Return of the Best Worst Uni of the Polyester Era!

1978 Cubs Splash - 550

By Phil Hecken

This afternoon the Cubs, who have been throwing back on home Sunday’s this season to different decades over the hundred year span of Wrigley Field, will be throwing back to what was, in my opinion, the worst uniform of the double-knit era — the road, blue, pinstriped uniform of 1978. It has everything I hate in a uniform, all wrapped up into one tidy package: a pullover jersey, sansabelt pants, polyester doubleknit, and pinstripes on a road uniform! And I LOVE IT. Like a traveler passing a gruesome car wreck — I can’t possibly look away.

Not counting their brief foray into blue-tinged uniforms in the 1940s, the Cubs wore blue road uniforms for six years: 1976 through 1981, with 1976 and 1977 being solid powder blue, adding the pinstripes from 1978 through 1981:

Cubs powder blue 1976-1981

Technically, the 1978 uniform was a “one-year” uniform, because it features the bear patch on the sleeve which was only worn for one season with the pinstriped roads. They added a red circle around the “angry bear” for the remaining three years of the run. I’m almost positive those 1978 uniforms were also without a name on the back; in 1979 the players’ names were added.

Cubs-2014-Home-1978-Road-Throwback-Front-01

Cubs pins

Here is a look at the pinstripes in action (there are surprisingly not a lot of photos of players in this uniform floating around the interwebs). I have tried to find a definitive photo from 1978 showing NNOB, but am coming up empty found (thanks to Rob Holecko) the proof of NNOB. The 1979-1981 version of this uniform featured the Cub patch in the red circle.

79basbaljerry_martin_2012_12_10

lee-smith-blue-pinstripes-1980

Chicago-Cubs-1978-Throwback-Jersey-2014

There are a few examples of game worn (or supposedly game worn) uniforms from auction sites. This, from Legendary Auctions, is a 1978 Rich Reuschel jersey, which shows NNOB. Interestingly, it looks like the “8” was “upside down” on both the front and the back — anyone know if this was actually the style or if this is an oddity?

123805a_lg 123805b_lg

And while not from that same set, here’s a look at the pinstriped blue pants, in all their polyester sansabelt glory:

44431_02_lg 44431_03_lg

44431_01_lg

The Cubs’ opponent today, the St. Louis Cardinals, also wore powder blue, pullover sansabelt uniforms on the road in 1978. Since the Cubs have thus far been outfitting their opponents in period-appropriate uniforms, I am guessing they’ll put the Cardinals in the “home” white uniforms today. The Cards wore that style for a long time, and in fact have thrown back to that (although not the 1978 year) before. If they wear proper hosiery with their throwback (and not go pajama-pantsed), then this game might just have quite the 1978 vibe.

The Cubs themselves have done a nice job in wearing proper hosiery (or at least going high-cuffed) for each of their throwback games thus far (although their choice of footwear has sometimes crushed the excellence of their socks), but Cubs’ opponents usually wear their normal style of uniform cut (and if they go uncuffed during the regular season, they’ve usually continued that trend for the throwback games). Hopefully we’ll see the Cardinals, who have been known for ‘high socks Sunday’, will play along and wear their beautiful stirrups for today’s game.

While not the first instance, this is one of those very rare times when the home team will be wearing “road” uniforms. In most cases, the visitors are then equipped with their “home” uniform (and I would expect that will be the case today). However, when the visiting team is NOT equipped with throwbacks of their own, you get the rare sight of two road uniforms from different eras playing each other. And as great as a powder vs. powder on the awful scale would be, lets hope the Cubs outfit the Cards in white.

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Hey, maybe the Mets can get this guy real cheap…

Tulo screwup

Take a close look at the image above. It was a giveaway yesterday at Coors Field in Denver. Looks nice, right? (Even if it is in Paul’s least favorite color). But there’s just one problem…his name is spelled TULOWITZKI (with an extra “T” before the “ZKI”), and those jerseys given away last night were ALL SPELLED WRONG.

OOPS.

