By Phil Hecken
Today, I’d like to introduce what I hope will become a semi-recurring feature here at Uni Watch. I’d like to take a look at certain teams, teams that seem to be in need of a unichange. Whether that involves a tweak, a logo change, a complete overhaul, or some combination of those elements, I’d like to work with some of the ‘graphic artists’ we have and (much to your chagrin, submit some of my own work) to come up with some changes to the uniforms of certain teams. I don’t know whether I’ll announce the “upcoming” teams in need of a change, or whether I’ll just ask for suggestions and go from there. Maybe both. After you’ve read this article, if you’re interested in participating in any capacity, drop me a line.
Today, I’ll be joined by three great readers, James Huening, who has been a great help in gathering photographic evidence of many of the current and former uniforms you’re about to see below, Robert Marshall, who has tweaked a design or two of mine and who has come up with his own unique spin on what he’d like this week’s team to don for their uniform, and Michael Emody, who’s created a number of unique and sometime throwback-ish (fauxback?) designs (and is the genius behind the lead photo). As if the title and the header pic weren’t enough of a tipoff, today we’re going to be looking at the Chicago White Sox as a team who may just be a candidate for some uniform improvement.
Before we go any further, though, I want to direct your attention to this fantastic article on the White Sox uniform history, authored by none other than UW Prexy, Paul Lukas. It’s an excellent primer for what follows, and the knowledge gleaned and shared by Mr. Lukas in that work will greatly assist in understanding why the Sox are a perfect candidate for a uniform change. So take a few minutes, read the article, then come back here and we’ll begin.
Great article by Paul, yes? Yes. So, lets begin with the Sox’ current uniforms. For their home uniform, the wear a pinstriped uniform in black, gray and white, with “Sox” in Olde English script on their left breast. As often as not, they will break out a black alternate top, also with a script “Sox”. For their road uniform, the team from the South Side wear a grey based uniform with black and white accents, and “Chicago” spelled out across the chest in script. Also, with the roads, they will break out the black alternate with alarming regularity. They rarely show sock, but when certain players do, they’re black. I’m sorry, what was the name of your team again? Clearly, this will not do.
Not that the current uniforms are all that bad; in fact, personally, I feel they’re one of the nicer uniform sets in the bigs, although the use of that softball top should be curtailed. Not eliminated however. As much as I despise alternates, this one does have a time and a place. We’ll explore that below. But, for a team who has changed uniforms with alarming regularity, and the current set has been in use since the beginning of the last decade, it’s time for a change. But to what? Let’s see what we can come up with.
If you read Paul’s piece (and I know you did), you’ll have a pretty good idea of the uniform history of the Sox. Clearly, over the years, the boys from the Windy City have really been all over the map in terms of uniform design. Some of these have been very good, some have been pretty basic, while others have been fairly wild, and others have been, well,
what the fuck? pretty unique. They have worn pinstripes, they’ve worn powder blues, they’ve donned predominantly blue, predominantly red, uniforms with a black dominate, and some combination of colors over the years. They’ve even worn all dark blue uniforms (which sometimes looked black), and even changed the sock stripe patterns over the years. Still not convinced this is a team that could use a uniform change? It’s only been close to 20 years since their last one — they’re due.
Finally, before we look at the proposed changes, we must also look at one phemenon (which the Sox of course invented), and in which they still partake with regularity — the wearing of throwback uniforms. Why do they wear throwbacks so often? Perhaps the Sox themselves are auditioning uniforms of yesteryear (yes, I know that’s a Negro League throwback, but it’s still a throwback) with an eye towards the future. Most recently, they’ve worn their pennant-winning 1959 duds, and, because they were chosen to play in this year’s Civil Rights Game in Cincinnati, they got to break out their 1964 powder blues. In the past they’ve worn throwbacks from other years of their myriad (and other Chicago teams) histories, including the first ever throwback in history. Yeah, this team is crying out for a new (or old) look.
So, let’s have a look-see at some proposed uniform changes. There won’t be a lot of “ground rules” on this one, because some of the designs are very close to being throwbacks (but with a twist or two), while others are more “fauxbacks” — which we never clearly defined — but basically is a uniform which was never worn, but is evocative of a feel or style from years gone by. We’ve also come up with a few ‘sorta’ new uniform concepts, but we’ve avoided entirely new uniforms altogether. Perhaps that is for another column. Finally, since the team is called the “White Sox,” we’ve insisted upon actual socks being worn, that they be predominantly white, (either sanitary or stirrup) and sometimes, they be at least two different primary colors. OK then, we’ll begin at the beginning.
