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MLB and MiLB Teams Plan Throwbacks for Juneteenth

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The Giants yesterday announced that they will celebrate Juneteenth this Saturday by wearing San Francisco Sea Lions throwbacks. The Sea Lions played for one season — 1946 — in the West Coast Negro Baseball Association. Their jerseys featured a cub, instead of a sea lion, because they purchased their unis from a defunct team called the San Francisco Cubs. Here’s how they looked back in the day (click to slightly enlarge):

According to Bill Henderson’s uniform guide, this will be the second time that the Giants have dressed up as the Sea Lions. They wore a grey version of this throwback for a Negro Leagues throwback game in Atlanta in 2014.

As you can see at the top of the page, the throwback cap is blank, which is era-appropriate — except for the maker’s mark. Sigh.

It’s not clear, at least to me, whether the Giants’ Juneteenth opponents, the Phillies, will also be wearing throwbacks. Normally I’d say, “I hope so,” but in this case I’m hoping the Phils just wear their regular road greys because Aaron Nola will likely be taking his turn in the starting rotation that day, and I’m once again obsessed with his cap saga.

Either way, at least one other team will be wearing Negro Leagues throwbacks for Juneteenth. That would be the Mariners, who’ll be dressing up as the Seattle Steelheads:

The visiting team for that game, the Rays, will be wearing their regular uniforms, not throwbacks. (Also, note that the photo in the tweet shown above is from a previous Steelheads throwback game that took place in 2015. This year’s version of the uniform will presumably include the Nike logo.)

At least one minor league team will also be commemorating Juneteenth with their uniforms, as the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos dress up as the Negro Leagues’ Pensacola Seagulls:

Juneteenth, incidentally, in addition to becoming a widely recognized celebration around America in recent years, is also now about to become an official federal holiday. That distinguishes it from Ma’s Day, Pa’s Day, and Armed Forces Day, none of which is an official federal holiday — yet for some reason those three all get the annual MLB uni/merch treatment. Maybe Juneteenth will be given that status next season.

Speaking of federal holidays: Still waiting for those Labor Day uniforms.

Update: Reader/commenter Brian Schmidtke reports that the High-A Lansing Lugnuts will be dressing as the Negro Leagues’ Page Fence Giants on Juneteenth:

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New podcast episode: Unified is back! Did you miss us? For this month’s episode (part of our slower summer schedule), Chris and I talked about MLB’s infamous 1999 “Turn Ahead the Clock” promotion. Remember, the uniforms for that program were supposed to represent the year 2021 — the future is now!

Plus we also assessed the MLB CC uniforms and had our weekly monthly reader-submitted question.

As always, you can listen to us on Apple, Google, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Spotify, or just use the player below:

The show notes for this episode, which include photos of many of the things we discussed, are here. Those photos (and some additional ones) also appear in the video version of the episode, which you can see here:

Please consider supporting this episode’s advertisers: Homefield Apparel (15% off with checkout code UNIFIED), Aced Out (20% off with checkout code UNIFIED), 3rd Base Clothing (15% off with checkout code UNIFIED), and Winning Streak Sports (sorry, no discount, but still good products!).

Enjoy the episode, and thanks for listening.

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What might have been: Here’s something I’d never seen before: When the Panthers joined the NHL in 1993, their gloves were originally slated to depict claws! The photo above shows a prototype; you can see additional photos of it here.

Putting team-related graphics on hockey gloves is not a phenomenon I’m familiar with. Have other teams done it?

(My thanks to Brandon Weir for this one.)

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Oh. My. God. See that wooden football in the video embed shown above? It’s the result of a completely amazing woodworking project, all of which is shown in the video. Believe me when I say that it’s completely worth watching — compelling stuff. Uni Watch’s highest rating!

(Big thanks to John Chapman for this one.)

