By Phil Hecken
To celebrate their World Series winning season of 1966, the Orioles threwback (or faux’edback) last evening to that magical year, wearing uniforms that pretty well approximated the ones worn in 1966. Unfortunately, to have been a true throwback, the uniforms in 1966 would NOT have come with the “50th Anniversary – World Champions” patch like the one you see above. But other than that…
Now, if you’d just casually tuned into last evening’s game, you could be forgiven for barely noticing the Orioles unis were even different than their current uniforms. Yes, the cap they wear today has a white front panel and the “Orioles” is larger, but the 1966 uniforms (and many of the years in between) have featured the Birds in remarkably similar uniforms — a testament to their classic design and staying power.
Seeing the throwbacks yesterday (and pictures from the game were both hard to come by AND very late in hitting the interwebs) will make my future “What’s Your Sign(ature)” for the Orioles very difficult (but that’s for another day). That’s because the team has, with the exception of a few outliers at the beginning of their stay in Baltimore, been remarkably consistent. The fauxbacks worn last evening don’t dramatically differ from their current set.
They nailed the throwba…er, fauxbacks well. Let’s first take some looks at the 1966 uni (that home white set was basically worn from 1966 through 1974 — it featured a black cap with the original cartoon bird and an orange brim. Their current home cap features an almost identical cartoon bird, except it is worn on a black cap with a white crown and orange brim. The jersey script then featured Orioles in orange with a black outline. Today’s wordmark is similar, but with a slightly different script and a “tail” underline.
A look at some of those 1966-74 unis:
Beautiful, right? Right. Of course, one of the *trademarks* of not just that uniform, but many uniforms was the Orioles distinctive stirrups — with their black/white/black/white/orange pattern. I was hoping to see a full set of those on the players last evening. Alas…twas not to be — although there were a few players who did rock the original rups. It was glorious:
One thing you might immediately notice — the batting helmets. They wore their current helmets. Which is more than disappointing when you consider they basically have a throwback helmet they wear with their road grays. And they wore (as you can see in the 1966-74 photos above) a black helmet with orange brim then. That’s one I don’t get.
As far as the jerseys, they did a good job replicating them. A Brooksie ’66 is on the left and last night’s jersey is on the right, below:
As noted above, not everyone wore the classic stirrups — but at least hosiery was worn. This is a solid look, but if you’re going to wear stirrups (and that’s starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez who is almost always stirrup-clad), shouldn’t you go with the black/white/orange set?
There were of course, those who didn’t even hike up their pants for the occasion…and that made it look just like any ol’ game…
I realize this game was to honor the 1966 season — and to that extent they did, bringing back many members of the 1966 World Series winning team…
…but the fauxback, the lack of effort on the helmets (and players who didn’t get properly hosed) — and the fact that they didn’t outfit their opponents (the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) in period appropriate unis (who wore these gorgeous roadies in 1966) just seemed like a letdown. If you’re going to throwback, don’t half-ass it — and this seemed to be a less than 100% effort all around.
I loved seeing the ’66 look, and it could EASILY be worn today and look great, don’t get me wrong. But last night’s uni-fest could have been so, so much better.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) July 9, 2016
’77 Philly Bell Concept Set
This is pretty cool. Earlier this week I got an e-mail from UW favorite Jimmy Corcoran who shared with me a pretty cool mini-set of “WFL Trading Cards” from the 1977 season. Of course, if you follow defunct football leagues, you know the WFL didn’t play a 1977 season. And of course, as is his wont, Jimmy has a great set of stories to accompany the concepts. You can click on any of the photos below to enlarge.
I’ll let Jimmy explain:
How are you Phil?
I made a set of Philadelphia Bell football cards based on the 1977 NFL ones, if the WFL was still in business in 1977 I could picture these cards inserted in your Wonder Bread in the Philadelphia area at that time.
These were all guys I knew as a kid, Frank was my father’s back up in 1974 but was gone by 1975. Alan “A Train” Thompson had the best car on the team, a brand new yellow corvette, it was the same color as the Bell football pants. One time after practice his vette was parked right next to my Father’s Lincoln in the players lot at JFK stadium, I said A Train, you have the best car here. He said “Thanks little man, why don’t you ask the King to buy a Corvette?” I said, he has a 1974 silver convertible one, it’s back in Maryland my mother drives it” A Train laughed and said, “why doesn’t that surprise me? the King loves his wheels” When the King signed with the Philadelphia Bell, he took his bonus money and bought a brand new 1974 Corvette to celebrate.
