As I recently mentioned in another post, a lot of our knowledge, if you can call it that, of early uniforms is based more on templates and illustrations than on photographs. Case in point: It’s one thing to see this depiction of the tattersall plaid pattern worn by 1916 Brooklyn Robins (they later became the Dodgers), but it’s something else again to see a photo of it — say, this one.
That photo comes from Baseball’s Golden Age: The Photographs of Charles M. Conlon (see link at right), an excellent book recently recommended to me by reader Matt Ciccone. It turns out to be a fertile ground for uni-watchery, as you can see in the following pics (my apologies for the moiré pattern on many of the photos — haven’t had that problem with other books, but it kept happening again and again with this one):
• After the Indians won the 1920 World Series, they wore “Worlds Champions” jerseys the following season, as seen here and here. (Note that this was grammatically incorrect — they should have included an apostrophe, as the 1906 Giants did.)
• Here’s one where the template gives almost no hint of just how majestic the real uniform was: Judging by this, you’d say that the 1938 Boston Bees (forerunners of today’s Atlanta Braves, don’tcha know) looked okay but hardly spectacular. But check out the lettering in this photo — beeYOOteeful! (As an aside, any idea who’s shown in that photo? I’ll provide the answer at the end of this entry.)
• Even better: the caps worn by the 1910 Philadelphia Athletics. The stripes, the short brim, the just-so angle and profile — I’d wear that baby today.
• Speaking of lettered plackets, check out the 1913 Brooklyn Superbas (another of the franchise’s pre-Dodgers names), whose team name lives on in Uni Watch design director Scott M. X. Turner‘s graphic design business, Superba Graphics.
• Brooklyn’s team was finally being called the Dodgers by the time of this 1925 photo. The black armband is in memory of team owner and stadium eponym Charles Ebbets, who had recently died. The chest patch, although difficult to decipher in this photo, reads “National League Golden Jubilee, 1876-1925,” and was worn by all NL teams that season — sometimes on the chest, sometimes on the sleeve.
• Pointy collar-o-rama on display here by the 1904 Giants.
• Would never have guessed in a jillion years that the Yankees ever wore a dugout jacket like the one modeled in this 1927 shot of Miller Huggins.
• The 1904 Cubs clearly had an insufficient hosiery budget.
As for that 1938 Boston Bees photo, the subject is none other than a young (well, 48-year-old) Casey Stengel, just cutting his managerial teeth.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Good article here on Ravens equipment manager Ed Carroll (with thanks to Matt Radebaugh). … Yesterday I asked why Jeff O’Neill wore an “18” necklace pendant. The answer comes from Steve Zolis, who writes: “It’s in memory of his late brother Don, who died in a car accident in 2005. Eighteen was the number Don wore as the captain of the Ontario Hockey League’s Peterborough Petes. While most players have their names and numbers pre-printed on the tops of their sticks to identify their personal curve pattern, Jeff’s sticks read ‘Donnie.’ ” Zolis adds that “What do NHLers write on their sticks?” might be a good Uni Watch research project, and I agree — feel free to send contributions this-a-way. … The NBA’s new ball, supposedly headed for the unemployment line, will be able to continue moonlighting in Japan (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … With Lamar Hunt’s death last night, expect the Chiefs to sport some sort of memorial this weekend. The bigger question is whether the Chiefs will update their uniforms now that Hunt — a traditionalist — is no longer around to hold the line.