By Phil Hecken, with Don Cristobal del Pastillo (a/k/a “SQL”)
Today I am joined by longtime reader Don Cristobal del Pastillo, who occasionally posts as “SQL,” and who approached me with an interesting uniform suggestion. After several back and forth E-mails, what started as a small, casual undertaking morphed into a full-blown project. I’ll let you meet “SQL” and have him explain:
A devout uniwatcher for years I decided, a short while ago, to make the jump from simple reader to would-be contributor and contacted Phil with the following message:
I’ve been a fan of your W-E columns for a while and I think i might have something you might be interested in. A while back I was reflecting on my uniforms tastes and I realized that one of the reasons why the oakland A’s are my favorite MLB team uni-wise is their colored hosiery and particularly the gold sanis.
Being french, I’m not that well versed in the aesthetic history of the major league, but I think that except for a few team wearing black sanis, no other team has ever worn colored socks with stirrups [At which point I referred SQL to Paul’s column which covered the subject in detail–PH].
Then a crazy thought entered my mind: what if other ballclubs went the colored sanis route ? I had to give this a shot and spent the next hour working on visual exemples to back up my technicolor visions. The first bump on the road was finding pictures of current era players wearing stirrups, which proved quite more difficult than I had anticipated. For most teams, I had to settle on 80’s and 70’s photos and unis, which is a sad reminder of the dire situation of the league hosiery state (even though things have been getting brighter lately).
Attached to the message I sent to Phil were a few pics of very debatable quality.
When Phil showed interest in the project and intimated that it could end up being featured in a Weekend column, I decided to go the full monty and create mock up looks for each and every team in the league. Again, finding pictures of stirrup-clad players amounted to looking for a hot date at a mother superior’s funeral (not entirely impossible but incredibly frustrating).
Hell-bent on bringing this thing to fruition I realized that I had no choice but to work from what the Gods of the Internet had sent my way and settled on creating the stirruped look from scratch using an image editing software. After enough photoshopping to kill a medium-to-large forest animal, the easy part was done and so were my retinas.
You’ll find the results of my efforts below. I hope you’ll find it interesting, provoking and in a few cases maybe, even eye-pleasing.
Thanks, SQL. What follows, then, are his efforts. For the presentation of the different teams he went with a simple grade system along the lines of the Good/Stupid litmus we’re all used to round here.
Orioles: I may be partial here because of my love for anything orange and my dislike of the solid sock look but I really like it, even though I think that it would probably work better with lower cut stirrups. The Two tone cap is a major facilitator in this case as is the fact that the O’s have sported many crazy looks along the years. Grade: A-
Red Sox: I thought this would be one quick way to settle the blue socks/red socks conundrum that followed the adoption of the new roadies but it ended up being a bit of a disappointment. It’s a moot point anyway because nothing will ever look better than the striped stirrups of the Lynn/Yastrzemski era. Grade: C (because it still beats wearing blue socks or those awful santa’s little helper solid red leggings worn by Varitek)
Blue Jays: I think the colored socks work very well here, at the very least because they put a much welcome touch of blue in the Jays uniforms. As with most bright colored socks the low stirrup route is probably the best way to go with these ones. Grade: A
Yankees: The Yankees are a tricky team to mess up with. First their uni is one of the all time classics and second, they only don two colors which makes it quite difficult to mix and match accessories. I decided to give the white-stirrups/navy socks a shot for the hell of it. In the end it doesn’t look THAT bad but it strays to far away from an iconic template to be fully comfortable around it. Grade: D
Rays: The Rays are a challenge of their own because of the overall blandess of their unis. I went with some kind of grayish blue socks here to match the drop shadow on their wordmark before falling asleep on my keyboard. The verdict: ZZZZZZ… Grade: D
Royals: Being a sucker for anything powder or baby blue, I devoted the bulk of my efforts to the current Royals alternate and I don’t regret a single minute of my ‘hard’ work. This feels so right that I can’t fathom why the team never gave it a shot (actually I can : ballplayers want to look manly. They want black in their unis not pastel tones. The point has been made quite clearly for years now). The look doesn’t work that well with the all white uni tough, so it would be an alternate only thing. Grade: A+ (Alternate) C- (Regular)
Twins: I know such drastic a change would probably ruffle the feathers of many but I like the red socks look here (way better than on the actual Red Sox, strangely). I think it brings spazz to a uni that’s been clearly lacking in this department for years. I know baseball is a conservative world were old habits die hard if they die at all, but I‘m convinced that such a uni move would put the Twins back in the public eye in a way they can’t hope to achieve through their on-field perfoprmances. Grade: A
Tigers: When it comes to unis, the Tigers are basically ‘Yankees Light’: their home look, as great as it is, doesn’t allow for much variation. I then focused my attention on their road slacks and must sadly admit that even my unconditional love for orange can’t bring me to give the result anything but a thumb down. Grade: D
Indians: Another team whose look seems to change every odd year, the tribe has been clearly at the bottom of the uniform pecking order since the long lost days of Rick Vaughn. I love the move to colored socks for them as it would singularized them among the slew of teams claiming red, white and blue as their colors. Plus, it looks really sweet, ain’t it? Grade: A+
White Sox: Since I can’t even begin to comprehend why a team called the White Sox would insist on wearing black hosiery day in and day out (perhaps as a reminder of their finest hour) I decided to adopt their twisted logic and rig them out with white stirrups. Let’s just say that this look won’t probably be leaving the shelves anytime soon. Grade: F (It would make so much sense if they wore black stirrups over WHITE socks to begin with).
