By Phil Hecken, with Rick Pearson
We haven’t heard from Ricko in a while. Well, we hear from him everyday on the boards with his
anachronistic tirades and bad jokes sage advice and well placed humor. But, we haven’t had him help out with an entry in a while. He’s got a few opinions, ya know — of course, when you’re been on earth long enough to have caught the first two acts of Our American Cousin in ’65, you tend to look at certain things and just know there’s a “right way” and a “wrong way” to do things. And then, there’s Ricko’s way. In this installment, we’re going to look at “Ricko’s Rules” as they apply to stirrups, pant lengths, cleats, alternates, and other things about the great game of baseball. As you will see below, Rick’s got his opinions on the way things should be. I may agree with some, and I may disagree with some, but you gotta admit — the man has a point. I’ll be back after you read the rules with my thoughts on this. Here’s Ricko:
Ah, rules, don’t you hate ‘em.
So let’s call these “Rules of Thumb,” some of them anyway. Or maybe “Perspective on What Was Cool and Not Cool in the Era When Stirrups Weren’t an Optional Part of an MLB Uniform”. For this discussion, we’ll focus largely on the ‘60’s and ‘70s’, since that’s when players started individualizing the way they chose to wear their hose and britches.
From there, they’ll morph (or maybe that’s “devolve”) into some that apply to Today’s Style Guide or Lack Thereof.
2. If You Pull Your Stirrups Up High, Your Pants Should Come Down to Meet Them (or even overlap them a bit). The Outman look, or Arizona State in recent CWS would have been considered Geekdom of the highest order in the waning days of the Stirrup Era. Very Little League. Hawk Harrelson, one of the earliest proponents of high stirrups and tight pants did it very well, most of the time. Even he pushed “geeky” from time to time, though. Same could be said for Vida Blue, who came along a few seasons later, who most times did the whole high stirrups/short pants thing to too much of an extreme.
3. Pants Rarely Look Good (with Stirrups) Lower Than Mid Calf. This was sorta of the routine look for a lot of nondescript MLBers at the time. Oh, some great players opted for it, but visually was just kinda “I put on my uniform and don’t care about how I look.”
5. High or Medium Cut Cleats Should Never Be Worn With Stirrups. See Buckner, Bill, 1986 World Series (Stooooopid). If you do wear ‘em, wear stirrup-less high socks of a similar or identical color so the big, clunky things aren’t so obvious …or cover ‘em up with the pajama bottoms look. Think of your image. And if the whites are HIGH TOPS, well, cover ’em or get over to the basketball court where you belong.
6. White Cleats Look Good Only with Stirrups and Lighter-Colored Sanitaries…or with Pajama Pants…and are Best When Part of an Overall Uni Design. Examples: Oakland A’s beginning in late ‘60s, Tequila Sunrise Astros, Padres, both Taco and pre-Taco. Marginal: Giants orange sanis with white cleats (home only) in late ‘70s, early 80’s. Bad: 1975 Phillies, 1970’s Angels and last Senators keeping regular unis and just switching to white cleats for the hell of it.
7. Sanis NEVER NEVER NEVER Darker Than (or Similar Degree of Light-to Dark as) Stirrups. As much as I enjoyed the White Sox taking a shot at it in ’69 and ’70, it still looks like they’re wearing galoshes (rubber rain boots, for those who don’t know “galoshes”).
8. Do NOT Let Stirrup-less Dark Socks Show With Light Colored Shoes. Unless you LIKE looking like an 80-year-old working in his yard in Boca Raton. Or the girls phy. ed class at Our Lady of the Perpetual Self-Gratification. Then, hey, go for it. But you really should go with pajama pants or stirrups (with light-colored sanis). I mean, seriously, think of your image.
9. Pants Way, Way High (the football pants look) is Okay But Not Let’s Get Ridiculous About It. If your pants don’t overlap your socks (which should only be low, low stirrups or stirrup-less, btw), then you should you should be playing corner for the Packers.
10. You’re Either a Sleeveless Team or You’re Not. Stop with the alternate “vests,” already. And for the love of God, if you MUST wear a vest, at least make sure the undershirt is a different color from the vest. (Although even purple sleeves don’t save that thing.)
11. Pitchers Don’t Get to Pick the Jersey du Jour. Oh, please, wear the frickin’ uniform the team says to wear. Can you imagine the havoc if such nonsense had been around during the nine-basic-combos bumblebee Pirates era, or the A’s white-gold-seafoam days? Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!
12. NEVER Dark-on-Dark. Alts appear to be here to stay. So, could we at least always have one of the teams in any game be in white or gray (depending on who’s the home team, of course)? Would avoiding this be so hard?
13. Blue Jays and Royals Need to Lose the Powder Blues at Home. Yeah, they’re fun, but — hello — those were ROAD uniforms. Says something about that era, though, doesn’t it…that many teams’ road unis were more memorable than their homes.