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Cap update: We continue to sell through the remaining inventory of Uni Watch caps. As I mentioned a few days ago, we’re temporarily out of shipping boxes, but we have more boxes on the way, so orders placed over the next few days will ship out either this weekend or next Monday. Thanks in advance for your patience.

Here’s what we have left, broken down by size:

7: 1 cap
7-1/8: Sold Out
7-1/4: 4
7-3/8: 3
7-1/2: Sold Out
7-5/8: Sold out
7-3/4: 6
7-7/8: 5
8: Sold out

Once they’re gone, they’re gone! So if you want one (or more than one), get your order in now.

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Pint glass reminder: Thanks for all the enthusiasm about the new Uni Watch pint glass, despite its slightly imperfect print quality. (If you missed my explanation about that, look here.)

We’ve already sold a few dozen of these. They’re available here. My thanks, as always, for your consideration of our products.

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ITEM! Hoodie raffle: Due to an ordering/sizing error, Ben Hollett has ended up with an extra 2XL Uni Watch hoodie and has generously offered to let me raffle it off, so that’s what we’re going to do today.

This will be a one-day raffle. USA mailing addresses only. To enter, send an email with your mailing address to the raffle in-box. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. Big thanks to Ben for doing this!

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Culinary Corner: One of my few gripes about our current neighborhood is that we don’t have a good butcher. Or at least that was the case until about two weeks ago, when a Halal butcher shop, run by a super-nice Uzbek family, opened right around the corner from us. Their beef is insanely marbled and ridiculously inexpensive. This shell steak and ribeye cost a total of $17:

Of course, just because it looks good doesn’t mean it eats good, so last night we fired up the grill. Good beef doesn’t need anything besides salt and pepper, so that’s all we added:

As you can see there, I overcooked them a smidge (at least by my standards), but they were still soooooo good. Plus we had enough leftovers to provide tomorrow’s dinner. A win-win!

Having a good, reasonably priced butcher literally a two-minute walk away is gonna be potentially dangerous. Since they’re Halal, they don’t carry pork, but I can’t wait to try their lamb and goat. I’m envisioning a very meaty summer.

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The Ticker
By Paul

Indigenous Appropriation News: A Pennsylvania court has ruled that a school district’s use of “Redskins” for its sports teams does not violate a state law that prohibits discrimination, overturning an earlier decision by the state’s Human Rights Commission (from Mark Gatti). … The baseball team at Keller High School in Texas, whose teams are called the Indians, wears a Chief Wahoo sleeve patch (from @spiders_six). … A provision in the new Connecticut state budget proposal would disqualify towns from their usual share of casino slots revenue if their public schools use Native American mascots (thanks to all who shared). … The Seneca Valley school district in Pennsylvania will no longer use Native American iconography (from Timmy Donahue). … Montrose (Colo.) High School has announced that it expects to retire “Indians” as its team name in anticipation of a new law to ban Native American mascots and sports team imagery (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: A group of alumni and community members has petitioned West Canada Valley High School in Newport, N.Y., to drop “Indians” as its team name.

Baseball News: As promised, the Phillies wore their red spring/BP tops on the road last night. … Katie Sekelsky, who’s been on a run of Jeopardy! wins this week, is an artist/illustrator whose work has been featured by the Pirates (from the great BSmile). … Can’t make it up: The American Association’s Milwaukee Milkmen will be playing this Sunday as the Milwaukee Sweet Teats (thanks to all who shared). … The Nationals have worn their red caps with their home script-“Nationals” jerseys for the past three games. It’s a combo they’d never worn previously (thanks to all who shared). … I hadn’t noticed until last night that Cubs OF Jason Heyward, like several other MLBers, has his jersey sewn shut. … Former MLBer Tim Raines attended last night’s NHL playoff game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Vegas Golden Knights and wore an Expos cap and a Canadiens mask and polo (from Will Radie).

