Sometimes a single wire photo deserves an entry of its own. Such is the case with the image shown above, which was submitted by reader Al Bernardo. So much going on in this shot — let’s break it down, one element at a time:
• As you can see from the caption, these were two prototypes that were being considered for the 1958 season. At first glance, it looks like the one on the left is what the chose to wear in ’58. But the caption says that that design had red pinstripes, while the pins the ended up wearing were blue. So maybe they kept the basic design on the left but changed the pinstripe color — or maybe the caption is wrong.
• The prototype on the right never made it onto the field. I’ve never seen it before. Neither had any of my go-to baseball historians (Tom Shieber, Todd Radom, etc.).
• The style of the “C” on the unused proto is vaguely similar to the insignia that the club used in the 1920s. From our contemporary perspective, though, it feels very un-Tribe-like.
• Very odd that both players are wearing their belts over their untucked jerseys. Couldn’t they just have tucked the jerseys in?
• The note in the caption about this being the team’s first uniform change in 20 years is incorrect, since the Indians had made uniform changes — albeit much smaller ones — in 1950 and ’51.
• Interesting that the caption would refer to the blue pinstripe design as being “similar to that worn by the Yankees.” In 1958 there were 15 big league teams other than the Indians. Of those, six wore pinstripes; four of those six had blue pinstripes with simple left-chest logos. The iconic nature of the Yanks’ pins had apparently taken hold already.
• But wait, it gets better: Mako Mameli has come up with this shot. Just like the one at the top of the page, it’s dated January 1958, and it’s captioned as “New Indians uniforms.” No sign of the Chief Wahoo jersey — unless it’s the one with its back facing the camera. But look at the desk in the foreground — three different caps! The one on the left is the one the Indians actually wore in 1958; the one on the right looks like what the team had worn the previous season; and the one in the middle has a notch in the center of the “C,” so I’m assuming it was meant to be worn with the Chief Wahoo proto. Looks like things were still very much in flux with spring training just a month away.
Major thanks to Al and Mako for these fascinating shots.
And while we’re at it, let’s look at another wire photo:
That one comes our way via Jon Helfenstein. Between the sideways type and the watermark, the caption is a bit tough to read, so here’s a transcript:
ST. LOUIS, OCT 10  — TRYING IT ON FOR SIZE — St. Louis Cardinals coach Joe Schultz tries on a Seattle Pilots shirt and cap for size prior to final game of the 1968 World Series with the Detroit Tigers at Busch Stadium in St. Louis today. In background is his Cardinals shirt. Announcement will be made at end of World Series of his selection as new manager of the Seattle Pilots.
Man, the World Series was going down to the final game, and Schultz was already playing dress-up for his next gig! Seems like bad form, no? Pretty fascinating.
Interesting that they gave him a road jersey to try on. And as Helfenstein points out, that jersey design isn’t quite the same as the one the Pilots eventually wore the following season. He’s written about that on his wonderful Fleer Sticker Project site.
ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest ESPN column, about the jersey Bobby Thomson was wearing when he hit the Shot Heard ‘Round the World, is available here.
That thing I won’t shut up about: Even if you haven’t cared about the Permanent Record project, you might be interested in today’s fifth and final segment, because a former MLB player figures prominently in the story. Check it out here.
For those who want more, I talked about Permanent Record for about 15 minutes yesterday on Minnesota Public Radio. You can listen to the segment here.
Oh, and although it has nothing to do with Permanent Record, this seems like a good place to say that there’s new content today at the Butcher’s Case.
Lots of news today regarding Kirsten Hively’s Project Neon enterprise:
• Kirsten and Project Neon were featured yesterday in the New York Times.
• The Project Neon iPhone app, which lets you locate neon signage all over New York City, is now available for free download.
• And the Project Neon show at the City Reliquary in Brooklyn, featuring scores of neon sign photos and some very cool neon tubing, will have its opening reception tonight at 7pm.
Uni Watch News Ticker: I’m usually in the “less is more” camp. But sometimes more is more, as in the case of the Astros’ new 50th-anniversary logo, shown at right. I like it a lot. Further details on the team’s anniversary program here. … Here are the throwback uniforms that the Saints will be wearing on Sunday. … Marlon Byrd of the Cubs was hit in the face by a pitch in May. When he returned to action on July 2, he was wearing one of those faceguard attachments on his batting helmet, and he’s still wearing it now. So when the season ends, he’ll have been wearing it for nearly three months solid — a record, perhaps? … Howard Berger has done a public service by posting tons of old Hockey News covers. … Valencia doesn’t have a shirt sponsor, so they’ve put their Twitter handle on their jerseys. Wow, a soccer team actually wearing its team name, shocker (from Kenny Loo). … Do high school football players really make their college choices based on uniforms? Here’s an article that explores that question (from Gordie Taylor). … New uniforms for the St. John’s Icecaps (from Stan Capp). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Here’s the Marshall plane crash memorial decal that Virginia Tech will be wearing this weekend. … Hmmm, is this the new Winter Classic logo? Scott Lederer thinks so. … I’ve been saying all along that sports design is being overly infected by comic book imagery, and now it’s official (from Evan Schreiber). … Who’s that in the Little League uniform? None other than Bill Belichick (from Tom Mulgrew). … One of you Cleveland-area readers need to snap this up: a Browns-themed grill! (Awesome find by our own Vince Grzegorek.) … Cross-dressing alert from Nick Houser, who writes: “Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller was wearing a padded arm sleeve in last week’s game against Miami. It’s the same type of sleeve that members of the Buckeyes’ basketball team wore last season.” … I didn’t think it was possible for me to find Michele Bachmann attractive. But I was wrong. … Here’s another story on the 50th anniversary of the Longhorns logo (from Mike McLaughlin).
Looking ahead: I’m about to embark on a fairly busy and complicated weekend (Permanent Record party, Brooklyn Beefsteak, etc.), so Phil’s gonna pinch-hit for me on Monday. See you on Tuesday.