There you go, 13, a good place to stop.
Now, don’t beat me up too badly. This is just to give some perspective on today’s styles…based on the way things went in the years when color TV, double knit and logos-on-cleats changed the way baseball looked.
And that photo of me? At 55+ softball a couple years ago, I decided to wear as many colors as possible on my birthday. Hey, if you can’t have fun…
Other than that, how was the play? Thanks Rick, for this installment of “Ricko’s Rules.” Gotta say, I am wont to agree with almost all of your points. Although I grew up in the “high stirrup” era, I have since come around to liking the style of the generation of players immediately preceding that. Perfect example being Ernie Banks, who, no matter what year uniform he’s wearing, the stirrups were always perfect. Today’s players would do well not only to wear stirrups, but to emulate Mr. Cub.
I note Rick didn’t address some things I’d consider “my rules,” although if anyone were to ask me, (but no one did), I’ll tell you a couple anyway. 1) PINSTRIPES do NOT belong on a road uni. Period. No exceptions. As a codicil to this rule, I would add also that pinstripes do not belong on vests. 2) “Vests” as they exist today should be eliminated. They are not vests, but rather sleeveless jerseys. And, 3) A uniform is just that — Those wearing it should also be uniform. I know I’m in the minority, but I don’t mind if a team has a certain “look,” but I hate it when individual players feel they can go styling every which way — you say it’s individuality, and you’re right — but it’s a team game. Dress like a team, not 25 individuals who happen to roughly resemble each other. I’d rather 25 guys ALL dressed like ManRam than to have 25 different stylists all dressing as they see fit. I’m sure most of you disagree with me on that one, but that’s my rule. The aforepictured Colorado Rockies violate all three of these rules in one fell swoop. In fact, if I were to ever have to nominate a “worst baseball uniform ever,” that would certainly be a nominee. I have more rules, but I’ll leave you with those three.
So what do you guys think? Do you agree or disagree with the sage prophet of Uni Watch? Do you have any “rules” of your own? Let’s hear it. I’m sure Ricko will be back with more rules for other sports too, so if baseball stirrups and cleats aren’t your thing, fear not.
Research Request: In working on Ricko’s Rules, Mr. Pearson told me he’s 99.99% certain that during an All Star Game, at least one Cleveland Indians player sported a monochrome blue uniform(!). Now, most of you are aware that during the 1970’s, the Indians did sport the infamous all-red uniform from 1975 thru 1977. However, I was unaware they ever wore an all-blue get up. If they did wear such a thing, it most likely would have been during the same years, although the Indians wore a blue jersey from 1975 through 1985. What I’m looking for, particularly from you guys who have past All Star Games on tape or dvd, or anyone who may remember this, is photographic evidence of the all-blue uniform. If such a beast does exist, please either post it in the comments or shoot me an e-mail. Thanks!
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: In honor of today’s “guest speaker,” I actually found a scoreboard that may predate Ricko. While you can probably easily figure out the year and the location, the actual date of the game may prove more difficult. As always, date, location & final score please, and do let us know how you went about figuring it out. OK? Guess The Game.
And, since today’s topic deals with, among other things, the wrong way to wear stirrups, today’s “Benchies” is rather apropos. Check out Mick — he’s the one on the right — and his lower leg stylings, which are in stark contrast to the big guy, Mike, seated next to him. Here’s Today’s Benchies. Enjoy.
It’s almost that time again, as we head for the homestretch of the final third of the season — the time when you know whether your team is a contender or a pretender. Sadly, it looks like the Mets are playing the role of pretender this year. And I, for one, lay partial blame on the uniforms. As of last night, they had worn the black caps and jerseys six straight games, dropping five. Tell me there’s not bad karma there. Of course, they could have worn orange unis and the results would probably have been the same. They’ve also decided to drop their practice of wearing the pinstripes on Sundays. Don’t ask me why, it’s only their “official” home uniform. But there is probably some cause and effect thing going on there too. Or maybe not. But hey, that’s why the OCD among us track the uniforms. And now it’s time for the second round. Response to the first call for “uni trackers” was tremendous, and I’m interested to see how everyone’s team is faring now that we’re almost 2/3rds of the way through the season. So, if you’re one of the many
insane dedicated people who put yourselves through this exercise, contact me this week and I’ll think about how we’ll go about round 2 of the tracking. I think we need to keep the “replies” a bit shorter, but we still need the important info. I’ll come up with “guidelines” in the next week, and let you know when the next round (figure the second weekend in August) will transpire. Thanks to everyone who has participated thus far. I look forward to your updated tracking and trends. When you send me your email, please put Uni Tracking in the “subject” line. OK? OK.
Have a great Saturday everyone! Sic semper tyrannis!