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Fade To Black

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By Phil Hecken

To very little fanfare, the San Francisco Giants introduced a new alternate jersey, a black one, yesterday afternoon. The unveiling was expected, the design was not entirely what was expected.

Rumors had been flowing for months that the Giants would bring back a black alternate jersey, having worn a couple different iterations of black jerseys in their recent past. But black jerseys are almost as old as the Giants’ franchise.

One of the first teams (from 1900 on) to wear black, the 1905, 1906 and 1911 (for the World Series, no less) the New York Giants wore monochrome black uniforms. No other New York Giants team would wear black jersey (or uniform) after that, though black would become a permanent part of their colorscheme.

The Giants would move west to San Francisco in 1958 and would wear basically the same uniform until 1976, when they would switch to pullover polyester uniforms for the 1977 season. For five years, beginning with 1978, the Giants would wear white, orange and black tops, all with white pants. The black tops looked like this (click this, and any other inline images, to enlarge):

Giants black jersey 1978-81

Following the 1982 season, the Giants returned to a more traditional look of white/gray, and kept that for a long time. But when the BFBS craze began dying, the Giants introduced a new black alternate jersey in 2001. It would be worn for the 2001 and 2002 seasons. The road jersey featured an orange outline on black of the words “SAN FRANCISCO” and had numbers in the same “ghost” outline, worn with the gray road pants. The home jersey followed the same pattern, except “GIANTS” was on the front, and that jersey was worn with creamish-white pants.

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giants black road jersey 2001-02

The Giants would ditch the black tops on their game uniforms (although they used black BP jerseys for some time) after the 2002 season, and stuck with a home cream/road gray set for a while. In 2010, to the delight of fans who’d loved the orange tops from the 70s/80s, the Giants added an orange alternate, worn on home Fridays. That remains in their rotation today. They’d add another road gray alternate in 2012 (the primary road jersey says “SAN FRANCISCO” across the chest, the road alternate has an interlocking “SF” on the left chest).

Clearly 4 different jerseys aren’t enough.

So yesterday, the Giants introduced their third alternate black jersey (in San Fran), and it is basically a black version of their alternate road (with orange headspoon piping):

Giants black alt

Giants new black alt - style guide 1

Giants new black alt - style guide 2 Giants new black alt - style guide 3

Giants alt

Aside from the orange piping (also on the sleeves), which at least provides some color, the uniform features the same “ghost” numbers as the previous black alternate, as well as an outlined “SF” on the chest. The uni is NNOB. On the left sleeve is a new patch which features the “GIANTS” wordmark across an image of the Golden Gate Bridge.

This uniform is designed to be worn for select home games, and will make its debut on May 2nd, which is (not coincidentally) Metallica Day (the band are apparently big fans of the Giants, having played for the Giants fans in 2013 and again in 2014, where they played the National Anthem before the game each year:

While I don’t begrudge the Giants returning to a black alternate (it is a team color, and they certainly have a history of having worn black before), they are yet another team joining the ranks of several MLB teams who have WAY too many jersey choices. We all know this is probably at least a 50% (if not more) move done to drive more retail jersey sales. I happen to like the orange alt, but this one, particularly with the return to ghost numbers, seems a bit much. I could feel a lot better about this one if they dumped the gray road alternate, but apparently that’s not in the plans. Now, if they would wear a pair of black pants (instead of the creamy whites), I could get behind it a bit more.

But hey — I’m not a Giants fan, so my opinion of the new jersey is simply that of a (as much as is possible) impartial observer. As many (looking at you, Kenn) point out, the alternate jerseys are for the fans of the team — so who better than to give his opinion of this uniform than our own Brinke Guthrie, who I asked to say a few words about the new duds. Here’s the Brinke truck:

. . .

The Giants have a new jersey, just a black dupe of the road alt. Sigh. A new top has become as much a tradition as the WS parade down Market Street. But was it really needed? Of course not. The home one is classic. Leave. It. Alone. The road jersey? It was great and then they added the headspoon. Lose it. The gray SF road? Unnecessary. But if it has to be, it needs the spoon or it looks empty. The BP? Fine, they all have ’em. That leaves the Orange Friday one- I like this, and I’d open it up to all dates. So you have a home, a “SAN FRANCISCO” road, and the orange alt. Period. Wear the black with orange cap at home, the black on the road.

How simple is that?

As far as the new thing from a technical look:

Blah. Not much too it, right?

I’m not a fan of the outline SF logo. It just doesn’t look right to me. And the headspoon piping seems thicker than its version on the road/road alt.

