[Editor’s Note: Last week I showed a photo of Blue Jays scout Al LaMacchia posing with a Blue Jays road jersey that had different lettering than what the team actually used for its inaugural road blues. Today we have a guest entry from Lloyd Davis, who’s made some major research breakthroughs on this subject . — PL]
By Lloyd Davis
The photo of Al LaMacchia was intriguing, so I began searching the online archives of both the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail. I couldn’t find an early picture of a player modeling either of the Jays’ unis (white or blue), but what I did unearth raises some interesting questions.
First, that LaMacchia photo was published in Canadian newspapers on Dec. 8, 1976. It was taken in L.A. during the winter meetings.
Just one day earlier, on Dec. 7, an item by Neil McCarl of the Star had reported that the Jays were looking at samples produced on spec, and that it would be another month before the uni design was finalized:
I searched both papers’ archives several times and couldn’t find a word about that official, final decision. But it certainly raises questions about what Al LaMacchia was posing with.
Now jump ahead to the eve of spring training — Feb. 18, 1977. A wire service photo appeared, showing the Jays’ equipment manager with the team’s new uniforms:
So it looks like they had the split-lettered roadies made up for spring training.
There don’t seem to have been many action photos in the two papers during spring training, especially when the Jays were away from their compound in Dunedin, Florida. But I did manage to find one in the Star on March 23, 1977 — a collision between right fielder Otto Velez and middle infielder Garth Iorg. It provides just enough of a view to confirm that the split lettering was being used in spring training, at least for this game:
All of which brings us to one last interesting item. The very next day — March 24, 1977 — Milt Dunnell’s column in the Toronto Star included a note about lettering on the road jerseys, which was apparently causing legibility problems:
So the Jays apparently redesigned their road jerseys to include the solid lettering at some point after March 23, but I can’t quite pinpoint when. I struck out in my attempt to find a picture of the road uniform from any point during the remainder of spring training. Also couldn’t find any definitive pics from their first road swing of the regular season, so it’s not clear whether they wore the split lettering for any games that counted.
Finally, Paul had noted that Al LaMacchia was a just a scout and that we therefore still didn’t know who was the first player to wear a Jays uniform, I couldn’t find a shot of a player modeling the uni, but here’s a studio portrait of manager Roy Hartsfield from the Star (I’ve lost track of the date, but think it ran in the paper circa the third week of February). This might be the closest we’ve got to an official debut of the Jays uni, as worn by uniformed personnel.
Paul here. Great research by Lloyd, no? Incidentally, as long as we’re talking about the Jays, there’s been some chatter about them getting new uniforms next season, although I don’t have any further details.
Pocket veto: Yesterday afternoon I wrote a little something for today’s entry. It went like this:
I like pocket schedules. I don’t collect them, like some folks do, and of course I realize there are plenty of online resources for checking a team’s schedule, but I like having a Mets pocket sked on the bulletin board that sits right above my desk, so I can check who they’ll be playing at a moment’s notice. I’m on the team’s mailing list, so sometimes they send me a few skeds during spring training; if they don’t, I call the ticket office and ask them to pop a few in the mail for me. It’s never been a problem.
Back around March 10, I called and asked for some pocket schedules. The response: “Sorry, they haven’t been printed yet.” Okay, no biggie. So I called again in late March, around the 28th or so. The response: “They still haven’t come in.” Hmmmm. I called again yesterday and was told, “Nope, still don’t have ’em.”
Now, I realize pocket skeds aren’t the biggest issue in the world. But this seems like the kind of basic nuts-and-bolts item that any single-A team could do in its sleep, especially nowadays — just get the intern to fire up the right software package with a calendar template, drop in the file with this year’s schedule, make sure the ticket-ordering info reflects the new prices, e-mail the whole thing to the printer, and then go back to guessing the over/under on when Beltran’s knee blows out. Simple as that.
But that’s apparently too challenging for the Mets. Fucking idiots. And the Wilpons wonder why everyone ridicules them.
So that was that. A few hours later, I went to the Maple Street Press gathering in Queens. There was a table set up with a bunch of stuff — some for sale, some for giveaway. And look what they just happened to have.
So the good news is that the Mets have pocket schedules after all. The bad news is that nobody told the ticket office. Typical.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Orix Buffaloes will wear three different throwback designs this season (thanks, Jeremy). … NCAA football zebras have been showing up for some spring practices, and they’re wearing their new stripes (major thanks to Chris Buttgen for providing our first look at the new design). … Anyone know why Benjamin Stewart was NNOB on Monday night? (As noted by Chris Jowdy.) … Some crank at Michigan State is lobbying for BFBS jerseys. Not only is he uni-idiotic, but this college student still hasn’t learned that plurals don’t take apostrophes. Moron (with thanks to Michael Thompson). … The Florida Panthers’ arena is getting a new naming sponsor (with thanks to John Muir). … Cubs starter Andrew Cashner looked inside his cap several times during the 2nd inning of yesterday’s Cubs/D-backs game. Play-by-play man Len Kasper noticed it and said he’d try to remember to ask Cashner about it after the game (as noted by Jim Walaitis). … Here’s a good view of the Wisconsin sesquicentennial patch that the Brewers wore in 1998 (with thanks to Thaddeus Lewandowski). … Kyle, who didn’t leave his last name, found a SF Giants bike jersey. … Alan Saunders reports that the Altoona Curve have introduced what may be the world’s first reversible cap. … “Opening Day” logo? Okay, if you insist. “Opening Weekend” logo? Nuh-uh. “Opening Series” logo? Come on now (as noted by Brian Young). … This double-swoosh collar thing is getting out of hand (screen shot courtesy of Will Melbye). … Andruw Jones had a nice game last night. But not this nice (good catch by Brandon Boemann). … Everyone knows I like high-cuffery, but Fernando Rodney was taking it a bit far last night, even for me (big thanks to Kyle Mackie). … In a related item, Austin Prather reports that Brandon Phillips is being bombarded by low-cuff peer pressure, although he’s trying to hold out. … Lucas Demrow notes that Rod Barajas is still wearing catching gear trimmed in Mets orange, even though he hasn’t been a Met since last July. … The White Sox beach blanket knock-offs keep on coming. That’s UVA (obviously) from last night’s game. No indication of why a Virginia team would be wearing a White Sox-based design (with thanks to Dave Forbes). … Brad Hall, who serves as Stadium Operations Director for Na Koa Ikaika Maui of the North American League (Independent Baseball), sent along shots of the team’s rather bold jerseys. … I’ll have the NCAA pool results tomorrow.