By Phil Hecken
Welcome back, everyone!
It all started a few scant weeks ago when I and a couple of other posters decided that the Chicago White Sox uniform needed “fixing.” While reaction to that post was mixed, it was also met with a call for other teams who could use either a uniform tweak, overhaul or to just plain start from scratch. There were many obvious candidates.
Based upon that sentiment, I asked readers for suggestions as to which team might be next in line for fixin,’ and it was decided that the Milwaukee Brewers were a good next candidate. I received many submissions from readers with their suggestions, some of which we’ll examine below. What follows, then, are the first batch of suggestions for a New Crew. Due to the large number of submissions I received, this is merely part one of a two-part series. We begin with the man who suggested the Brewers tweak, and a long-time reader and poster who’s been passionate in his call for a revamp of the Brewers uniforms for years.
No Milwaukee Brewer uniform overhaul would be complete without the man who has, for the past eight years, been clamoring for the Brewers to change things up, Chance Michaels. Chance is a UW stalwart, a Cream City affectionado, a Milwaukee-phile, and more. He’s written on the Brewers and Packers on several of his websites, and I’m sure you’re familiar with his “online museum of the American Association Milwaukee Brewers”, borchertfield.com. The last of the designs featured today were first seen on that blog several months ago. What follows now, though, are Chance’s earlier design concepts, the ones that began his passionate desire to fix the Brewers.
I asked Chance to describe his creations. “My experience with re-designing the Brewers goes all the way back to the late 1970s, when I first realized that their pinstriped uniforms, then just a few years old but comprising the entirety of my baseball awareness, weren’t the only uniforms the club had worn. I came across an old pennant featuring the Beer Barrel Man, and I was hooked. Later research on the BBM led me to its origins in the 1940s, to the minor league Brewers of the American Association, where the current ballclub got its name, and ever since then I’ve been hooked.”
He continues, “In 1996, I submitted my first concept to the team – a recolored BBM sleeve patch to replace the ‘Motre Bame’ crossed-bats logo – in the form of a fan letter. Never heard back from them, but I’ve been trying ever since.” Fast forward to five years later: “In 2001, I started working on new designs for my True Blue Brew Crew. I brought back to the Ball-and-Glove, but dropped the pinstripes in favor of classic piping. I also created a modern version of the old American Association Brewers, and I’ve been playing with refining that design ever since. I still haven’t given up hope of getting the Beer Barrel Man on the Brewers’ sleeves.”
Lets take a look at what’s he created.
Chance’s first uni-concept, entitled “True Blue,” had a distinctly retro feel to it, and returned the “Milwaukee” wordmark to the road jersey. Chance explains the philosophy behind the concept: “Building off the very successful ‘Retro Fridays’ uniform, this concept draws largely from the Brewers’ great past, the days of Bambi’s Bombers and Harvey’s Wallbangers, Rollie and Paul and Gumby and Rockin’ Robin, giving the classic a modern twist.” Of the original Brewers colors and wordmark he notes, “The design touches fans in a very deep way, telling us of the glory days ahead by reminding us of the best years of the franchise.”
Of the logos, he adds, “The ‘Ball and Glove‘ logo of the American League glory days signifies a tradition, a bond between the Brewers and the fans. This is what most Milwaukeeans think of when they think of the Brewers. Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Jim Gantner, Cecil Cooper, Rollie Fingers, Gorman Thomas and Don Sutton all played with this logo on their caps. The Beer Barrel Man logo is synonymous with Milwaukee baseball from the American Association days to Hank Aaron’s final playing days. Not only does it link to that tradition, but it also provides the team with the opportunity for a mascot logo, which has been very successful for the Reds, Orioles and Mets since they re-introduced their mascots.”
But Chance wasn’t merely satisfied with his first efforts, introducing a second concept he calls “A New Classic” (here is the road version). According to Chance, “This concept draws largely from the American Association Milwaukee Brewers, a powerhouse for fifty years and Milwaukee’s first great baseball team. From 1902 through 1952 they were dominant in their league, and it was that success that paved the way for the Braves to move from Boston in 1953.”
Mr. Michaels views the “New Classic” as having four distinct advantages:
1. A timeless design, guaranteed not to go out of style. Many teams have become very successful by rediscovering their 1940s and 1950s designs (such as the White Sox, Giants, Reds, Pirates and Indians) or creating a new design with a classic flavor (such as the Mariners and Angels). The Brewers are fortunate that they can do both at the same time, by honoring their namesake.
