By Phil Hecken
A little over a month ago, I brought you a look at Monochrome In Baseball, which looked at the use of solid color uniforms (jerseys and pants) throughout baseball history. Today I bring you Part II — which will look at the use of monochrome in the game today…and it’s possible use in the future.
In the first part, it was noted that monochrome enjoyed a relative popularity during the early part of the twentieth century, only to basically die off from the late teens and early twenties until the late sixties and seventies, when, buoyed by the introduction of polyester double-knit materials, several teams returned to the fashion statement. By the eighties, monochrome was again “dead,” returning to the game only for a few throwback games here and there.
But is monochrome, as a baseball fashion statement, truly dead — or is it just in hibernation? Just this past season, several teams have already thrown back to monochrome uniforms from their 1970’s past, and the Baltimore Orioles have
threatened promised to throw back to their all-orange uniforms worn only a few times in 1971 and 1972.
Now, we must ask ourselves: is the public really clamoring for a look at these again (or is this just a marketing gimmick) and, if so, is this signaling perhaps a return to a modern monochrome uniform (or several) in our near future?
I won’t offer opinions on those colorful uniforms of the past, but I will say this: I truly think one or maybe a very small number of teams — teams who already have an alternate or three — could probably pull off the monochrome look on a very limited basis. However, for the solid top and bottoms to look even half-way decent, there would need to be a few rules on how these uniforms should be worn, otherwise all bets are off. We’ll get to those shortly.
Before we look at the major leagues, lets take a look at some monochrome in other leagues throughtout the world that wear (or have worn) monochrome uniforms in the past. They will serve as
fair warning a guide as to what might (and what definitely won’t) work if MLB were to return to solid color unis.
Cuba is perhaps best known for it’s all-red uniforms, but the Island has a very colorful history of solid colors. The World Baseball Classic and the Olympics often show the Cuban National Team in it’s patented bright red uniforms, although sometimes they simply elect to wear red pants with a white jersey. Sometimes the socks are matching red, othertimes blue…and many times the pants are tailored “pajama style” — which, quite frankly, looks awful.
There are other solid color combinations in Cuban beisbol, however, that aren’t red — royal blue (and note the orange pajama’s on the other player), and almost powder blue (slightly reminiscent of the Phillies powder blues), navy blue (note the dark pajamas on the batter), hunter green (with gold raglan sleeves), orange (with royal raglan sleeves), and still more blue (with pinstripe raglan sleeves).
Those are quite the uniforms, yes? Now, again, I don’t want to cast too much of a pall over them with my editorializing, but I think most of us would suffice it to say they probably wouldn’t look good in our major leagues. The raglan sleeves and pants stripes do break up the monochrome look a bit, but the pajama pants really detract from the overall appearance. Clearly, some form of socks or stirrups over sanis is needed to break up the monotony of color below the waist. I also think it’s safe to say that with the option to wear colored pants, the “reverse softball” look is probably very tempting.
Let’s move on to the other side of the world for our next two looks at monochrome.
Korea is another nation for which the monochrome look has been tried. Like Cuba, there are several variations, including a powder blue look (note the stirrups and white cleats), a darker blue combination, a similar darker blue look, this time with matching cap, sleeves and stirrups, and (although not shown in monochrome) a red and black look (which I do believe comes with matching tops and bottoms) and a totally crazy orange pinstripe look that is somewhat reminiscent of the Bucs bumblebee pins of the 1977-79 era.
Although none of those photos show pajama-clad players, I think we can agree that the uniforms where there is contrast in colors between the stirrups and caps and the uniform itself is a much more pleasing look to the eye than the all same-color uniform and accoutrements.
Finally, let’s look at Korea’s neighbor to the south.
Taiwan: (Chinese Taipai)
Taiwan also has (or had) it’s fair share of monochrome unis, including a darkish powder blue ensemble (with two-tone cap and dark socks), the seemingly standard all dark blue uniform (with matching cap and stirrups), and … just a really — really — loud bright yellow uniform (complete with pajama bottoms, the mark of the beast, and really odd black side panels).
