By Phil McHecken
It isn’t often that a Uni Watch post is almost exactly one year in the making. It’s also not often that Paul pumps out an ESPN Playbook piece that is about 90% of what I had planned for the weekend. Today is the even rarer confluence when both events occur.
Lets tackle the first bit first — exactly one year ago today, because St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Saturday — I had written up this article about the wearing of green, St. Paddy’s day-themed jerseys by sports leagues. Shortly after writing that, Uni Watch Buc TrackerJerry Wolper approached me about a look at baseball’s St. Patrick day jerseys for 2013. That was about 363 days ago. I had almost forgotten about it but I bookmarked it and remembered a little while later. Jerry had already done a good amount of research and I asked him if he still wanted to go with it for today. He had forgotten, but said “yes” after my reminder. So that’s that.
The second bit occurred on Friday, when Paul wrote a short piece for ESPN entitled, “Time for green gimmick to go?”. While that didn’t really steal my lede for today, it did kinda make me change it. I had wanted to do a brief history of how the green spring training jersey (or white with green) came to be, since today marks the 35th Anniversary of the Reds debuting them — but Paul pretty much summed it up like this:
That’s a continuation of a tradition that began 35 years ago — March 17, 1978 — when the Reds became the first team to wear green on St. Paddy’s Day. The idea was a publicity stunt cooked up by Cincy general manager Dick Wagner, who managed to keep the whole thing a secret until the day of the game. When the Reds’ players saw the emerald uniforms, many of them were not amused. Johnny Bench reportedly quipped, “Did we get traded to Oakland?” Davey Concepcion was blunter: “I’m not wearing that. I’m Venezuelan, not Irish.” (Footnote: Yes, he eventually gave in and wore it.)
The splash photo today is the actual jersey Pete Rose wore during that game. I don’t mind the wearin’ o’ the green ONE day a year by the MLB teams (although the jerseys really suck now). Paul argues the gimmick has run its course:
Is wearing green on March 17 an idea that’s outlived its usefulness? Maybe. But this is the 35th anniversary of the green gear, and attention should be paid. Would it have killed the Reds to mark the anniversary with a commemorative patch? Maybe they’ll do that in another five years — if teams are still wearing green by then.
If you want a more thorough history of the beginnings of the fad, I point you to this excellent article by MLB’s Tom Singer. Definitely worth the read.
But back to Jerry’s suggestion. Back almost a year ago, Mr. Wolper sent me this email:
Since St. Patrick’s Day will be on Sunday next year, I looked at Getty for the last five years. They don’t have every game, but I did find:
Maybe AP will have more; I’ve looked at enough.
Also, many minor league hockey teams like to wear green for St. Patrick’s Day. Teebz may be able to get you started there.
Thanks Jerry — that’s more than enough (and greatly appreciated). So I followed up with Jerry, and here’s his take:
A Brief History of the St. Patrick’s Day Baseball Jerseys
By Jerry Wolper
With the help of Bill Henderson’s guide, I’ve put together a brief historic introduction to St. Patrick’s Day jerseys.
Today is St. Patrick’s Day. In addition to parades and green beer, it means that baseball teams will wear green. Some will wear caps, some jerseys, and some will wear both.
The first team to wear green for St. Patrick’s Day was the 1978 Reds. BP jerseys weren’t yet a widespread phenomenon, so they wore their regular uniforms with green wherever red would normally be, from the cap down to the stirrups. The Phillies did a similar red-to-green switch in the early ’80s, before switching to green jerseys. In 1980, the Astros wore special green St. Patrick’s jerseys (unfortunately, much cheaper than tequila sunrise). By the late ’80s, the green
jerseys were more common, although the 1988 Twins wore white with green trim.
Now, green versions of the regular BP jerseys are very common, as we’ve seen in the last five years.
St Patrick’s Day jerseys in Henderson, which I think are just the ones he’s come across. [Screen grabs from Bill Henderson's Guide -- PH]
Thanks, Jerry! Of course, that probably isn’t all of the jerseys (and certainly not the most recent ones), but they’ve even celebrated the day
up in Canada down in Florida, with the Blue Jays participating. Great stuff.
So, has the gimmick run its course? Or is this a fun little-almost-end-of-spring break for the players soon to break camp? Somewhere in between? Be sure to watch your favorite team(s) today and see if they end up wearin’ o’ the green.
As fate (and the date) would have it, I was contacted by our friend and UW reader, Shannon Shark, who runs the nifty web site, “Mets Police” (link to follow), who wanted to give a little rundown of the Mets (and his ‘favorite’ player, #ImWith28 Daniel Murphy) and their wearin’ o’ the green.
Last year my cousin and I bought two team issued unworn St. Patrick’s Day blanks and had them customized with Murphy 28 and the Kid 8 patch.
We assumed there were only three of these in the world (the third being the one Murphy himself worn) and I mentioned that on Friday when I posted my “Green Murph” on Mets Police.
That brought Nick out of the woodwork who sent me his customization (including the Kid 8 – nice job!) and then that got Ron to email me pics of what he says is the actual 2012 Murphy.
