Toward the end of my latest ESPN column, I discussed the evolution of the Cardinals’ “birds on the bat” insignia. They’ve worn various iterations of this design nearly every season since 1922. The lone exception: 1956, when they wore a “Cardinals” script on both their home and road uniforms — a one-year aberration that has never been satisfactorily explained.
But apparently the Cards originally had a different road design planned for that season. The evidence has been discovered by uniform designer and longtime Uni Watch comrade in arms Todd Radom, who was recently trolling around on eBay and came upon an auction for the Associate Press photo shown above (here’s a slightly larger view), dated February 25th, 1956. As you can see, it shows Stan Musial modeling what turned out to be the new home uni and holding a completely different road design (rendered in “pearl-gray,” according to the caption), which apparently never got out of the starting gate. This is a major a find — a lost chapter in Redbirds history!
The most amazing thing, of course, is that the team reversed course and came up with a completely new road design sometime between late February and Opening Day — an unthinkable proposition nowadays, when teams have to commit to a uni design nearly a year in advance. It’s similar to the situation presented by this photo of Casey Stengel, taken on January 19th, 1962, showing a different uni than the one the Mets would wear just a few months later.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Great article in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal about this uniform cleaning product. Unfortunately, the article isn’t available online unless you’re a WSJ subscriber. But if you want to see it, send me an e-mail here (note that this is not the usual Uni Watch address) and I’ll send a copy back your way. (With thanks to Uni Watch Savannah bureau chief Rob Walker, who runs the excellent Murketing blog.) … The Bill Buckner double curse story was apparently brought up on ESPN’s Cold Pizza show yesterday, and has also been added to the Buckner’s Wikipedia entry, which I guess means it’s really hit the big time. … Speaking of which: My Kenny Rogers column was briefly mentioned by a caller on WFAN’s Skipper and Gilligan show yesterday (apologies to Phil Mushnick for stealing his joke), so I called the station to tell them I’d be happy to discuss the matter on the air. Got connected to a producer and could almost feel his eyes glazing over as I explained the Rogers situation to him — a card-carrying member of the Doesn’t Get Itâ„¢ camp. He took my number and said he’d get back to me, and then of course he never did. … In case you missed it from yesterday’s Comments section: The Predators have become the first team to test-drive Reebok’s new hockey template, but only for practices. Full details here. … Apparently nobody could come up with a screen shot of Terry Glenn’s Ohio State merit decal from Monday night. Dang. … Many of this year’s new college hockey designs are displayed in this message board thread (with thanks to Mike Burger). … An inside source with the Mets has this depressing news about MLB’s new batting practice jerseys: “The new BP jersey is slightly different. It’s like the All-Star jerseys, the ones used during the HR Derby. The one-button top. I know the Mets’ will basically be the same, but with a thick black ‘stripe’ from the armpit down, like NFL jerseys.” All together now: ARRRRGGHHHH!