By Phil Hecken
The Cubs and Brewers will be hooking up today in the third (of nine) throwback games celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Wrigley Field. If you’re not familiar with the celebration, you can read more here and here. We know what the Cubs will be wearing, but (as of Friday night when this post was drafted), the uniforms for the Brewers were still a mystery.
I’ve asked my buddy (and Brewers uniform historian) Chance Michaels (blue shirt, second from right – also in slightly less formal attire, with Paul and me at a Mets game) to give us a rundown of the uniforms the Brewers wore during the 1930’s, and specifically the 1937 season.
So, without further ado, I’ll turn this part of the article over to Mr. Michaels, as he takes a look at the…
By Chance Michaels
There are times when my own sports obsessions lead me in some strange directions. I think I might be the only Milwaukee baseball historian left cold by glorious tales of the Braves, their legendary heroes and their world championship in 1957. On the contrary, I’ve always been much more interested in the club they deposed; the Milwaukee Brewers of 1902-1952. That team was known colloquially to their fans as the “Brews”, a name I now use to separate them from their modern namesake. The Brews were charter members of the American Association, the top minor league in the first half of the 20th Century, and their success on the field (and at the ticket office) paved the way for the majors to move to Milwaukee.
In my capacity as an early Milwaukee baseball researcher, I was asked to work with the club last year on their 1913 throwbacks, honoring the Brews’ first pennant. I wasn’t specifically consulted by the Twins when they planned their 1948 throwback game later in the season, although photos from my site were used as reference and the uniforms were recreated from a jersey in my collection. So for a time, I felt pretty plugged in and got to watch the process unfold.
Unfortunately, Miller Park isn’t hosting any Turn Back the Clock games in 2014, but I knew that didn’t mean we won’t see the Brews this year; back in November I heard from a source at the club that they’d been asked by another team to participate in one of theirs.
And then in January, the Chicago Cubs announced that the Milwaukee Brewers would be joining them in a 1937 Turn Back the Clock as part of Wrigley Field’s centennial.
Still, we didn’t know what to expect. The Cubs unveiled their uniforms as part of the initial announcement, but no word on what the visitors would be wearing. For four months, we could only guess.
If the Brewers were to wear 1937 uniforms, what would they look like? It’s not an easy question to answer. 1937 was the first year for new unis> in Milwaukee, as the Brews traded red-and-blue trimmed togs for a simplified number with solid blue “M” and blue piping. Pictures of the road uniforms from that period, however, are hard to come by. The Milwaukee papers didn’t send photographers on the road with the team, and there doesn’t seem to have been much cooperation with papers in Toledo or Kansas City or Minneapolis as I would have hoped. Most of the pictures of road uniforms I do have from that year were taken in Spring Training, as the team was wringing one last use out of the previous season’s flannels.
So for months we could only speculate. Then, last Wednesday, four days before the game, this little tidbit appeared on the Cubs’ site:
On Sunday, May 18, the Cubs will wear a throwback uniform from 1937, the year during which Wrigley Field’s iconic scoreboard was installed and the ivy was planted on the newly-constructed bleacher wall. The 1937 jersey features a zip-up front and the uniform marks the first year the team switched from a navy blue to a royal blue color on its uniforms.
The visiting Milwaukee Brewers will wear a 1937-inspired retro uniform as well.
Okay. That was confirmation. Maybe. No pictures yet, no details. And what we did learn was slightly worrying. What, exactly, is “a 1937-inspired retro uniform”? Do they mean “old style in a modern cut”, or do they mean that the uniform itself isn’t really faithful to the Brewers’ original 1937 togs? Perhaps they were planning something entirely different, like the “1920s-ish but not actually what the Brewers wore in the 1920s” throwbacks from their first TBTC games in 1993. We still don’t know.
This long wait also indicates that there won’t be much merchandise relating to this game (if any). Last year, 1948 jerseys, caps and t-shirts were widely available, even more so for the visiting Brewers than the host Twins. This year? Nothing.
