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So – Just Who Should Wear Throwbacks?

By Phil Hecken

About two weeks ago, Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins posted the above image on his Instagram account and asked, “Who would like to see this?”

Around the same time frame, the NFL’s Instagram account wished Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt “Happy Birthday,” and he replied: “Gift idea hint: Get the Titans to give us the rights to the Houston Oilers throwback uniforms.”

Watt’s sentiments remind me of a quote from Hedley LaMarr (of Blazing Saddles fame), and I’ll paraphrase that quote here to make it Oiler-centric: “There’s only one thing standing in the way of us wearing Oilers throwbacks: The rightful owners.”

The rightful owners, of course, are the Tennessee Titans, who were born in 1960 and entered the AFL as the Houston Oilers, at the time owned by Bud Adams. His daughter, Amy Adams Strunk, addressed Watt (and others) who hoped the Texans might someday don the uniforms of the Oilers with the simple phrase: “That’s a hard no.” (You can listen to that here). She further stated “Very interesting, except the Oilers don’t have anything to do with the Texans.”

She’s 100% correct of course, in the legal sense. The Titans (nee Oilers) and Texans share nothing franchise-wise in common, save for the fact that they both originated in Houston. And apparently 89% of those polled (see here) about it would like to see the Texans wear Oilers throwbacks.

It’s a shame, really, as I (and I’m sure thousands of other fans) would love to see Oilers throwbacks — whether worn by the Titans or by the Texans), but it appears unlikely the former will, and it’s about 100% certain the latter won’t, since they don’t have any legal right to. Sure, the Titans did wear blue and white Oilers throwback during the 2009 season (when all original AFL teams wore throwbacks), but that’s probably the first and last time the team will do so. They feel they have their own history with Tennessee, and they’re Tennessee’s team now.

This of course answers the question of who could wear throwbacks for a franchise that moved from a city (hint: NOT the current occupant of said city), but who should wear throwbacks then? And to back this up a bit — if the Texans were to wear Oilers throwbacks, they wouldn’t be the first team to wear the uniforms of a different franchise. There are probably more, but here are several who have:

Seattle Mariners (Pilots)

The Mariners have no connection to the Pilots (who moved to Milwaukee after one MLB season and became the Brewers). Since Bud Selig was MLB Commish at the time, and his Brewers would own the rights to the throwbacks worn by the Mariners, no doubt gave approval.

Milwaukee Brewers (Braves)

Hmmm. Brewers again. Maybe because they were permitted to wear Milwaukee Braves throwbacks (against the Atlanta Braves, no less), Selig was inclined to let the Mariners wear Pilots throwbacks.

Winnipeg Jets (Jets)

The current Winnipeg Jets were born as the expansion Atlanta Thrashers and have nothing to do with the original WHA/NHL Winnipeg Jets (who moved to Phoenix and became the Coyotes). Many NHL franchises have relocated over the years, and this may not be the only example of a non-franchise wearing the uniforms of a former franchise in the same city.

Like I said, there are surely more than three examples, but we also have teams who have worn throwbacks from teams in other leagues. Many in fact, but a few:

Pittsburgh Pirates (Homestead Grays)

Many MLB teams wear Negro League throwbacks, even though none of them (obviously) are the same franchise.

Memphis Grizzlies (Sounds and Tams)

Technically the Sounds and Tams were the same franchise, but changed names (and ownership) during the crazy ABA days.

And then you have examples of franchises that have moved who’ve never worn the throwbacks from their previous city, like the Washington Nationals (who were born as the Montreal Expos). Montreal doesn’t currently have an MLB team (though there is always talk of an expansion team or a current team relocating there). Would there be a similar situation to the Texans/Oilers if MLB ever gets a team back in Montreal?

Other franchises have stood firm (think all the hockey teams who moved from Canada to the US in the 90s) in not wearing throwbacks to their former selves. And after moving from Hartford to Carolina, the Whalers (who became the Hurricanes) were finally recognized by the ‘canes this past season — twenty-plus years after moving. The throwbacks were worn twice — one in Boston — to the delight of the New Englanders who’d been pining to see their beloved Whalers unis one more time. But, in this instance, the Hurricanes owned the rights to do so.

I used to be 100% against teams “usurping” another team’s uniform history (without explicit permission, but even then…), but I’ve kinda done a 180 on that over the years. While yes, the owners own the team (and teams have been relocating for well over 100 years), in every sense but the legal one, cities are inextricably linked to the teams who’ve called that city home. And if a team relocates and changes its name, my feeling is now that said team should relinquish all rights to the colors and uniforms. Property (intellectual and other) is a valuable thing, so it would only be right for such a team to be fairly compensated (though who’s to decide what’s “fair”), but when the owners make a decision to forsake a city (for whatever reason), and choose not to keep the team name and uniforms, especially in the many instances where the relocated team basically “disowns” that history (and uniforms, colors & name), then they should forfeit those for some future team.

