Except for a four-year hiccup from 1927-30, the Yankees’ road jersey has been largely unchanged since 1917. Now, as then, it features a gently arched “New York” in plain lettering. Yes, the fabric has changed, and white outlining was added to the lettering in 1973, along with striped trim on the sleeve cuffs. But the basic design format of the plain, arched “New York” has remained the same for nearly a century, right?
Wrong (click images to enlarge):
Baseball Hall of Fame curator Tom Shieber recently found those photos, all of which come from the Boston Public Library digital archives. I’ll let him describe his thoughts about them:
I was blown away by this. I researched it and have come to the conclusion that these photos were almost assuredly taken during the first Yankees vs. Red Sox series at Fenway in late April of 1943 (April 27-29). I found a photo very similar to this one in the Boston Globe of April 30, so it’s likely the Boston Public Library photos were taken before that date. Apparently the Yankees reverted back to the more traditional arched “New York” later in the season, though I haven’t been able to pin down exactly when.
Also, note that the Yankees are wearing the 1942 “Health” sleeve patch, but these shots are definitely from 1943 because…
1) Snuffy Stirnweiss, who’s shown in this photo, didn’t make his big league debut until 1943.
2) Nick Etten, who’s in that same photo, wasn’t traded from the Phillies to the Yankees until January of 1943.
3) Joe Gordon, who’s in several of the other photos, was in the military in 1944 and 1945.
Why were the Yankees wearing such strange road uniforms? I thought perhaps these were “error” jerseys from AG Spalding and the Yankees were forced to wear them until corrected jerseys came in, or until the club could return them once they got back home from their road trip. But then why is the “Health” patch on the sleeve, instead of the correct “Stars and Bars” patch (as seen on Bobby Doerr’s sleeve)?
I also thought that perhaps this is what the Yankees wore at the end of 1942. Perhaps their new road uniform shipments were late and they were forced to wear the previous season’s road uniforms. That would explain the “HEALTH” patch. But I found images of the Yankees wearing their road uniforms in St. Louis for the 1942 World Series and they are clearly the traditional arched “NEW YORK” versions.
I’m baffled. Meanwhile, I’ve added these “alternate” 1943 road versions to the “Dressed to the Nines” database.
Amazing, no? One thing I love about Uni Watch is that the rabbit holes are almost always deeper than we think. I mean, seriously, who would have thought there could be something we didn’t already know about the Yankees’ uniforms — something that would even stump the Hall of Fame’s top uniform expert! The more we know, the more we realize we don’t know. Ya know?
Also, this needs to be said: Baseball names don’t come any better than Snuffy Stirnweiss.
And speaking of heretofore unseen uni variations, the other day Jerry Wolper was doing his favorite thing — looking through old Pirates photos — when he came across two shots of Rick Rhoden and Jim Morrison, both of whom were sporting a very odd-looking cap detail. Take a look (click to enlarge):
Jerry, who’s a pretty serious Pirates scholar, has never seen anything like this, and neither have I. Both photos are from 1983, so I looked through every 1983 Buccos shot I could find (from Getty, AP, Corbis, etc.), hoping to find another example — no dice. If anyone knows more, I’m all ears.
Meanwhile, look at that Pirates logo up there at the start of this section. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this before, but it has always — always — bugged me that the upper-left corner of the P doesn’t have a pointy serif like the ones around the bowl of the letterform. Makes the whole logo feel off-balance and unfinished. Anyone agree?
Jumping from the past to the present, reader Patrick Karraker has spotted something absolutely bizarre, at least by MLB standards. It involves the Giants, whose 40-man roster currently includes Freddy Sanchez and Hector Sanchez. Freddy is injured at the moment, but check out Hector’s NOB (click to enlarge):
There are several oddities here, the most obvious of which is the “Surname, Initial” format. We’ve seen this before in the NFL — the Chargers did it for several years — but I don’t recall having seen it in MLB before. Second, note that there’s no period after the first initial. And lastly, look closely at the nameplate on Sanchez’s helmet — same format! Faaaascinating.
Can you solve this uni mystery? The Mets and White Sox will be playing their first spring training games today (not against each other), and both teams will be debuting a small but interesting uni element that, to my knowledge, has never appeared on a baseball diamond before. The vast, vast majority of fans will never notice it, but it’s prime Uni Watch fodder.
I was going to tell you about it today, but then I thought it would be more fun to see if any of you can spot it on your own. Either way, I’ll provide full details tomorrow.