We’ll have to wait and see. I’m writing this on Friday night, still with no announcement. After being so involved in last year’s throwbacks, the anticipation is killing me.
On the flip side of the coin, we DO know what the Cubs will be wearing today, since they’ve already revealed their throwback. From the looks of that, Majestic has done a pretty good job — so let’s take a quick look at some originals:
Looks like Majestic has gotten this one pretty darn correct, right down to the zipper! (The Cubs, by the way, were the first ‘modern’ baseball club to incorporate the zipper into the uniform, and 1937 was the year it was added). From Dressed To The Nines:
The zipper, in its earliest form, was invented in 1891, but it was not until the 1930s that the handy fastener was added to the baseball uniform. The 1937 Cubs were the first big league club to switch from a button-down jersey to the zipper-front style, but other teams soon followed Chicago’s lead. The zipper fad reached its peak in 1940 and ’41, when half of all big league clubs had zippered jerseys. The zipper was an integral part of the tunic-dress uniform worn during the 12-year run of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), as the device was used to cinch the uniform snugly around the waist. The last major league club to wear a zipper-front jersey was the Philadelphia Phillies in 1986.
I know whatever the Brewers wear should look pretty awesome — and we know the Cubbies will look great. Really looking forward to this one!
Big thanks (again) to Chance for his efforts to bring the Brew Crew’s unis to light.
Wait…It’s Not Memorial Day…
Last night, the Los Angeles Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays broke out their Memorial Day camouflage a few days early, much to the surprise of many (the move was not announced until yesterday morning).
Shockingly, they chose to wear the camo gear on Armed Forces Day, which is actually (if you have to wear camo), an entirely APPROPRIATE day to honor the military, since yesterday was, ya know…Armed Forces Day.
Not that the camo looks particularly good. (And note the Angels are wearing it on their red alternate jersey, while the Rays are wearing it on their gray jersey). Unfortunately for anyone more than six feet away, the camo actually served its purpose on the Rays unis, rendering the names completely and numbers almost completely unreadable.
You can see more photos here.
There are few items on which Paul and I are 100% in agreement, but this camo-shit it one of them. And since he can say it better than I, the following is from Paul with regard to the early breaking out of the camouflage uniforms yesterday (on ACTUAL Armed Forces Day):
This is nuts. Every team, including the Angels and Rays, will already be wearing these jerseys on Memorial Day. They couldn’t wait?
Now, Armed Forces Day is a real thing. But it’s not a Federal holiday and it’s not a major part of our culture — most Americans have no idea of when it is, or that it even exists.
Maybe more people should know and care about it, or maybe not — that’s a debatable point. The same thing could be said about Arbor Day, Constitution/Citizenship Day, Emancipation Day, and a bunch of other non-Federal holidays that are observed to varying degrees around the country — none of which are acknowledged in the sports world. Only military-related holidays get this level of uni-related observance. It has become an obsession bordering on a fetish.
The problematic issue here, as I’ve said many times, is not whether military members deserve to be honored; it’s whether the military deserves to be celebrated again and again and again, to the near-exclusion of all other sectors of society. It has gotten way, way out of hand, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
Thanks Paul. I couldn’t agree more.
…and there’s ANOTHER Throwback game today…
this one will feature the Baltimore Orioles playing the Kansas City Royals in Kauffman Stadium, and it’s a Negro League throwback game! The Orioles will be playing in the uniforms of the “Baltimore Black Sox” and the Royals (who do throwbacks often and as well as anyone) will play as the “Kansas City Monarchs.” The approximate year for these teams is mid-1920s for the Royals (Monarchs, and late-20s for the Orioles (Black Sox). Above you can see the uniforms Majestic has come up with for the game.