The patch, so what? The design will look good on a mousepad (available NOW at the Dugout Store, I’m sure.) But who needs it?

It just feels like a marketing tie-in. Imagine that! #FadeToBlack, hey, we’ll do it at Metallica Day!

Nobody markets like the Giants, tho- gotta hand it to ’em. And the bottom line is winning- gotta hand that to ’em, too.

If they could make THIS be their sole alt, say for Sundays home- I’d be fine with that.

. . .

Thanks, Brinke — I’m surprised we’re pretty much on the same page here, but I’m not that surprised.

OK, readers — what say you? Is this a good alt? Too many? BFBS (sorta)? Should they have retired either the orange or the alternate gray? Let’s hear what you think!

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Classic Ballpark Scoreboards

I’m pleased to continue with a new weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” which are created by Gary Chanko. You probably know Gary best for his wonderful colorizations, but he has been a solid contributor for many years, and this is his new project. This segment will appear every Saturday on Uni Watch.

Here’s Gary (click on image to enlarge):

. . . . . . . . . .

Classic Football Scoreboards – Tenth in a Series
by Gary Chanko

The initial series of Classic Football Scoreboards concludes this week with the Miami Orange Bowl stadium. The Orange Bowl was originally called Burdine Stadium (after Roddy Burdine, founder of a department store chain) when opened in 1937. In 1959 it was renamed the Orange Bowl.

After seven decades of use for sporting events, including five Super Bowls, and big event concerts the Orange Bowl was demolished in 2008. The site is now occupied by Marlins Park, the home of the MLB Miami Marlins. You can view a short documentary history of the Orange Bowl here.


Trivia Time: The Orange Bowl is one of six stadiums that hosted a Super Bowl but no longer exist. Can you name the other five? The answer is at the end.


Orange Bowl Scoreboard UW

The Orange Bowl

Home of: Orange Bowl Game (1938-95), University of Miami Hurricanes (1937-2007), Miami Seahawks, AAFC (1946), Miami Dolphins (1966-86), FIU (2007), Minor League baseball Marlins (various games 1956-60), various championship soccer matches.
Opened: First football game December 1937, Demolished: 2008

If asked, a sports fan can always recall a day (perhaps several!) they would label “the worst in their lives.” If you’re a Seahawks fan, last Sunday may be one of those days. I’ve had a few “worst days,” but January12, 1969 is at the top of my list. On that date my Baltimore Colts were humiliated by Broadway Joe and the AFL New York Jets in Super Bowl III.

The Packers easily won the first two NFL-AFL Championship games and the Colts (13-1) were heavily favored to win Super Bowl III. The oddsmakers made them an 18 point favorite – the second largest point spread in Super Bowl history. The Colts lost in what is described as the “luckiest game ever won,” – maybe.

The graphic captures the Orange Bowl scoreboard for Super Bowl III as time begins to run out for the Colts in that dreadful 16-7 loss.

A Few Things to Know

• This Orange Bowl history video (about the 6:45 mark) shows what appears to be the original scoreboard from the 1930s. It looks very similar to the design layout seen at Philadelphia Memorial Stadium and Columbia University during the same era.

• The Orange Bowl featured this amazing scoreboard through 1963. It was originally installed sometime in the 1940s (exact year is unknown, but visible in 1949 Orange Bowl photos.) This is a definite candidate for a future classic football scoreboard. By 1964 the scoreboard, located in the east end zone, and depicted in this week’s illustration, was in place. Advertising space was added on top during the early 1970s.

• The stadium lacked state-of-the-art video boards well into the 1990s. This scoreboard photo displays the final game in the Orange Bowl, a “Farewell to the Orange Bowl Stadium” flag football game between former Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes players.

• The 1964 Orange Bowl Game was the first college bowl game to be televised in prime time.


Answer to the Trivia Question: Tulane Stadium (hosted three Super Bowls; demolished in 1980), Tampa Stadium (hosted two Super Bowls; demolished 1999), Stanford Stadium (hosted one Super Bowl; demolished and redeveloped 2006), and the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (hosted one Super Bowl, demolished 2014).


Pitchers and catchers will report in a few weeks for the start of Spring Training. Classic Scoreboards will return soon with a new series of Classic Baseball Scoreboards.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If anyone is interested in purchasing a digital copy of these posters, Gary is working on an online purchase option. In the interim you can contact him directly at

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all sport uni tweaks

Uni 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 Jeremy McCoy, who has some concepts for the Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech:

GeorgiaTechGoldConcept  - Jeremy McCoy

GeorgiaTechWhiteGoldConcept - Jeremy McCoy

GeorgiaTechAllWhiteConcept - Jeremy McCoy GeorgiaTechBlueConcept - Jeremy McCoy


Hi my name is Jeremy McCoy and I have a few Concepts for the Georgia Tech football team. This is the first time I’ve attempted something like this but I think I could see the Yellow Jackets in these Uniforms.