I used an interesting picture of Vince Papale, as I have mentioned before the Philadelphia Bell only had one set of jerseys. This picture is from the 1975 game against the Sun, sometime during the trip from Philadelphia to California his jersey disappeared and all they had for him was this oversized number 68 jersey. Vince caught a touchdown during this game but no one watching would know it was him? In the game program Vince Papale was listed as #44.
The Philadelphia Bell jerseys were your standard Sand Knit box cut and it was hard to customize them but the players tried, my father thought the sleeves were too long so he would roll his up. His card is also from the 1975 Sun game, my father was talking to Sun rookie superstar Anthony Davis before the game. The King always liked Anthony Davis because he destroyed Notre Dame on national TV while AD was at USC. My father always hated Notre Dame because it was his goal to play there and they didn’t recruit him. When my father got back home he told me Anthony Davis had a 100 yard kickoff return against them, he said “Jimbo, for a second I forgot where I was and has he blazed by me while I was on the sidelines I was cheering for him like I did when he beat Notre Dame last year.” He said “I didn’t realize Anthony Davis was that fast, when he went by me he was just a blur Jimbo, that cat was really moving”.
Ron Holliday also played on the Pottstown Firebirds with my father, he liked his sleeves baggy like Art Monk did with the Redskins. He would tear the sleeves apart but when the game jerseys would come back from the cleaners they would always be sewn up again. Finally he just cut huge slits in the jersey. Tim Rossovich was the opposite, he wanted tight sleeves but they didn’t have tapered sleeve cuffs in 1974 so he had his jersey sleeves sewn tight. If you look at #76 next to Tim, he has the basic baggy sleeves that were standard on the Sand Knit jerseys. Also #82 is Ted Kwalick who was a star with the Forty Niners, he is wearing Tim Rossovich’s 1974 jersey, Tim switched to #88 in 1975.
Tim had to wear #65 when he first got to the Bell because his white #82 jersey never made it back from the cleaners. This also happened to my father early in the 1974 season, his white game jersey disappeared when sent out for cleaning but they ordered him a new one before the next home game so he still got to have #9. At the time Vince Papale wasn’t famous yet, the King and Tim Rossovich were the best known players on the Bell and they were the ones whose jerseys would disappear from the cleaners.
My father always liked to look good in his uniform, early in training camp his white practice Champion jersey was stolen and they didn’t have a replacement right away. We drove up from Maryland to see him and made it to the second practice in the afternoon. I couldn’t believe what I saw, my Father was wearing a huge white t shirt over his shoulder pads with a #9 scribbled on it in black magic marker, it looked awful.
After practice I ran on the field to see what this was all about, I could see he was already pretty pissed off. He said “Jimbo, I know the King looks like shit, my jersey got stolen and all they had for me was this piece of shit! He then started yelling at the equipment guys to order him extra practice jerseys because he can’t be out here looking like this. He said ” It’s not just me Jimbo, it’s not fair to the fans, they come out here and expect the King to be looking sharp, white cleats, long white socks in my number 9 jersey, I felt so bad today I only threw 4 TD’s in practice, I should have thrown 6 or 7 but I couldn’t concentrate because I looked like shit! In my Father’s world that revolved around being “The King”, he honestly thought the fans would be disappointed if he wasn’t looking cool in his uniform. Jerry Rice would always say look good-play good, my father believed the same thing. The Bell did get a couple of extra white #9 practice jerseys so this didn’t happen to my father again. In the future I will tell you about the time his astro turf cleats never made it to Birmingham, the King had another catastrophe on his hands.
While I was in the equipment room one day helping Bob the head equipment manager fold the Bell t shirts and putting them in the cubicles I saw a rack of Detroit Lions jerseys hanging up, they were really nice and they weren’t the game jerseys with the sewn on numbers, they were a stretchy material with pressed on numbers. I remember thinking, these are really cool. I asked Bob Cologna why did he have Detroit Lions jerseys? He told me he got a good deal on them from one of his friends with the Lions. That still didn’t answer my question, so I asked him what were they for? He said that when he gets enough of them that they we going to use them for practice jerseys. Even has a 10 year old kid in 1974 this made absolutely no sense to me. I said, but Bob, these aren’t the team colors? He said, “do you know what those Champion practice jerseys cost?” and I said no? He said “an arm and a leg kid an arm and a leg, these are much cheaper”
A couple of weeks later I was helping him hang the white game jersey’s in the lockers and saw the same Lions jerseys hanging up on the rack, I asked him if they are wearing them now in practice now? Bob told me that he couldn’t get any more of them so he scrapped that idea. I still thought that it would have looked weird in practice with the defense wearing Detroit Lions jerseys but that was life in the WFL for you.