As is its wont, the Twitter community jumped all over the mistake:






Now, I’m not one to dump on the Rockies, but apparently a lot of “fans” out there thought this was quite an egregious error. I’m of the mind that, yeah, it’s pretty bad — brutal, in fact — but it’s not like the Rockies actually misspelled Tulo’s jersey. That would be unforgiveable. And it would live in uni screw-up lore forever. And I could add it to this set of jersey screwups and misspellings. Alas, it doesn’t quite make the cut. Unfortunately, the guy (gal?) who had these all printed up probably will also not make the cut. Or maybe not — the 15,000 lucky fans who got these will instantly have collectors items, making it perhaps the best giveaway ever.

Mike the Intern found a funny story on Cespedes Family Barbeque that almost instantly complied a list of the funniest jerseys in MLB if the other teams made an error like the Rockies did yesterday. Definitely worth a read.

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colorize thisColorize This!

Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.

Just one today — and it’s from Bruce Menard (plus a top/bottom comparison of the original and the colorized version).

Click either image to enlarge:

. . .

West Side Grounds Colorization - Bruce Menard

West Side Grounds Colorization and B-W - Bruce Menard

Hey Phil,

Just wondering if you might want to post my latest colorization for the weekend Uni Watch – (1904 [Jul23] West Side Grounds Chicago Cubs vs NY Giants Panoramic).
I made a before/after comparison as well. The original comes from the LOC, found here: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2007663698/

Cheers!
~Bruce

. . .

Thanks Bruce. Tremendous stuff, as always. Please keep them coming!

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all sport uni tweaksUni Tweaks Concepts

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 Rob Holecko, who last weekend showed us what he thought a Devil Rays fauxback (based on what they did for their fake “1979” uni looked like) would look like. Today, he transitions them from 1979 to the year they actually came into existence in MLB (1998):

1982-85 home - Rob Holecko1982-87 road - Rob Holecko1986-87 home - Rob Holecko1988-90 home - Rob Holecko

1988-90 road - Rob Holecko1991-92 road - Rob Holecko1991-92 home - Rob Holecko

Dear Phil,

Here’s a couple more uniforms as the 1970’s Devil Rays transitioned into the 80s and 90s…

Rob Holecko

. . .

And we close today with Paul Lee who thought the new Celtics Logoman could transition to…well, the NBA logo? (this one is, unfortunately, full size):

Celtics logoman - Paul Lee

Phil,

Change the secondary logo a little bit, and voila!

Paul Lee

. . .

And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.

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help-wanted-signLi’l Help?

As I noted last weekend, soon Paul will be beginning his annual (and well-deserved) sabbatical, and as such, he’ll be leaving me in charge of the weekday Uni Watch postings.

As in the past, I’m always looking for readers for their help in suggesting topics and working with me to bring them about. I’ve already lined up a few of you for stories (plus I have some good ones that were already planned for the summer hiatus, including a uni design contest I think you’ll really like), but I can always use a few more. I’ll also be back for what has become a regular Friday feature while Paul is on summer vacation that I like to call “Fridays With Morris” (featuring Morris Levin), so that should be great.

If you’re interested in working with me on a uni-related story, please shoot me an E-mail (Phil.Hecken [at] gmail [dot] com) and pitch me.

On a related note, I’m planning on a doing a story with Randy Alleman, and he’s looking for a little help from you guys for his research. Here’s Randy:

I am working on a future Uni Watch article and could use some assistance from the UW community. If you know of any pitchers who have a visible marking on their cap (from rosin, pine tar, etc.) please let me know. You can contact me at rallemann13@yahoo.com.

Looking forward to working with a few of your fine readers in the next few weeks.

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ticker 4
Uni Watch News Ticker…

[Not a lot of submissions yesterday, so we'll go with the old school format on the ticker today. -- PH]

