By Phil Hecken
Usually, it’s UW stalwart Chance Michaels who is all things Brewers-related (whether it be the minor league, or major league variety) — actually pretty much anything Milwaukee-related is in his wheelhouse. But today’s main article comes not from Chance but from Leo Strawn, Jr., who is probably better known to readers as a rugby and Australian Rules Football guy.
Leo has penned a neat little piece on a bit of baseball history which some of us are very familiar with, while for others this is brand new ground. It describes that intersection of history when the Seattle Pilots entered the American League as an expansion team in 1969, not quite making it in that fair city, before being rechristened the “Brewers” and moving to Milwaukee in 1970.
It could only happen in 1969.
A 1969 Program Cover Oddity
By Leo Strawn, Jr.
I just saw this program cover and noticed it has the Milwaukee Brewers beer barrel man, but in red and blue. Oddly, it also has the Seattle Pilots logo amongst the rest of the AL club logos.
The American League grew to 12 teams with Seattle and Kansas City in 1969. The Pilots were purchased by Bud Selig after one year in Seattle and promptly moved to Milwaukee for the 1970 season. The minor league Brewers played their final season in Milwaukee in 1952 and had moved on to Toledo when the Braves, who later vacated the city for Atlanta in 1966, moved in from Boston in 1953.
Thus, those two teams, Brewers and Pilots, never existed at the same time.
In 1968, the season prior to the second expansion (Seattle/K.C.), Selig had an agreement with the Chicago White Sox to play a handful of home games in Milwaukee’s now-vacant stadium, one v. each team, for a total of 9 games, from which nearly 1/3 of the Sox attendance totals for that season came. The Pale Hose understandably were happy to agree to a similar arrangement the following year.
Apparently this was a program cover for one of the 11 games the Chicago White Sox played in Milwaukee during the ’69 season, which impressively accounted for over 1/3 of the Chisox total attendance that year. Selig is reported to have had an agreement to purchase a majority share of the White Sox with the intention of moving the team to Milwaukee full time, but the AL was reluctant to surrender Chicago to the National League and the owners wouldn’t agree to the sale.
The name he was using to lure a team at that time was a minor league tradition for the locals: Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club. The color scheme he used was the traditional red and blue on a barrel man logo that had been used, at least since the 1940s …
… by the American Association team.
So even though there wasn’t a “team” in Milwaukee, Selig was working hard in 1968 and ’69 to lure someone, if not the Sox, to Wisconsin, and whatever team that turned out to be was destined to be called the “Milwaukee Brewers”.
Expansion in ’69 offered Selig a chance at luring the Pilots or Royals to his home also, and when the league wouldn’t allow the Chisox sale to him, he pushed through a quick purchase of Seattle from bankruptcy and moved them to Milwaukee in a rush (about a week before opening day), including (as I’m certain I’ve seen on Uni Watch) even recycling the Pilots uniforms to reflect the new name, thus changing the barrel man from red and blue to yellow and blue, which had been the Pilots’ color scheme.
Seattle, of course sued and, 7 years later, were granted another expansion club, the Mariners, which also used the same color scheme.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Thanks, Leo — great little bit of uni/team history there (and yes, some of you probably knew all of this — but it’s interesting to see that 1969 program juxtaposing the Brewers and the Pilots.) Only in 1969.
Meanwhile: Paul has a new ESPN column today, and it should be a crowd-pleaser — you’ll get to vote on whether you prefer the white uni or the colored uni for all 30 NHL teams. Check it out here.
NHL to Seattle?
This is an interesting development. Got an e-mail last night from today’s lede article author Leo, and it goes like this:
Someone on Facebook posted this shield and the following:
Is the #NHL coming to Seattle? Expansion to 32 teams is believed to be all but fact for the 2015-16 team, along with a complete overhaul of the affiliate #AHL & #ECHL teams, and Seattle is serious about re-joining the league! Would-be Seattle #Sonics owner Chris Hansen has signed a “non-binding” agreement with prospective NHL owner Victor Coleman from Vancouver, B.C., regarding the proposed arena in Seattle’s Sodo neighbourhood. Coleman, who has had extensive meetings with Commissionaire Gary Bettman since May, heads one of the groups bidding for a potential NHL team. Coleman says “I think the demographic base in Seattle and the desire of the NHL in that marketplace is the perfect match right now. The expansion of the NHL into the Pacific Northwest, with Vancouver and the presiding area, makes it a perfect fit. There are built in synergies. That’s a ‘Day 1’ rivalry.”
Seattle and Cincinnati or Cleveland would be nice. Should be easy enough: Move Detroit back to the west and expand to Seattle (for 16 teams), then expand to Ohio (for 16 in east). Natural rivalries in Pacific Northwest and the natural Ohio/Pittsburgh rivalries.
Thanks (again) Leo. Good stuff — it’s interesting that there is a lot of discussion these days about a “return” (hey, they had the Metropolitans all those years ago — how great would a sweater like this be?) of NHL hockey to Seattle. Even more interesting if they get a hockey team before they replace the Sonics.
Patch update: In case you missed it earlier this week, the Uni Watch 15th-anniversary patches are now in stock and available for ordering. As you can see above, they look great. Full details on how to order can be found here.