College Football News: Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi is hinting about a mono-white uniform (from Sebastian Smelko). … Boston College has unveiled its first Adidas uniforms (thanks, Phil). … Can’t make it up: The LA Bowl — a new bowl game that was supposed to debut last year but was postponed due to the pandemic — has sold its naming rights to comedian Jimmy Kimmel.

Hockey News: Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Yesterday’s Ticker included a link to an article about the Jets’ arena getting a new advertised name. Buried at the end of that article is this: “In a separate statement on Monday, True North [which owns the Jets] announced it had signed a five-year deal with Bell MTS to provide telecommunications services for the 2021-26 seasons. As part of the deal, the Bell logo will remain on the Jets’ helmets for the next five seasons.” Sigh. We all knew from the start that the “It’ll just be for one year” thing was bullshit, but this is still a depressing development. … New logo for the NAHL’s Amarillo Wranglers (from Kary Klismet). … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Former MLB player Tim Raines attended last night’s Canadiens/Golden Knights playoff game and wore a Montreal Expos cap and a Canadiens mask and polo (from Will Radie).

Soccer News: Here are the new uniforms for the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams. Additional info here. … New home shirt for La Liga’s Athletic Club (from Ed Zelaski). … Also from Ed: New badge for the re-established Russian club Amkar Perm, which played in the Russian Premier League from 2004-2018. … One more from Ed: New shirt advertiser for top-level Polish side Wisła Kraków. … Finland wore “Get Well Christian” warm-up shirts at Euro 2020 yesterday, in support of Denmark’s Christian Eriksen, who collapsed on the field a few days ago (thanks, Jamie). … Also from Jamie: “The USWNT’s Carli Lloyd received a framed shirt for making 300 national team appearances. She reached the milestone in April, but only three players, all American women, have done it. Canada’s Christine Sinclair is at 299 and will probably get 300 at or before the Olympics.” … The rest of these are from Kary Klismet: New home kit for Barcelona, plus their away kit appears to have leaked. … Providence City FC of the New England-based amateur FA1 League and Forward Madison of USL League One have both unveiled new Pride shirts. Forward Madison’s is for pregame warm-ups. … New away uniforms for Queen of the South of the second-tier Scottish Championship. … New stadium under development for Holstein Kiel of Germany’s 2. Bundesliga.

Grab Bag: Here’s a bunch of sensational pics by a photographer who specializes in taking shots of South African drum majorettes. … For many years I lived just half a block from where the NYC Marathon runners would pass by each November, which was always fun. But then in 2018 I moved to a different part of Brooklyn, which isn’t near the marathon route. Now it looks like Brooklyn will be getting its own marathon next April, and the tentative route will pass just a few blocks from Uni Watch HQ — nice! … Here’s what Roger Federer will be wearing at Wimbledon (thanks, Brinke). … According to this paywalled Wall Street Journal article, Nike’s latest track shoes are so fast that other footwear companies are letting their endorsement-contract runners wear the Nike footwear at the U.S. Olympic trials so they won’t be at a competitive disadvantage. … The city of Walla Walla, Wash., is holding an online vote to choose a new flag (from Kyle Tarbet). … New rugby union alternate kit for the Utah Warriors (from Brandon Sparks). … New patch and dress uniforms for the Boston police department (from Timmy Donahue). … New cricket uniforms for England (from James Welham).

Comments (79)

    Re: Tim Raines wearing Habs and Expos gear – The game last night was in Las Vegas, not Montreal.

    Would be pretty great if going forward MLB used Juneteenth league wide for teams to wear Negro League uniforms.
    I’m not one for excessive use of alternate uniforms, but 100% behind the idea that MLB honor the black players who were excluded from the majors and make it an annual thing.

    Seconded! The chair recognizes the motion and a vote on the question is called. Those in favor?

    I’ll third this. Pittsburgh has a great history of Negro League teams and I love to see them get their recognition.