As for descriptions. The first two are a variation on the classic gold on white and white on gold both with the classic gold helmets. The other two concepts include the throwback white helmet with one concept being an all white alternate and the other being a 1990 National Championship inspired blue alternate.

Just having someone else see this would be awesome.

Thank You.


. . .

And we close today with Peter Quinn who has a concept for the Minnesota Timberwolves:

Timberwolves UniTweak - Peter G. Quinn

Good Evening,

The Cavs got a redesign a while ago due to their new era starting with the return of James. Thought the Wolves’ new young core deserved a change from the angry kitten Timberwolf they have been using. I liked their original logo way more, so I used that as a base idea. But tried to be bold. I’m no professional, nor am I even an amateur as you can probably see. But I thought I would just give it a whirl.


Peter G. Quinn

. . .

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

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Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: Some nice finds by Sully: Check out this 1896 Mt. Union base ball team (love the underlined “T”). Also from Sully, the 1908 baseball team from St. John’s. And check out this photo of the 1910 Norwich University baseball team — LOVE that diamond logo! … Some more cool photo finds (I think we may have seen some before, but once more couldn’t hurt) from Brian Mazmanian: Tony Oliva modeling helmet ear flap prototype, and a 1950 baseball cap designed to reduce glare, a kid voting in a White Sox uni contest (wearing TB Bucs shirt), and Gil McDougald modeling a new style of batting helmet (from 1960?). Looks like what many of us wore in little league, no? … Here’s a nice 1950’s shot of Ebbets Field (h/t Dugout Legends). … The Montgomery Biscuits will be holding a Back To The Future night on June 27th, complete with Marty McFly jerseys (h/t Minor League Promos). Hopefully they will wear these caps (h/t Mr. Farenheit). … Looks like Hunter Pence’s high cuff shenanigans will be forever immortalized on his 2015 Topps card. Also: that face! … There are some new uniforms for Trinity Univeristy (h/t Paul). … We’re getting close. So close. … The Midland RockHounds will be wearing these jerseys for their “Oil Field Weekend” (similar to the jerseys worn by oil rig workers). OK then (thanks to Brent Hanauer). … New softball uniforms for AU Athletics (via TwoFive Apparel). … Stony Brook Seawolves baseball will have a new gray uni this season (love those stirrups!). Thanks, Paul. … Also with new unis are the Fresno Grizzlies (h/t Andrew Vazzano). And here’s a look at the cap. … Brett Lawrie’s new Twitter pic (here’s an enlargement) has the A’s crest on the opposite side of his jersey. Submitter Richard Paloma asks, “Bad Photoshop/airbrush?” … Here’s the “90’s Jersey that will be worn in August by the Sacremento River Cats (h/t MiLB Promos).

NFL News: This isn’t *new* news if you read Paul’s ESPN column earlier this week, but the rumors are still swirling that the Broncos may receive revamped uniforms from Nike for next season (Paul’s cited/quoted in that article). … Yesterday, The View co-host Nicole Wallace was channeling a Tom Brady throwback, according to Dennis Alpert. Either that or it was National Go Red for Women day. … “Thought you might get a kick out of this story from the Super Bowl,” writes Ken Belson. “The sculptor is a mad man. There are some videos floating around online that show the metal Cardinal meeting the Arizona Cardinal mascot. Pretty funny.” … Not exactly earth shattering news here, but all that Seahawks Super Bowl Championship merch will go to a good home in some foreign country (thanks Brinke).

College Football News: “At Syracuse, the retired No. 44 is a recruiting tool, apparently,” says Todd Gaines. … Here’s Auburn’s new video board with some size perspective (h/t Kevin Ives). … The Bowling Green Falcons, who are going to be with Nike, are returning to brown uniforms, according to the school’s AD (thanks to David Hamen). … Interesting article from our friends over at Chris Creamer’s site, “Is the NCAA trying to control the college football uniform craze?”, which includes a quote Jim Vilk would love: “The idea isn’t to stop Oregon, or any school, from wearing a different uniform each week. It’s to literally be able to read the jersey numbers from the press box” (though Jim might disapprove of the split infinitive).