Clearly, monochrome is still alive and well in other parts of the world, and apparently, making a comeback (at least in terms of throwbacks) here in the United States.
As we wind down this second look at monochrome in baseball, we now must ponder the question: “Should monochrome be reintroduced into the major leagues?” If the answer is yes, then we must next ask, “If so, who should wear it?”
As we have seen in the past, and we must ponder for the future, monochrome is a very tough look to pull off — but I think it has been successfully done in the past and can be again. Certainly, if teams were to reintroduce it (or introduce it for the first time), the pajama bottom is a look that must be avoided at all costs — socks, and preferably stirrups really need to be worn to break up the monotone of the solid uniform. As we will see when I show you mocks for all 30 teams, not only are socks (stirrups especially) a must, they look much better when they are of a contrasting color — as should caps and undersleeves be as well. And the socks/stirrups should also be, preferably, darker than the uniform — failing that, stripes or patterns should be employed on the socks.
Picture everything most of us detest about the leotard look in the NFL, and how much better the look is when the socks are a different color than the pants. The same holds true for a monochrome look in baseball.
That’s going to do it for this second look at Monochrome in Baseball. Coming next time: teams who might try the monochrome look, teams who have tried it before, teams who would do better by ditching the black alt and should try something new, teams for whom it’s next logical step and teams who have no business wearing it and who would never in a million years be caught dead wearing it.
But that’s for next time.
What say you, readers, should the MLB re-explore the monochrome look? If so, is it something that maybe only one team (possibly a team from the past who has gone mono before) should explore, or would a handful of teams possibly find it to their liking? I hate the softball look (mismatched top and pants) but as long as teams are going to have an alternate, why not wear an actual alternate uniform?
The floor is yours.
Last weekend we learned that Mick may have been the inspiration for Softball Guy This weekend, we find out he’s definitely NOT the inspiration for Golf Guy. Although, he may have a 28 handicap and insist on hitting from the tips… Here’s Rick:
Ever notice that just when things are looking really great, there’s always something that, y’know, takes the edge off it?
Here’s your full color Sunday Benchies.
Back again with more Uniform Tweaks, Concepts and Revisions today. Lots to get to, and if you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way. Still finding the tweaks have slowed to a trickle, so if you have something you’d like to show, give me a shout.
Just one huge set of tweaks today, and it comes from Daniel Rerko, who actually sent along eighty-seven NFL separate tweaks. Last weekend, we looked at the second batch. Today features Round III. Says Daniel, “I am sending you a gallery of 87 uniform tweaks for NFL teams on Flickr. Some of them are terrible, but some of them turned out pretty well. I hope you enjoy!” We’re just about halfway through those and now we’re moving into the homestretch. Here then, is the third set:
Houston Texans — White helmet, alt. logo on sleves: I like the HT alternate logo on the sleve. Also, the white helmet really makes the uniform look good.
Seattle Seahawks — A lot of old elements, modern blue, two alts.: Basically the old uniform with dark blue and a darker green.
Indianapolis Colts — No more shoulder stripes: Making it even more plain by adding sleeve stripes instead of the shoulder stripes.
Tennessee Titans — Solid stripes, pant stripe matches yoke, possible new Alternates: Home and Alternate with a white shoulder yoke… just to see what it is like.
Miami Dolphins — Miami U green instead of dk. blue, modern stripes: A weird design, along with the replacement of the dark blue accent color with a Miami U inspired green. Another one of those designs that was fun to design, but should never be on the field.
New England Patriots — red white and blue: Patriots=Patriotic colors.
New York Jets — Modernized stripes, old logo, old colors: The 90’s logo,the old, brighter colors, with some extended shoulder stripes.