UW’s Friday Flashback
In case you missed it Friday, with the MLB All-Star Game coming up next Tuesday, Paul’s weekly Friday Flashback column on ESPN takes a look back at uni-notable moments from past All-Star Games (including the National Leaguers wearing pillbox BP caps in 1976, as seen here on Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt).
Rio Olympics Uni Correspondents Wanted!
As you all know, the
clusterfuck Rio Olympics are less than a month away, and even though it’s gonna be a shitshow there have been a few setbacks, everything appears on track to go off as scheduled.
Coincidentally, Paul will be taking his annual (and well-deserved) sabbatical from the boards during the Olympics, so I’ll be handling the weekdays at that time. As in 2012, I’m looking for a few good men and women who would like to delve into the uniforms for a particular discipline to be featured as ledes during the Games. So far, I already have correspondents for soccer and basketball, but all other sports (both team and individual) are open — and there are 42 of them (although some obviously won’t be really ‘uni-worthy’).
If you’d like to preview the uniforms for any of the events for the upcoming games and have your story featured on Uni Watch, e-mail me at Phil.Hecken@gmail.com and let me know what you’d like to cover (please include in the subject line “Olympic Correspondent Request”). I’ll do this on a first-come, first-served basis, so if there is a sport whose unis you want to write about, let me know ASAP.
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: Feast your eyes on this sumptuous 1947 All Star Game poster from the game which took place at Wrigley Field that season (from Bruce Menard). … Here’s another gorgeous one from Bruce: the 1935 ASG Program from Cleveland. … Tonight, the West Michigan Whitecaps will wear these Han Solo frozen in carbonite jerseys (from OT Sports). … Surprisingly, these are not even the first Han Solo in carbonite jerseys worn by a Minor League team. … Today is Caturday people. This cannot be stressed enough. … The Memphis Redbirds will play their Christmas In July game today, wearing those jerseys. You can buy one of the game worn ones at auction. … Check out this Sugar Land Skeeters’ charcoal gray road pants repaired with a traditional gray patch (good spot by Christopher Hurtgen). … Ebbets Field Flannels has a new minority investor, as 7th Inning Stretch, LLC has made an investment in the Seattle-based apparel company. John Kimmerlein, who sent that item in, adds, “No idea what it may mean from a business perspective, but if it helps EFF stay healthy and strong, I’m good with it.” … The Charlotte Knights will wear these Spongebob Squarepants-themed jerseys on Sunday (from J Williams). … The Pulaski Yankees (an Appalachian League squad) will wear these Darth Vader-eque jerseys on Monday, their Star Wars night (from OT Sports). … Whoa — check out this apparent 1985 Padres’ prototype jersey (from Brady Phelps). Brady follows up with this historical bit on the logo. … Todd Radom followed up with this “Now that the cat is out of the bag photo. … The Birmingham Barons will wear these Ghostbusters-themed jerseys today (via OT Sports). … On Sunday, the Eugene Emeralds will be bringing the Purple Rain (from Ian Gerig). … We’ve noted this before, but this is from last night: James Loney is still wearing David Wright’s batting gloves (from Oliver PÃ©rez). … Almost 29 years after the show “Full House” debuted on television, the Brooklyn Cyclones, the New York Mets’ Class A affiliate, will celebrate the famous show with a Full House Night on Saturday when they play the Hudson Valley Renegades (from Bobby). … The Erie Seawolves wore Pittsburgh Steelers jerseys last night (via Hunger Lord, II). … Check out this bee-you-teeful 1938 Phillies uniform (from John Turney). … Three Flyers were spotted at the Phillies game with three different Phillies caps (via Black Out). … The Modesto Nuts wore these Spongebob Squarepants-themed jerseys last night (from OT Sports). … Here’s a ‘sneak peek at these “Miracle On Ice” jerseys that will be worn by the Rochester Red Wings (on August 19 — here’s a bit more on that). The Buffalo Bisons will play along and wear the blue tops. … The San Jose Giants will wear these Relay for Life jerseys today (OT Sports again). … This tweet from Curtis Galvin notes that “Hanley Ramirez going with what looks like a Hanes v-neck white undershirt tonight w/ the red alternates.” … The Pittsburgh Pirates Camera Guy has his own jersey (h/t RNs Funhouse). Here’s another shot (from Ryan Bush). And apparently, so does the White Sox CF camera guy (from Leezer Beam).
