Got a communiqué on Tuesday evening from Uni Watch Wisconsin bureau chief the Rev. Nørb, who was listening to the Cubs/Brewers game on the radio at work. Nørb reported that Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker had just held delivered a “rambling dissertation” about “the days when men were men and wore their pants up high,” so I went over to MLB.TV to check out the archived audio file.
Uke began with what we might refer to as Hosiery 101:
Years ago, the players liked to wear the outer sock, that blue sock that the Cubs wear. That blue sock had a very small stirrup. You had to wear a sanitary sock, a white sock, under that. All baseball players back in those days — they don’t do it anymore. Most players just wear one, y’know, whatever your color is, it’s just a red sock or a blue sock, as the Cubs are wearing now. There’s no more stirrups. Although I’m looking down at Chris Spier, the Cubs third base coach, and I see a stirrup on his sock. But I think those are just knitted into a regular sock.
Okay, so that’s all pretty basic. But then Uecker segued into a truly sensational story that I’d never heard before. Check it out:
Anyway, years ago, the [Cubs] players didn’t like to wear those small stirrups where you couldn’t see a lot of the white sock. So when the Cubs would play the Dodgers, they would always trade socks. They would get Dodger players to give ’em the outer sock, that blue sock, and it had a much higher stirrup, which came almost to your calf. Or just below the calf. And the Cub players would wear those. But they would wear ’em only one time, because Yosh [longtime Cubs clubhouse manager Yosh Kawano]
would take ’em out of their locker, he would cut them up, so you couldn’t wear them anymore. And then the next day, when you’d get to the ballpark, you’d find a regular pair of Cubs socks in your locker. Anytime they traded those socks with Dodger players — they were the only other team that had that same color. So, yeah, a lot of the guys liked to show more of that white sock than the Cub stocking showed. And they would change it.
Now that’s a great story. Anyone ever heard of anything like this before?
Incidentally, the Cubs and Dodgers still use precisely the same shade of blue today, officially spec’d for both teams as Pantone 294.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Tsuyoshi Shinjo’s long farewell tour finally ended a few days ago, and Uni Watch Far East correspondent Jeremy Brahm has the details: “For Shinjo’s final regular-season game, he came out wearing No. 63 [his original number back when he entered Japanese professional baseball with the Hanshin Tigers] instead of his usual No. 1. This forced catcher Ryuuichi Watanabe, who normally wears No. 63, to change his number for a day to 68.” … Speaking of Japanese baseball: They’ve got some really small unis over there. … Another interesting note from Brahm: a bit of logo anti-creep in the soccer world. … The Raptors officially unveiled their new purple-free home uni yesterday, although the design has actually been an open secret ever since the NBA 2K7 game came out. … Meanwhile, the Bucks are due to unveil their own new purple-free uniforms today. … Gorgeous Rawlings uniform swatch catalog was auctioned off on eBay yesterday. Unfortunately, I was outbid.