Baseball is the most traditional of sports, with a long and cherished tradition, and a team’s look should reflect that.
2. The excitement of an expanded color scheme. Red was a traditional American Association Brewer color from its inception. The Brewers, by adopting it, can honor that tradition. Coupling it with the contemporary Blue and Gold, the Brewers would have a color scheme not only unique in Major League Baseball, but offering many great opportunities for merchandising. These are colors that will never go out of style.
3. The Beer Barrel Man logo. The Beer Barrel Man logo is synonymous with Milwaukee baseball from the American Association team to Hank Aaron’s final playing days. Not only does the Beer Barrel Man link to that tradition, but it also provides the team with the opportunity for a mascot logo, which has been very successful for the Reds and the Mets since they re-introduced their mascots.
4. A clean, solid design that is both contemporary and classic. The simple wordmark appeals to the timeless nature of baseball, while the dark, classic colors are very popular with fans and the general public. The piping allows the team color to shine through. The lack of names on the back signifies a return to tradition (names are a relatively new addition to the Brewers uniform, not being present on Hank Aaron’s back or Robin Yount’s when he smacked his 3,000th hit).
Chance has proposed to top the Brewers in this classic cap, first worn by the American Association Brewers, but made more famous by the Milwaukee Braves. He’s also provided a slightly modified alternate cap which could be incorporated into the uniform set as well.
Well done, Chance, well done. But wait, we’re not quite done with Chance Michaels and his Brew Crew reworks just yet. He has a third set of concept unis, which we’ll explore in detail a little later on.
Piggybacking on Chance’s tremendous efforts, we have a great UW DIYer, David Frost (aka “Frosty”), who’s created some actual Brewers concept jerseys (and ALSO taken the amazing step of taking one of Chance’s concepts and made that into a real-life jersey as well!)
Frosty has been featured on UW before, so I’m sure you are all familiar with his awesomeness. If you guys have any questions about his work, or are maybe looking to have him do up a custom jersey just for you, drop him a line.
So, let’s see what David has created. First up is this amazing pinstripe jersey (here’s the back), which is basically a perfect replication of Chance’s proposed “True Blue” road jersey, only with pinstripes. Says Frosty, “I made this jersey last year… (it) is more like a retro ‘I wish’ for the old Milwaukee script. I always wanted the Brewers roadie to be pinstriped when I was a kid as well (I mean…the home jerseys were…shouldn’t there be SOME uniformity there rather than a completely different look?), so I found the gray with royal pins and went with it. The patch is the old Harvey Kuehn patch from the year he died. Take that off…and ya got a winner.” Outstanding.
Frosty wasn’t done, though. He also made this incredible jersey (here’s the back), borrowing from Chance’s mockup. David explains, “here’s my current project – Thanks to the fantastic talent of Chance Michaels. This ‘beer script’ is exactly that – and exactly beer. When Chance first did the art, he had a standard outline around it. I decided to tweak it with a drop-shadow to add a more classic beer label look. The colors? The original American Association Brewers were navy and red. Not that the big leagues need more of this combination, but I thought it would work best.”
As you might be able to tell from the pictures, at the time, that was still a work in progress. “What else is needed?” David asks. “1) A classic barrel man patch on the left sleeve (and I mean the OLD one); and 2) For this jersey to be done on ecru. What is ecru? It’s the color that most people call ‘cream’, but in the trade, the color is called ECRU. A cream-colored jersey for the Cream City…NO BRAINER.”
After David sent me these, I figured, “wow — just wow” that’s amazing. Little did I know he would not only finish off that second jersey, adding the barrelman logo to the sleeve — but he still wasn’t done DIYing.
Frosty struck out on his own this time, creating a THIRD Brewer concept jersey (of course, complete with barrelman on the sleeve). David says this jersey “was made possible thanks to some of the current Phillies braid I came across. The finish down the shoulders has always been a classy look to me, so I went with that, a classic front font in red/white, and our barrelman again on left sleeve.”
When you combine those three with the photo of Frosty at Miller Park in another of his creations … well, I’m not real good with math but that’s a LOT of amazing DIYs.
Returning to Chance’s Brewer redesign proposals, I will draw your attention to a new set which appeared back in May on his blog. Some of you have probably seen it before, but it too is an outstanding effort.