It’s happened before — but in the courts. Remember the Cleveland Browns? When Art Modell moved the “original” team to Baltimore, the City of Cleveland sued Modell, which is why we have the Browns back in Cleveland after a four year hiatus. Essentially, that Browns team which moved to Baltimore became, in effect, an expansion franchise, with Cleveland getting a promise to have a “new” (old) team in 1999 as well as retaining history, records, and intellectual property of the original franchise.

That didn’t happen in the Titans/Oilers case, but Cleveland isn’t alone. Ever wonder why the OKC Thunder don’t wear Seattle Sonics throwbacks? They can’t; Whenever the NBA returns to Seattle, the city retained the rights to the SuperSonics name as part of the relocation agreement that birthed the Oklahoma City Thunder.

A similar agreement is in place in Minnesota, where a law passed in 2006 requires that the history and trademarks of the Twins remain in the state in the event that the team ever plays its baseball elsewhere. This is interesting since the original Washington Senators/Nationals relocated to Minnesota in 1961, and (I believe) have never acknowledged their roots in DC. The Nats replacements, the 1961 expansion Washington Senators moved to Texas in 1971 (who have thrown back!), keeping that franchise history alive. But could the current Washington Franchise (born in Montreal) wear throwbacks for either previous franchise? Nope (unless Minnesota or Texas give approval). Should they? Well, the team doesn’t seem to recognize the Expos, but maybe the fans in DC would like to see what their team looked like decades ago.

There’s one other curious situation — not involving throwbacks — but names and colors. The Charlotte Hornets. Recall the original Hornets moved to New Orleans in 2002, and played for a decade as the New Orleans Hornets (in the meantime, Charlotte got an expansion franchise, named the Bobcats). When the NO Hornets rebranded as the Pelicans in 2013, and in a deal brokered by both franchises and the NBA, the Hornets name, records, history and colors all returned to Charlotte (more here).

Is that something the Texans and Titans might want to work out? Could they? (Yes). Should they? I believe very strongly they should. If a team’s history, records, uniforms, colors, etc. mean that much to a city, and that city (and the league) can broker some kind of an agreement to transfer those to the city, then I’m all for it. I didn’t used to be, but now I am.

I still do firmly believe that owners have the right to move their teams. I’m not suggesting a “Browns” type arrangement should be made in every instance where a team relocates. And I recognize there is much value in the history, records, trademarks, etc. etc. etc. a departing franchise would need in order to make such an arrangement mutually beneficial (to the departing team as well as the city). But when teams leave (particularly after departing on bad terms), if they wish to “start over” in a new city, then something should be worked out. And not just because I love seeing throwbacks, but that’s an added benefit.

(Just think how Baltimore must have felt, losing their beloved Colts to Indy — which kept the name and colors and records — only to “get” an established franchise that was basically treated as an expansion team. Double whammy! Granted, I have no problem with Indianapolis keeping everything since they kept the name and all that. But imagine if fans in that City got to see the Colts colors worn by the home team, instead of when the Indy team visits. Just some food for thought).

Anyway — that recent Titans/Oilers/Texans thing got me thinking. I’d love to see the Texans wear Oilers throwbacks. They can’t. But they should.

Kreindler’s Korner

I had the distinct pleasure of featuring the wonderful artwork of artist Graig Kriendler on two occasions over the summer and fall of 2017, and more recently, in August of 2018.

For those who don’t wish to click the links, Graig paints baseball heroes (and regular guys) from the past, and is an immense talent.

Occasionally, I will be featuring his work on Uni Watch.

Here’s today’s offering (click to enlarge):

• • •

Title: “The Final Hurdle”
Subject: Cal Ripken Jr., 1981
Medium: Oil on linen
Size: 10″ x 16″

This is one of those situations where the quality of light becomes the main subject of a painting. I mean, as far back as art school, I have been conscious of how light shapes and colors the world, and as a result, when there’s some inspiration that combines an interesting take on that and baseball, well, I’m there. I love the motif of having a figure in shadow behind a glowing sky – something about the nuanced relationship between the contrasted values (and how they worked together to ultimately make one seem flat) and color temperatures is endlessly appealing.

Here, it was important to remember that no matter how much I wanted to get super tight and rendered in the face, it all had to be done in deeper values and softer edges, the latter of which would sometimes have to be almost lost in places. At the same time, the play of warm and cool orange and red hues in his face really worked in tandem with the blues and greens in the lit sky, being complements to each other and all. Some of that sky color had to come creeping into his face as well, and then the upper part of that Rochester jersey and hat. It was that kind of thinking throughout that made the piece have a lot of vitality in my eyes.

In the end, I just thought it was a cool image because I saw potential with the play of light and color that could occur throughout the painting. The fact that the young ballplayer happened to be Cal Ripken Jr. was just serendipitous.

• • •

Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.

Another Day…

…Another Podcast

I didn’t announce it on yesterday’s Uni Watch because I didn’t have the details at the time, but yesterday I was interviewed by Ken Carman (a great follow on Twitter, especially if you’re a Cleveland fan), who has a radio show that aired yesterday morning. I’d been on with Ken twice before, to discuss first the Cleveland Browns logo (unveiled before the uniforms) and then the uniforms, both times joined by the great Todd Radom. Yesterday was a solo affair.

