By Phil Hecken
Yesterday, the Cincinnati Reds became the first team to announce a new uniform (jersey, actually) for the 2020 season. They like to claim they’re the oldest franchise in Major League Baseball, and yesterday, they achieved a new “honor:” first to show an actual MLB jersey featuring the Mark of the Beast, also known as the Nike Swoosh.
The Reds actually introduced two new jerseys yesterday — the one partially shown above, which will be a regular season alternate, and a second red jersey, which will be their 2020 spring training/batting practice jersey. Both of those are below. Interestingly, the Reds tweeted out these photos WITHOUT the swoosh:
Funny thing is, by yesterday evening, that tweet was deleted. Below is a slightly cleaner copy of the photo used in the tweet:
Both jerseys are pretty unremarkable, and certainly wouldn’t warrant a lede, save for the fact that the Reds also tweeted a photo of the regular season “Reds” script jersey, for sale, in their clubhouse shop, WITH the swoosh:
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) November 1, 2019
In case that somehow gets deleted, the photo has been saved for posterity:
As far as the regular season jersey goes, it’s pretty similar to Reds 2019 Alternate, only they’ve replaced the C-logo with the “Reds” script wordmark (that logo had been a Spring Training wordmark for the past couple seasons). That “Reds” script, of course, which was revived in 2011, had only been used on the Reds 1936 “Palm Beach” alternates (with the red pants, and which they revived for 2019 as a throwback). This script will now officially enter the regular season rotation. As far as the new ST/BP alt? It’s fine. I like the Mr. Redlegs logo (which is prominent on the new alt’s sleeve) on the chest.
Nike’s contract with MLB officially began yesterday, so we can expect MANY more rollouts of uniforms (jerseys) featuring the swoosh, and we know the Padres will be releasing a full set of new uniforms next Saturday (which Paul will be covering). But a little birdie tells me there are more to come (both new alts, tweaks, and full uniforms). So stay tuned. That’s all I can say.
It’s a new UNI-verse in baseball, with the new non-sleeved logos. Yes, we’re all too familiar with the swoosh on the front of college football jerseys and basketball jerseys, but the front of the baseball uni had remained “pure.” No longer.
How long till MLB redesigns the batterman logo?
A GOOD Maryland Uniform
Earlier this year (during Paul’s August hiatus), Under Armour announced several of the schools it outfits would be getting special “150” year anniversary unis, and one of those schools was Maryland (seen above from the August reveal). I noted at the time that this is not quite a throwback to the Boomer Esiason years on which they’re based, but a reasonable facsimile thereof. If you clicked on that pic of Boomer, you’ll note that the jerseys worn then were of the mesh variety, but the special uniform for the Terps uses a faux-mesh (or mesh pattern) on the numbers — which is actually opposite of what the Terps wore (that was a mesh jersey with a solid number). As a side note, UA will be doing the same thing with Notre Dame jerseys later this season.
Anyway, today the Terps will play Michigan (on ABC at noon, EDT) and sport the fauxbacks, which look better than anything they’ve trotted out in years. We got some additional photos of the uniform earlier this week, and here’s how they will look (click to enlarge):
Nice, right? Should be a good looking game today — it would look even better if the Wolverines would wear maize pants.
Might be the only time of the season that UMd figures to be on the good side of the 5 & 1.
…Are Out Of This World
I’m decidedly NOT a helmet guy. But every so often a team will wear one (usually not in a good way) that really does catch my eye. Case in point with UCF’s helmets today.
For the third straight year, UCF will wear special uniforms honoring the school’s connection to the space program, including nearby Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. They take on the Houston Coogs today. Each year the unis get a bit of a tweak (this time around they’re wearing a white jersey). You can see the progression here:
— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) October 31, 2019
The unis don’t really do much for me (I mean, half the teams in the NCAA have a special costume), but I really do like the helmet. Aside from the back bumper, with the trite “One Small Step For Man” quote, the rest of the hats look pretty neat. I especially love the light and dark side of the moon graphics which are the reciprocal sides of the lid:
The graphics are pretty sweet, and they were hand painted by Schutt. The front bumper features “321” — which just so happens to be the area code for the Space Coast — but it also doubles as the “countdown” for a rocket launch!
