Absolutely EPIC Uni Watch party last night in St. Charles. Didn’t have time to upload photos or videos for today, but soon.
Now then: Back when Buck Showalter managed the Rangers, he wore a red cap in spring training while everyone else wore blue, presumably so he’d be easy to spot. And during his first spring camp with the Orioles, he wore an orange-brimmed game cap while everyone else wore a black BP cap.
Now Richard “Ricko” Pearson has turned up some old Sports Illustrated photos showing that the Dodgers did something similar back in the mid-1960s. The images show certain Dodgers personnel — presumably the coaching and instructional staff — wearing red caps and also red stirrups. Take a look:
(There are also some red-cappers in the background of this shot, although it seems more notable for the unusual sight of someone keeping a bat in his back pocket.)
Interesting, right? Ricko notes that this shot of manager Walter Alston, from the same photo shoot, shows him wearing blue stirrups, so Ricko theorizes that only the minor league instructional staff wore the red.
Meanwhile, longtime readers may recall that I once wrote about a 1965 spring training photo that showed some Dodgers players wearing the letter S instead of uni numbers (plus I later found a shot of a Dodgers jersey with an X, although the photo links no longer work and I idiotically neglected to download them to my personal archive). Ricko has now found the original color photos of the “S” jerseys:
In addition, Ricko found another lettered jersey — this time it’s an H:
Note that Mr. H doesn’t have a logo on his cap. Now scroll back up and look at the first Mr. S — no logo on his cap either. The other Messrs. S weren’t wearing caps, but look in the background of that photo — another no-logo cap. At first glance, that guy is wearing No. 7, but let’s take a closer look:
Could be a 7, but it could also be a T, depending on how the fabric is draping. Given that all the players wearing logo-free caps appear to be wearing letters instead of numbers, I’d bet it’s a T.
So we now know various Dodgers wore S, H, X, and possibly T. What we don’t know is what these letters stood for, although I’m fairly certain it had something to do with their farm system designations. Ricko has his own speculation for one of the letters:
X might have for someone not under contract — “Xtras” brought it to pitch BP, run bases, catch pitchers, be bodies for hot box drills, whatever. Could have been local college kids or ballplayers. Would have keep staffers from wasting time coaching them, correcting their mistakes.
All very interesting, no? Great work on this one, Ricko.
hell just another day on the promotional schedule: Yesterday I mentioned that the Pirates were wearing a really unfortunate cap design for Armed Forces Day on May 15. What I didn’t realize was that they’re actually on the road that day — they’ll be in Milwaukee, where the Brewers will be playing dress-up soldier too.
Notice anything about the caps in those photos? They have the New Era retail sticker on the brim. Kinda makes you wonder if this is all about feel-good Band-Aid “patriotism” or just about selling a bunch of caps (not that those two aims are mutually exclusive, of course).
For the umpteenth time: If you want to do something uni-related to show support for the military, have your team wear a throwback based on an old military baseball uniform. That way, you’re telling a baseball story, not just a military story. (For those who haven’t read my full thoughts on camouflage on the field, you might find this edifying.)
It might also be nice to stop trotting out these events so frequently. By trying to convince us that every occasion is special, the net effect is that none of them are.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Sunday is Mother’s Day, which means MLB players will be wearing pink ribbons and accessories. But according to an item at the bottom of this page, this year they’ll also be wearing pink shoes. I believe that’s a first. … Might be worth bidding on this just for the stirrups. … Check out the swoosh on Brennan Boesch’s undershirt collar. Either he blacked it out or else Nike is now making tone-on-tone logos. … You know what baseball needs more of? Teams sponsored by furriers, that’s what! … I’m not sure if this is a sign of progress or a sign of the world going down the crapper, but the Nebraska equipment room now has its own Twitter feed (with thanks to Dana Czerwinski). … Not sports-related, but Mike Hersh came up with this really good site devoted to brand logos. “I really like the search feature,” he says. … Someone on last year’s Tri-Cities Valley Cats squad was wearing a football-style facemask (with thanks to Kyle Ostendorf). … Steven Wyder notes that Bosox infielder Marco Scutaro and coach Tim Bogar are both listed as No. 10 on the roster. Is that possible? Or legal? I remember the Mets had a similar situation in 2008 when Trot Nixon was briefly with the team. He wore No. 6 for about two weeks and then went on the DL. While he was disabled, someone else — I think Nick Evans — was assigned No. 6, even though Nixon was still on the 40-man roster as No. 6. I pointed it out to team officials at the time, but of course you can’t tell them anything. … Speaking of uni numbers, some numerical negotiations have been brewing among the Ravens (with thanks to Andrew Cosentino). … Lots of really good Cubs photos from Wednesday’s throwback game here (big thanks to Michael Smith). … Ralston Valley High School in Colorado has a very interesting stirrup/sannie combo (with thanks to Shane Nelson). … Still more military imagery: The Rays are paying tribute to the Navy SEALS (with thanks to Kyle Speicher). … New identity system Western Oregon University — “That’s my alma mater!” says Jeremy Brahm.