As you might guess, he wanted to talk about the new New York Jets uniforms, but we hit a number of topics that were all uniform-related. I think you’ll enjoy it — and you can give it a listen below (unlike many of my podcasts, this one is less than 15 minutes long, so you can enjoy it once you finish reading today’s UW — or now ;)).

Give it a listen — I’d love to know what you think!

(Big thanks also to Thomas Dibenedetto for setting this up!)

Gene Sanny’s…

Pencil Topper Helmets

Got an e-mail earlier this week from the ubiquitous Gene Sanny, who is definitely one of the more industrious and creative readers we have. I hadn’t heard from Gene for a little while, but he’s got a new project to share with us today.

I’ll let Gene take it from here:

Custom pencil topper helmets

Pencil topper helmets with lots of customization. Some pics showing what they started out as for comparison. Apoxie Sculpt for all the customization. I’m making my favorite classic helmets for all the NFL teams. Tried to hit everything I could, from rivets to jaw pads.

These come as really chintzy, cheap helmets, BUT, they are perfectly shaped to make classic helmets out of (once you scrap the goofy mask), compared to the standard Pocket Pro helmets, which are strangely elongated.

Namath, Csonka, Fouts, and Theismann so far.

Thanks Gene. And here’s a look at the project so far (click any image, including the splash, to enlarge):

Uni Concepts & Tweaks

After being dormant for a while, the Uni Tweaks/Concepts have returned!

I hope you guys like this feature and will want to continue to submit your concepts and tweaks to me. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).

• • •

Got a bunch of alternate uniform concepts for the Miami Dolphins from Sam Orelowitz:

Hi Phil,

Personally I love the City concept for the Miami Heat, so I thought I would incorporate it into the design of the Miami Dolphins. While I generally am not a big fan of BFBS, I thought that it would work here due to the widespread popularity of the Heat’s City uniform this year. Here are the designs. Thank you!

Sam Orelowitz

(Home, Away, Alternate, “Miami Nights”)

Thanks Sam. OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.

Threads Of Our Game

Occasionally I receive an e-mail update from Craig Brown, the designer and proprietor of the website, Threads of our Game. As the header explains, the website is a databuse of 1800s base ball uniforms. If you haven’t checked it out before, you’re welcome.

Anyway, got an e-mail yesterday with the subject line: “A look at the uniforms of 1895”. The body was as follows…

• • •

Hi Phil and Paul, I have posted some new uniform research to the Threads Of Our Game website. Hello baseball historians,

Here’s a look back at 8 of the 12 National League uniforms from 1895. It was a big year for Baltimore, they won the pennant (again), lost the Temple Cup (again)—and on Emory Street, a bambino was born.

1895 Baltimore
The Orioles this year were enticed to wear black garters as a means to hold up their striped stockings. I wonder how much McGraw & Co. were paid to do so? Naturally, Spalding got on board with the idea and offered the garters at 25 cent a pair to teams everywhere.
See more here.

1895 Boston
Throughout the 1890s, Boston was seemingly eager to give up their rich, red-stocking heritage. Of course, it was sacrilege not to wear red hose at home, but all bets were off on the road. For away games in 1895, Boston wore a subtle blue plaid and blue stockings.
See more here.

1895 Brooklyn
The Grooms switched to a new cap in 1895, one with a rounded crown. Boston and Baltimore had introduced the style one year earlier but Brooklyn put their own spin on it in 1895—their cap had a slightly higher profile and decorative trim along the ribbing, the first to do this in several decades. Now, was the home cap white with black ribs, or black with white ribs?
See more here.

1895 Cincinnati
The team photo of the Reds showed the players wearing white uniforms with the traditional red stockings. In the front row of the picture was their team mascot, a dog named “Trilby.” After learning the origin of the dog’s name, I wonder if Trilby was more svengali than mascot?
See more here.

1895 Pittsburgh
Speaking of team pictures, have you ever wondered who the 7-ft tall player was in the middle of this 1895 Pittsburgh photo? It took a team of Threads researchers to correctly identify this oversized player and unravel the mystery behind the player’s name in the process.
See more here.

1895 St. Louis
There was little information published about the Browns’ uniform of 1895. However photos recently up for auction in combination with known woodcuts from the New York Clipper and the Spalding Baseball Guide now allow us to make a pretty good educated guess.
See more here.

1895 Washington
Despite living in the second division, the Senators had an eye for fashion in the mid-1890s. The 1895 Washington team trotted out one of the first loose-cut uniforms in baseball history. Check out those baggy baseball pants! It was a look that would prevail until the early 1960s.
See more here.

See all of the uniforms of 1895 here.

Thanks for your time. I hope you have enjoyed these little vignettes. If you have any additions or corrections on this information, please send me an email.


• • •

How great is that? Very! Thanks, Craig!

A New Mystery…Li’l Help Readers?