We start with the road uniform, and we basically begin with some tweaks of the current roadie. Let’s start by putting the team back in red with red socks and white sanis. Gotta have stripes on those bad boys. Lets flip the sock/stirrups next. Hmmm. OK, they do have a history of not wearing white sanis, but maybe that’s a bit much. Of course, one of the “future” uniforms I have proposed, is putting teams whose main color is not blue in “powder” uniforms. If we’re going to turn the Sox red, then maybe they should think about a powder red road uniform. Interesting.
The Sox wore the black prominently for a number of years, so how might they look if we replaced the white outline with black. That’s interesting as well. Although I personally detest two-tone hats, I will admit that on some teams, they do work. So, let’s add a black crown with red brim (and eliminate the stirrup in favor of a full sock). That’s kind of cool, no? Would it look better with a solid black cap? I don’t think so. We could probably safely change the belt to black though.
Keeping with the current thought line of tweaking through adding (or subtracting color) but keeping the current uniform in tact. Let’s work on the home uniform. Notice, we keep the black/red style, both for the cap and the outline, and we return the stirrups, with a slightly different pattern. That red belt has to go — for the home uniform anyway — so here she is with black belt. Nice. Very evocative of the 1959-era unis.
I’ll take a break now, and turn the floor over to Michael Emody who has some different ideas for the Sox.
We begin with Mike’s “throwback” to the 1940’s era uniforms which were quite elegant in their own right. Two versions here, both with the “Big S” surrounding the “o” and “x” in both black and blue hues. The black features the “TV numbers” on the sleeve while the blue has the uniform number on the right breast. For the road uniform, Mike has come up with several. The first two feature the same 1940’s logo, one in gray and the second in a powder blue evocative of the shade they wore in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Both feature the uniform number on the right side, and the left sleeve contains the current “white sock on a diamond” which is found on today’s uniforms. The gray uniform is predominantly blue based, with blue striped stirrups, while the blue is rather 1970’s-esque, featuring red stirrups and a red sleeve patch. Taking both of those road uniform concepts a bit further, Mike created two similar unis, but flipped the sock and stirrup combinations, which are reminiscent of the 1969-1970 uniforms. Great concepts Mike.
Moving along, Mr. Emody has gone with additional ‘fauxbacks’ from a different period in White Sox uniform history. This home and away set, which he has nicknamed “Blue Monday,” which brings back visions of the late 1960-early 1970 uniforms. The home features blue pinstripes, blue belt, black shoes, and blue TV numerals and lettering in the Olde English style. The road is powder blue with blue TV numbers, and a white “Chicago” in script with the word “White Sox” on the tail (very reminiscent of the late 1960’s powder blue). The stirrups are blue with white and powder blue stripes (like the home), and black shoes. The pants and shoulders have a blue and white stripe. Finally, Mike created two additional road options, both of which are gray. The first takes elements from the 1950’s black and red color schemes, with “Chicago” in script with a tail featuring “White Sox” (a la the roadies from the late 1960’s and early 1970’s), including a more modern numeral underneath the script insignia and on the left side of the jersey. The second uniform set is similar, only white has been swapped for black, and a TV number has been added to the right sleeve. A black “white sox” patch is found on the left sleeve of both uniforms, and the stirrups are black with red and white stripes and white sanitaries.
Great, great designs, Mike. Interestingly enough, I first noticed Mike’s White Sox uniform tweaks when he posted this in the comments one late evening, shortly after I had posted my first uni tweak. Recognizing we were “on the same wavelength” with the Sox, we began this collaboration.
Lets now take a look at some additional possibilities for new Sox uniforms. The boys from Chicago obviously like their throwbacks, as evidenced by the many number of throwback uniforms they’ve donned over the years. So what if we were to outfit them in a modern uniform with an old-style feel? Notice, no stirrups. But, nice stripage on the socks. We can change the sock colors or patterns. They wore that particular style (obviously not with a modern cut) back in the teens, and would continue to wear it (largely unchanged) until 1931. Not a fan of that style? No worries.
In 1932 through 1935, the Sox introduced this jersey design. So how about we modernize the uniform using that as a base? Well, we’d have this design. Again, no stirrups. And again, we can change the sock pattern.