Mariners: The colored socks look just as bad with the navy top and road grays as white ones would do. I’ts just a poor look to begin with. Coincidently they look just as good as white ones with the home kit. All in all, any kind of stirrups / socks combination would be a good move for the M’s (or nay other MLB team for that matter). Grade: C- (Road) B+ (Home)
Angels: As with all the franchises that went the (basically) bicolour route, fitting the halos with colored sanis amounts to letting a color blind chimp picking your shirt and tie before a job interview. Both yellow and black (which are present in very limited quantities in their logo and wordmark) fail epically here. To be honest I also happen to think that the solid socks paired with the black shoes look equally bad here (call it the Varitek effect). Grade: F-
Athletics: The team that started it all (and would probably have ended it all if I had started my project with this eyesore). Grade: F–
Rangers: Like the Indians, the Lone Star StateTeam has had trouble to make its sartorial mark for years. Are they blue? Are they Red? Are They Bled? Who Knows?
The red socks/blue stirrups combo would be a way to spruce their visual identity up without having to chose between the two colors (something they seem incapable to do, anyway). And you have to admit the look does wonders when paired with their now defunct vest unis. Grade: A (Plus it would look awesome with those to tone helmets…)
Wow. Thanks SQL. Obviously a tremendous amount of work has gone into this project (and we haven’t even seen what you have cooked up for the National League yet!). I have to say, I think a number of your creations are very interesting. I’d even say a couple of them are worth trying — ok, maybe not, especially since getting 25 guys to wear properly cuffed pants, much less stirrups, isn’t going to be happening anytime soon. I do like the ideas, even if they would probably fail miserably in the actual execution. But the Oakland A’s do it now (when, of course, they actually wear stirrups), and it’s been done in the past (Giants, Brewers, White Sox, Padres, among others).
I personally would disagree with some of SQL’s grades, but that’s OK, because they are only opinions. I have to say, I do like the Orioles look. The problem, to my mind, is that some of these colored sanis only look good with the
softball alternate top, and, well … that’s just not something I’d ever advocate. I also like the White Sox pursuing some form of colored sani (as they had in their past — just so long as they never pursue this or this again), and at some point, I will be doing a column addressing this (and other uni suggestions for the Chisox). But back to the colored sanis —
Would this be something we could ever see in the future? Would we even want to? Those of us in Stirrup Nation (TM) will continue to yen for a return of 25 properly stirruped individuals, while we ponder some of the possibilities SQL has created above. What say you Uni Watchers? What do you think?
IMPORTANT REMINDER regarding the Baltimore party: Remember, tonight’s Uni Watch party in Baltimore will NOT be at Hillendale Lanes. Instead, we’ll be meeting at Racers, tonight from 7pm-9:30pm.
This is what happens when I try to do too many things at once. If you recall yesterday’s column, in which Lance Smith ably detailed the Braves move to Milwaukee, he had provided me with a LOT more information, which I neglected to include in the post. It’s so good, I’m including it now (sorry, Lance).
While Hank Aaron didn’t play in the inauguarl season, he may be the best known Brave. By 1957 he was beginning to lead the leagues in home runs and Life sent a photographer. While Life’s action shots of the period are often sketchy, the more controlled shots of batting practice provide some uni details.
Joe Adcock, Aaron and Eddie Matthews watch Bill Bruton take batting practice. Remember how big those rear pockets are on the old time unis. Adcock has his gloved tucked away in his.
Here are Braves contemplating their bats.
Nice pic of the back of Aaron’s jersey.
Close up shot of Aaron batting shows details of the Braves jersey. Top half and bottom half. That undershirt looks especially fuzzy. Compare to the one worn by Andy Pafko. (Note that Pafko’s number is just under the placket.)
As a last note, the Wisconsin Historical Society had a Braves exhibit in 2003 to mark the 50th anniversary of the move. This page has photos of the exhibit which includes such paraphernalia as unis, pennants and bobble heads. Check it out.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: I’m ready to give you trying to stump you guys. So I’m bringing in reinforcements. Today’s first scoreboard comes from Pacific Rim Correspondent Jeremy Brahm, who has a scoreboard which just may stump you. Guess The Game, part I. And here’s one you will no doubt get…or maybe, you won’t: Guess The Game, part II
Remember, location, date and final score.
Uni Tracking, MLS Style: Many of you, myself included, have been tracking Major League Baseball uniforms. Well, reader Lee Stokes has been tracking soccer uniforms, or at least those of the MLS. Lee explains:
* MLS teams don’t have “home” and “road” uniforms sets, more like “primary” & “secondary”, so games often feature both teams “in color”.