Yesterday the Nashville Sounds, a minor league team, wore these jerseys (neat city skyline at night design too), with thanks to Steve Uhlmann. … The Western Storm made their debut in the Tasmanian State Football League in 2014, and their jerseys play on their nickname, with lightning flashes prominent on both the home and away kit (thanks to Graham Clayton). … The AFL is testing computer chips in its Australian Rules footballs. Aside from assisting in training purposes, the ‘chipped balls could also be used to assist in score reviews in the future (via Leo Strawn, Jr.). … Newly acquired catcher for St. Louis, AJ Pierzynski (shot by Benjamin Thomas) wore his old blue gear, including wearing a blue helmet, even though the Cards were wearing their red caps and helmets vs. Cubs yesterday (those photos from Matt Larsen). … Pallbearers at Leafs fan funeral wore Toronto Maple Leaf jerseys, to ‘let him down one last time’. … “Seriously I have a problem,” writes Frank Mercogliano. “Noticed on this pop tarts box (reduced for quick sale!) they use Milwaukee’s old ball and glove logo.” … Brandon Owen asks is this a “new number font for Kentucky basketball? Old on the left, new on the right.” … Several neat tid-bits from Gene Sanny (some I know we’ve seen before, but what the hell): 1) 1968 Mel Farr Detroit Lions helmet camera; 2) Broncos AFL early helmet cam; 3) Lee Majors wearing an LA Express shirt (part owner of the club) in an episode of Fall Guy; and 4) an Auburn player wearing a sun visor on his helmet during a game in the early 70’s. … Ryan Progin sends a correx: The link you posted yesterday to the FC Bayern Muenchen 3rd Kit is incorrect. The jersey shown on that site is the 2014/15 FC Bayern Away Kit; FC Bayern actually wore the Away kit yesterday. The actual 3rd kit has not yet been released but it is posted on Footy Headlines with all 3 kits for this year.

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And that’s going to do it for this fine last Sunday in July. It will also be my last weekend post until after Labor Day. I’ll be taking over the weekday duties for Paul in August, and when that happens, our weekends will be covered by Johnny Ekdahl, our webmaster (whose had that duty each summer when I’ve subbed for Paul). So, for those of you who are used to having me on the weekends, I’ll see you in a little over a month — but I’ll be on weekdays beginning August 5th. So that’s the good/bad news, depending on your perspective. I’ll catch you real soon (and don’t worry, I’ll have a LOT of great stuff while Paul’s away — or at least, that’s the plan).

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“I would gladly keep my mouth shut about the Marlins’ disdain for their orange caps if the Padres would bring back the brown!”

— Jim Vilk

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40 comments to Return of the Best Worst Uni of the Polyester Era!

  • Joel D. Ford | July 27, 2014 at 7:07 am |

    I believe you mean the Nashville Sounds for the ticker, not Memphis, yes?

    • Phil Hecken | July 27, 2014 at 8:23 am |

      Yes. Yes I did. Now fixed.

  • Connie DC | July 27, 2014 at 8:15 am |

    Boy, that colorization work by Bruce is a real beauty. Thanks!

  • Mad Adam | July 27, 2014 at 8:29 am |

    During Friday’s Cub/Cardinal it was mentioned that the St. Louis would be wearing a gray faux-back on Sunday

  • Ryan B. | July 27, 2014 at 8:35 am |

    Can’t find the exact link, but an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Cardinals will wear a gray version of the 1978 uniform today. Disappointing.

  • Phantom Dreamer | July 27, 2014 at 9:00 am |

    Nice effort on the Rays stuff.
    I actually don’t think that Cubs uniform is that bad. However, if you thought it was bad in 1978, it will probably look worse today and this is coming from the number one proponent of the return of baseball athletic wear, pullover jerseys and sansabelt baseball pants. Majestic cannot produce proper baseball uniforms. The jerseys will be too loose and the pants will either be too long and baggy or they will be too short. There’s no middle ground with Majestic.

    • Rob H. | July 27, 2014 at 2:14 pm |

      Nice effort on the Rays stuff.

      Thanks!

  • Tenz | July 27, 2014 at 9:14 am |

    I liked the Cubs white pinstripes on their light blue road uniforms, and think it looks really sharp in these photos from that era. A really interesting idea that I was disappointed didn’t catch on. Only real drawback as far as I was concerned was that it was just about impossible to draw that design as a kid who liked to illustrate sports uniforms.

  • Mild bill | July 27, 2014 at 9:31 am |

    The sight of the Reuschel brothers (Rick and Paul) in polyester uniforms is an image from the 70’s that I’ve been unable to shake.