Received the following e-mail from Peter Schultz who is hoping the readership might be able to solve a uniform mystery. Here’s Peter (click on the photos below to enlarge):

I have a mystery that I think the uni-verse can solve. There’s a bar that my soccer team usually visits postgame, and for some reason, tonight we became obsessed with a mural on one of the walls tonight. First, we were trying to decide if it’s a real game, or if it’s just staged. I’ve attached some pictures. We think the away team is from Calgary, but we can’t quite tell. Can we figure out who these teams are?


Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: Federal Donuts is a Philadelphia donut shop chain that offers this t-shirt based on the Phillies 70’s era uniforms (from Gordon Blau). … “I was watching MLB Quick Pitch and I noticed they used year-appropriate logos and colors when discussing historical teams,” writes MJ. “(The 1924 Cardinals didn’t have a cap logo or an STL monogram, so I guess they get a pass.) For all the times we notice when TV networks get it wrong, it’s nice to see someone put some effort into getting it right.” … Check out this terrific graphic, posted by MLB Historian John Thorn. Make sure to check out the description and the ensuing thread, which is a wealth of info! … Bert Blyleven’s birthday was yesterday, which was a reminder he may have worn the most awesome t-shirt ever (from Beauty of A Game). … Tweeter Chris Lather was curious why Pat Neshek wears 93 (thinking it a high number a rookie might wear). Turns out he has a very good reason (h/t to Frank McGuigan). … Reader/tweeter Doug Keklak notes Thomas Jefferson in Pleasant Hills, PA (Suburban Pittsburgh) has some great, Tequila sunrise inspired unis. Both Douggie & I love the black sani look too! … Good spot by 2019 Wild Card Participants? who notes not only did the Rays ditch nameplates, they also tweaked the NOB font for the road greys (letters now have white trim matching the numbers). … Check out the Alumni embroidery on the jacket former NY Met Wendell is wearing (it’s a combo Shea/Citi logo). From Eric. … Interesting look for the Fresno Grizzlies last night (from Fresno Grizzlies). … Yesterday, the Youngstown State Penguins wore special uniforms for their “Pink Game” for breast cancer awareness (from Robert Hayes). … For what looks like BP yesterday, the Astros Alex Bregman wore Travis Scott’s cap — that comes from Ignacio Salazar who didn’t provide context for why (I mean, other than it’s a limited edition cap and it looks cool). … Looks like the Cleveland Indians have a special ballpark anniversary logo (But I’m Still Calling It The Jake). That’s from Darrell Dawson via Paul. … LSU and Miss St Softball both wore teal yesterday to honor a Miss St player who passed away from Ovarian cancer last year (from Kent Perry). … Do you remember a giant “L” flag Brewers fans brought to Milwaukee to troll the Cubs last year? Well, it returned, but now it’s banned from the ballpark (from Mike Chamernik). … “David Price didn’t play in inter league play in 2018 so his first at bat last year was the WS,” writes Andy Chalifour. This year he is wearing the C-Flap helmet in the new design.

NFL News: Here’s a fairly interesting article on the Tampa Bay Bucs uniform “debate”, not so much because there is any new info, but it’s written from a fan’s perspective. Oftentimes objective (read: non-fans) take a much different opinion of how good (or bad) a uni is; also, how “winning” plays into a fans’ view of a uni. … We can all breathe a sigh of relief: the Raiders are NOT changing uniforms. … Check out this great colorization by John Turney, featuring Bill Hewitt, George Halas, Red Grange, Beattie Feathers, and Jack Mander. … As previously reported on UW, the Bears will be getting a new “4th” uni/jersey, and this article makes a guess as to what it will look like. … We know the Browns & Rams will be getting new unis in 2020, but here’s a list of five additional teams the author thinks need reboots. I agree with four of those. … The Museum of Jerseys points out it’s unlikely, but the New York Jets could wear their new uniforms in 18 different combinations. … From the San Francisco 49ers biggest fan, Brinke, comes the news that Jason Verrett wants Matt Breida’s No. 22 jersey.

College Football News: The Syracuse Orange have had Nike as their uniform supplier for quite some time now and they hope to continue that after their contract expires at the end of this school year. That probably means new uniforms for football (and likely basketball too). … Seems like Air Force is hosting it’s own “Final Four” with voting on its special helmets (from James Gilbert).

Hockey News: Is this really something we should be “encouraging”? Last evening ECHL’s Tulsa Oilers wore European hockey (inspired) jerseys, replete with more ads than you can shake a stick at (from Mike Iles). I don’t normally care when minor league teams (any sport) wear specialty jerseys, but this one might be the exception. … As they begin their playoff run, the Carolina Hurricanes have announced they’ll be wearing their black alternates during the playoffs. … Tweeter Ryan Mackman writes, “The @FlaPanthers have jerseys hanging in their “Den of Honor” highlighting players’ achievements. Just noticed that the number borders are sewn on top of the white. Usually it’s the other way around. Have you seen this before?” Tweeter PLAYOFF KYLE responds, “That’s reverse kiss cut! The “normal” style you usually see is layered twill, but this reverse kiss cut style is used by several teams in the NHL (and plenty in baseball, basketball, etc.)” … I’m just gonna leave this one from Andrew Hoenig who writes, “A Caps fan made a Stanley Cup dress and wore it to the game.” Bet Jimmer Vilk doesn’t say “I’d wear that” in the comments. … On the last regular season edition of “Coach’s Corner,” Don Cherry wore green & yellow in honor of the Humboldt Broncos, who lost 16 members of their team in a bus accident one year ago yesterday. Ron MacLean is also wearing a green/yellow ribbon.