As far as the unis — OK, I kinda dig them too. You can see a hype video showing off the whole thing below:
For a third consecutive year…
— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) October 23, 2019
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: “Jimmy Claxton, 1932” (color study)
Subject: Jimmy Claxton, 1932
Medium: Oil on linen mounted to board
Size: 5” x 7”
Jimmy Claxton owns the distinction of being the first African-American to appear in professional baseball during the 20th century. Growing up in Tacoma, WA (though born in British Columbia), his family had been classified as white, black and mulatto by various census-takers – his background consisted of black, Native American, Irish, English and French ancestry.
In 1916, as a teenage pitcher in Oakland, California, he came to the attention of Herb McFarland, secretary for the Oakland Oaks, a club in the Pacific Coast League. He was introduced to the club as part of an Oklahoma Native American tribe, and was summarily offered a contract. By late May of 1916, Jimmy had broken into professional ball when he pitched in two games of a doubleheader – allowing three runs, four hits and four walks in two and a third innings. Within a week of that performance, a friend of his revealed that he had both Native American and African American ancestry, and Claxton was released by manager Rowdy Elliott on June 3rd as a result. He hadn’t even been with the Oaks for a week.
He went on to pitch for semi-pro clubs up and down the western coast in the 1920s as well as cities in the Midwest, such as Good Thunder, MN and Eureka, SD. He found himself with the Cuban House of David (later the Cuban Stars) in 1932 before eventually barnstorming again with clubs like the Nebraska Indians and Chicago Union Giants. He continued to throw into his 50s for the South Tacoma Pines of the Valley League, and then finally called it a career after throwing in a few frames during an old-timer’s game at age 63 in 1956.
Here Jimmy is pictured with the Cuban House of David in 1932. This is one of 200+ such paintings of mine that will be on display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the spring of 2020.
Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.
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).
I received the following e-mail from reader Tore Evensen, who has a few concepts, but just one for today — the *new* Seattle SuperSonics. Dig:
I dont know how this really works but I got some NBA concepts/tweaks of Seattle Supersonics and/or Milwaukee Bucks – one set with the irish rainbow and one which I call «woodland» since I used brown to create a different dynamic.
I’ve added the association edition for the Sonics. If it is of any interest Ill send over the rest with a minor description.
Thanks Tore. 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.
MLB Playoff Uni Tracking
A few years back, reader Alex Rocklein tracked the MLB Playoffs by uniform — you guys may recall this. Here’s what his 2010 Uni Tracking looked like. Alex also tracked the playoffs for Uni Watch last season as well. Here’s how the 2016 World Series looked, here’s how the 2017 Playoffs shook out, and here’s the 2018 Playoffs.
Alex returned for the 2019 Playoffs and now that the World Series has ended, we have the final tracking for the Wild Card & Divisional Series Games, the Championship Series, and the World Series, plus some final Uni Tracking.
Please note the final graphic, which shows record by uniform — note the amazing run the Nationals went on in their blue softball tops (11-3 — with all three of those losses coming at home in the World Series). Also note the overall very poor record for softball tops in general (only the Braves, with a 1-0 record in red tops, sported a winning record). Here’s some parting words from Alex,
I think everyone knows by now but this was the 4th straight year the champion was wearing a color alternate jersey. Regardless of the outcome, that would have held up with Houston surprising everyone and going with their orange top. Makes you wonder if Braves wished they had stuck with their red tops after winning the only game they wore them for!
Wild Card & LDS Games
Uni Tracking By Team
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: “The baseball uniforms and photos of 1896”. The body was as follows…
Hello baseball historians,
Threads Of Our Game takes a look at the uniforms and photos of 1896:
There are two team photos of the 1896 Orioles wearing their classy road uniform. These photos were taken on the same day and within seconds of each other. But notice the little dog in the foreground. Since the animal did not move from one frame to the next, we can determine this toy dog was more toy than dog.
Two years earlier, in 1894, Boston wore a monogram on their cap, the first team ever to do so. In 1896 they simplified matters and wore a single old-English “B.” Several good views to look at.
Chicago went all white in 1896, from stem to stern. Imagine how dirty this uniform got after a few spring games? Maybe that’s why they’re the Colts, not the White Stockings.
Some teams in this era had a (real) pet as their mascot. In 1896 the Reds chose a recently captured (and slightly wild) ring-tailed monkey as their good-luck charm. What could possibly go wrong? Just ask the clubhouse superintendent.
It seems there are no photos remaining of the first-ever old-English “D” worn by the Tigers this year. That’s where Threads comes in.
1896 Page Fence Giants, Adrian MI
This barnstorming team’s uniforms were beautiful — and the first example I’ve seen where the pants had lace ties, not buttons.