I always love the throwback games, and especially the Negro League games, since (IMHO) they had really great uniforms we don’t get to see enough of. And this year, the Royals are adding a new twist to the Salute to the Negro Leagues. From their website,
In celebration of the Negro Leagues, the Royals have partnered with the Negro League Baseball Museum for the 1st annual “Dressed To The Nines” event. All fans are encouraged to come to Kauffman Stadium wearing their Sunday best to honor the tradition of attending Negro Leagues games Dressed to the Nines!
Can you imagine fans coming to the ballpark in their “Sunday Best” as opposed to tees, tanks, cutoffs and $200 polyester shirts? It will be interesting to see how many fans play along. I’m NOT one to hop on this “you fans should wear [insert whatever color shirt, camo, whatever] to this game” (even if said shirt is sitting on the chair when you arrive), but I think this “Sunday Best” is a great idea. Plus, the first 10,000 fans get a free fedora — and who doesn’t love a fedora?
It’s interesting that the Royals opponent today is the Orioles — since they will be involved in the 2014 Civil Rights game on May 30 (and will be wearing the uniforms of the Baltimore Elite Giants) and the Cubs 1990’s throwback game on August 24th (wearing 1990s throwbacks). Has any team participated in THREE throwback games (including two wearing Negro Leagues uniforms) as visitors in one season? The O’s themselves are celebrating their own 60th Anniversary — and I’m honestly not sure if they’ll be throwing back in their own stadium — but a look at the 2014 promotions shows that on June 29th, they’re giving away a 1954 cap, so maybe they’ll be wearing throwbacks that day? And on August 8th, they’ll be doing a 60th Anniversary Fireworks and Laser Show (Postgame), so maybe they’ll bust out some throwbacks then?
Regardless, the O’s will be wearing at least 3 throwback uniforms this year. Who’s up for a few more?
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:
First up today is Jason Adam, with some redesigns for the 2014 Cleveland
As you know the Browns are about half way thru their uniform makeover process. I’m an artist and die hard Browns fan. I had initially planned on making these an unsolicited submission but….Until I get a job at Nike I figured I’d throw my own concepts out there for the redesign. This is called the Canine concept. It does away with the leg striping and instead gives some literal “teeth” to the uniform. In keeping with the classic look I didn’t want to change things too much but also wanted something that acknowledged the modern trends. These are the home, away, alternates, home alternates and throwback white helmet unis. I crave critique so I’m anxious for any/all feedback.
Next up is Tommy Mor with a new look for the Illini (which was sent in just days before the actual Illinois rebrand):
As you know Illinois is rebranding on Wednesday. Here’s a concept I came up with for their football uniforms.
And we close today with Lammert Wijnsma who has some pretty darn cool “player logos” for Anthony Davis (be sure to click on the link below for a look at his full concept):
I’m a graphic designer from the Netherlands and love the NBA. And especialy Anthony Davis, so I thought why not make him a logo! I think he’s the frontrunner for MIP this year with his amazing stats!
Just curious what you think of it. Because your an expert!
Oh, and sorry for the not so good english…
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
Baseball News: The ASU Sun Devils wore retro jerseys on Friday night. More details here. … “Wilson or Morse,” writes Brinke. “It was discounted since #38 Wilson wore it — now it’s Morse wearing it.” … From that 1937 All-Star Game footage, “I found out about this from an AP story (FDR Walking), but it shows a number of the 1937 All-Stars,” says Joe Makowiec. “It was shot by Jimmie DeShong, then a pitcher with the Senators.” … Frankenhat #152: “Found this hat at an Academy Sports in GA. Braves logo on the front, Tigers strap on the back,” (h/t Sic ‘em City). … In honor of yesterday’s Armed Forces Day, Wichita State busted out the camo (via Nick Helten). … The WKU Hilltoppers got some new uniforms for this weekend’s series (from Ethan Brown). … When the Mets’ Juan Lagares hit a home run today, his jersey was untucked (Thanks, Paul). … Ooooohhh: here’s an Astros St. Patrick’s Day spring training jersey from 1982 (nice find by Sully). … he summer collegiate Kenosha Kingfish (Northwoods League) on Saturday unveiled their uniforms for their inaugural 2014 season (thanks to Alan D. Poff).
