We all know the A’s coaches and managers wore white caps in the Charlie Finley era. It comes up all the time, and it even figured prominently in a piece I wrote about six weeks ago. But the A’s players never wore white caps during Finley’s green-and-gold reign. Whether in Kansas City or in Oakland, players during the Finley era always wore green caps.
That shot is from a 1967 A’s/Tigers game in Kansas City. The two A’s in the photo are pitcher Blue Moon Odom and first baseman Ray Webster. And as you can see, they’re both white-hatted.
A few moments after that photo was taken, a brawl broke out. All the A’s personnel in that shot are clearly wearing white caps. Some of them are coaches (No. 5, near the center of the photo, is manager Alvin Dark, trying to break up the imminent fisticuffs between Ossie Chavarria and, of course, Denny McLain), but most of them are players. Amazing.
I showed the photos to my usual suspects in situations like these — Hall of Fame curator Tom Shieber and uniform designer Todd Radom — both of whom were as surprised as I was by the discovery of the white caps.
One possible explanation that comes to mind: 1967 was the year that Finley first had the A’s wear white shoes, which in turn touched off the White War between the A’s and the Senators. I’ve never heard about the A’s wearing white caps as part of that episode, but maybe they were experimenting with all sorts of things back then — certainly wouldn’t be surprising. The surprising part is that it had never been documented until now.
And the guy who documented it, by the way, is reader Paul Wiederecht, who found those two photos — and several others from the same brawl — in this auction lot. Major props to him for uncovering this new chapter in baseball uni history.
And while we’re at it, Paul W. found one other A’s oddity: a shot of Dick Williams and two other A’s wearing black shoes! Looks like it’s from 1971. The other two guys are presumably players, not coaches, because they’re not wearing white caps. Then again, the whole protocol of which A’s wore which color caps is no longer as clear as it once was, right?
ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest ESPN column is available here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Many, many readers responded to yesterday’s splash photo by submitting additional pics of high school football teams that wear MLB logos on their helmets. The most intriguing examples, provided by Eric Guthier, are Nelsonville York High School in Ohio, which uses the Yankees’ interlocking NY, and the Tuscaloosa County Wildcats in Alabama, who wear the Twins’ TC. … North Korea is about to host its first golf tournament — check out the logo (with thanks to Chris Bisbee). … Oh wow, check out this completely awesome tag design. It’s from this sweater (have I mentioned lately how good Mike Hersh is at finding great stuff?). … Schools with new black hoops uniforms: Appalachian State, Davidson, and Furman (as noted by Chris Marsicano). … New mask design for Marty Turco. “He wears it when the Blackhawks wear their alternate jerseys,” says Eric Lovejoy. … When the Rams fired equipment manager Todd Hewitt last week, no explanation was given and no additional info was available. But now it turns out that there was a major personality conflict between Hewitt and coach Steve Spagnuolo, as outlined in this superb article. Recommended reading (with thanks to Gary Streeting). … Midway through this page, it’s mentioned that Dan Reeves had the Broncos wear white at home for several 1983 games specifically as a nod to his days with the Cowboys (with thanks to Justin Brownlee). … Check this out: scans of an entire 1928 Minnesota football program (with thanks to Eric Baukol). … “I was bored,” says Alan Chewning. “So I decided to use Google Maps to see if any MLB teams were playing a game when Google’s satellites snapped the overhead picture. Results: Only the Nationals were playing a game at the time of the photo. The Dodgers and the Mariners were set up for banquets. The Diamondbacks had a concert stage set up in centerfield, and the Rangers’ field had snow on it. The Phillies were in the midst of batting practice, and a Brewers game has just ended.” … The women’s hockey team at St. Norbert College wears a uniform designed by one of the players (with thanks to Jeff Ash). … Just what the world needs: a red football field (with thanks to Terry O’Donohue. … Larry Bodnovich has found yet another school that wore the winged football helmet before Princeton did: Marquette in 1932. As an aside, what is the ref holding in the blow-up image? … Rich Rod donated his Michigan gear to the Salvation Army, which is going to sell it off tomorrow (with thanks to Rob Siergiej). … Here’s a video clip showing that the 1993 WVU football squad wore a “WV” logo on one sleeve and a huge Big East patch on the other. “Man, would I like for them to go back to that look,” says Jason Bernard. … Yesterday I mentioned that UNC had tweaked its center-court design. Today I have a photo of it. … Colgate goaltender Alex Evin, who’s of Russian descent, wears the hammer and sickle on his backplate. Call out the National Guard, the commies are in our midst! (As noted by Tris Wykes.) … Latest hoops team to get the sweatback treatment: Arizona (with thanks to Josh Miller). … Buster Olney’s Insider blog yesterday quoted Kevin Jarvis, a former teammate of Trevor Hoffman’s, thusly: “During the Instructional League, it was strict Cincinnati organizational policy to show at least three inches of red ‘old school’ stirrups below the pant line. As much as Trevor was a throwback player, he was even more of a headstrong rebel when he sensed that someone was on an unfounded power trip. In this case, it was then-director of player development Jim Bowden. There were many days when the camp was entertained by Trevor and Jim going nose-to-nose over the length of his stirrups.” … Oooh, this is good: Jets/Pats footage from 1966. Check out the striped goalposts!