NBA News: Brian Mazmanian had a few photos in the MLB section, but here’s a photo of NBA player Lloyd Neal wearing a protective mask. … Here’s a great article on new Pacers (“FloJo”) unis (from Dave Soline).

Hockey News: Michal Neuvirth, a goalie for the Buffalo Sabres, was wearing new pads in practice yesterday (from Leah Voit). … Wow, check out the awesome jersey on SI writer George Plimpton when he played in goal for the Bruins 37 years ago (h/t Nick Griffin).

Soccer News: This is pretty cool — apparently there is a French company that will transform soccer jerseys into gear bags (here’s a bit more on that company, if you’re interested). … The Tulsa Roughnecks are getting their first-ever jersey sponsor. YAY!

College Hoops News: Going to a game? Wanna get the “DEE-FENSE” chants started? Now you can with these easy premade D-(picture of fence) kits. Kinda takes the fun out of the homemade signs, now, doesn’t it? … The Towson Tigers will wear blue uniforms for Saturday’s Autism Awareness game (thanks, to Derek Summerville, via Paul). Here’s a closeup view. And here’s a bit more on that. … That Miami Hurricanes concept that was in yesterday’s ticker? Well, the guy who created it has updated it a bit. Nice! It seems to be a riff on the old ABA Miami Floridians (which the Heat “threwback” to later on). … Last evening, Dayton broke out their “midnight blue” uniforms for the first time this season (h/t Tom Hirt). … On Sunday, THE Ohio State University ladies will be wearing gray unis with pink accents against Indiana (from Andrew Lind). Here’s some additional gear they’ll wear (via Caleb Clark).

Grab Bag: Check out this photos of Japanese urban curling by day and by night. Pretty cool. … “The Foo Fighters are playing their 2015 tour across the U.S. at famous sports stadiums,” writes Anthony Giaccone. “I bought tickets to attend the Chicago concert at Wrigley and bought a commemorative t-shirt. They also have tees for RFK Stadium and Fenway. They have one for Citifield but I couldn’t find it. But I did find the poster for the second show.”

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That’s going to do it for today, everyone. Thanks to Brinke, Gary, the concepters and all of you who tweet at me and submit via e-mail for the ticker. I’ll be back with more tomorrow, and I’ll catch you then.

Follow me on twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“Nice job on the Fifty Shades of Grey jerseys, Bakersfield Condors! They’ll be a big hit with your target fan base of families and young kids!”


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Comments (33)

    The San Francisco Giants’ new alt. jersey is not only ugly but it’s boring. Why can’t baseball evolve away from that tired overused template? They would have been better off unretiring a trio of BP jerseys they may or may not have worn in the 1980s. A much fresher look.

    Only 4 stadia were listed at the end of Gary’s piece. I think the 5th is the Silverdome, right?

    The problem is with the neglectful owners. The whole situation is a mess, and the owners seem to be in hiding of late. It’s a damn shame.

    Sad thing is, the Silverdome was still in use in 2012, even if it was only hosting sporadic events. Roof goes down, and the whole thing turns to shit practically overnight.

    It’s sad when you think about what happened with the two historic venues in Detroit. I never made it to Olympia, being too young, but seeing pictures of its condition inside in 1985, the year before its demolition, is still heartbreaking. Then there was Tiger Stadium sitting idle for a decade.

    Good thing Cobo Arena didn’t suffer that fate, as it was closed, demolished, and rebuilt into a new extension of Cobo Center in fairly short order. And there are plans in place to redevelop the Joe Louis Arena property once the Wings have moved out (helpful that it’s next door to Cobo).

    Even without the roof, it was a viable facility for certain activities. But when they auctioned off everything they could get their hands on, including the electrical wiring and plumbing fixtures, it was toast. Too much money involved to restore it, they’re content to let the city take it back for taxes as is. Weasels.

    Given the large number of games in a baseball season, I’m really ok with teams having more alternate uniforms than in other sports. That said, if I were the Giants I’d ditch the 2nd gray jersey.

    Interesting that the Fresno Grizzlies have switched their home script from team name to city name. Also, they’re sticking with a very Giants-esque look despite not being a Giants farm team. I guess the assumption is that Fresnans really want to sport the orange and black when supporting a baseball team.

    I wonder if they considered a color scheme change. I suppose since they’re now an Astros affiliate, it was easy to stick with orange.

    Regarding the Orange Bowl stadium history timeline, the 1999 Orange Bowl game, played on Jan. 2, 1999 and won by Florida over Syracuse 31-10, was the last one played at the Orange Bowl stadium due to a conflict with the NFL playoffs. The Dolphins hosted and defeated the Bills 24-17 at then-Pro Player Stadium the same day.

