Tag Archives: baseball uniforms

The new Miami Marlins logo: Nice design, wrong context

The new Miami Marlins logo is a fantastic look for somebody pulling down $8 an hour at a burger joint or a juice shop. But on a professional athlete making a couple of million dollar a year for hitting .236? I don’t think so.

Detached from baseball, the logo is appealing. The font is light, modern, inventive. The marlin swoosh is clever. The color palette seems drawn from the shells washing up along the Atlantic beaches (or maybe from Robin Williams’ wardrobe in “The Birdcage.”)

But apply the logo to a cap as shown and we’re talking Orange Julius in Ocala, not         Game 7 of the Fall Classic.

I suspect that the Marlins players will react to these uniforms much the way male dogs that get frou-frou haircuts do: They’ll skulk for a few days, then gradually build up the nerve to venture out in public.

Once the Marlins’ new uniforms get a few grass stains and cleat tears, they’ll look better. And I will give them this much credit: They make me appreciate the old Houston Astros’ mustard-stripe specials.

The Orioles bring back the cartoon logo

The Baltimore Orioles have resurrected the old cartoon logo that was featured on their uniforms and caps up until the late ’80s. The Baltimore Sun tells you pretty much all you need to know at this link. The Sun also has a poll, and the fans are overwhelmingly in favor of the change.

I prefer the “ornithologically correct Oriole” myself, but I still like the cartoon bird. What I don’t like is the logo imposed on a white panel and the front of the cap.  That brings back too many bad 70s fashion flashbacks.

Iconic baseball caps: Chicago White Sox

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The Chicago White Sox cap has gone through several iterations over the long history of the South Side franchise, and I write tonight to recognize the classy gothic lettering that now adorns the current model (displayed by infielder Gordon Beckham last summer). The script has that old-timey look and feel to it, and the bright white adorning the black field behind delivers crisp contrast.

When I was a kid in the 60s, the Sox went with block letters to spell out S-O-X, as modeled on Pete Ward’s Topps 1964 rookie card below.

(I actually have this card in my collection, as ’64 was the first year I kept my cards. If only I could reclaim those ’63s,’62s – but that’s a subject for another post.)

I liked that ’60s Sox look very much, and if I had to pick one Chisox cap I’d probably choose that style.

A special note to readers:

I am omitting any image associated with the Sox’s tragically misguided cap and uniform choices of the late 1970s and early 1980s, although here’s a link if you really must subject yourself to the horror.

Rest assured, the short pants uniform is NOT depicted.

Capping off the Home Run Derby

large_princemgWhile not wearing a cap, Prince Fielder won the Home Run Derby tonight in St. Louis on the eve of the All-Star Game. In fact, several sluggers went capless in taking their hacks at Busch Stadium, and maybe that’s just as well. I was not keen on either of the league’s cap and jersey styles. To me, the All-Star Game always has been special, and seeing all the caps and colors from the various teams represented made it so.

One of my Twitter buddies, who posts a San Francisco Giants blog called Nuschlers News, asked during the derby if anyone besides him preferred the old days when the players wore their own team uniforms or at least their team caps while at the All-Star Game. I’m not sure how many replies he received, but all but two preferred players wearing their own apparel.

The derby is a lot of fun, and our family usually makes a point to watch, although it’s a little more difficult out here in the Pacific time zone than it was when we lived in the Eastern.

The kids running loose in the outfield to retrieve flyballs is a nice, if calculated, touch. You can imagine the baseball marketing guys saying, “Let’s remind everybody that this is a game for kids played by men who still are kids at heart.” Yeah, yeah. And let’s all profit richly (by selling All-Star uniforms and caps, say?).

But I shan’t crab anymore. The All-Star Game and the hoopla surrounding it are genuine American creations and traditions. I can’t remember if the players revert to their own uniforms and caps in the game itself, but I certainly hope that’s what happens tomorrow night. I want to see Tim Lincecum in San Francisco orange and black standing on the sidelines for the anthem with Manny Ramirez in his Dodger blue, Derek Jeter in Yankee pinstripes and Ichiro sporting the Mariners’ compass rose. Those “ordinary” uniforms gathered on one diamond underscore just how special a night it is.

Gigantes vs. Cerveceros

I turned on the TV in roughly the fifth inning last evening to watch the Giants play the Brewers and gleefully discovered the teams were wearing Spanish-language uniforms. The Giants’ road grays had “Gigantes” emblazoned on the front, and the Brew Crew has “Cerveceros” across their chests. The teams wore their normal caps.

While crass commercialism no doubt in part drives the proliferation of alternate uniforms at major league games, I can put that aside. It’s cool to see the uniforms in Spanish, all the more so when so many Latin American players are in the game.

The Brewers have scheuled a Hispanic heritage game in recent years, and there’s now a sombrero-clad chorizo taking part in the sausage race during the 7th inning stretch.

As for “Los Gigantes,” they always seem to find a way to lose in Miller Park. I should have stuck to the game on radio. Once I started watching, things turned sour for Barry Zito.

As a former Milwaukeean, I still hold a strong allegiance to the Brewers. But although my wife was beside me rooting for the home team, I was fully pulling for the Giants, who grabbed a 6-4 lead in the top of the ninth only to blow it in the bottom and lose 7-6.

But I take heart. There’s always manana.

Love those throwback uniforms!

Virgil VasqeuzI always get a charge out of the games in which major league ball clubs wear “throwback” uniforms, such as the Pittsburgh Pirates did last night. The Pirates wore the uniforms of the Homestead Grays in defeating the Kansas City Royals, who were wearing Kansas City Monarchs uniforms. Virgil Vasquez (in photo) sports a Grays cap as he delivers a pitch.

There was one strange experiment a few years back in which major league teams wore so-called “uniforms of the future,” and I can recall pictures of the Oakland Athletics in jerseys with quirky sans-serif script that looked like it was out of “Blade Runner.” Better that the teams stick to the throwbacks.

A very cool baseball uniform database

Detroit 1905With my limited attention span and not contradictory ability to lose myself in any deep well of data on subjects dear to me, a friend forwarding a link to a baseball uniform database tempted me severely today.

The database is part of Dressed to the Nines, a section of the Baseball Hall of Fame Web site devoted to the history of uniforms. What a treasure trove it is. The uniform history of each club – National League, American League, Federal League — is presented in graphic form. At top right is a side-by-side panel of the Detroit ballclub’s home and road uniforms from 1905, the first year the fabled gothic “D” graced the front of the Tigers’ jerseys.Giants 1916

Some of the styles are classic, others – shall we say? – misguided. Get a look at the crazy window-pane plaid uniforms the New York Giants wore in 1916.

If you want to find out when the Houston Astros switched to their mustard-in-a-blender-accident double-knit softball uniforms (1975), the database will let you figure it out. The database will also show you the franchise’s cool original Colt .45s uniforms, which were worn from  1962-64.

The site is also instructive on changing cap styles. The first thing I did upon entering was to trace the evolution of Cleveland’s caps, noting that the primitive Chief Wahoo first appeared on jersey sleeves in 1947. Restyled to what became his traditional look in 1951, he moved up onto the cap inside the wishbone “C” logo in 1954.

Maybe that’s what doomed the Tribe in the World Series that year.