Cleveland Browns — Logo, Modoernized, white helmet: When I think of Cleveland, I think of big ugly dogs. So, let’s put one on the helmet! I also messed around with some more modern sleeve striping.
Chicago Bears — Block numbers, helmet stripes, high TV numbers: The Bears need block numbers. I also added some helmet stripes and some striped socks that match the sleve stripes on the home uniform.
Oakland Raiders — Shoulder Yoke, silver numbers: A Titans-inspired shoulder yoke with sivler numbers on the away uni.
Tennessee Titans — Solid stripes, pant stripe matches yoke: Every uni has white pants, with a side stripe that matches the color of the shoulder yoke. Also, a new away alternate with a dark blue shoulder yoke to contrast the usual away uniform.
Green Bay Packers — Sleeve Stripes, Sock stripes: Some really complex sleve and sock stripes.
Dallas Cowboys — White Helmets, same colors, same uniforms: The stripes from the white uniform applied to the color uniform, all together with a white helmet.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers — No more orange, older socks: The old uniform design, with the new colors and the new logo applied to it.
New England Patriots — Army Colors: If I could think of any team that should be wearing the colors of our modern patriots, it should be the Patriots. I would only like to see this uniform in some sort of Armed Forces tribute game.
New England Patriots — Silver stripes: Some silver wouldnt hurt on the uniform, while I decided to make the helmet white.
St. Louis Rams — Blue and white: Cutting down the uniform to only two colors. The very dark blue and white give the rams a decent look, along with relocated TV numbers.
St. Louis Rams — Old Uni, New colors, Gold alt.: Old uniform with the new colors, and a hideous gold alternate.
OK. That’s all for today. Back with more next time. Keep sending them my way.
Back at the beginning of the 2010 season, I announced the 2010 Uni Tracking that a number of us do. Last year, I devoted about four full weekend columns to it, and that was probably a bit much for most of us to take in one dose, so this year, I’ll occasionally post the updated tracking of certain teams as the trackers send them in. So, if you’ve been doing your due diligence with your team, send me your mid-season tracking reports, and I’ll post them as a “sub article” on the weekends. OK? OK!
Got another pair of tracks for today. First up is Mike Vamosi, who is another of our KC Royals trackers:
The Royals tracker did a much more flashy version than my word edition that I’ve tried to update daily.
Next up is everyone’s favorite Yinzer, Douggie Keklak, who is, sadly for him, tracking the Bucs:
Not sure if you got any Pirates’ submissions but I thought I’d send you mine anyway. It’s tough being a fan right now. Although I’ll always be loyal to my team, it’s hard to be excited about the game when the Succos are well on pace for a 100-loss (and then some) season. One might say “why even track the unis on a team like this since they are so bad” but what the hell, it’s fun.
To paraphrase the line from the Player Haters’ Ball skit from Chappelle’s Show, “what can I say about this team that hasn’t already been said about Afghanistan?”
Through June, the club is 27-51. The lone bright spot is how they apparently have the Cubs’ number, going 9-3 against the Northsiders.
From a uniform standpoint, things are pretty much as they were a year ago with one small twist. In April and May, the club experimented with wearing the Black Alts midweek (twice on a Wednesday and once on Tuesday). Last year, they were worn on Fridays with an occasional road Saturday due to a home team going with black. The team is also wearing the pinstriped vest/sleeveless exclusively during Sunday home dates again. The team reverted to a Fridays-only policy for the black alts in June.
Two special throwback unis have been worn to date: a Pittsburgh Crawfords Negro League Throwback and the all black combo from the mix and match era during the recent turn back the clock game in Oakland. The team lost both those contests. They also wore their Stars and Stripes hat, along with the rest of MLB, for their Memorial Day contest (a win over the Cubbies).