NFL/Football News: Reader Adam Edwards noticed Michael Sam’s jersey number font doesn’t match the rest of the guys. He adds, “It looks like a really old jersey to me. The numbers are too wide. I couldn’t find a pic with another guy having a “9” or “6” in the same pic with Sam. Also the “NFL Equipment” patch on the collar is yellowed and old looking.” … The Jacksonville Sharks (of the Arena Football League) wore these “military appreciation” jerseys in yesterday’s Military Appreciation Night (h/t to Taylor Burck and Ryan Scott). … When he took to the field for the first time as a member of the Vikings, Teddy Bridgewater was wearing a watch (thanks to Benjamin Thomas).
Hockey News: An actual NHL “sweater” found, out of all places, on Uncle Joey on an episode of Full House. Year aired was 1993, episode 168 (nice find by Ryan Stone.
Soccer News: Yesterday, Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna wore two different color boots during the FA Cup final (h/t John Obarski). Apparently he’s been linked to a a transfer to Man City, so speculation is that he wore different colors (one for his old club, one for his new). On Twitter, it was mentioned that they are new Puma shoes, and “they come like that.” Anyone know more? … Yesterday, Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski wore boots dedicated to F1’s Michael Schumacher (from Mark Coale). More here. … Here’s WHOLE lot of Soccer news from Pat West: FIFA has released a document that along with having a lot of great historical info and stats of each team at the World Cup also has a breakdown of each team’s kits. The kits start on page 22. I will start off by saying that the kit pictures are pretty much horrible and provide no real detailed look at anything. They look like someone cut them out of Paint and then placed them in the document. If you zoom in it doesn’t help they just get pixelated. However, it does show each nations first, second and in most cases third team goalkeeper kits. The US is black, green and yellow respectively. Also there are a few things that differ from what has been put out there. Bosnia’s new Adidas kits have been leaked but not officially released due to their current contact with Legea not being up until the end of the month. When leaked they said that the white kit was the home kit and the blue was the away, but it turns out that it is the opposite and the blue is home and the white away. Also, in a few of the Puma release photos they had the wrong or different socks entirely matched up with the kits. I had already seen that Uruguay would be wearing their traditional black socks but the release photos had them in sky blue socks. In a new revelation to me the Ghana away kit officially has yellow socks even though the release photos were with red socks. Chile swapped the socks from their release photos to pair the more traditional white socks with the home kit and the blue socks with the away on the official list. Costa Rica who wear Lotto kits also did the same where they swapped in the more traditional white socks for the home kits and moved the red socks to the away which was not the case at their release. The different gear doesn’t surprise me for Uruguay or Ghana as it is common practice for a few nations to have different options to wear with each kit. I know for a fact that England has blue shorts they can match with their all white home look and the Argentina have more traditional black shorts and socks they can match with their home kit as well.
It’s actually tomorrow, but I think I’ve missed wishing Jim “Mothervilker” Vilk a Happy Birthday for the past eight years, so this year…I’m not going to forget.
Have a good one, Jimmer. The World Cup is just around the corner and College Hoops can’t be far off. Welcome to Jim-a-palooza!
And THAT is going to do it for today. Everyone have a fantastic week, and for those of you who get to see them — enjoy the throwback games today — they should be great ones. Big thanks (again) to Chance Michaels for all of his research, to Paul for his thoughts on the Armed Forces Day camo, to the concepters, and Brinke for the French Open preview. If I’m leaving anyone out, well, thank you too!
Catch you next weekend.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“My Oregon Ducks have abused the “alternate” uniform privilege to the point that they have worn so many uniforms, they really have no uniform in the strict sense, just a collection of matching ensembles. Be that as it may, however, the Ducks must be given credit — for better or worse — with having started the current craze of multiple uniforms and helmets well beyond the standard home and away or “special” one-game uniforms.”
— Buck Fontana