NFL/College/High School Football News: Here’s a fantastic picture of Terry Bradshaw (of the Steelers) being absolutely manhandled by the College All Stars back in the day (from Sports Paper). If that sort of arrangement is unfamiliar to you, there was once a time when when Super Bowl champs faced off against college all-stars. … “It looks like Jonny (sic) Manziel jerseys are selling for $1.99,” says Andrew Cosentino. “Get them while they’re hot!” … Here’s a bit more on those cheap Manziel jerseys. … Which high school has the best helmet is South Alabama? If you really care, you can vote here. … The good folks at CBS Sports dot com have ranked the B1G uniforms for 2016. … “While watching the NFL Network’s broadcast of “The Ghost to the Post”, played on Dec. 24, 1977 and hailed as one of the greatest games of all time,” writes Kurt Rozek, “I noticed that Baltimore Colts guard Robert Pratt (#61) had no TV numbers on the side of his sleeves.” … Former Pittsburgh Steeler Ike Taylor on NFL Now listed his top three helmets and top three jerseys and guess who topped both lists? That’s right, the Oakland Raiders. Why no Stillers? He “couldn’t” pick them, he said. … Rumor has it USC football will sport a new look for their away jersey in 2016, with a cardinal collar and sleeve cuffs. … An LSU football player taped a white cross on his facemask in 1994 (from Clint Richardson).
Hockey News: This was listed in the Ticker before, but once again can’t hurt. Remember those awesome Columbus Blue Jackets posters designed by Anthony Zych? Well, you purchase a select few of them (and all proceeds go to charity!). Item sent in by Jason Hillyer. … The new Ohio Bobcats hockey jerseys will have the Ohio state flag (more like a pennant) on them (h/t G. Mittelstaedt). … The AHL has announced: dark colored jerseys will be worn by the home team after Christmas (h/t Borchert Field via Paul). … “What a gift!” exclaims Eric Kroetch. “Program for first game ever in the Coliseum with tickets and program to last game in Rexall.” (submitted by Liáµ±schitÉ€ ®).
NBA News: It might not be quite as big a discount as the Johnny Manziel jerseys going for a buck ninty-nine, but in “honor of his 13 year tenure” with the team, the Miami Heat are selling all Dwayne Wade merchandise for the grand total of $13. That even includes the authentic jerseys. … Looks like DeMarcus Cousins has a new, custom logo (from Chris Howell).
Soccer News: Tottenham Hotspur unveiled their new kit range on Facebook yesterday morning (which Paul had in yesterday’s ticker). “Not pictured: An all white option they’ll wear during home Champions League matches,” says Terence Kearns. “Thumbs up to all of em!” … For the first time since 1972, a Euro final will not feature a kit made by adidas (from Yellow Away Kit). … New kits for Real Oviedo (from Mark Coale). … Tweeter Ciaran Tighe sends in this article, “Torino’s New Jerseys For Next Season Are Once Again A Candidate For Sexiest In Europe.” … Lots of new kit news, all from Josh Hinton: Watford FC have new home,away, and alternate kits; Chivas (Liga MX); Napoli (Serie A); Real Sociedad (La Liga) have new home and aways; and Valencia (also La Liga) have very simplistic and very nice sponsor-less kits. He adds that Wigan have a new away (couldn’t find a website). … Here’s a look at the Leicester City third kit.
Grab Bag: “A new machine is being used to add rubber to the track, to give the cars better grip at the NASCAR race in Kentucky,” says David Firestone. “The NHRA has used a similar machine for some time.” … The Exeter Chiefs (a Rugby Club) will have “a stylish and vibrant new look inspired by the Northern Lights” when they take to the field for their exploits in cup competitions this season (from Stumpty Dumpty). … As garish colors and regrettable patterns invade the pro-tennis circuit, designers are rediscovering classic whites — and investing them with retro charm (from Tommy Turner).
And that’s going to do it for today. Everyone have a great day and I’ll catch you guys tomorrow, but until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken
“No need for a clock at a baseball game!”
— Kevin Zdancewicz