By Phil Hecken, with Pacific Rim Correspondent, Jeremy Brahm
I’m once again joined by Uni Watch’s resident expert on all things Asian, Jeremy Brahm. Jeremy enjoys bringing us a look at the uniforms throughout the globe we rarely get to glimpse. Today, he takes an incredibly in-depth look at the uniforms of the Korean Baseball Organization, or “KBO.” So, with that, here’s Jeremy: [–PH]
After helping Bill Jones with a gumball helmet project on Japan, he asked me if I had any information on the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), and I replied, “I do not really know that much about it.” But, after doing some research over a weekend, I have found that Korean professional baseball has only been around since 1982 and that there are only eight teams, with a few changes in names and sponsorships, which of course have led to different uniform combinations. In today’s article, I have listed the eight current teams in alphabetical order. In today’s article, I have listed the eight current teams in alphabetical order. Also, after seeing Flip Flop Fly Ball’s (which Paul featured in a recent column) KBO Map, you can place the teams with their cities.
The Doosan Bears: Based in Seoul, Doosan acquired the sponsorship of the Bears in 1999 from Oriental Brewery (OB). Their home uniforms and road uniforms at that time had blue and white boomerangs respectively on their uniforms and Doosan Bears was written over the heart. Their hats have a slanted D in blue with a yellow outline on a blue cap and helmet.
Hanwha Eagles: Based in Daejeon and took over the sponsorship of the Eagles from Binggrae in 1994. The old logo looked like this. This is their first road uniform set, a red top with white pants, Hanwha in Hangeul and Eagles in white. Here is their home uniform in 1999, a white base with red sleeve stripes and a red cap. The road uniform had a red top with white pants. The top had Eagles in white script with black outlines and Hanwha in Hangeul in white lettering. Also black and white sleeve stripes and pant leg stripes.
The Eagles then shifted to a home uniform with red pinstripes, red raglan sleeves and a red yoke outline, with the Eagles script in red and the old Eagle hat. Hanwha was in Hangeul under the Eagles script in black. The road version had a red base with horizontal red pinstripes on the white raglan sleeve, with the Eagles script and Hanwha in Hangeul both in white.
After the 2006 season, the Eagles changed their logo and colors to orange, black and white. Here is their home uniform, a white base with and expanding line from the collar to the sleeve in orange with black edges and the Eagles script in orange with white outlines and black shadows. Also an orange hat/helmet with an E and black/orange pant leg stripes. The road uniform has an orange top with an expanding black line with white edges and the Eagles script in black with white shadows. White pants with black/orange pant leg stripes.
KIA Tigers: Based in Gwangju, KIA Motors acquired the sponsorship rights to the Tigers after the 2000 season from Haitai. The home uniform for the KIA Tigers in their first year was a white base with red yoke lines, KIA’s script with a small Tigers patch over their heart. The logo in white on the red hat for the Tigers was based on the old KIA Motors logo. The first road uniform probably looked this road uniform, but this is a little different than the first road uniform because it has different cap, a red K with a white outline. I would bet that the old KIA logo hat was used.
In 2004 or 2005 the Tigers changed their home uniform to say Tigers across the front in a Texas Rangers-like font, with a small KIA over their heart. The team retained the red K hat. Their road uniform changed to a red top and black sleeve stripe, with white pants with black pinstripes. Tigers was in black with white outlines and KIA was in white as well. Also notice the Tiger patch on the right sleeve.
The current Tigers home uniform looks similar to that previous version, but the red cap was changed to a black T with “Tiger stripes” on the brim, according to Aaron Shinsano over at East Windup Chronicle. The stripes are not on the batting helmets. The same can be said of the road uniforms.
LG Twins: Based in Seoul, LG took over the sponsorship of the MBC Blue Dragons after the 1989 season and renamed them the Twins. Here is an up close picture of their 1990 home uniform, which had a white base with black pinstripes (top and bottom) and double black shoulder stripes and double black pant leg stripes. LG was written in cursive in red letters with a black outline and Twins was written in Hangeul in black below the LG. Notice the Twins patch on the right sleeve. The cap/helmet was black with a red T with a white outline.