    Came here to say this. A league-wide Negro League throwbacks day or weekend for this particular holiday would be about a billion times better than a pidgeon-holed template hat for every team to wear with their normal jerseys.

    While I love seeing teams wearing Negro League throwbacks, doing it on Juneteenth is kind of like wearing camo on Memorial Day.

    Juneteenth should be about celebrating freedom and equality, not reminding everyone of past wrongs.

    I don’t understand your reasoning at all…Negro League history should never be remembered or celebrated because it reminds people that the United States in the 20th century was racist?

    Do you object to the poppies worn on Memorial Day because it reminds you that WWI happened?

    Stan didn’t say Negro League history “should never be remembered” — he just said that Juneteenth isn’t the right day for it.

    Not sure I agree with him, but I think it’s an interesting point. I’m still thinking about it.

    Fair point. “A day remembering emancipation should not be celebrated by memorializing teams that existed because of segregation.”
    I don’t necessarily agree, but it is a valid position. What would be an appropriate recognition, if there is one, by MLB on that day?
    If not on Juneteenth, I still think it would be very appropriate to do a MLB wide Negro League throwback day/weekend series. But I guess, and here is where I counter your original point, any sort of recognition of the Negro League will both honor the players from those leagues, while also remind everyone of the segregation that made those leagues necessary. No matter when you do it, you are always going to be bringing up awful fact that we had segregated baseball leagues.

    Anyone know of a comprehensive list of Negro League teams across the country? Wikipedia has some stuff, but seems to be incomplete.
    I have a set of uniforms designs for all MLB teams and now would love to include their Negro League throwback set in there as well. I know of a handful of famous teams; KC Monarchs, Detroit Stars, Homestead Grays, to start with, but am not familiar with a nationwide list to apply to all the MLB teams.

    link is a good start. They just this week updated their Negro Leagues section. Only covers the “officially” recognized period of 1920-1948, but it’s thorough for those years.

    I think it’s important not to limit this to just the top-level Negro Leagues. Segregation was a root-and-branch phenomenon in America, with white Americans largely shielded from having to compete against Black Americans at every level of the game. I’d like to see every pro team, from the bottom of rookie ball to the big leagues, paired with a locally relevant Black team from the segregation era for annual uniform-wearing tributes. Negro National and American Leagues, sure but also lower-level pro teams, barnstorming teams, semipro and industrial teams, teams representing Black schools and universities, even amateur teams. The whole experience of segregated baseball should be remembered and the stories of the Black teams and their players, coaches, and fans remembered and retold.

    The Lansing Lugnuts (A’s High-A affiliate) will be wearing Page Fence Giants uniforms Saturday. link

    Minor question/clarification in the ticker: Forward Madison’s Pride jerseys are pregame practice shirts, not a third or alternate uniform.

    Some of Michigan is in the shape of a mitten. Don’t forget the UP, eh?

    It’d be nice to know which “charities” all these teams are gonna donate those bid proceeds to. Co-opting a holiday that relatively few Americans even knew existed before last year seems a bit disingenuous.

    As a black uni-watcher, this makes me slightly leery.

    Re: Winnipeg’s corporate helmet advertiser (and the rest of the NHL teams defiling their uniforms) —it’s their disingenuousness that grates on me more than anything. They just don’t seem to understand that being dishonest is a terrible look.

    Just be up front with your greed.


    The wooden football video was superb., but nothing is as satisfying as the paper marbling video shared on this site many years ago.

    That wooden football video was mesmerizing in my opinion. That craftsman certainly had the talent (and tools). Wondering with all the work that went into it, what one would cost.

    OMG that wooden football video! Dude totally cracked me up with “it was easier to do by hand” (yeah, right), and “it came out pretty good” at the end. Major talent (and tools)!

    And entitling it “Wood Turning a Football” is the very definition of an understatement. The turning part of the project followed days of preparation. If I was to do a video with that title, it’d be me cutting a 6×6 to length and mounting it on a lathe.