NBA & College Hoops News: Over on the twitter, Gurrero asks whether the Orlando Magic are breaking out a new logo. … Cool Sports Cards asks, “by chance do you know the record for most jersey patches worn during an NCAA basketball game?”

Soccer News: Check out the unique uni’s for the Norwich vs QPR match yesterday (from November Kilo). … The new primary kit of the Vancouver Whitecaps features navy shorts, notes Wade Heidt. On Friday night at home, the Whitecaps wore white shorts for the first time with their primary jersey. Doing so as to not clash with the visiting LA Galaxy, who were wearing navy shorts. … FC Cincinnati will be wearing orange shorts and socks today against Sporting Kansas City (from Brian Henke).

Grab Bag: When United States Grandmaster Robert Byrne played USSR Grandmaster Viktor Korchnoi at the 1974 Nice Chess Olympiad, he wore a chess-themed shirt during the game (from Graham Clayton). … Yesterday, the Williams College Ephs Men’s Lacrosse wore Renzie W. Lamb stickers on helmets in tribute to Lamb who coached 36 years at Williams (via Paul).

Comments (58)

    Seems like the Texans just need to write a check here. Do some joint charity event and then donate 500,000 or whatever to a Tennessee charity. Win win

    For the mystery baseball picture, if the blue team is Calgary, then the red team is definitely the Albuquerque Dukes based on the colors.

    I was performing some GIS wizardry but somehow my post seems not to have been added, but that was the conclusion I came to, as well. Specifically, 1989 at the earliest, as the ’85-’88 Dukes had “belts” that were red and white, but replaced white with yellow in ’89.

    The Calgary team would be the Cannons, but all images I can find of them show thick red and yellow stripes on the sleeve with a thin blue stripe between them. But the Cubs-style C cap and horizontal placement of the city’s name on the road uni definitely matches up.

    When I was in Jr. High,circa 1995, there was a pizza place around the corner in Rancho Cucamonga, CA that changed its name from Double Deal Pizza to Double Play Pizza, and put up a full wall baseball mural that I think was the same picture. Our local high school was red and yellow, and I remember wondering if it was a shot of one of their games.
    Nice to see it again.
    Also, the place is gone, but still the best pizza I’ve ever had

    When I saw the batter in the mural, I immediately thought that is Mark Grace from the Cubs…the helmet also looks like a Cubs helmet.

    Re: The bar’s mural
    There was a team in Calgary known as the Cannons from ’85-’02 that had similar sleeve stripes and a Cubs C cap, but the colors are different–every picture I’m finding with the Googles is with red, blue, and yellow sleeve stripes. But that could have easily been altered, right? Also, their away uniform featured the city’s name placed horizontally across the chest, so there’s that.


    So, mid-to-late ’80s in the PCL… contemporary teams with red and yellow color schemes include the Albuquerque Dukes. It seems for 1985 through 1987 and possibly ’88, their sansabelts were red and white, but 1989 swapped out white for yellow, as in the mural:


    Also, no guarantees here, but Albuquerque’s affiliation with LA could explain the guy in the 2nd row near the far left of the picture wearing what appears to be a Dodgers hat.

    That mural looks like the Calgary Cannons playing either the Tucson Toros or the Albuquerque Dukes. All are defunct AAA minor league teams. The Dukes and Toros had similar uniforms with the red/gold/red trim.

    The mural looks like a creation of generic teams for the mural all based on the Calgary Cannons? The Cannons wore red and yellow (later they did incorporate blue). This is the basis for the home team. The backdrop with blue wall and red seats looks like Foothills Stadium in Calgary:


    The “road” team is wearing Calgary on the front of their uniforms in thee same fashion as the Cannons. Cannons did not wear those colours though. A recolouring of their road uniforms.


    Wade-That is my thoughts also. Whomever did the mural inserted their favourite player, friend, themselves, into the lineup and stands.

    The two teams are definitely the Dukes and the Cannons. While I can’t find a colour picture, the link below to a news story certainly seems to indicate the Cannons wore just blue and white in 1985:


    Also, the ballpark looks like it could certainly be the Dukes home field. Check out the fencing above the wall behind home plate in the mural and this picture:


    I think the mystery is solved!

    Quite likely Dukes and Cannons.

    The Cannons uniforms are re-coloured for the mural. The black and photo you linked for the Cannons is from ’85, when the Cannons were red and yellow.


    Cannons would later be blue, with red and yellow trim.


    I had that mural as my bedroom wallpaper when I was a kid. I stared at it endlessly. I can still recall many of the silly looking fans.

