Click To Enlarge; Photograph courtesy of Brad Mangin
By Phil Hecken
On a beautiful Saturday summer afternoon in Oakland, the Athletics and Angels turned the clock back to 1969, and played a game for the uniform ages. Clad in gold and kelly, the A’s were clearly the stars of their own show.
Before we go any further, I wanted to share the fantastic photos sent to Uni Watch by Brad Mangin, which are embedded below. If you want to view the slideshow full size, please click here.
What a beautiful looking game this was (at least from the Oakland perspective), and unlike many throwback games from this year and years past, I have few complaints, and those complaints are less from the uniform accuracy department than from the “player comfort” department.
First, lets begin with the good (and there was plenty of it). The details of the uniform of the Oakland A’s were pretty much spot on. At first, I thought they might have goofed on the gold sanitaries, if you go by Marc Okkonen (who shows white sanis with the gold uniforms), but that was clearly not the case, as seen in that 1969 Sports Illustrated cover of Reggie Jackson. The A’s had worn that set for several years, including in Kansas City, and through 1971. In 1972, they’d switch over to the polyester double-knits with sansabelts.
In 1969, the A’s would have only an olde-english “A” on their vests, adding the “‘s” (apostrophe s) in for 1970 and 1971. They would also have uniform numbers on the lower right side of the vest (which they added in 1969), and which they kept through 1971; 1969 vests are very recognizable because it was the only year with the “A” (no apostrophe) and also the large MLB logo beneath the letter A. The A’s nailed that detail.
Also, in 1968 and 1969, the A’s sported only a single “A” on their cap (no apostrophe) — that wouldn’t come until 1970. They would get that spot on as well.
The Oakland squad would also nail green belts, McAuliffe font, and gold/white stripes on the green stirrups. Of course, then, as now, the A’s wore their trademark white shoes. And of course, there were no names on back.
All fantastic. The only real complaints I had were cosmetic — as in, the players liked to wear their uniforms a bit baggier than in 1969, which led to the numbers appearing a bit lower on their bodies than they would have originally. Pretty much everyone wore stirrups, but for some reason, Jed Lowrie didn’t get the memo on the gold sanis:
The only “other” complaint I had with the actual uniforms, and I can totally overlook this, is the A’s wore their modern forest green helmets, which, while similar to 1969, clearly clashed with the kelly green of the rest of the uniform. They also didn’t have the “apostrophe s” on those 1969 helmets. I was actually surprised they didn’t go the entire nine yards and get “true” throwback helmets, but
in yesterday’s comments, Chance Michaels found this explanation Mike Rowinski was able to come up with the answer:
Before the complaint pops up (the A’s equipment manager) explained during the pregame that he tried to get batting helmets, but when MLB changed to the new helmets right before the season. He was told there wasn’t enough time to get throwbacks helmets even though he requested it 6 months ago.
As for the A’s opponents — the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim — were also “throwing back” to 1969 (sorta), and for the most part, they nailed it too. There was one glaring problem (partially explained by the fact that the Angels supposedly had a “hybrid” uniform) — the cap. The Angels were wearing the interlocking “LA” cap which they jettisoned after 1965, when they moved from Dodger Stadium to Anaheim Stadium in 1966. The 1969 Angels had the interlocking CA on their caps.
As for the rest of 1969, the Angels wore gray flannel with blue (trimmed in red) letters and numbers — the letters were in the old school font used by the several teams back in the day (similar to what the Mets wore then and now), and also used the McAuliffe number font, which they got right:
The Angels (or I should say the A’s, who paid for the Angels throwbacks) did nail the “halo” caps, which were one of the most distinctive features ever on a baseball cap (and which were also worn in 1969):
As for complaints, aside from the anachronistic caps, the Angels also wore their modern helmets, and all of the players decided to go with pajama pants, which hurt the aesthetic. Still, it was really a terrific looking game, and well done by both teams. Big tip of the cap to the A’s for pulling it off. Also, I’m fairly certain that in 1969 the A’s wore those gold uniforms solely on the road (I could be wrong though), so we wouldn’t have seen a gold versus gray matchup. If anyone knows for sure (either way), please let me know or post your thoughts in the comments below. Finally, and this really is also a minor quibble, but in 1969, the A’s manager and coaches were wearing “White Wedding Gown” caps with kelly green lettering and bill. In Saturday’s action, those caps were green.
