Back in May, I Ticker-linked to the new uniforms being worn by the Gary South Shore RailCats. “Unusual, but it totally works,” I wrote. Many people in the comments section agreed.
What I didn’t realize (read: I forgot) was that the seeds for this design had been planted last November, when I received the following note from a gent named Greg Tagert:
Could you provide contact information for Terry Proctor? I’m very curious about the use of nylon doubleknit uniforms, instead of polyester, and came across the uniform fabric discussion you had with him a while back. Our team, the Gary South Shore RailCats of the American Association, is entering its 10th season and doing the whole uniform-redesign thing. My question has to do with the advantages/disadvantages of using nylon instead of polyester. Can’t seem to get a good answer from the companies themselves, so I thought I’d go to somebody with Terry’s vast experience and knowledge.
I forwarded Greg’s note to Terry, and that was that. When I saw the RailCats’ new threads back in May, I didn’t put two and two together. I also didn’t realize that Greg is the RailCats’ manager.
But now Greg has gotten back in touch and spelled out the full scoop regarding the RailCats’ new design. Turns out he drew upon several Uni Watch-related resources in addition to Terry Proctor. Here’s his story.
The 2011 RailCats Uniform Design
By Greg Tagert
I was given the unique opportunity to take the lead in the design of our new uniforms for our 10th-anniversary season. The desire was to come up with a classic 1960s/early-’70s look, and the best way to do this was to utilize your site and resources.
We spoke to Terry Proctor about fabrics and companies; he provided valuable information on which direction we should go. A wonderful man. (We eventually chose polyester.)
Next, we ordered Bill Henderson’s MLB jersey guide. Not only was the guide invaluable, Bill was kind enough (and patient enough) to answer and solve many, many questions.
Finally — and most importantly for us — through your site and Bill, we got in touch with Patsy Elmer. Just an absolute beautiful person, who just happens to do the finest embroidery and twill work I’ve seen in all my 30 years in the game. She has become part of our team and we couldn’t be happier.
As for the uniform, you will see it’s not exactly a custom design. Every element of the uniform is borrowed, starting with the basic inspiration: the original Montreal Expos uniform. I loved it as a kid and came across a jersey shown on your site a while back and that’s how the process started. Then we added the following touches:
• Number font from the 1970s-’80s Phillies
• Lettering styles from the 1976-’81 Mariners
• Design features of the 1970s Padres
• Individual belt loops à la the Tigers
• Stirrups styled from the old Orioles and Red Sox
• White shoes from the team I grew up with
I know it sounds like a little much, and it may not be perfect, but we think the look came together very nicely.
The uniforms are made by AIS [the same company that made the late-’90s Mets uniforms, as you may recall from one of my recent ESPN columns — PL], who did a wonderful job as they always do for pro teams, especially with features like the waistband for our Friday-night throwback look, the blending of our colors on the piping, and the belt loops, which are a great touch.
All of the lettering, numbers, nameplates (arched perfectly), and embroidery work was done by Patsy. The detail on the sleeve patches is incredible, with many custom touches I don’t believe anyone else could have done for us. She matched the old Phillies number font perfectly. And just for good measure, she did the lettering on our green throwbacks to replicate the “hand-cut” style of that time period. Just amazing work.
Paul here. Thanks for sharing your story, Greg. Great to hear that the Uni Watch extended network came together to help you out.
Or maybe it was just hacked by vegans: My new meat/butchery blog, the Butcher’s Case, which launched yesterday, was up for about four hours before Blogger’s robot/algorithm/etc. mistakenly flagged it as a spam site and took it down. (Meat mistaken for spam — high-larious!) An actual live human has to review the site and restore it, but I’m told that’ll take another day. Grrrrrrr.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Still no sign of the Winnipeg Jets’ new uniforms, but the pants have been leaked. Note that the wordmark doesn’t include the red maple leaf that we saw when the logos were unveiled. Is the first time an NHL uni has been released pants-first? … Good spot by Jim Walaitis, who notes that the dugouts at the Jake appear to have rain gutters. Seems sensible, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that on a dugout roof before. Anyone know of other examples? … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Here’s a good article on F1 helmet design. … Check it out: a Boise State-themed NASCAR car (from Aaron Bernstein). … Aaron Bernstein was at the Western Idaho Fair and spotted a car dealership that had ripped off the Hot Wheels logo. … Phillies call-up Michael Schwimer, making his home debut and only his second career appearance, mis-buttoned his jersey (screen shot by David Ryan). … Admidst a sea of depressing news about the state of the world, here’s something to feel good about: Lon Mayer-Salman reports that NYC-style beefsteaks are spreading. … The great thing about 9/11 is that it lets you sell more T-shirts (courtesy of Paul Watson). … You know how Nebraska football has a sellout streak dating back to, like, 311 BC or something? You can now see the ticket design for every game in the sellout streak (big thanks to Brian Hansen). … The Reebok logo on the Steelers’ pants is usually black on gold. But Steve Santillo found a 2001 TV Guide cover photo in which the logo is gold on black. Now, if you look at photos from the 2001 season, the Steelers are consistently wearing the black-on-gold logo. So is the TV Guide photo from the previous year? Nope — 2001 was the first year that Reebok outfitted the Steelers (their uniforms were made by Nike before that). So the TV Guide photo apparently shows a prototype design that was adjusted before the season started. That is some serious uni-watching right there! … Remember Good Sport Captioning, which I wrote about for ESPN a few months back? They’ve just picked up a new client: the Brewers. “They wanted to have captioning in place for the postseason, so we’ll start implementing in September,” says Good Sport honcho Patti White. Congrats! … Jeff Wilk found an eBay seller who has lots of MLB All-Star and World Series programs. “Too many great ones to single out, but I think this is the sweetest,” he says. … I meant to bid on this jersey last night but was busy discussing the nuances of Staten Island pizza with Tommy the Bartender at O’Connor’s, so neglected to bid. Dang.