    They were not graded. Generally speaking, beef that is Halal, Kosher, Kobe, grass-fed, or otherwise obtained from small-ish sources is not graded.

    All meat sold in America must be USDA-*inspected* and approved, but the USDA *grading* process is optional.

    Based on typical USDA standards, that ribeye would definitely grade out to Prime. The shell steak in my photo would probably be Choice, although I have also seen shell steaks at this same butcher with much more marbling that would probably be graded as Prime.

    It’s worth noting that Prime/Choice/Select/etc. is based *solely* on the degree of marbling (i.e., intramuscular fat). The idea is that more marbling is commensurate with more flavor. That’s why Kobe beef is so prized — it’s marbled link.

    But there are many people in the industry who feel that there’s too much emphasis on marbling (and that grading is therefore misleading). Grass-fed beef, for example, tends to have less marbling but has a very distinct flavor profile, and the way the animal has been raised can affect flavor in ways that don’t show up in marbling or grading. Also: How long has the beef been aged? Dry-aged or wet-aged? And so on.

    Personally, I geek out when I see highly marbled beef. But the ultimate test is how it tastes, not how it looks.

    Paul, as someone who likes lean meat and hates fat, I was smiling when I went to Kobe with the baseball team I was playing for, and we (wanting to try Kobe beef in its home city but not having money) chose the cheaper, leaner version. It was perfect. I wouldn’t have wanted the “good” version; this one had very little fat but all the flavor that you would expect from high quality beef.

    It wasn’t cheap at ~$25 per person, but it was a great experience. Lean Kobe beef all the way!

    Thanks for such a well thought out response.

    I’ve been getting pretty handy with my charcoal over the last year which has led to a decent foundation of knowledge.

    My ‘go to’ for the family has been a link or a link cooked indirectly and finished over the coals.

    I can cook a decent steak, but need to step up my game now and really understand the meats better. Thanks again.

    This kind of random knowledge share is one of the things that I love about this blog.

    Another vote for MLB having a Negro League Uniform/Juneteenth observance. I’d love it even more if they could tie Larry Doby into it. It’s easy to overlook the guy who did something “second” but Doby was the first black player to break the AL color barrier and faced the same challenges as Jackie Robinson.

    I have never seen a steak referred to as a shell steak. I would have called that a strip. Is that a regional thing, or is it a different cut?

    I biked to work this morning in my Uni Watch “tequila sunrise” cycling jersey while listening to today’s episode of Unified. I started the podcast as I left my house, and Paul was just starting the outro as I pulled into work. Perfect way to start the day!

    Also, Paul, have you properly admonished Chris yet for jinxing Jacob DeGrom? :P

    Paul, have you properly admonished Chris yet for jinxing Jacob DeGrom?

    I know, right? Listened to the ‘cast this morning during a crisp walk. And like you, I finished at exactly the point I returned home, so it’s kismet.

    We should probably can the use of the phrase “bp” jerseys and just call then spring training jerseys. The last few years, I’ve seen a number of batting practices and never once seen a player in a “bp” jersey. Players wear a hodgepodge of pull over tops (like most managers…do any managers still wear regular jerseys?), hoodies of various kinds, and even the occasional t-shirt. The sad thing is, you rarely know who’s batting from any distance.

    You might look into whether any managers where a jersey anymore…when’s the last time you saw one? That’s a significant change…

    Love the football video and have now spent the better part of 2 hours browsing that YouTube channel watching more of his craft. Thanks for sharing, Paul!

    Can’t make it up: The American Association’s Milwaukee Milkmen will be playing this Sunday as the Milwaukee Sweet Teats

    Wouldn’t want to make that one up. What were they thinking?

    Can’t make it up: The LA Bowl — a new bowl game that was supposed to debut last year but was postponed due to the pandemic — has sold its naming rights to comedian Jimmy Kimmel.

