but maybe…just maybe…one of them will look like these St. Louis NLB team uniforms shown below. Here’s Oliver…

• • • • •
Modern Throwbacks for St. Louis’s Negro League Teams
by Oliver Kodner

With the MLB at Rickwood Field game coming up this month, I wanted to envision some modern throwbacks that accurately reflect what the St. Louis Giants and St. Louis Stars actually wore.

I’ve heard the Cardinals are slated to be the home team in Alabama, so I mocked up a group of 9 home uniforms that I believe would look better than the fabricated throwbacks the Cardinals have worn in years past.

Click images in the gallery to expand, and scroll down to see more details and logos. A quick note: these uniforms all use the old pre-2024 uniform template, for obvious reasons. I also decided that white shoes just look cool with these sets.

For the images below, the image on the left is the modern adaption concept, the image on the right is the research we have done to try and depict the uniforms worn as accurately as possible. Please note, these uniforms and logos are best approximations based on a scarce number of photographs. Years, colors, logos, and uniform styles have been approximated. We welcome any additional photography and newspaper accounts that will help bring the authentic St. Louis Negro League baseball uniforms back to life.

Up first we have the 1910 or the 1911 St. Louis Giants… Or? Unfortunately we aren’t 100% sure which year this is.

We know there is an emblem on the cap, but we aren’t completely sure what it looked like. Shown below is the closest thing we can decipher from the photography we have.

Next we have another St. Louis Giants set from 1916 or 1920.

The Old English letter on the sleeve of the uniform is a G… for Giants.

Next up we have the 1922 Stars. These uniforms feature subtle piping around the ends of the sleeve and collar. The piping is blue-white-blue, nearly identical to the piping worn by the Cardinals in 1930 on their Spalding uniforms.

Bonus uniform not included in the gallery at the top of this article… If you look closely at the photograph above, a player in the back row is wearing a different uniform. We think this may be an alternate uniform; it could also possibly be a uniform from a previous season, or even a road uniform. We just aren’t sure, so we’ve lumped it into 1922 as well.

Next up is the 1923 Stars. It’s worthwhile to mention again that the color choices are only approximations. We have not seen any physical samples that would lead us to know if the Stars were a navy team, a light blue team, or if they wore a different color all together.

Next up is the 1925 Stars. We have a very tattered photograph, but at least it shows us what the lettering across the chest looked like.

The 1926 Stars used a very simple lettering with a sans serif-style STL on the sleeve. It is important to note that the source photo (seen below) has a 1930 date put on it by Getty and Rucker. However, we have a team photo from 1930 and some newspaper shots in 1930 showing a different set of uniforms. We are approximating that the team photo below is from 1926.

Next is the 1928 Championship Stars. The portrait photo below of Cool Papa Bell is one of the most famous photos of the Hall of Famer, and often has a multitude of different years attached to the photo. Comparing the team photo from 1928 and the Bell portrait, we believe those two uniforms are the same.

The 1930 and 1931 Stars uniforms are nearly identical, except for the piping on the socks, and the the Star patch worn on the sleeve.

And as mentioned before, these uniforms and logos are best approximations based on a scarce number of photographs. Years, colors, logos, and uniform styles have been approximated.

We welcome any additional photography, newspaper accounts, and additional information that will help bring the authentic St. Louis Negro League baseball uniforms back to life.

Contact Cardinals Uniforms and Logos here. Or e-mail them here.

• • • • •
Thanks, Oliver! That’s really some outstanding research and graphic design skills. Even if the Cardinals don’t end up wearing throwbacks that resemble the above, hopefully your efforts will lead them to better and more accurate throwbacks in the future.



Guess the Game from the Scoreboard

Guess The Game…

…From The Scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Sam Oliveda.

The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).

Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date and location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):

Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.



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 Jimmy Corcoran himself.

Good luck and please post your guess/answer in the comments below.



Uni Tweet of the Day

Preach! The Saints should never wear white pants without stripes. Ever. And ALWAYS gold pants with black jerseys.


And finally...