As for the rest of the splits (again, through June 30):
Home Whites: 12-11
Road Grays: 10-25
Home Pins: 3-2
Black Alts: 2-12 (1-6 equally at home and on the road)
Other: 0-2 (loss in Crawfords and loss in 70s era throwbacks)
OK, trackers, keep sending them in. Pretty much any format will do (although since these are just mid-season updates, screen grabs are fine), but since I have Google Docs, I can pretty much post any format (word, excel — almost anything but Microsoft Works, which for some reason, doesn’t upload into a displayable format for the web). More next time.
After a week in which he could find very little to annoy me, Senor Traxel (or is it “Herr” or “Monsieur” — who knows where his World Cup loyalties lie) — is back with more musings, misgivings, malaprops and mysticism… Normally the Trax show runs on Saturday, but Ben had a late Friday night, if you know what I mean. “Kids won their game tonight 2-1. Pitchers dual. That pitching machine was cranked up to a nasty 45.” Sure it was Ben ;). He also assures me that, “No, I didn’t get a five finger discount.”
Anyhoo, without further ado, here’s Ben:
Favorite baseball card of the week. Looks like a sphincter jacket. With a vest. Hot look in those days.
I did it! I found a photo of the inside of Olympic Stadium that looks good.
Someone mentioned I like square toed shoes. I’d have to say this one sure looks perty.
So I was at Busch Stadium last weekend. Had a great Dad day teaching one of the kids to keep score (or at least as much as I know). The scorecard cover was quite nice before our scribbles. The gift shop had some creepy terrestrials in the sky. And Larussa just made a weak attempt at stirrup simulation. The hotel we stayed in had a pretty good view but the really interesting thing was how you can spot the remnants of the old stadium. Notice the gray square inside the decorative semicircle. That was the old location of the Musial statue. And the rounded sidewalk that goes through the painted on arch was right up against the now gone multipurpose spaceship looking 1966 venue.
I think these guys must have shot down those gift shop beasts and had ‘em taxidermitized.
Don’t see many white helmets out there. Throw in a name below the number and that’s quite a combo.
If I could talk my country club into having these as the carts, I’d definitely make more birdies.
Think rpm could sport this sweater as well as Buckner?
Can you find the three different A’s in three different unis?
Couldn’t find anything to really get under Phil’s skin this week. Maybe this will do the trick. I think Minaya just asked Wilpon if they could please, PLEASE ditch the black.
It’s July. It’s hot. I’m headed to a swim meet for the next seven hours. Enjoy your all-star week all!
Thank you Ben. And nah, you didn’t get under my skin — not the way you usually do — keep mentioning country clubs and shooting 74’s though, and you’re off to a good start.
Because today’s World Cup Final would be the “sixth” (five plus one) game, the final 5 & 1 for the World Cup (probably a best of) will be next weekend. Instead, I’ve invited Mr. 5 & 1 himself (practicing to join the Cavs next season) to come up with a new twist — and it’s most timely in light of a certain ex-Cleveland athlete’s sudden departure from his beloved hometown team. We present: the Top 5 & 1 Worst…LeBron James ad parodies:
5. From the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer: — The small print by his hand says, “7 years in Cleveland, no rings.”
4. From an ad that usually says, “We are all witnesses”: — Couldn’t find one that I saw before saying, “We were all suckered.”
3. Who’s worse? — Consensus is, it’s still Art.
2. Another “Witness” takeoff: — Wonder if the swoosh would sell shirts of this?
1. Give this guy credit for coming prepared: — Sometimes simple is best.
And the worst LeBron parody:
That’s all for today. Enjoy the World Cup. Time to watch and then say goodbye to soccer for another four years.
In case you missed it yesterday, there’s a new “design a baseball jersey contest” taking place. Details here.
Everyone have a great Sunday.
In the next 15 or 20 years, I hope I’ll be the richest man in the world. That’s one of my goals. I want to be a billionaire. I want to get to a position where generation on generation don’t have to worry about nothing. I don’t want family members from my kids to my son’s kids to never have to worry. And I can’t do that now just playing basketball. — LeBron James, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 10 Dec., 2005