By Phil Hecken
Fans of throwback uniforms were in for a triple-treat yesterday, as the Seattle Mariners (shown in the “vintage camcorder” effect video above) and the St. Louis Cardinals met in Seattle for a 1984 throwback game — and the Milwaukee Brewers hosted the Washington Nationals, while the Atlanta Braves hosted the New York Mets — who both played Negro League Tribute/throwback games. To my knowledge, all teams have worn said throwbacks before (certainly in the case of the Negro League throwbacks), and I’m fairly positive the Mariners and Cardinals have worn throwbacks in either they exact year or same style as those worn last evening. Lets look at some pictures! (Continue reading)
In yesterday’s installment of Collector’s Corner, Brinke Guthrie showcased a few items featuring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ original mascot character, Bucco Bruce.
I was 12 years old when Bucco Bruce and the rest of the Bucs’ inaugural creamsicle design scheme were introduced in 1976. Bruce was an object of scorn for years — in part, no doubt, because the early Bucs were a historically bad team, although I’m pretty sure people also disliked the logo on its own terms. When the Bucs jettisoned the creamsicles and went pewter in 1997, most people said, “Good riddance.”
In recent years, though, Bruce has had a bit of a renaissance. What once seemed embarrassing now seems nostalgically quaint. Disdain and contempt have given way to a sentimental embrace. (Lots of other old logos and uniform designs have traveled that same route, of course.)
All of which raises two questions that I don’t think we’ve ever addressed here: (Continue reading)
I have a bunch of MLB style guides from the late 1990s and early 2000s, but none from earlier than that. So when reader Andrew Weatherly recently sent me a tweet (shown above) about a 1980 MLB style guide in his possession, that definitely got my attention. I sent a reply asking him to email me privately, which he did.
During our ensuing back-and-forth, Andrew explained that his father had purchased a printing company in Oregon and that the guide had been left behind by the company’s previous owner. I asked if he’d consider selling it and he said yes, so we agreed upon a fair price and now the guide has been added to my Uni Watch library.
As you can see in his original tweet, Andrew described this as a 1980 guide. I understand why he thought that, because most of the individual style sheets carry a “10/80” notation in the lower-right corner. That means the specs were finalized in October of 1980, which in turn means that they were actually for the 1981 season, not 1980. Also, the guide was packaged in a binder with removable sheets, and the 1981 style sheets for some teams have been swapped out and replaced with updated sheets for the 1982, ’83, or ’84 seasons. So the net result is a bit of an early-1980s hodgepodge.
But it’s still an amazing document, full of invaluable information and some fascinating anomalies. I’ll do a team-by-team rundown in a minute, but first here’s some basic info on the guide: (Continue reading)
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When I was 12 years old, in 1976, I read Jim Bouton’s seminal best-seller, Ball Four. I was already obsessed with stirrups by that point, so I was particularly intrigued by a passage in the book about Frank Robinson’s stirrups. I’ve quoted that passage many, many times during the 17 years that I’ve been writing about uniforms (most recently three Friday Flashbacks ago) — it’s an “old reliable” that I never tire of. If you’ve somehow missed it, here it is one more time:
It has become the fashion — I don’t know how it started, possibly with Frank Robinson — to have long, long stirrups with a lot of white showing. The higher your stirrups, the cooler you are. Your legs look long and cool instead of dumpy and hot. The way to make your stirrups longest, or what are called high-cuts, is to slice the stirrup and sew in some extra material.
Bouton wrote those words in April of 1969. I’ve always assumed he was the first one to publicly discuss Robinson’s stirrups, mainly because most of Ball Four consisted of topics that nobody had ever publicly discussed before (players being hung over on the field, players having lots of extra-marital sex during road trips, coaches being assholes, etc.).
But it turns out Robinson’s stirrups had been a hot topic of discussion two years earlier. Not only that, but his stirrups had led the American League to impose a rule regarding stirrups — a rule that I had been completely unaware of until now. It all adds up to a major lost chapter in MLB uniform history that’s now been recovered.
The person who deserves credit for this discovery is Uni Watch reader Will Shoken. He saw the Ball Four quote in that recent Friday Flashback column and was intrigued, so he contacted his brother, Fred Shoken, who has access to The Baltimore Sun’s archives. Fred did some digging and came up with several articles regarding Robinson’s stirrups, which were apparently a bit of an ongoing soap opera in the the spring of 1967. (Continue reading)