…that’s all for today’s early lede. Big thanks to Oliver Kodner for sharing his research and design skills in trying to make the St. Louis Cardinals MLB and NLB throwbacks as historically accurate as possible. Great job Oliver!

Please all join me in wishing our own Jamie Rathjen a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY today, as he celebrates another trip around the sun. In fact, Jamie will have an article later today!

In addition to Jamie’s piece, we’ll have our regular edition of the Wednesday Ticker, and possibly more, so be sure to keep checking back.

Everyone have a great Wednesday, and I’ll see you in this space tomorrow morning.



Comments (26)

    Amazing stuff, Oliver! Thanks for sharing your impeccable research and beautiful mock-ups. This is the kind of thing that brings me back to Uni Watch every day!

    Very cool, Oliver. It would be awesome to see MLB actually give this level of detail to the game. As a Giants fan, I’m looking forward to watching the game.

    GTGFTU 8/26/1972 preseason. Colts 16 Steelers 13. played at Tampa Stadium. Colts were rumored to be moving to Tampa.

    No Michael, by 1972 #26 on the Colts Preston Pearson was actually playing for the Steelers and wore #26 for them too.

    Is it 10/31/1971 then? Thought Steelers wore white pants in away games in ’71 and Steelers player has the gold ones in photo.

    Ok, Michael, this game was played Sept. 29, 1968 at Pitt Stadium, it couldn’t be 1967, because the Steelers wore the Batman style jerseys, it couldn’t be 1969 because you would see an NFL 50 patch. And number 2 Timmy Brown, after a long career with the Eagles finished his career with the Colts in 1968. Preston Pearson was traded from the Colts to the Steelers in 1970 .

    Happy birthday, Jamie! I appreciate all your contributions to Uni Watch, not only your excellent Tickers, but also all the ways you’ve expanded our comm-uni-ty’s horizons in terms of the sports covered (particularly netball and Australian sports) and in the way we engage with women’s sports. Wishing you a great day today and year ahead of you!

    I was originally just going to comment how MLB should scrap the CC program and instead go with Negro League alternates for the majority, if not all teams. That got me thinking about how the Negro League uniforms convey the history and pastoral charms that is part of what makes baseball great. The CC uniforms, and much of what MLB seems to be doing lately, reflect the opposite. Which has me questioning why MLB seems to be actively trying to move away from the pastoral charm that baseball has held for so long, and has set it apart from football, basketball, and hockey.
    Is it a cultural thing in general? Is the love of baseball now being disconnected from fathers passing it down to their sons, games of catch in the backyard, etc? Culturally kids are spending more time on screens, parents are busier at work and have less time to be involved, and for various reasons there are higher numbers of kids growing up without fathers in home.
    If part of what drew people into baseball for years was a connection to their fathers, the connection to the past, is dwindling, it only makes sense that MLB would try to find new ways to connect kids with baseball. That invariable shows up in the style of uniforms the teams wear.

    “I was originally just going to comment how MLB should scrap the CC program and instead go with Negro League alternates for the majority, if not all teams.”

    This is a great thought — and you’re not alone in this. With a 162-game season, MLB could easily add NLB (or even MLB) throwbacks to a team’s closet, and wouldn’t be violating their precious “4+1” rule, if those throwbacks were of “limited use”. It would be fantastic if there would be a league-wide Throwback weekend where all teams select a specific uniform from their past (or the local NLB equivalent) to wear for two or three games.

    But I won’t hold my breath.

    We’ve also discussed here how the NFL should consider dumping their color rush program in favor of providing throwbacks for all teams (more than half the league already have a throwback uniform in their arsenal, but they could add throwback road alternates, or home alts if their throwback is white). If you recall, the NFL staged those ridiculous Thursday Night color rush games a few years back: but they should instead make TNF “Throwback Thursday,” and allow/require teams to wear throwbacks against one another every Thursday night.

    Again, I won’t hold my breath.

    Although it would be great for all MLB teams to wear Negro League tribute uniforms, I’m against losing the CC program (though I might not call it City Connect, any more). Contributions by new designers are important, even if we don’t always approve of the results. They show the efforts by baseball to help grow the game.