* Many times teams will mix & match shirt, short & sock combination’s.
* FC Dallas actually feature ‘hoops’ (horizontal white stripes) in both their primary & secondary kits. I couldn’t represent that on my sheet.
* Likewise Chivas USA has white vertical stripes on the primary shirt, but their secondary shirt is solid blue.
* I am only tracking MLS regular season games, not games involving MLS teams in other competitions (Open Cup, Champions League, etc…)
Here is a link to his work (you may need an account to view it, but it’s free to sign up). Thanks Lee!
Uni Watch Ticker: The HHoF Stanley Cup “mystery” has been conclusively solved, as John Muir has found a pic which clearly shows the Hockey Hall of Fame logo. Also from John: “The Isles, not content with just a logo for the “we may fuck this up” party, have made draft party shirts (Like many of us Islander fans, John feels they’d better draft Tavares) … Jake Kubuske climbed on his twitter Wednesday morning, to find the most interesting of promotions is coming up at a Seattle Mariners game. Jake’s not sure if we’re familiar with icanhascheezburger.com but its one of the foremost websites for what are known as LOLCATS. A LOLCAT being a picture of a cat, with a funny caption added onto it. You can see many of them on the icanhascheezburger website. Well apparently if you go to mariners.com/cheezburger and purchase a ticket for the July 9th game, not only is it a special price, but you will get a free icanhascheezburger T-Shirt. The possible designs are available here. Jake thought this promotion was too good to go unmentioned. … Doug Stringham thinks it’s time for UW to do a column on Aussie Rules football unis, writing, “you’ve done columns on Japanese basubol unis and Euro soccer kits, and didn’t you do columns on cycling jerseys and cricket unis too? So I’m thinking it’s time to throw the proverbial shrimp on the bah-bie and skewer—or laud—the unis of the great AFL. And Paul: the socks! The socks!” … Josh Fisher wasn’t sure if we saw this but the Cowboys have an official logo for training camp … Speaking of readers who weren’t sure if we say something, Stan Olechowski feels this is HORRIBLE! The Nashua Pride had one of the more clever logos. Then some people bought them one of them started the US Armed Forces baseball team and “holy fucking shit we have the American Defenders of New Hampshire who play in the Canadian American Association.” Nokona executives are also part of the mangement team so their company name is in the logo. … John Morgan has an observation: “Tuesday, June 16th, at around 5:40 PM, Randy Karraker, Bob Ramsey and D’Marco Farr discussed the practice patches that many NFL teams plan to wear this season — and agreed that they are not worth the investment because no one opens practices.” … Brian Sandalow thought we might be interested in how EA Sports is promoting NCAA Football ’10. On their Web site is a full re-creation of the uniform and program builder that will be in the game — It is very detailed and highly addicting — Says Brian, “This also shows that EA Sports is finally starting to listen to the uni-philes out there, as Madden will also have interchangeable uniform parts. For example, one can wear the Patriots’ Pat Patriot helmet with their current jerset and 1990s pants.” … Inspired by Ryan Connelly’s DIY Steelers helmet, Roberto Santiago has created an A’s “cool flo” two-tone helmet. He explains, “Now I ‘m not as advanced as Ryan and some of the others who have submitted Uni designs in the past. This was my first attempt at this kind of project. The final look of the yellow stripes basically came from letting the lines of the helmet guide the tape to a natural meeting point. I’m pretty happy with the result though I imagine I may get some more paint and touch it up a little at some point. However, in case I get distracted and the touch up never happens I figured I’d send in the pics now. As you can see the tape job wasn’t perfect and I didn’t have a decal required to make a decent stencil so I drew the logo on by hand. All in all not a bad first effort if I’m allowed to say so.” … Trevor Botting asks, “So why no in-depth uni breakdown on the lingerie football league?” I’m not sure if that’s a rhetorical question … Steven Wong notes that the New York Times gets in on the wii tennis uni action …
Pittsburgh City of Champions Correspondent Doug Keklak asks, “Oh no. Is this an apostrophe catastraphe?” — Not sure, but it’s a spelling catastrophe … Add another Yankee to the patchless: several readers have noticed that Brian Bruney is the latest in the seemingly-growing number of Bombers who are lacking the Yankee Stadium (and also the MLB logo) patch. I could only find this photo from the game, but it doesn’t show the back of his cap — anyone have a photo or screen grab of the patchless cap? … Two down, 102 to go — anyone think Jeter (or someone else ‘beyond reproach’) is on this list? … Bit of a caption error on Reuters last night — I was at the Open yesterday, and I’m pretty sure that was Sergio … West Coast UW Correspondent Brinke Guthrie checks in with this bit of serendipity: seems as though Nike did a Van Halen cover and the boys didn’t like someone ripping off their work … Finally, ASU alum Mark Altieri checks in with this: “My Sun Devils wore 1981 (the last year that ASU won the College World Series) throwback uniforms last night. Unfortunately they blew a big lead and lost to Texas. You have got to love the gold sanitaries with the maroon stirrups. A thing of beauty.”