One last bit of coolness. Vida Blue, a member of the 1969 A’s and winner of the American League Cy Young and MVP awards in ’71, threw out Saturday’s ceremonial first pitch. Unfortunately, he wasn’t wearing the throwback:
Now I’ve been fairly critical of throwbacks in general, and Majestic in particular, for their reproductions the past several years, but I really have no major complaints about this one (and those I did have could be explained away). It was a true sight for the eyes, and a well-deserved tip o’ the cap on a job (mostly) well done. For one day in the O dot co Coliseum, it felt like the Summer of ’69.
Readers? What say you?
[My thanks to Brad Mangin, Richard Paloma, and Brinke Guthrie for their photos & assistance with this story — Phil]
WEEKDAY Uniform Concepts & Tweaks
Longtime and weekend readers know that I frequently run reader submissions for uniform concepts, revisions, or just plain tweaks. Usually they are in sets of three, but sometimes there are more and sometimes there are less. Sometimes they are so good these deserve their own lede.
During Paul’s monthlong Blogcation, I’ll occasionally run one (or maybe) two of these.
If you have any concept or tweak, and you would like to see it featured here, either during the week while I’m hosting the blog or on the weekends when I return to those, drop me an e-mail. For each particular design, please try to keep your description to ~50 words or so. OK? OK!
And now, here’s what we have for today (click any images to enlarge):
Today’s concept comes from Keith Good, who has reimagined a “Wahoo-less” Indians club:
Though re-imaginings Cleveland have been done to death, I couldn’t resist a try. I’ve scrubbed away Chief Wahoo, replacing him with a Old-English styled C, meant to echo design elements of Wahoo (feather, cheeks) without any whiff of impropriety while also ‘hiding’ an l and e to make it a definitively Cleveland lettermark. Other design elements (Blue/Red stripes, laurel, Hammer and Anchor) are pulled from the Cleveland City flag. I imagine this team as simply the Cleveland Baseball Club, allowing sports writers–as they did in the early days of baseball–to choose their own nicknames.
Thanks! I’ll be back with more weekday tweaks/concepts again.
NCAAFB Uniform News & Updates
This will be a semi-recurring column on Uni Watch and will appear whenever there is any news or updates on the College Football uniform front.
If you have ANY new NCAAFB news, follow and tweet me at @PhilHecken (and you’ll get your tweet in lights on here). You can also e-mail me (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) Gmail (dot) com) or send/cc: Paul to the following address: NewCollegeUni (at) Gmail (dot) com. OK? OK! (for any image, click to enlarge):
I was pretty much off the grid this weekend, so there may have been any number of NCAAFB unveilings of which I’m unaware, so please let me know what I missed and I’ll get into the next batch. Here’s what I’m aware of:
• Charlotte 49ers:
The first football program developed in 1946 and lasted until 1948. In 2006 students and alumni began a push for football to return to the school. The Board of Trustees approved it in 2008, and with funding approved in 2010, the school will field its first official varsity football program since 1948 in 2013. They recently made their media day debut, and will face a bunch of Big South teams. Here’s a look at their uni unveiling.
• Wisconsin Badgers:
There really aren’t any changes (per se) to the uniform, but if you go by the screen grab from the EA Sports NCAA Football 14 game (pic above), you will see that the “baselayer” may change, with the “Wisconsin” spelled out on one sleeve and what looks like 3 stripes on the other. I’d imagine the 3 stripes is verboten, but the games tend to be pretty accurate. You can read more about this here.
• Florida Gators:
“Are the Florida Gators wearing gray pants this year?” asks Mark Kaplowitz. That picture comes “via Ronald Powells Instagram.” Good question – I’ve not heard anything, but I wouldn’t want to say “No” without doing some digging. Anyone connected with the Gators know anything?
That’s all I have for today — again, I was pretty much off the grid over the weekend, so if there is anything I missed, let me know!
Because we love the stirrup here at Uni Watch, this section is devoted to those of us who sport the beautiful hose on Fridays — a trend popularized many years ago by Robert P. Marshall, III. For many of us, it’s become a bit of an obsession, but a harmless one — a reflection of our times. Where we once had Friday ties, which has been replaced by Casual Friday — we now have Stirrup Fridays. It’s an endearingly simple concept — no matter where you work (or even if you don’t) — break out a fresh pair of rups to compliment (or clash with) your Friday attire.