    The CC program isn’t going anywhere.

    But my proposal wouldn’t interfere with the CC (aka, the “4+1” I alluded to — four jerseys plus one CC) program, and I’m simply calling for the throwbacks (NLB or MLB) to be “limited use” (which is permissible under the current rules).

    And while I still firmly believe MLB teams don’t need two alternates plus their designated “home” and “road” unis (PLUS their CC uniforms), I am definitely in favor of teams having one throwback (or perhaps a home/road set of throwbacks) they wear a couple times, or perhaps one “Throwback Weekend,” per year.

    I don’t think ditching the CC program limits new designers’ ability to contribute. Rather it just gets rid of an overall design program concept that is obviously flawed. Nobody is going to stop MLB/Nike from making fashion gear, which it what the CC program is, essentially on field product placement for fashion caps and jerseys.
    Designers are still welcome to come up with alternate uniforms for teams, but ones that are actually tied directly to the team identity, rather than the various parameters that instruct the CC designs. The NHL RR program is really the ideal route, as it allows designers to remix and add to what has worked in various past designs, staying within the team’s identity. I think plenty of us have bemoaned when we are watching the NBA or college football and cannot tell who is playing based on uniforms because the alternates are so disconnected from the team’s identity. That is what the CC program does to baseball.

    Oliver mentioned in a couple places that the colors are approximated. Do we know that the Stars even wore blue, as opposed to, say, red? And if so, how? I’m guessing the answer is something obvious, but I didn’t see it addressed in the article.

    Also, I think it’s interesting that the Stars seemed to be quite indecisive about whether to wear pins or not. If I had to choose, I think I like the pins better in this case because it adds a little more interest to a monochromatic and otherwise fairly plain uniform.

    And that leads me to a more opinion-related question. If you were in charge of bringing back a throwback uniform for a team, would you weight history or aesthetics more in your choice of uni? In other words, would you choose to bring back a uniform that had some important historical significance (like maybe a championship win)? Or would you prioritize bringing back the uni that you think LOOKED the best?

    At the end of the ’20s the world was switching from orthochromatic film to panchromatic, which reproduced colors like blue very differently. So it’s damn hard to tell how dark anything might have been from those.

    So, we can have the Giants wearing a Cubs logo and the Cardinals wearing a Giants logo! My brain is melting.

    1930 St Louis Stars is the superior uniform. Plus, look how uniform all them are! Not like nowadays with everyone having different arm sleeve colors, batting gloves, cleats, and protective gear. Time to keep uniforms, well, uniform!

    In fact, a couple of the team photos show a player whose uniform is quite different than the others in letter color or font. And the mockups often show two different jerseys for a season. Back then, the enemy of uniformity was poverty.

    I love how the players posed for the photo with their sleeve numbers right there in front. There’s so little information about uniform numbers from that era, particularly for the Negro Leagues, and here St. Louis is doing generations of future researchers a solid.

    Thank you, Oliver. Those throwbacks are really look cool. I really the photographs that go with the uniform renderings.

    I find it interesting that the premise of this exercise is to create more accurate throwbacks, but then you decided to show white shoes instead of the historically accurate black shoes because it looks cool.

    GTGFTS is July 20, 2019, Pirates defeat visiting Phillies, 5-1. It was 1979 throwback night in honor of the 40th anniversary of the “We Are Family” World Series team, Pirates in black pullover v-necks and Phillies in powder blues.

    Happy Birthday, Jamie – cheers!
    UTotD :
    “The Saints should never wear white pants…”
    Stop reading right there… same goes for black britches!

    Great research by Oliver. A very enjoyable read this evening. I think my favorite of his renderings would be the 1925 unis because the pinstripes break up a plain white uniform and I also like the shade of blue. We’ve seen plenty of navy and royal blue, how about something more along the lines of sky blue? Good job! I also like the taller font on those unis.

    Great article, I somehow still like to think the Stars wore red instead of blue as the main accent color. Because of the Cardinals.

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