    At least the Pirates have contrast in their alt.

    I don’t have a problem with the Giants in black. Team color, and all that, so it isn’t BFBS. But it’s not the *only* team color, so an orange number and SF would have been nice.

    In fact, of the three orange and black teams, only the Giants look right in black to me. The Orioles should only have an orange alt and the Marlins…well, they should just go back to teal already.

    I’m okay with a black alt for the Giants, but this design is boring. They should’ve brought back the Bonds GIANTS look. The black tops look great at night, but the Orange Friday theme in SF has really taken off so Friday nights are out. Any chance for solely wearing them at night are midweek night games or on Saturday nights, which would mean 3 different jerseys on 3 different nights on a home stand, which is weird to think of as a Giants fan. The team has done a great job of getting fans into wearing orange, just compare the crowd in that Bonds home picture in the black alt to a picture from last year and you’ll see a lot more orange in it. My dad is as old school as it gets to uniforms, calling the Giants white/grey unis ‘The tuxedos of baseball’ and I showed him a picture of this new alt and he texted back ‘Nice’ I think he likes the interlocking SF logo. I see it more as a chance for another bump to jersey sales, something that seems to keep happening each year for this team. We’ll see how they mix it into the rotation. They probably should have ditched the road alts.

    Aside from the concept that Sunday is the day for the orange billed alt cap, any idea why the Giants do not wear that hat with the orange jerseys on Friday?

    The black alt is meh. I agree it looks good at night, but the numbers are illegible if you are more than ten rows off the field.

    The ghost outline looks terrible. All they had to do was make the “SF” and the numbers orange or white. Simple fix.

    Agreed, and while some outsiders and the small number of members in the NY Giants Preservation Society care about 1911, don’t think that was involved in the switch here.

    Countless thousands of SF Giants fans do recall the black tops from the 70s, and if they didn’t see Vida Blue and company, older family members did. Add to that the recent use of black jerseys, and the organization just felt comfortable with a change.

    Chelsea’s third kit isn’t half bad looking: link

    Also, Hull City is going away kit for away kit’s sake (unless orange clashes with sky blue somehow).

    Considering Lawrie got traded in the off-season and never played a game with the A’s, that would leave it as a bad Photoshop.

    The iconic LONGINE’s clock. Would love to see it may a comeback as a throwback part of these new stadiums being punched down across the country. Pretty sure Longine’s are still around.

    By the way, the Uniform Database incorrectly shows the Giants having worn the orange top in 1980 & 1981. They ditched the orange top after 1979, brought it back around mid 1982 as both a home and road alt. For 1980 & 1981, they wore the black jersey on the road only.

    The Giants jersey (or at least the conceptual drawing of) that I want to see is the one when they were threatening to move to become the Tampa Bay Giants.

    I don’t think there ever was an actual jersey mocked up, but I know that there was a drawing unveiled for just the road jerseys with TAMPA BAY on the front. The home jerseys were to remain the same.

    I’ve always had a problem with the piping on the Giants cream home, which is also similar to the orange and the new black alt: it’s on the edge of the sleeve. The two road jerseys bring the sleeve piping up to the proper place – a short distance from the edge. It’s a little thick on those two, but I love two color/three stripe piping. Traditionally it’s been around a quarter inch of so from the edge of the sleeve. Putting it right AT the edge makes it less visible.

    I’m totally amused by the Sacramento River Cats’ Legends of the Hidden Temple Red Jaguars jerseys. We need some more MILB teams doing them, though, as there are five other teams to be represented: the Blue Barracudas, the Orange Iguanas, the Green Monkeys, the Purple Parrots, and the Silver Snakes.

    Regarding the Giants jersey, at least they don’t do camo. To me, the black jersey would be fine if: it said “GIANTS” instead of “SF”, didn’t have the neckspoon piping, and used solid lettering instead of outlined lettering. Like Paul, I’d really like it they paired it with black pants. As for their other jerseys, I don’t like the neckspoon piping on their standard road jersey, I like the alternate road jersey, and the home and alternate orange jerseys are great. However, I’d also drop ALL the gold drop shadowing, and pair the black and orange cap with the orange jersey only.

    No other New York Giants team would wear black jersey (or uniform) after that, though black would become a permanent part of their colorscheme.

    But it didn’t, not until the 40s. John McGraw went with violet for a number of seasons, and for a few, the Giants wore blue, white, and red (weren’t the New York Knights uniforms in “The Natural” broadly based on the Giants uniforms of the period?).

Comments are closed.