  • Jim Vilk | July 27, 2014 at 11:00 am |

    It has everything I hate love in a uniform, all wrapped up into one tidy package: a pullover jersey, sansabelt pants, polyester doubleknit, and pinstripes on a road uniform! And I LOVE IT.

    Today they should wear the uniform as it was, but when they make that their everyday uniform, they should add a National League patch on the other sleeve to make it perfect.

    • DenverGregg | July 27, 2014 at 11:47 am |

      With you 100%. Heck, I might even become a Cub fan if they did that.

  • DenverGregg | July 27, 2014 at 11:46 am |

    On the Tulo shirseys they also botched the font, see here. Very noticeable on the Z and also noticeable on the K and the W.

    During the game they announced – at least on the boob tube – that those who got the botch job can trade them in later for both a corrected shirt and a ticket to a 2014 or 2015 game.

  • Chris | July 27, 2014 at 11:57 am |

    The Natinals have to be thrilled about those Tulo jerseys. Now there’s something other than them to pull out of the archives when making a point.

  • Dan Pfeifer | July 27, 2014 at 12:10 pm |

    The Lakeshore Chinooks, the baseball team I work for, “gets it.” A picture I bet fans of this site will adore:

    https://scontent-a-i...

    • Mike Engle | July 27, 2014 at 2:27 pm |

      Nice stirrups, but that “sani” on the left foot of the guy wearing the Under Armour cleats…are those Thorlos? Never thought of those as potential sannies, but with the extra paddings for the heels and the balls of the feet, why not? Even though the colored heel looks kind of bad…

    • Komet17 | July 27, 2014 at 2:30 pm |

      Dan,
      Please say “hi” to Jacob Nelson from his friends in Urbana.

    • T Sherman | July 27, 2014 at 10:44 pm |

      I was on campus in Mequon for a conference a few weeks ago and we went to a game. I saw the guys wearing those stirrups and thought it looked great! The logo was so nice I had to get a hat, and got my wife a shirt so that we could get the word mark.

  • Phil Hecken | July 27, 2014 at 12:25 pm |

    Confirmed…dang it.

    Cards will be wearing a gray fauxback today vs. Cubs.

  • Ryan | July 27, 2014 at 1:26 pm |

    The cubs have worn blue roads much longer than just 6 years, switching to a royal blue to in 1982 which they wore until the end of the 89 season. http://exhibits.base...

  • Thresh8 | July 27, 2014 at 1:47 pm |

    Who really would turn in their Tulowizki shirt for a “perfect” one?

    I can imagine any number of Rox fans who didn’t give this promo a second thought a week ago now want one.

  • brinke | July 27, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
    • The Jeff | July 27, 2014 at 2:44 pm |

      It’s a shame so many Clevelanders burned their Lebron jerseys the first time, or they wouldn’t have to buy a new one now.

      • Jim Vilk | July 27, 2014 at 8:51 pm |

        Used to be you could walk into a local Goodwill store and be assured of two things: 1) you’d find a LeBron jersey. 2) you’d find a Tim Couch jersey. Lately you don’t see them as much.

        The old LeBron jerseys wouldn’t be good enough for a lot of folks anyway. Gotta have the newer design, don’tcha know.

  • Ryan M | July 27, 2014 at 2:08 pm |

    The chest area of Bayern’s away shirt looks suspiciously like the Dutch flag. I suppose it’s appropriate that one of the links provided shows it photoshopped on to Arjen Robben.

  • Rob H. | July 27, 2014 at 2:28 pm |

    I’m not disappointed the Cardinals are wearing gray. To me if they had worn white, I think it would have compounded the inaccuracy because not only would you have the Cubs wearing a road uniform at home, you’d also have the Cards wearing a home uniform on the road. While the best solution might have been to wear the road throwbacks, you know, actually on the road, we know that’s not going to happen since this is the Cubs celebration. Also we know they’d never go powder blue versus powder blue, so given these circumstances, I think a faux grey Cardinals throwback, considering they wore grey only a few years later, is probably the best option. I’m just glad we get to see these awesome Cubs throwbacks at all.

    On second thought, maybe the best solution would have been to schedule this 1978 throwback game against the Padres, who could have worn their all-gold 1978 roadies with paste-on Dave Winfield Mod Squad sideburns.