Question of the Week
Every Thursday Intern Mike Chamernik poses a uniform-related question to the readership. Here’s today’s:
In a different life I would be an architect, and I would certainly be designing Major League ballparks. I’ve always been drawn to baseball stadiums, as opposed to football, basketball and hockey venues, because MLB parks differ so much due to field configurations and dimensions, and by how parks constructed in different generations are still in use today.
What’s your favorite Major League ballpark in terms of aesthetic value and/or functionality on the field? Does not have to be one that you’ve been to. Also, what’s your favorite ballpark quirk, and what’s your least favorite park?
To me, AT&T Park in San Francisco is awesome. The bricks for the right field wall is great, as is the giant ball and Coke bottle in left. The possibility of hitting the ball into the ocean is a really cool feature, too. In terms of unique aspects from other parks, I’ve always loved the Royals’ fountains, the Mets’ home run apple and Bernie Brewer’s slide. As for a least favorite, I have to say Rogers Centre in Toronto. Maybe it’s nice in person, but it looks so dull on TV.
[Today's Ticker was written and edited, almost entirely, by Mike Chamernik]
Baseball News: The 2015 All-Star Game patch is now for sale, complete with embroidered mustache and pillbox cap (from Phil). … The Giants had a great letterhead in 1938 (from Chris Flinn). … Jamie Burditt was watching Full House and saw Uncle Joey wearing a Tigers throwback jersey. Did Detroit indeed wear that at some point in time?
NFL/CFL News: Giants DB Antrel Rolle wore a TV-number-less game jersey during Tuesday’s practice, and it seems like he was representing his alma mater, The U, with orange cleats and visor (from Scott Morell). … Yesterday we saw a Steelers-themed US Airways plane, but Jeffrey Snedden says the airline company has ones for the Eagles, Panthers and Cardinals, too. “They were representative of the ‘hub’ cities for the old (pre-American Airlines merger) US Airways — Pittsburgh, Philly, Charlotte, and Phoenix,” he says. “I worked for US Airways when they painted these liveries, it was a nice touch for the employees in the hub cities.” … There’s a new mascot of the CFL Hall of Fame. His name is “Fumbles” (via Tanner Dabbs).
College Football News: Boise State will wear an orange helmet against Ole Miss later this month (from Phil). … Western Carolina switched from Russell to Adidas (from Kevin Kilby). … Also, UAB showed off some new helmets (from Coleman Mullins). … Here’s a couple more looks at Utah’s Diamond Ranch Academy, featured in yesterday’s Ticker (from Eric Wright). … Here’s a look at the C-USA patches being applied to the Marshall Thundering Herd jerseys (Coleman Mullins, again). … And here are a few more looks at the new Kansas Jayhawks new red chrome uni (h/t Tanner King). … The Liberty Flames, a college football program that competes in NCAA Division I-FCS, in the Big South Conference, got new uniforms (h/t Andrew Tranum and Tyler Nohe).
Soccer News: All the games in next year’s Women’s World Cup will be played on artificial turf, and that may put the players at a disadvantage (from Paul).
NBA & College hoops News: We’ve seen this before, but it’s stillcool: An Etsy for sports fans. I include it in the NBA section because it seems that the site’s wheelhouse is selling old Champion-brand NBA replica jerseys (thanks, Brian Mazmanian). … People are buying Andrew Wiggins Cavs jerseys in hopes that they will become collectors items someday. … The Bucks changed the wordmark on their jerseys last week. However, we haven’t seen what their new home jersey will look like yet. The team Instagrammed two pics of Jabari Parker today, one wearing the new road jersey and one wearing the old home. … New unis for Arizona.
Grab Bag: Five of the nine teams in next week’s National Rugby Championship in Australia will wear orange or yellow jerseys (from Phil). … Steve Skurski created Buffalo Bills- and Syracuse-themed cornhole tables. … The Army has updated several policies, including its PT uniforms, camouflage pattern and tattoo restrictions (from Tommy Turner). … Here are the jumpers for the teams in the Australian Rules International Cup (from Leo Strawn, Jr.). … Adidas is selling pre-mudded running shoes.
Hey UWers — Help a fellow reader out?
Blake Pass asks us for a favor, so here it is:
I put this in the comments section a couple of days ago, but I know that not everyone who reads Uni-Watch reads the comments. So…I was wondering if you might be able to help me out. My paint scheme on www.qlracing.com is one of three finalists up for vote. It is the one entitled GHOST FLAME. You have to enter your info in all the blanks the first time you vote, but every day after that you only have to enter you email.
If my scheme wins, I win a trip to Dover, Delaware to see Ryan Newman drive a car with my design on it.
Thanks for your help, and thanks to the Uni-Watch readers who have already helped me out,
So how about it readers — let’s throw Blake a little love, shall we?
OK, that’s it for this Thursday — don’t forget to check back, as Paul’s ESPN column (and it sounds like a great one) should be running shortly. Hope everyone had a great day yesterday and a better one today. Thanks to Leo, Paul and Mike for their help with today’s post as well.
Tomorrow, I’ll be back with another “Fridays With Morris” segment — which is always a treat, so be sure to check back in then too. OK? OK!
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“EST? Dammit, Phil. Can’t you do anything right today?”
–James T. Huening
(To which the answer was an unequivocal “No.”)