The road uniform kept the white pants with black pinstripes, but had a black base top with double white shoulder stripes. Also LG was written in cursive in red letters with a white outline and Twins was written in Hangeul in white below the LG. The Twins kept these uniforms from 12 years until the end of the 2001 season. In 1999 the Twins added an alternate home uniform for the summer that was a sleeveless vest. It did not have a Twins patch, nor did it have double black shoulder stripes. They also added a road alternate uniform in the summer that dropped white shoulder stripes and put the LG logo on the right sleeve.
In 2004, the Twins changed to a black sleeveless vest for their top, while keeping the pinstriped pants for their road uniform. The Twins also added a pinstriped sleeveless vest for their alternate home uniform.
In 2006, the Twins shifted from LG over their heart to Twins across their chest on their home and road uniforms. The Twins lettering is shadowed on both uniforms and both uniforms have the LG logo on their right sleeve.
Lotte Giants: Based in Busan, they are one of the original teams of the KBO. What is surprising to me is that the Lotte Giants and Chiba Lotte Marines (and Lotte Orions, 1969-1991) look very similar in logos designs, and in the past with their uniforms. Lotte does own both teams, but you would think that they would want to have them look different.
Here is the Giants home uniform in 1982. Now lets compare it to the Lotte Orions uniforms of the time. The only major differences that I could see would be the logo on the hat an L with a G circling it, as opposed to an L circled by an O and that the Giants LOTTE is a little bulkier or more rounded.
The Lotte Giants did have a GIANTS patch on their right sleeve and a BUSAN on their left sleeve on both uniforms, while the Orions had no patches at all. The Giants kept these uniforms until the mid 1990s. I think that the Giants changed their uniforms at about the same time as the Marines did when they brought in Bobby Valentine to manage in 1995. Here is the script logo change.
The 1995 home uniforms looked very different from the old uniforms. White base with black pinstripes, LOTTE in arched black lettering with white and black outlines. The cap/helmet has the G with the baseball flying through it. I can’t tell if it light silver or white, but it would match what the colors of the Marines. The road uniform was a grey pullover with LOTTE in arched black lettering with white and black outlines.
Here is what the Giants wore on the road in 2008, a black top with white pants with black pinstripes. The serif was brought back for the G, which is orange, orange and white sleeve stripes and a white yoke. But you can also show who will be your cleanup hitter and your new starting pitcher.
This is what the Giants are wearing this year for their uniforms. The white is their home uniform with black pinstripes and the Giants script in black with orange and black outlines. LOTTE is written of the chest. Hat changed from an orange brim to a black brim. The road uniform in black has GIANTS in orange block lettering with white outlines, an orange yoke and orange panels that extend over the top of the shoulder.
The Giants have also had a tribute to South Korean military on Memorial Day in 2008. This website has tons of pictures, including a Mexican flag on Karim Garcia’s uniform for that game.
The Samsung Lions: Based in Daegu, they are an original member of the KBO. The Lions home uniform in 1982 was a white base with Daegu in dark blue with red sleeve and collar stripes. Their cap had an interlocking S (Samsung) and L (Lions) in red with white outlines.
The home uniform in 1984 had Lions in red script, a red cap with a blue brim and the interlocking SL in blue. From 1985, the Lions changed to a white, baby blue and yellow color scheme. The home uniform had Samsung written in pictographs in baby blue on the chest, baby blue and yellow sleeve and pant leg stripes. The cap kept the interlocking SL, but changed to white letters with a baby blue cap color. Here is an example of the road uniform.
This is a picture of the 1993 home uniform for the Lions. You can see that they had added a lion patch on the right sleeve and the Samsung logo on the left sleeve. Also, Samsung on the chest was from pictographs to Hangeul. The cap/helmet also changed to a blue base with a white front panel with a slanted S than interlocked with the cursive L. So it is a little sideways on the S. You can the see the road version in this photo (2nd from the right).
In 1999, the Lions dropped yellow as one of their primary colors. The home uniform changed to a white base with blue pinstripes and blue double shoulder and pant leg stripes. LIONS is written is blue with white and blue outlines. The cap/helmet also changed to dark blue with a singular S. The new road uniform had a blue top with double white shoulder stripes and kept the white pants with blue pinstripes and blue double pant leg stripes. LIONS is written is white with blue and white outlines.