    I can promise you this… if I ever become rich and famous there will never be a Jim Vilk Bowl. If anything I will buy the rights to the Sun Bowl, and for as long as I own the rights, it will just be The Sun Bowl.

    That Sweet Teats jersey is a blatant ripoff of the SweeTarts candy logo. They even mentioned it in the article!

    “Next up on ESPN tonight, stay tuned for ‘The Sun Bowl, Presented Sponsor-Free by James Vilk.'” I think that these days, even if someone tried to keep their name off a bowl game by buying the rights, the broadcast sports media would just refer to it by their name anyway. The juggernaut cannot be stopped; we’re like colonial subjects who’ve so internalized our obedience to the empire that the empire doesn’t even bother stationing soldiers among us.

    John Hancock might dispute Jimmy Kimmel’s claim that he’s the first human to ever have a bowl game named after him:

    (Sorry, Jim Vilk. It’s an absolute travesty that this was really your beloved Sun Bowl, of all games)

    Frank Howarth is an amazing woodworker and videographer! What a treat to see his video featured on Uni Watch.

    I’m surprised the new retro Boston College uniforms didn’t get more of a mention. They’re gorgeous IMO.

    I fear Labor Day uniforms would end up being the kind of Blue Collar stuff that Paul regularly decries in that space in the ticker.

    That said, how about the players all wear Curt Flood uniforms for Labor Day? :)

    If every player can wear the same number on 4/15, then I don’t see why every player can’t wear identical Cardinals uniforms on Labor Day.

    Not a fan of A1 Sauce on steaks, but I love it on a hamburger or hot dog any day.

    Just finished listening to the podcast: The last baseball team to try something out of the box was the Diamondbacks, with their “blood-soaked” trousers and the cap & jersey with the diamond pattern.
    Here I quote Trouser Press: “Like all cultural watersheds, it was slagged off by the masses while being understood by a discerning few.” The pants had an unusual template with a diagonal seam which apart from allowing the truncated stripe may have offered more in the way of comfort. The colors around the cuffs of the pants provided visual interest when most players were hiding their socks/stirrups.
    I wasn’t too crazy about the pattern on the breathable panel below the underarms, but it was more successful around the details of the raglan sleeves. Lastly, the pattern around the squatchee added unique detail to the hat in a way that hadn’t been tried since colored eyelets.
    Maybe in the future, we’ll describe the Arizona MLB uniforms in the same breath as the 1976 White Sox, The 1978 Canucks, and the sleeved jerseys of the Evansville Purple Aces. Fortune favors the brave.

    Those pants (and the unis too, but the pants in particular) were brutal. There’s no way around it. Call it whatever you want, but that uni can’t even qualify for a “so bad it’s good” rating. There’s a reason they dropped the pants after one wretched season. I’m all for teams trying to think out of the box and try new things, but this one was a Uni Edsel™. It will not go down with the sort of misplaced love many of us have for those 76 ChiSox or 78 ‘nuks.


    Oh, it has its detractors; but the current version, with all the unique stuff vacuumed off, is evocative of the 1962 Chrysler, which, abruptly shorn of its tail fins, Virgil Exner described as “a plucked chicken”. All I’ll admit was the anthracite road uniforms didn’t work out because of the similarity to what the umpires were wearing.
    Yeah, the stop & start stripes were a bit clunky, but I’ll go to the mat believing the fading patterns were an innovative gamble. At the very least, they should have kept it on the hats! In the future, I expect to see gradated patterns consisting of pinstripes, honeycombs, triangles, contrails, &c.
    Oh, yeah, and they really should have spelled out “Diamondbacks”. Chris Creamer was right: If your name doesn’t fit on your uniform, pick a new name.

    I can’t wait to have a Mays San Francisco Seals jersey when and if they come out for sale.

    Getting sick & tired with all these special day uniforms. They are nothing more than a cash grab.

Comments are closed.