“Stirrup Fridays” usually runs on the weekend (on Saturday or Sunday), but since I’m on weekdays for the month, they’ll run here, usually on Mondays. Here’s the latest (and be sure to read Comrade Marshall’s writeup, as it has important information for the revolution, following the showin’ o’ the rups):
Can’t exactly get a group of 8 year olds to keep up with stirrups and socks for an entire year. So we did the next best thing and simply had them wear striped socks. Thought you would like the look.
Just thought I would share a few pictures of stirrup looks I’ve been trying lately. I love the A’s yellow sanitary look so I tried that look. Unfortunately my summer team has terrible jerseys. Anyways here they are.
Here are today’s stirrups. No reason other than they had not been worn in a while.
Taking the new Pilots out for a little ride.
And that ends today’s look at Stirrup Friday — all of you who participate, send me your pics and a brief (~50 words) description of their relevance, and I’ll run ‘em here on Saturday (and sometimes Sunday too!). Be sure to visit Robert’s House of Hose for news on rups.
And now…here’s …
The ’57 Cubs and Reds are in, but I am extending the deadline for “new” order discounts through 7-31 as a thank you for everyone’s patience with TCK delays this summer. So you can still get them on the cheap, but you won’t have to wait for manufacturing. I will be going to the post office this week on Tuesday and Friday for anyone interested.
Now on to the important stuff, stirrup porn. As I mentioned last week, I hope stirrup Friday photos continue to roll in, but I am temporarily focusing my giveaway energy on a project. I was inspired by the A’s players who wore their kelly green throwback stirrups early with their standard uniform. I began to think to myself, “self, what if I sent out a bunch of stirrup around the league. would players maybe use them as slump-busters in BP? would someone wear them for a game? would they wind up in the trash? Would this possibly help inspire some teams to don stripes? let’s find out.” This could be a fun little project for those of us who like to uni watch, no?
This week I will be sending stirrups to the following players who at least occasionally go high cuff, unless anyone has better ideas on who to send them to. the Pirates Mike McKenry, the Orioles Adam Jones, the Mets David Wright, the Astros Justin Maxwell, the Nats Bryce Harper, and the Tigers Miguel Cabrera. But what of the Red Sox, White Sox, Phillies, Cubs, Reds, Braves, or Twinks? Here is my problem, well one of them anyway, I umpire 7 days a week, and that means I work weekday evenings and weekend days, so I never see major league baseball, and don’t really know who goes high cuffed. Can anyone help me fill some gaps on players for teams not represented? And while game usage would be easy enough to notice, for sure we will need help by people in markets spotting these if they ever make BP cameos. So, please get in touch with me if you have any ideas for help in this project.
From each according their stirrvp,
to each according their strype.
Uni Watch News Ticker: ” I thought that these yellow armbands have been incorporated well into essenden’s uniform,” says Andrew Whitford (and a description of the bands). … Marshall University is allowing fans to vote on the new mascot look (thanks to Mike Powers). … More pets joining in the “Bizkit Memorial”: This is Lucy Huening, whose owner James Huening describes as having “a Bizkit memorial of her own. She went the old school route.” … Last Thursday, the Mariners Triple A-affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers, wore these Sounders-inspired jerseys. Thanks to Marcus Kamp, who notes this is “Kind of a cool cross-promotion.” … Also last Thursday, at halftime of the USA White vs. USA Blue basketball game a soldier dunked the ball in uniform (from Christopher Hall). … A Milwaukee Brewers fan says she was asked to leave Miller Park because she had made some changes to her Ryan Braun shirt (thanks to Gregory Koch). … Funny Chargers concepts posted over on Lobshots.com, with thanks (I think) to Brady Phelps. … Arsenal wore their Japan-themed kits once again Friday morning against Urawa Red Dragons for the final game on their Asian Tour. This game they wore their new yellow away kits though, instead of their home ones which they wore for the other Japanese game (from Ethan Faust). … Check out this gorgeous Mud Cats Band jersey from the 1930s. That comes from this auction lot (big thanks to Bruce Menard). … Nice gallery of Packers riding kids’ bikes to practice, which is a longstanding tradition (h/t to Stuart Ciske @sjciske). … MLB has been working with the US Forestry Service for several years to reduce the instances of shattered maple bats. Details in The New York Times on July 25th (nice find by Tom Mulgrew). … Here, in one spot, are all the Premier League Kits for 2013-14. And in a related article, a discussion of how uniforms themselves display the inequity of the EPL. … An Australian company has designed what it deems to be an anti-shark wetsuit (thanks, Brinke). … Northern Kentucky University has a new volleyball floor. This picture shows the layout for both volleyball and basketball, but the second picture shows that the facility is primarily a volleyball only facility as the basketball teams have played in the Bank of Kentucky Center (a 10,000 seat arena) since the 2008-09 season (tip o’ the cap to Chad Hensley). … It’s time to play the annual “What Uni Will The Ducks Wear?” now that the What To Wear To Autzen guide has come out. Interesting — “White at home week one?” notes Ryan Lindemann, who sent that along. … Even across the pond, there is BFBS (thanks to George Chilvers). … Interesting post on BuzzFeed the other day on “Recreational Sports Jerseys” (sent in by C J Hague). … At the 21 second mark of the Western Michigan football uniform release video, there’s a short still shot of Steve Prefontaine running for Oregon. The Broncos are an Adidas school (notes Kenny Ocker). … Not quite uni-related, but you don’t need to be from New York or alive during the 1970’s to appreciate this beautiful America in the 1970s – New York City Atlantic article sent in by Cort McMurray. … Apparently, if you went to Burger King, you could collect a lot of mini-NFL jerseys (Brinke). … Another team celebrating X-mas in July, the Akron Aeros busted out santa jerseys late last week (h/t Dave Plante @Plante29). … Marc Viquez snapped a picture from the new Regions Field in Birmingham, Alabama. The team wore a patch on their uniforms to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vulcan Statue in 1954. … On August 3rd, the Potomac Nats will give away a ‘half man/half shark’ figurine in “Tribute to Former P-Nats Outfielder, Roger “The Shark” Bernadina,” (from Andrew Hoenig). … Wow. Check out these orange socks that Andre Caldwell wore to training camp Saturday. Not that impressive till you see the closeup (thanks to Shane Nelson). … Feast your eyes on these pen/pencil holders made from used minor league bats, similar to a set bought on Ebay a year or so ago by Will Scheibler. Thanks to a good spot from Matt Shevin, we learn that the Jets are considering 90’s throwbacks this year (that sound you just heard was THE Jeff soiling himself with joy). … Paul forwarded this one to me from a reader who goes by “GoBlue,” and saw the Lions sporting black trou, and who notes, “This is Calvin and Burleson wearing black pants for training camp. Doesn’t look right.” Actually, I think I looks fine, but the Lions britches need to be silver. … Great screen grab from Gregg Girard of the Yankees/Raays game yesterday, where pitcher Jake McGee had serious belt issues. Moments later, a new belt was brought out from the dugout. … Sported during the weekend advertising the next series for the Texas Rangers on FOX Sports Southwest: According to FSSW, the Angels are still the Anaheim Angels (nice catch by Ethan Hopkin). … On the pitch, Team USA Kit was given a custom kit yesterday (thanks to Warren Junium). … Oh Boy. Yesterday, Scott Tappa was at an amateur baseball game in rural Wisconsin that “to the naked eye looked like an intrasquad scrimmage. It was a color-on-color matchup between Bowler and Little Falls with both teams featuring dark blue shirts with red numbers and white pants, even red belts. Only difference was Little Falls’ white armpit piping and American flag on the back of the neck.” … Check out these origami jerseys from the @NHL twitter feed (h/t Chris Burks @ThatChrisBurks). … One for the grammar police, as RavenFanInIndy asks, please tell me this is real and not ‘shopped! … And finally, our Pacific Rim correspondent, Jeremy Brahm, checks in with this: “Look at how this looks with the macron and the letters split, just ugly.”
And that folks, is a wrap for this Monday. Everyone have a great day and I will catch you all tomorrow. Don’t forget, I’m taking over the weekdays (with Johnny Ek on the weekends) while Paul enjoys his well-deserved blog-cation.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Let’s go back to the day when cat-piss weak Vegas Gold and the Saints’ East Mississippi Panhandle State Jackass-Junior College-inspired Thug-assed Wannabbee Black Leotards were are worst uniform offenses.”