By Phil Hecken, with keen observations by Tim E. O’Brien
San Francisco New York Giants and Chicago Cubs played a good old-fashioned 100 Years Ago Throwback game in AT&T Park in beautiful San Fran. It’s not often you see one team dressed in monochrome navy anymore. But it was like that 100 years ago. In fact, in 1912, both Chicago teams wore dark monochrome road unis. It was a matchup, that, according to uniform historian emeritus Marcus Okkonen, featured teams who looked like this.
Now, I was not scheduled to get this game on my television yesterday, but I lucked out — the Yanks/Tigers game experienced a rain delay — so I was able to watch about two full innings of glorious uni throwbackage — I’ll have more on this after the jump. But I knew that my buddy Tim E. O’Brien would be getting the game, so I asked him if he’d watch, make observations, and report back to me on his findings. He has done so, dutifully. I now turn this portion of the post over to Tim:
One hundred years ago the New York Giants and the Chicago Cubs were still playing National League baseball. The Giants were decades away from moving to San Fran and the Cubs were four years into their 104 year (and counting) streak of unparallelled sucktitude.
The Giants were in year two of a three year streak of National League dominance. They would end up losing the 1912 World Series to the Boston Red Sox but their three season pennant streak – with 99 or more wins each season – made them one of the most dominant teams in National League history.
The Cubs finished 1912 with 91 wins and 59 loses, good enough for third place in the National League, 11 1/2 back from the Giants and one and a half back from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Today, when the teams took the field, both teams looked fantastic. Let me start off my critique by saying that Majestic, MLB and the whole San Francisco organization knocked this promotion outta the ballpark. World class, first class.
That being said, we here at the Uni Watch like to, uh… nitpick, shall we say. Some thoughts:
• The lack of throwback helmets make me mad. Just make some helmets that look like the caps. As the Fox broadcast noted, they may not’ve had helmets back in 1912, but they still wore their caps to bat. Come on!
• Shouldn’t the Giants caps be black? I’m confused as to why they think the caps should be royal/navy blue but maybe they’re right.
• The Cubs pitching coach was the only person I saw in either uniform not high cuffed. Clearly he’s an asshole.
But it turned out that more than just the players were going throwback. As you can see here, the Giants went above and beyond yesterday. They had their staff in throwbacks, a barbershop quartet entertained the crowd, the scoreboard was in black and white and played no video, announcements were yelled through a megaphone and even some of the fans got into it.
It sure seems like San Fran is running a class act organization, nothing (beside the helmets) seemed half-assed. It felt like they saw what Boston did against the Cubs last season and said to themselves, “Let’s outdo that.” And they did.
Good for them.
Thanks Tim. You pretty much covered all the bases with that critique, and I agree with most everything you said.
As far as the authenticity of the uniforms the Giants wore — they nailed it pretty well. Starting pitcher Matt Cain (a man who knows how to wear his stirrups) really looked great — but others, like Skip Bruce Bochy, didn’t quite get it right. Maybe he was trying to channel John McGraw.
Some of the players, including coach Will “The Thrill” Clark tended not to blouse, and pulled their socks too high. Still, a minor quibble. Although this photo of Christy Mathewson doesn’t look to be from 1912, how sweet would it have been if they had those sweaters instead of dugout jackets? But just getting the uniform down, they got the interlocking NY pretty spot on, although the pinstripes appeared closer together on the throwback. I’m not sure if this is a Majestic quirk, but we’ve seen the shrinking distance between stripes before. My only other complaint, and it is surely minor is the #OB — something not worn in 1912 — a detail which was evident when the Red Sox and Yankees played a Turn Back the Clock 100 Years game in April.
John McGraw & Johnny Evers
I was really psyched to see the Cubs, since dark monochrome is not a look we see very often today. If you’re interested, I covered monochrome in baseball fairly extensively a few years ago. If you take a glance at this chart, you’ll see that at the turn of the last century, and for the first decade and a half, monochrome dark uniforms were somewhat common. It’s a look I’d like to see return to the bigs someday.
The Cubs (despite the modern helmets), pulled off the look with aplomb. Unfortunately, because the socks were the same color as the uniforms, it gave the player more of a tights-ish look. While they were appropriate for 1912/2012, I don’t think this is a look that could work today. They would need to wear (and I do mean actually wear — no pajamas) contrasting, or at least striped, socks or stirrups.