1896 Paterson NJ
Sometimes it’s the little things that help us date a team photo. In this case, the little thing was Ed Barrow’s mustache.
The Phillies joined the trend of lettering their cap in 1896, placing “PBC” above the brim. Anyone know if the “BC” was for “Baseball Club,” or maybe simply “Ball Club?”
The sweater-under-the-uniform fad was in full swing in 1896, so when Toledo gathered in the photo studio this year they were the first team to go totally turtleneck.
No championship for Washington in 1896, but a new team photo from that year has come to light — a win for historians everywhere.
How great is that? Very! Thanks, Craig!
Your Semi-Annual Reminder…
Don’t forget to turn your clocks BACK one hour tonight. Daylight Saving Time comes to an end at 2:00 am. There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that we get an “extra” hour of sleep. The bad news is that the sun now sets an hour earlier than it did the day before (actually it’s more like an hour and 2 minutes, give or take). I know some of you, particularly in the western ends of the time zones, probably welcome the switch (yeah, I know, it’s dark when most of us wake up), but I hate it. Now it will be dark before I leave the office, and that’s even worse, to me. And it will be like that until February.
Anyway, don’t forget to adjust your clocks (if you still have clocks that actually need to be manually set, anyway) tonight. I’ll remind you again next spring to push them ahead again.
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: The Washington Post has an article about how the Hall of Fame picked items for the Nats’ World Series exhibit (from Tom Turner). … The fantastic design blog Under Consideration ran a piece about identities for a potential Raleigh-based MLB team (from James Gilbert). … @wBlinty went above and beyond in making an authentic Yankee jersey for his kid’s Halloween costume. Well done!
Pro Football News: While watching Thursday Night Football, Joe Kramer noticed that three Niners all wore the same helmet, but each had a different chin guard buckle — one chrome, one white and one black. … The Eagles are going with the BFBS unis against the Bears (thanks, Phil). … A DC Comics artist snuck a Lavernius Coles Jets jersey into a comic book. … XFL jerseys should be launched sometime around Thanksgiving, which — holy crap — is less than four weeks from now (thanks, Phil).
College Football News: This is so cool: Auburn had the school of engineering 3D-print guards and braces for star wide receiver Seth Williams following a chest injury. Video here. … Virginia Tech is going maroon-white-maroon against Notre Dame (from Andrew Cosentino). … Boise State is going mono-white with orange facemasks against San Jose State (from multiple readers). … Silver-red-red for UNLV against Colorado State.
Hockey News: The Penguins have removed the NHL shield from their helmets and replaced it with the purple “Hockey Fights Cancer” decal. They’ll wear it for the month of November (from Jerry Wolper). … While the wooden stick has long been obsolete for skaters, goalies have been more reluctant to change to composite sticks, though they are trending that way according to this NHL.com article (from Wade Heidt). … The Bruins wore never-before-seen socks at practice yesterday, with reader @WeberKing commenting that their striping matches the leaked third sweater that has yet to be officially launched. … The AHL’s Iowa Wild revealed their third sweater last night, and it’ll hit the ice Nov. 10 (from Sean Jankowski). … MSG+ showed both current Islanders crests when showing the upcoming schedule, notifying viewers which uniform set they’ll be wearing. Basic home on the left, alternate uniform on the right (from John Muir). Also from John, Altitude uses the alternate logo in the score bug, with a clear color convention, to reflect what uniform the Avalanche are wearing in the game.
College Hoops News: Virginia Tech women have new unis (from Andrew Cosentino). … Kentucky men wore shooting shirts with “Adamstown” written on them last night — Adamstown was a predominantly African American community that was razed to build Memorial Coliseum (from Michael Kinney). … Wisconsin men are adding a memorial patch for the wife and daughter of assistant coach Howard Moore, who were killed in a car accident last spring. … New floor for Dayton, featuring the arena’s corporate name (from Eric Farrell).
Soccer News: Ireland has a new kit design, featuring a deeper green and gold accents (from Ed Żelaski).
Grab Bag: NASCAR driver Daniel Suárez will wear a special Dia de los Muertos helmet during the US Grand Prix (from Christian M. Zummer). … There was a full moon over Tokyo at the end of the Rugby World Cup’s third-place match between New Zealand and Wales. … The National Rugby League’s North Queensland Cowboys have unveiled their 25th anniversary logo (from David Raglin).