Obviously, when fully half of your name is “Sox,” the socks are uber-important. The fashion trends of baseball have of course, largely relegated hosiery to being an anachronism. But, if any team should wear socks, and proudly, well — the White Sox should. Lets take a look at that powder read proposal again, this time, with an eye towards returning this beautiful sock styling from the 1970s. They wore that sock with both the red pinstripes and the powder blues of that era. But the powder blues, frankly, don’t cut it with a red base. So let’s put them in powder reds. Interesting. A slight twist on that pattern is to remove the circle and replace it with the current shoulder patch, like so. If we were to equip the Sox in real old school off-white stirrups, we’d get something like this.
Couple other “fauxback” possibilities exist. The White Sox only wore this particular uniform for one year, 1930. Don’t know why they shifted away from it, but it provides an interesting uniform possibility. Finally, in terms of really harking back, they might consider this possibility, which could be worn as an away uni. Crisp and clean, but yet still fairly modern despite it’s age.
Certainly, some food for thought. And now on to Robert Marshall.
Moving on, I’m now joined by Uni Watch OCD DIYer, Robert Marshall, who is fixing to fix ALL the major league teams uniform stylings, but for today, he’s just going to share with his vision for the “perfect White Sox uniform.” When I asked him if he were excited to help fix the Sox, he was more excited than Wilt Chamberlain in a sorority house. Since “rpm” (and several new variations of his ‘handle’) loves him some Sox, he’s taken great care to craft what he feels would be the ultimate uniform for the South Siders. One home, one road, no alternates. However, he does provide several cap options and a special “Sunday” option for the sanitaries. With that, I give you Robert:
i make no apologies for being old school in my aesthetic, especially in baseball, a sport so bound by tradition. and i am not normally so dogmatic unless i hear lunacy when it comes to taste (to each his own), but here are the chicago white sox as they should be, case closed, no debate, might as well close the comments section. if you disagree, you are wrong, lay of the goof-balls. it keeps what works, and draws from the past to fix what does not. take the tv numbers off, fix the hat and ‘rups (not all teams need stripes, but these do), add a patch and this is fabulous. if there is curiosity on the road digs, it’s grey not blue for the cornmother’s sake.
Love that graphic, Robert. Looks like he keeps that face in a jar by the door (either that or it’s a ripoff of Charles M. Schultz). Pretty schweet huh? Kind of in line with what it seems a lot of Chicagoans are pining for, at least in terms of the home. The home uniform would be evocative of the “Go Go Sox” (the uniform was worn from 1951 through 1963), while the road would be of the 1969-1970 vintage. A black cap (with four variations) would be worn with both, the current shoulder patch, and white socks and sanitaries with thin black and red stripes. For Sundays, the sanitaries would switch to black.
I have to say, Robert, a fine, fine job.
Winding down, one cannot but think of the White Sox without noting that for a fairly long period, they wore an all dark uniform. Although it was dark blue, it sometimes appeared almost black. Even when the Sox were going through their crazy fauxback/throwback phase from 1976 through 1981, they occasionally donned the all dark uniform. So — could they pull the look off in the 2000’s?
They wear that black alternate jersey enough — why not pair it with some black pants? Of course, there are stirrups on that mockup — it would be MANDATORY for any all dark uniform today to have full socks (or stirrups) of contrasting color. In order to pull it off, they’d need some form of white stirrup (the last of those two having gray sanitaries). Of course, so long as the socks were of contrasting color, you could skip the stirrups and just wear … gasp … white socks. How might that look on the field of play? Something like this, perhaps? Might actually be doable.
Of course, if they’re going to throw back to the all-dark look, they may as well kick it old school style with the lettering as well. Or, maybe not.
Well — there you have it. A look at the Chicago White Sox with some suggestions for a new look for the team. You’ll notice we didn’t opt for anything completely new, since the Sox have so many wonderful (and not so wonderful) styles and colors from years past to choose from. They could take any number of them and update their current style basing that update off the unis from the past.
Remember Paul’s article? The one you all read before reading this piece? In case you’ve forgotten, Paul concluded the article by stating, “Finally, it’s worth noting that Uni Watch has always loved this logo. Too bad the only uniform element it ever appeared on was a BP jersey.” Well, just for Paul, here is a mockup of that uniform.
What do you folks think? Time to don some new Sox, or are we just writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear? Special thanks, of course, have to go to James Huening for his photographic research, and Michael Emody and Robert Marshall for their mockups. Great stuff guys.