The Mets tweeted the 2013 green yesterday, seems to be same as the 2012, and that too was a Murph. I guess there are now five in the world, four of which have the Kid 8 patch.
I wonder if any Uni Watch readers have their own Green Murph. We could start a club.
Thanks, Shannon. And here’s the link to all the Mets St. Patrick’s Day designs over the years. Great history of the Mets and their wearin’ o’ the green.
So, last evening, the Vancouver Canucks broke out their awesome Vancouver Millionaires throwbacks. Very interesting to see modern-day players wearing white breezers. Of course, it helped immensely to have the Canucks playing against the Red Wings, since this made for a sartorially pleasing match up.
I didn’t see any of the game, unfortunately, so I’m just going off photos, but it looked great. I really, I mean REALLY, love love love the “V” with VANCOUVER spelled out as a crest. I mean, that is one sharp logo if I do say so, myself. Unfortunately for the home team, they fell to the Wings. You can read about the game and see lots of game photos here.
Well readers, how’d they do?
We have another new 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 begin today with Aaron Sechrist, who has a new logo for the Jags (wait…didn’t they just release one?):
Faithful reader of your blog and Cleveland, OH designer/illustrator Aaron Sechrist, owner of Okpants Design Co.
I’m friends of Vince Grzegorek and had the pleasure of meeting Paul in Cleveland last year. I’m reaching out to you on his urging.
The recent Jaguars logo re-design has prompted me take to finally take to the art board to get my point of view across rather that rattle out nit-picky tweets and bore my wife and friends with discussion on it.
Attached is my “If it were mine” take on the Jags new logo. The execution of the new logo didn’t bother me (which I think is fine), it was the lateral creative direction overall that confused me and the “change for change’s sake” feel to the project. After 17 years, the old logo hadn’t yet worn thin on me, Chee-to Puff spots and all. With that said, I thought it was a good opportunity to really shake the look up and not simply update the original concept while maintaining core elements of the original team branding. Some goals included rendering the spots in a uniform and slick manner, and also to work detail into the look while trying to keep the whole logo restrained, consistent and simple aesthetically.
At any rate, attached is what I worked up. if you deem it blog-worthy or even to take a look at it, I appreciate it. I can tell you it’s brought more Jaguar fans of varying passionate opinions out of the woodwork than I knew existed.
Thanks for your time and looking forward to more uni/logo stuff from you!
OKPANTS Design Company
Next up is Marcin Niedelski, with a new Seattle Sonics concept:
I tweaked the Sonics brand (once they are back in town) with a new generation look and feel. I blended their throwback/most recent look with the chest panel continuing to the side of the jersey and down to the shorts. I also added the top of the space needle to the back of the name plate. With the Mariners, Seahawks and Sounders essentially using the same color pallet I figured why not incorporate a look associated with Seattle into the Supersonics branding?
We close today with Ryan Alpino who has almost as many concepts for WVU football as Nike. Going to run these as a slideshow, but the link to the set is here:
Here are a few WVU football uniform concepts that I threw together
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
A quick note on the WBC post from yesterday. I may have come off a bit harsh on the uniforms, but I hate the side panels and yokes on baseball jerseys. But about the games themselves — I complained about the lack of interest in the USA (or at least that’s my take), and the thought that now is not the time to be playing them. It’s spring, and to get the games in, you’re interrupting the spring training regimens of almost every team, including some of those for foreign nations, and it seems to me the games aren’t being taken seriously. Also, with injuries and pitchers on counts (and short leashes), you’re not really seeing the *best* of what the world has to offer.
So what’s the answer? I’m not sure. Playing the games after the MLB season ends would move the tournament close to Thanksgiving (or even after) and then you’d be impinging on football. Moving the games later still (say December or January) would result in a whole world of other problems, including players in winter ball and other leagues having to get out of those obligations. Plus, in the Northern Hemisphere, even in southern climes, you’d need to pretty much play games indoors, and that would suck. So, is there a solution? Yes — but it probably would never work:
Stop the MLB season for two weeks in the middle of the summer (like hockey does during its season for the Winter Olympics). You’d have (in theory) healthier players in shape, and pitchers who could go much deeper into games. Begin the season MLB one week earlier, and add one week at the end (or, scrap one round of playoffs — yeah right). Play the games only once every four years (like they do now) and add incentives for the players — put it on broadcast television and split the revenue and the merch sales amongst the owners, and let each city in North America host at least one game — with the owners keeping the full gate (which should grease the wheels a bit). Split the rest evenly. Make it a “must see” event and I bet it would do well. People love the World Cup and the Olympics, and this could become one of those type of celebrations. It just might work. Unlike Olympic Baseball (which is no more anyway), where the big league clubs wouldn’t let their players participate, this could be done in conjunction with and with the blessing of MLB and other leagues. It just might work.
No, it’s not perfect and it probably would never go down this way, but that’s my suggestion. Feel free to tell me I’m way off.
Phew. And that folks, is a wrap for this fine St. Patrick’s Day. Everyone have a great one.
“As a calgarian I’m required to hate the Canucks, but those look SWEET”