    A few years ago when there was talk of the Colts moving to LA I had this all figured out. The Colts move to LA and become the Rams. This allows the Ravens to become the Colts again, while St. Louis becomes the Cardinals again. Then Arizona becomes the Ravens, because frankly, who cares about the Cardinals?

    Not sure how to work the Texans-Titans/Oilers into this formula, but it seemed like a simple solution at the time.

    I don’t think there’d be any need to include Houston/Nashville in that scenario. It would just be like the Cleveland/Baltimore situation originally was: Houston sues to get back the nickname and history, and you now have the Houston Oilers with a 5-year gap in any activity, and the expansion Tennessee Oilers who lasted for two years before changing their nickname to the Titans. Or, I suppose, given the length of time and nickname wonkiness, maybe it’s more like Charlotte/New Orleans in the NBA?

    Speaking of which, Charlotte Hornets > New Orleans Jazz > Utah Bobcats. Boom.

    In the CFL, we did have a team “usurping” another teams history similar a Cleveland Browns situation leading to seeing some good throwbacks. Strangely also tied to the moving of the Cleveland Browns.

    The Baltimore Stallions relocated to Montreal in 1996 when it became clear expansion into the US was not a good idea for the league (and the NFL was moving back into Baltimore). Same owners, but technically it was set up so that the Stallions were “disbanded” and the Alouettes “re-established” as the club that had existed from 1948 to 1997, including adopting the old team’s records.

    A core of the US players (imports) were from the Stallions while the non-import portion of the roster was assembled through like an expansion draft of other players. The US teams in the CFL did not have to play under the import ratio as the Canadians teams did then and still do.

    1996 Alouettes had their unique look compared to the old Als and the uniforms quite similar to the Stallions. However, it has lead us to essentially a relocated team wearing some great throwbacks from a different team.

    1960s Alouettes:


    1970s-early 1980s Alouettes:


    But could the current Washington Franchise (born in Montreal) wear throwbacks for either previous franchise? Nope (unless Minnesota or Texas give approval). Should they? Well, the team doesn’t seem to recognize the Expos, but maybe the fans in DC would like to see what their team looked like decades ago.

    There are people who post here who profess to be far more knowledgeable Washington baseball fans than I, but as I have yet to see them to post I’ll take the liberty to point out that the current Washington NL franchise has thrown back to the link AL franchise as well as to the link AL franchise and the link AL franchise.

    “Seems like Air Force is hosting it’s own “Final Four” with voting on its special helmets “. Its not it’s

    The oilers throwback question is moot… Both Texans and Titans wear Navy helmets… The oilers never wore Navy helmets… Just light blue, silver, or white. So the initial posting of the player in the throwback, and JJ Watts’ post was pointless in the first place, thanks to the one shell rule. I saw this all over Facebook last week, and on the oilers pages they were so impassioned about it, and I couldn’t see why, because it just can’t even happen.

    But now the Tennessee Titans can throw back to the New York Titans!
    Can…but won’t and shouldn’t, as it was meant to be.

    Thanks :). More on the way.. just finished Stabler’s, complete with the cut away bar in front of the eye area, and a few more on the table for today.

    Your work is impressive!

    I made a plain silver like the 1976 Seahawks helmet once but that didn’t take nearly as much work as these!

    Very interesting, except the Oilers don’t have anything to do with the Texans.

    Except the Oilers have nothing to do with Nashville and everything to do with Houston. It’s really not that hard Adams. Furthermore the Jets were gracious enough to let Tennessee have their former name PERMANENTLY! It’s time to be gracious back.

    There you go. Someone should throw the Titans/Jets issue back at her!
    It harms no one to make the Houston fans, who her dad screwed, happy.

    Good point!
    Also, “Titans” makes no sense in relatively small potatoes Tennessee. Get over yourself Amy!

    What this really is about is a grudge between the owner and the city of Houston. Amy is still mad that our voters wouldn’t send our tax revenues to build a new stadium for her billionaire daddy. We literally voted him out of town, a rare privilege in our society.

    Whether we should have is another matter. Bud Adams was a clown and an embarrassment to the Houston elite. Bob McNair was an exemplary member of that elite, and he got the stadium instead. Now that he’s dead, bad things are coming out about him.

    Did the Chiefs make a fuss over the use of their historical team name?
    When Houston was awarded a replacement team, was there a movement by fans or a suggestion by players to keep all those retired Oiler numbers retired?

    The Browns situation made a lot of sense to me. So much time and effort is spent on city/team nickname symbiosis that when it’s not protected you get the New Orleans Hornets, or Utah Jazz, or Indianapolis Colts.

    I’ve wanted to come up with a pro leagues franchise nickname score. I.e. how well does the nickname reflect the city/region/local history. E.g. New Orleans Jazz: 10; Utah Jazz: 0.

    Speaking of baseball and throwbacks, we also have the curious case of the Texas Rangers wearing Robert Short Senators throwbacks (totally kosher with IP and franchise history) and all red Nationals hats! But really, red Nationals hats *are* Senators hats with theoretically better quality control thanks to digital art files. Never mind that New Era’s Cooperstown Collection gives the Senators a squattier curly W. Todd Radom gave an excellent rundown at the time. And Josh Hamilton did a Frank Howard tribute batlip to himself after striking out.