There’s a new entry on the Permanent Record blog, featuring a photo of the first (and so far only) living link to the project. Look here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The England rugby team is switching from Nike to Canterbury (from Scott Sidor). … If you’re familiar with Portlandia’s famous “Put a Bird on It” sketch, you’ll love this: LaMarcus Aldridge has given Portlandia co-creator Carrie Brownstein a Blazers jersey with a bird on it (from Jeremy Brahm). … Also from Jeremy: New orange alt jersey for the Yomiuri Giants. … I hadn’t realized that D-League players weren’t allowed to show any non-Adidas logo creep until Brad Keppler sent me this shot of Sundiata Gaines with tape over his mark of the beast. Some quick photo research indicates that these tape jobs are fairly common. … “Just got my Patriots season ticket packet in the mail,” says Anthony DeFilippo. “They list the 2012 home opponents with the teams’ helmets, but they’re using the outdated Bills and 49ers designs.” … There is sooooo much to love in this old NYC stickball photo, I don’t even know where to start (big thanks to Tom Mulgrew). … David Long notes that Jim Leyland is wearing a game cap while everyone else in Tigers camp is wearing BP caps. … Interesting NOB for Mets prospect Matt Den Dekker. “It’s the first instance I’ve seen of a non-‘van’ Dutch name on an American player’s uni,” says Caldwell Bailey. … The Penguins practiced at Denver University on March 1, and half the team wore DU practice jerseys (from Dane Drutis). … A 20-year-old WHL player has designed a few jerseys for his own team. “The management liked the designs so much they had them made,” explains Luke Rosnick. … New alternate kit for the Australian Socceroos (from Larry Adams). … Is MLB switching to Cool Base pants? The reason I ask is this photo of the Rangers’ throwbacks that Chris Mycoskie sent me — you can totally see the jock tags through the white pants! Woof. … “The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks have released their uniforms for the Hawks Festival,” reports Jeremy Brahm. … Here’s another gas station uniform catalog — and this one has fabric swatches. … Female amateur boxers now have the option of wearing either shorts or skirts in the ring. No word on skorts, however (Jeremy Brahm again). … Here’s some old video of Wilt Chamberlain playing for Kansas in 1957 (from Casey Common). … Interesting article about the city of Chattanooga designing its own typeface (from Ray Chen). … Good article about the guy who invented the clear plastic basketball facemask (from Rocky Lum). … Very nice stirrups being worn by Florida Gulf Coast University (from William McGillis). … Oregon hoops wore “Fighting Ducks” uniforms on Saturday, complete with the little Donald Duck cartoon on the shorts (from Jackson Nock). … Cool feature on the evolution of the Universal Pictures logo (from Steve Winner, who didn’t give his last name). … Peyton Siva of Louisville doubled up on those triple-striped Adidas socks on Saturday (screen shot by Scott Novosel). … Here’s Mets infielder Justin Turner talking about his various gloves. … Sam Lam has custom-painted a pair of Manny Ramirez A’s bobbleheads. … A budget-minded Canucks fan decided to update an old jersey instead of buying a new one. “Very apropos, since the two teams involved in this NHL trade were playing each other at this game,” notes Luke Rosnick. … Hope for the future: Bryce Harper has been wearing stirrups (from William Yurasko). … Tyson Chandler of the Knicks wore a padded glove thingie yesterday (from Zachary Plesent). … Good color-vs.-color game on Saturday, as Duquesne and St. Louis went red-vs.-blue (from Nolan Petote). … New striped socks for Wisconsin. Wish they were higher, natch, but I still dig the stripeage (from Stuart Ciske). … Titanium necklaces, Powerband bracelets, and all the rest of the Tooth Fairy products should all be marketed like this (good one from Chad Todd). … You probably know that the Minneapolis Lakers wore sky blue uniforms. But did they also wear green, or was that just bad lighting? (From Danny Determan.) … In a related item, here’s Mpls. Lakers star George Mikan taking a swing in the batter’s box (from James Ryan). … The facemask style worn by Justin Tuck and Chris Canty is apparently coming to Notre Dame this fall (from Warren Junium). … “The New Zealand teams got new Super Rugby jerseys this weekend, all based on the same new template,” writes Caleb Borchers. “Very odd, as this was Week 2 of a new season, and everyone was wearing last year’s jerseys in Week 1. (Someone must have missed a deadline.) Another quirk of the late rollout is that the Hurricanes started the season on tour in South Africa, so they are still wearing the old unis, presumably until they return to Wellington.”