In 2008 the Lions made another change in their uniform, changing to a script Lions in a lighter blue on their home uniforms and adding SAMSUNG above Lions. The also changed their cap by using to a side-by-side SL on their cap/helmet. The road uniform had a similar change, except that Lions and SAMSUNG would be in white. The Lions did wear a 1985 throwback in 2008 as well and can be seen here.
The Seoul Heroes: Used to be the Hyundai Unicorns but after the 2007 season, Hyundai chose to not renew their sponsorship. An investment group called Centennial Investments bought the sponsorship in February 2008 and in turn signed a sponsorship with Woori Tobacco to be name the Woori Heroes. Here is a picture of their three uniforms.
The hat logo also had an interlocking W in white (Woori) and a gold T (Tobacco). However, the business relationship between Centennial and Woori got so bad that Woori wanted out of the agreement. You can read more about it here.
I have to say these are a huge improvement on the Woori uniforms. The maroon works well with the white and grey and the hints of yellow.
The original home uniform that the Wyverns wore was a white pullover with blue pinstripes and a red SK over the heart. Wyverns was written in blue script with a white outline. Their road uniform, a dark blue pullover with white shoulder stripes, Wyverns in grey with white outlines, white pants with blue pant leg stripes. The cap/helmet was blue with a white W. Later in the season, they added a home alternate and a road alternate. I have to say that both of these are improvements over the beginning of the season.
Then in 2002, they went backward with their uniforms. Big SK in the middle of the chest and putting the Wyverns script below that and shifted to the left. Plus adding SK to the cap. They should have just burned them like Kevin Brown did in the bullpen for the Dodgers. They tried to save the look by adding a W back on the cap, but by the end of the 2003 season they had to move onto something else. Hell the could have even used their alternate home uniform in 2003 instead which had Incheon in script in dark blue, a dark blue yoke and dark blue raglan sleeves.
In 2004, realizing their mistake, the Wyverns went with a dark blue yoke on their white base. Clean and simple look and you still see the SK. For the road uniform just flip the colors. Again, clean and simple.
In 2005 they wore a special uniform for Incheon when their military team won the national championship in 1955, hence the 50th anniversary of them winning.
For the 2006 season, the Wyverns changed their color scheme to red, orange, black and white. Still a very solid look.
The following season they added a Saturday special home uniform that had Incheon in orange lettering with red raglan sleeves and a red yoke. In 2008 the Wyverns wore the 1994 Pacific Dolphins throwbacks for one game. While for another they wore Sammi Superstars throwbacks. But for the Sammi throwbacks, they changed the letters to SK Wyverns.
Thanks, Jeremy. Next weekend Jeremy will be back with more uniforms from around the globe.
Just when you thought we’d run out of uniform trackers, we find another. Steve Fetch has been tracking the Minnesota Twins. Here’s Steve:
I saw the guy on your blog who compiled the Indians record by uniform worn, so I decided it would be fun and cool to do it with the Twins. Note that I am also unemployed for the summer, surely that cannot be a coincidence.
The Twins have five uniforms this year, the home whites, road grays, navy alternates, the disgustingly awful vests, and what I’ve lovably termed, the dome throwbacks, for their first year in the Metrodome. The breakdown is as follows:
Home Whites: 8-6 record, 76 runs scored, 70 runs allowed, +6 differential
Road Grays: 8-14 record, 67 runs scored, 90 runs allowed, -23 differential
Navy Alternates: 12-10 record, 127 runs scored, 92 runs allowed, +35 differential
Dome Throwbacks: 3-4 record, 42 runs scored, 38 runs allowed, +4 differential
Vests: 4-2 record, 28 runs scored, 33 runs allowed, -5 differential
All Saturday home games are the dome throwbacks, but on days other than that the starters pick. Francisco Liriano loves the vest, Scott Baker is more of a traditionalist, Kevin Slowey likes the navy alternates, and the other guys have no real rhyme or reason to them. Their huge run differential in the navy alternates is partially due to a 20-1 win against the White Sox, although the fact that Slowey likes the navy uniforms and is the Twins best pitcher probably helps as well. The terrible record in the grays is mainly due to the fact that the Twins are bad on the road as it is, and although their best winning percentage is in the vests, I’d still like to never see them again for selfish reasons.
It’s probably better explained here.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: You guys are too good. So this one shouldn’t be of any difficulty.
Have a great Sunday everyone.