    Now in the hockey world, we have this conversation all the time about the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars né Minnesota North Stars. Dallas holds the logo and also still recognizes the old North Stars history. So the only time the Wild get to use the North Stars logo is in warmups. And one time, Martin Hanzal was on the Wild, wearing #19, but wore #91 in the warmup because Bill Masterton (trophy namesake, RIP) is the North Stars #19. I don’t remember if the Wild had a #7 or #8 to make a stink about wearing Neal Broten or Bill Goldsworth’s number. But yeah, compare Dougie Hamilton having to keep his #19 for Carolina despite Jim McKenzie’s retired Hartford #19, with the Wild going out of their way to respect an opponent’s retired number that they don’t even retire for themselves.

    NBA is one league that has a few teams with nicknames better reflecting the region where they started playing rather than the region they play currently.

    In truth, in Ft. Wayne the Pistons were originally known as the Zollner Pistons after owner Zollner’s piston manufacturing company.

    Pistons does fit with Detroit.

    Was thinking:

    LA Clippers
    Los Angeles Lakers
    Utah Jazz
    Memphis Grizzlies

    The Rams, as of last season (2018), wear throwbacks whenever a dark-colored jersey is called for, be it at home by choice or on the road when the home team chooses to wear white. They obtained special permission from the NFL to do that until their new stadium and uniforms arrive in 2020.

    The Raiders don’t really have throwbacks; their uniform has been essentially the same since 1963, with occasional variations in certain design elements such as the color of the numerals on the white jerseys, which were silver in 1964 and 1970 (and for some games in 1963); the shield logo, which had a silver background in ’63; and the NOB lettering fonts which were serifed prior to 1975 — all of which have occasionally (rarely) been represented in throwback uniforms over the last ~25 years. The team has never thrown back to its pre-1963 black-and-gold look.

    I read the article on the Buccaneers uni debate. I really hate it when “winning” is the final arbiter of whether a uniform stays or goes.

    I just know I’m damn glad that at no time in their 71-year pennant drought did the Chicago Cubs switch to black-and-teal and completely change up the logo, or whatever some weak-sister franchise would’ve done to try and “change their luck”.

    I recognized my team when they won it all.

    The Hornets/Pelicans situation is an apt comparison, considering the Oilers didn’t change their name to the Titans immediately, and played in Tennessee for two seasons as the Oilers.

    On the MLB uni number issue, interestingly, last year I bought a spring training used Mets BP trainer top – almost certainly worn by a minor leaguer— that is number 86, because, you know, 86, Mets…. would be a cool number if the kid of someone who was on the 86 Mets ever made it to the majors.

    Calgary would make sense in one way but not in another.
    Above the crowd are advertisements for Labatt’s Blue (Canadian beer) but also banners with the Detroit Red Wings’ logo. Definitely a hodge-podge.

    In most cases I think teams moving should leave the name and history with the city like the Browns and Sonics did. And when the Browns moved to Baltimore they should have become the Colts since the original Colts should have received a new name when they moved to Indy. Likewise the Rams should have left their name in LA (I know they were originally from Cleveland) when they moved to St. Louis and become the Cardinals (again yeah I know about the Chicago Cardinals) or at least have that option but not sure the fans would have wanted the “Cardinals” name back. The New Orleans NBA team should be the Jazz. I read that when the Grizzlies were considering moving to New Orleans from Vancouver, the Utah Jazz and Grizzlies considered swapping names. Obviously as time goes on it becomes impossible to change a name that should have never happened like the Lakers, but that name along with the Jazz really makes no sense. The one name I’m probably OK with staying is the Raiders, but I’m sure original Oakland fans would have a big problem with me saying this.

    I don’t really care what a relocating team does or does not do with its intellectual property, so long as a relocated team doesn’t prevent a new team in its prior location from paying tribute to the relocated team’s history. Teams in any sport ought to feel free to play throwback games, and wear throwback uniforms, to pay tribute to events and teams to whom local fans have meaningful connections. And if a relocated team has fostered ongoing connections to and identification with its prior history, then relocated teams ought to be free to throw back to their own pre-relocation histories too.

    So the Washington Nationals donning 1924 or 1963 Senators garb? Absolutely fine. The future Montreal Saints throwing back to the 1994 Expos? Lovely. The Minnesota Twins dressing as the 1925 Washington Senators? Great! The Houston Texans playing a home game as the Oilers? Fie and a curse upon anyone in the league who would stand in the way.

    But the Baltimore Orioles playing a home game in St. Louis Browns uniforms? No way. The Orioles have all but denied that the franchise existed before 1954, and 60+ years of eschewing the pre-Baltimore history disqualifies the team from staking any claim to that history now.