  • Jason | July 27, 2014 at 2:29 pm |

    Cubs pinstripes look thinner than the original and the cards Fauxback is not white, not blue but gray. Disappointing to say the least

  • Rob H. | July 27, 2014 at 2:43 pm |

    I have tried to find a definitive photo from 1978 showing NNOB, but am coming up empty.

    When in doubt, consult Henderson…

    http://i.imgur.com/D...

    • Phil Hecken | July 27, 2014 at 4:48 pm |

      Thanks, Rob — when I was writing this article, I was at the summer place, where the Interwebs are suspect and I was on a PC that didn’t have my Henderson Guide. Had I been at home base, I would have definitely checked that, as you did.

      Entry updated to reflect this.

  • Rob H. | July 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm |

    I don’t get all you Uni Watchers who would have rather seen the Cardinals in white instead of gray (even if it is faux). Did you not cringe like I did when the Rockies wore road grays at home against the home-pinstripe wearing road Mets?

    The only place the Cubs in blue roads against the Cards in home whites should be played is Busch Stadium. At least this is only “half wrong”. Don’t compound the error. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    This isn’t football. Home uniforms are home uniforms and road uniforms are road uniforms. And at least the Cubs roadies are a color, even if it is a primarily road-worn color, it’s not gray. Gray should only be worn on the road, and white should only be worn at home, that seems kind of basic.

    • Padday | July 27, 2014 at 3:19 pm |

      Frankly, coloured alternates have pretty much made a mockery of that system. The thing that annoys me more is that we persist with this facade, pretending that it still makes sense or means something despite this. For example, the fact that the Marlins will never wear their road greys, yet they’re obliged to consider them their primary away, and their All Stars have to wear them. It’s an outdated ideology, plain and simple.

      • Rob H. | July 27, 2014 at 4:07 pm |

        I guess if you look at it like colors can be worn anywhere, but whites must only be worn at home, and grays must only be worn at home it still makes sense to me. Besides, pants-wise they are actually more stringent about it. At least back in the day, teams like the Royals wore blue pants. Even with all the softball tops, the pants are all white at home and all gray on the road, even for the Marlins.

        • The Jeff | July 27, 2014 at 4:14 pm |

          Even with all the softball tops, the pants are all white at home and all gray on the road, even for the Marlins.

          Yes, and that needs to end too. Gray pants look terrible when worn with colored jerseys. The freakin Mets are the only team who look halfway decent now that they have gray lettering on their road blue jersey.

        • Rob H. | July 28, 2014 at 12:18 am |

          Yes, that’s my dislike with the Rays’ Columbia Blue alts. They’re fine, just not with white or gray pants. If they could wear matching blue pants with them, they’d look great.

  • Michael Emody | July 27, 2014 at 4:14 pm |

    All right – the Cubs are wearing 78 roadies today, and the Cardinals are in 75’s. Close enough and it solves the double shot of powder blue problem. So I wouldn’t call the Card’s uni’s today a “fauxback” – just a time travel glitch.

  • Rad | July 27, 2014 at 5:57 pm |

    I would love to see a new hybrid Cubs road uniform based on the ’78 patch and that particular shade of dark blue, on a traditional road grey. Single colour word mark & number, with the ’78 fonts. That ’78 patch on the dark blue would make a nice road hat.

    This is one instance I wouldn’t mind a team wearing two shades of blue: royal at home and dark on the road.

  • Chance Michaels | July 27, 2014 at 8:07 pm |

    Fantastic colonizations, guys.

    And the Cubs continue to bungle the visitors’ throwback uniforms. Shame. The homes look so good.

  • Jesse Mohr | July 27, 2014 at 9:40 pm |

    Watching the Giants/Dodgers game on ESPN. Looks like the HOF 75th Anniversary patches aren’t working well. Hyun-jin Ryu earlier had his below the D in Dodgers, but later in the game had it above the D. In the 5th inning, Jake Peavy’s patch fell as he was delivering a pitch.

    • Chuck | July 27, 2014 at 9:50 pm |

      A. Gon’s patch is below the D also. Peavy does not have one at all.