Big Uni Watch Gathering Tonight in Cleveland!: Remember, Uni Watch readers will be enjoying an evening together, tonight at 7pm, at the Prosperity Social Club. Paul believes one of “our more prominent Pittsburgh-based readers may be in town for the proceedings, which should put the Rust Belt quotient into the red zone.” Should be a great time, wish I were there with you guys.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: Despite all the fun being in Cleveland this evening, the game being depicted on today’s scoreboard is obviously not being played in Cleveland. It’s also been featured on UW before, albeit in the comments a loooonnnng time ago. So, there’s one way of securing the answer. The other ways are up to you. It might take you less time to find the answer the “old fashioned way” than to search for the thread in which this appeared. So, with that said, Guess The Game. As per usual, we need date, location and final score, but don’t post that in the comments — just link to the game — and for good measure, let us know how you went about solving they mystery.
It’s just kind of Chicago type of day, Cleveland festivities notwithstanding. So, even today’s Benchies carries that theme. It’s an oldie (Ricko informs me Lou Holtz was still coaching the Irish when he crafted this one), but it’s even more apropos today. So, enjoy a special Thursday Benchies.
Raffle Results: Paul here. I hate it when broadcasters say things like, “If you’re Sabathia, you don’t want to walk him here” or “If you’re Bobby Cox, I think you have to bunt here.” If, if, if — dude, what if I’m not Bobby Cox? Such an annoying communication style.
However: If you’re Jason Whitt, you just won yourself a free T-shirt from SportsCrack — congrats.
Uni Watch News Ticker: (Mostly compiled by Paul) … Ya know, I try to fight the good fight and all, but then there’s crap like this. Sigh. … Nice overview of Colt .45s/Astros uni history here. … Yesterday’s Ticker item about Alain Nana-Sinkam’s family reunion logos prompted Rich Frank to send in the logos he prepared for his own family reunion a few years back. … New road kit for Man U (with thanks to Christopher Burks). … Good NOB note in the second graf of this page (with thanks to Kenn Tomasch). … New football uniforms for Southern Miss (with thanks to Raymond Reeves). … New logo for the A-10 championship. … A Maple Leafs fan has started a petition to get the team to go back to its old-school logo. Further details here (with thanks to Dave Abbatoy). … Former intern Vince Grzegorek recently got a tour of the Pro Football Hall of Fame storage basement, resulting in an excellent article and photo gallery. … Sad news out of Ohio, where a company that makes chenille letters for varsity jackets is closing (as forwarded by Kevin Mueller). … Hmmm, does Adidas manufacture Korean police uniforms, or does it just look that way? (Good spot by Hadyn Green.) … Larry Wiederecht sent along some interesting scans from a magazine that was published in 1970 to mark the opening of Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. First, here’s Richie Hebner without his vest jersey. Interesting to see how far the black area extended on his undershirt. And second, here’s an ad from Matthews International, the same company I reported on in last week’s ESPN column on HoF plaques. … Robert Marshall doesn’t just order those stirrups for the Uni Watch Stirrup Club — he also gets his softball team, the Unemployed Youppi, to wear them. Those pics are from a recent 5-3 win over the Newport 100s. Okay, it was actually a 36-6 loss, but at least the Youppi looked sharp. … Several readers noted that Joba Chamberlain didn’t have the Yankee Stadium cap patch again last night. … Also from last night’s Yanks game: Robbie Cano wears Phiten socks, although he usually keeps his pants hiked up so we can’t the the logo creep (with thanks to Brian Erni). … Bills safety Donte Whitner will wear a pink mouthguard this season in honor of his late mother (with thanks to Casey B.). … The Eagles have added a Jimmy Johnson memorial design to their practice field (as noted by Adam Brodsky). … Another sleeve-roller: Carmelo Martinez. “I remember that it drove me nuts every time he got into a game when I was a kid,” says James Huening. … The A’s will be wearing 1929 throwbacks on August 16th (with thanks to Brandon Davis) … Jim Wooley checks in with a mention of Rick Reilly’s most recent column on espn.com, “if you haven’t seen it yet. I totally agree with his comments regarding the putting on the t-shirts and hats after you’ve won the championship. I’ve never liked this.” … Everyone’s favorite sneakerhead, Matt Powers asks, “If you remember this, than (sic) check this out too.” Matt also has this juicy nugget concerning the GI Joe movie and Nike: “Check this out — much like what Nike did with the Transformer films, they are releasing kicks that coincide with the movie,” complete with similar toy packaging. … Northwest UW correspondent Jeremy Brahm noticed Tadahito Iguchi’s batting glove, it is designed to look like a noh theater mask. First on the left. Jeremy tried to find some up close photos, but now it is part of a giveaway in Chiba. … Finally, Pittsburgh’s own Doug Keklak, has forwarded this classic (which I believe was posted in the comments at one time, but is always worth another look-see): the Chicago Bulls logo-robot conspiracy.