Great looking game, and one I enjoyed (even if only for two innings) watching.
I know last year I was pretty harsh on Majestic and their treatment of throwbacks, but I have to say — this year, they’ve really improved. I don’t know whether anyone from Majestic reads these boards, but I want to once again compliment their organization for doing a terrific job this year — some of the stuff (no batting helmets in 1912) makes it difficult to perfectly recreate a uniform — but I would have hoped they could simply replicate the caps in helmet form. Other things (like players continuing to wear their pants pajama-style) are beyond Majestic’s control, although I think they could “force” players to go high cuffed simply by making the inseams shorter. But those are minor quibbles as well — great job (again) Majestic. Well done all around.
Readers? What did you think? And do you think, given better (or better contrasting) lower leg stylings, a dark monochrome team could work today? I do — and I’d really love to see someone try. Because given better hosiery, this is a great looking game. Wanna see more? Creamer did a nice job with photos.
Los Cerveceros de Milwaukee
The Cubs and Giants weren’t the only ones dressing up in different uniforms yesterday, as the Cerveceros “honored the history, heritage and accomplishments of Hispanics in baseball during the 2012 Annual Cerveceros Day.”
The gold top is not a bad look, but I’m not sure what it has to do with latin heritage. It’s also completely unnecessary. I had thought they introduced the gold jersey last year as a “trial run” for an alternate home jersey for this year, but they stuck with the blue tops. Maybe next year…gold at home, blue on the road, along with their gray and white tops.
At least they’ll be auctioning the jerseys, with proceeds to “benefit the Brewers Community Foundation,” although they don’t specify how much.
another new one set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
We start off today with Zach Nichols, with a new Seabirds design:
Zach nichols here. I’m a designer in Wisconsin with literally no connection to the Seahawks, but seeing as Nike chose to Oregonify them, i figured i’d take a shot at a more “classic contemporary design.” I used the vintage colors with the modern logo. The glossy white helmet stripe is meant to offset the matte white helmet and slightly represents a feather. The rest is pretty self explanatory. Template props to Mackin John Bannon. Enjoy!
Up next is W. Ross Clites, with a concept for Wash U:
I coach baseball here at Washington University in St. Louis, which is slowly becoming a D-III powerhouse in all sports. We are having a fine season again this year, knock on wood. Our coaching staff is two years old (in how we act, as well as our length of time with the program) and we inherited some of the worst baseball uniforms I have seen in a long while. As the resident design guy I threw something together, based on our head coach’s desire to emulate the look of the “new” Blue Jays. It is tough to work with a color palette that screams Christmas, but I think I made it work. Tell me what you think and I would love to get some constructive criticism from my brethren at Uni Watch. As in anything, this concept is not set in stone and I want to make it the best possible combination. I’ll pass along the road grey concept when I finish it up. Thanks,
We close with Jim Vilk’s favorite crayon-artiste, Mike Engle, with proposals for next year’s Winter Classic:
Tried to do something “old-timey” without resorting to a straight-up throwback that’s been seen before. Wanted to keep it red vs blue (so no green St. Pats), and for the love of God, please no vintage white. Also, I didn’t really try to design a Winter Classic patch, but you know one will be on the jersey somewhere. All I’m doing is suggesting placement. “Insert patch right here in this spot,” if you will.
Red Wings: This is a throwback mash-up. The Wings have all-red jerseys, white bodies with red sleeves, and used to have all-white jerseys. Naturally, I opted for red bodies with white sleeves. For everything else, I just looked on nhluniforms.com for the Wings’ history, and made something I liked.
Maple Leafs: You can’t really do a mash-up with the Leafs because everything that looks good in their history, looks alike. So I ripped the triple-leaf off of the Canadian Red Ensign (that’s the national flag that used to fly before the modern one) and called it a day. Looks like a throwback, but it obviously isn’t. I think it looks OK. If you think the leaves should be blue with white veins, you’re probably right, but my magic markers were too fat to do that.
Thanks lads. Back with more concepts next time.
by Rick Pearson
Sometimes you decide to go for it…
Click to enlarge
… looks like Uni Watch may have a new favorite player, and
… if you missed it yesterday, don’t forget to cast a vote for your favorite redesign the Washington football club design finalists.
That’s it for this weekend everyone. Have a super Sunday, and I’ll catch you back here next Saturday.
“I picked Taylor’s Frogs.” — Jim Vilk
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