    As a legal matter, the big sports leagues constantly shift their positions to try to have and eat whatever cake seems most convenient at any given time. So for most contracts, leagues present themselves as cartels or even as single entities whose teams are little more than fully cooperating corporate divisions. And whenever there might be negative legal effects from being treated by the state as a cartel or a single entity, leagues pretend that they’re really just 30-plus wholly independent little companies that have nothing to do with one another except for a few logistical agreements to facilitate the playing of games. The truth of course is that the leagues are non-competitive cartels, and so all intellectual property ought to be considered common league property in the event of any disputes among the teams. Can the Tennessee Titans sign their own contract with Hummel to manufacture Titans uniforms? Can the Titans change their helmet color every year, alternating between red and blue? Unless the answer to both questions is “Yes,” then the Titans don’t actually own their own intellectual property; the team merely borrows that intellectual property from the league. So the league, not the Titans, ought to have final control over whether the Texans get to wear Oilers throwbacks.

    The Adams family seems to want to keep a tight lid, considering they screwed over the city of Houston (by insisting on Astrodome renovations that weren’t paid off until 2011) and then insisting the city/county/state pay for a brand new stadium before heading off. If they care that much about the Oilers’ name/logo, etc, then they should’ve sold the team to a local buyer rather than leaving. Going from a metro like Houston (Texas’ largest city) to a much tinier market in Nashville makes no sense.

    The Pittsburgh Pirates have also worn Pittsburgh Crawfords uniforms on several occasions, with the opposing teams usually donning Negro League jerseys of their own city/region. The focus on Pittsburgh’s unique Negro League history is one of the few things the Pirates franchise does right.

    Considering the Raiders not changing to “Vegas Gold” and Black, that’s a very wise choice: Nevada is known as the Silver State after all. Gold representing Las Vegas is pretty poor taste imo. Las Vegas =/= the rest of Nevada.

    The georgeous powder blue and red of the Houston Oilers is the best look not currently used in the NFL. I’d love to see the Texans change and adopt those colors as in the photo depicted in today’s edition.

    I’ve seen it mentioned on the blog before that the Nats don’t acknowledge their Expos roots but that’s simply not true. All the Expos retired numbers are displayed prominently in the stadium. On their website you can pull up stats for every season of the franchise dating back to Montreal, etc.

    “I used to be 100% against teams “usurping” another team’s uniform history (without explicit permission, but even then…)…”

    I remain a hard-liner I guess:
    Team history is team property.
    Celebrated or not, it follows them if they move.
    There is perhaps one exception (a scenario which will never ever ever happen):
    The NFL has a USFL throwback weekend.
    I’d love to the the Texans play as the Gamblers (moreso than wearing Oiler colors/logos) and the Eagles pay tribute to the Stars.
    Even then, there’s significant problems (Do the Chargers and the Rams both play as the Express? Do the Giants and Jets flip a coin…loser plays as the Generals?, Who gets to honor the Gunslingers and Stallions? Do the Cardinals throwback to the Wranglers or the Outlaws? Etc…)

    I believe MLB, and not the Nats, own the Expos name and identity. MLB bought the team, moved the team and built Nationals Park before selling it to the new owner. You’d think MLB kept the Expos history, right?

    Regarding the mural: my partner grew up in Albuquerque and said the stadium does look like she remembers as a kid.

    I think MLB probably has the best overall approach to deal with how logos/colors/names move with teams or not, going back to the Mets originating with the Giants’ abandoned ‘NY’ logo on their cap, and going half-and-half on incorporating the Giants’ and Dodgers’ colors.

    The Senators/Rangers’ old curly-W ending up with the new Nats’ also makes similar sense, creating continuity with the city’s (as opposed to the actual team’s) baseball history. I mean, they fly a ‘1924’ pennant at Nats Park for the city’s lone World Series title, even though the trophy and organization moved to Minnesota 60 years ago…

    After the Browns’ and Supersonics’ city-keeps-the-history deals, I’d love if DC could get some retroactive action on getting the Senators/Twins history (and especially that trophy) back!

    The Expos comparison points the way towards the example of cities who’ve lost their teams, but never got a new team to serve as an example for the central debate in this article.

    As a native Atlantan (since relocated) I ask myself how I’d feel if the Calgary Flames or current Winnipeg Jets wore throwback jerseys honoring their previous ATL incarnations. On the one hand, it’d feel like a painful, nearly insulting reminder. On the other hand, who else would ever get to do it? It’s not as if the NHL will ever again award Atlanta a team. If we’re never again in a position to commemorate the Flames or Thrashers (which seems likely enough), then by God I hope someone can and does. It’d be a weird experience, and an emotionally painful one in many ways, but it beats their being utterly lost to the past.

    Thanks everyone for helping us solve the baseball mystery! I knew the Uni-Verse would come through!

    I’d love the Dallas Stars to gove up “North Stars” so the Wild could wear the throwbacks from time to time.

    The throwback article recalled the Cubs in 2014. Since that was the centennial of Wrigley, they threw back for each decade. The first was of the Chicago Whales. This would qualify, because they were in the Federal League, and had nothing to do with the Cubs (except they both played in Wrigley). Right? Thoughts?

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