Chance has “made no secret that I am no fan of the current Brewers uniforms. They’re sterile and plain, designed by committee, but worst of all they have no connection with Milwaukee’s rich baseball history.” But his new uni proposal seeks to change all that. “Here’s my proposal to give the current bearers of the name the unique and modern look they deserve, while at the same time honoring the whole of that history, including (and especially) the American Association Brewers.”
His vision for the new home uniform as well as it’s road counterpart build upon his earlier efforts, and he has arrived upon a primary logo (along with the uni concpts) he has sent to Brewers’ management for their consideration. Chance contiunes:
The details, in no particular order:
Sleeve patch: For me, it all starts with bringing back the one, the original, the Beer Barrel Man. Symbol of Milwaukee baseball since at least 1901. Time he finally made the sleeves.
Wordmarks: The script font on the home jersey is Saloonkeeper, based on the script used by Leinenkugel’s. It’s surprisingly similar to the script used by the Brewers in the 1940s. The road wordmark is based on a 1930s Pabst Blue Ribbon label – I’m terribly fond of that one.
Colors: The color scheme utilizes the blue and gold influenced by the current colors (the only thing I really flat-out love about the current scheme). I’ve moved the home uniform to a light cream to reflect Milwaukee’s nickname as The Cream City, as well as the various historical baseball teams known as the “Creams” and “Cream Citys“.
Accent Striping: I included the shoulder piping not only because it has an historical precedent, but would also create a pattern currently unique in the majors. Another way to instantly identify the team. The Brewers used a similar thick piping from 1996-1999, and it looked great.
Number font: The numbers are what I call a simple square block. Again, they could be as easily identifiable as the San Francisco Giants’ numbers are, without either drawing too much attention or sacrificing legibility. FWIW, I’m basing these on a number font worn by the Packers in the 1940s.
The cap logo: I’ve always wanted to use a bottlecap in a Brewers concept. And the block “M” on the bottlecap clearly references the Milwaukee Braves and the American Association club… okay, maybe I’m officially overthinking this one.
Just amazing Chance and David. Thanks for sharing your efforts.
That will conclude the first part of “A New Crew,” but there are many more new designs I have received from the fantastic Uni Watch readership. They will appear in the next installment due to appear next weekend. I’m still truly amazed at the abilities and efforts that have gone into them (I even did a couple myself which will probably pale in comparison). Let us know what you guys think! Thumbs up? If these don’t quite strike your fancy, the next part will have something for everyone, from the classic to the serene to the sublime. And everything in between.
There’s a few weeks left in the MLB season (and next week is part II of the Brewers Redux), so rather than just pick ONE new team for your “uni reworks”, if anyone has ANY team (and I’ve already received a few submissions for teams that AREN’T the Brewers) they’d like to submit a “redesign” for, drop me a line. I’ll be glad to feature them throughout the remainder of the season (and probably post season) too. Check back tomorrow for two new teams, and make sure to check back next Saturday for the rest of the Brewers reworks. You won’t be disappointed!
It’s that time of year again, when the courts at the US Open are full and fans are guaranteed of seeing at least one winning team — even if they’re playing doubles and not baseball — in Flushing Meadow. My doubles partner and UW West Coast Correspondent Brinke Guthrie joins me once again for his look at this year’s Open fashion.
The Fed’s look is here, with Nadal & Serena here. Serena’s sneakers have 3 little trophies, too, and The Fed’s say “5” on the tongue, all part of the brand. Um, he even has his own pillowcases at the fancy hotel he stays at.
PS- this looks like something you’d throw up after a night on the town.
Thanks Brinke. Whaddya say? Fed takes the sixth? Ties Tilden? Stands one behind Sears?
I can’t see anyone (even A-Rod) standing between Raj and #16.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: Little different twist on today’s game — I don’t KNOW the answer. But I’m sure you guys do. I usually have the answer ahead of time, and if i don’t, I figure it out, just like you. But for this one, I said, “screw it, let them tell me.” Actually, I just didn’t have enough time to figure it out so, if as and when you do (and I know you will), walk me thru it, would ya? You know what do to…date, location & final score, via Baseball Almanac or Retrosheet. Thanks. Ready? Guess The Game.
While UW was away, the Ricko kept himself real busy. In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s going to be an announcement any day now concerning a Benchies Blog. But that day isn’t today. Instead, we have an installment of a Saturday Benchies for your reading pleasure. Ah, baseball cards … how I miss thee.
Alright, that’s about all for this first Saturday after break. Big things afoot in the sporting world this fine Saturday and lots more good stuff on here tomorrow. Have a great day.