[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site (although he’s still writing his weekly Bulletin column and may pop up here on the blog occasionally). Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month.]
Good Friday morning, Uni Watchers. We made it.
Yesterday was just one of those days: major uni news all throughout the day, including two “Classic” editions for NBA uniforms being revealed for the Washington Wizards and later, the Milwaukee Bucks. And then later in the afternoon we learned that the NBA will retire the late Bill Russell’s #6 leaguewide. Phew! I wish they’d spread these things out.
And of course, last evening we were treated to the second edition of MLB’s “Field of Dreams” Game, which is played in Dyersville, Iowa, the setting for the “Field of Dreams” movie. Like last year, both teams emerged from the corn to begin the festivities.
When the uniforms were first unveiled earlier this week, we learned the Reds would be wearing 1919 uniforms, as they were the team who defeated the Chicago Black Sox in the 1919 World Series — a scandal in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing the games. While the Cubs wore the uniform announced for a number of seasons, I believe the specific year they were targeting was 1929, a year in which they won the National League Pennant, but lost the World Series (4-1) to Philadelphia A’s. (However, their cap was worn only in 1914.)
The uniforms were on point. Obviously, concessions are made for modern materials and cuts, as well as some anachronisms like uniform numbers and batting helmets. But for the most part, both uniforms were fairly true to their originals.
The Reds wore an all white uniform with pinstripes, including a pinstriped cap. The team created a special batting helmet (meant to mimic the cap, but not quite matching the striping), and I was prepared to hate it, but it honestly didn’t look too bad.
More players than not went high cuffed, which was a pleasant surprise. The Cubs who did so wore dark navy socks with a thickish red/thin white striping pattern at the calf.
Almost all the Reds went high cuffed, but their hosiery was a mix of basically solid red socks, or a white bottom/red top sock (which looked much better).
I was curious to see how both teams would handle the number on back situation, since neither the 1919 Reds and 1929 Cubs had uni numbers (The Cubs started wearing numbers on their uniforms on June 30, 1932. They were the last team to add uniform numbers to their jerseys). The Cubs went with the McAuliffe font (which a number of teams once wore, and the Red Sox are the last team to do so). Those numbers were rendered in red with a navy blue outline.
The Reds went with just a standard block font in solid red. You’ll note from the photo below, the collar is actually a bit of a modified cadet collar, which the 1919 squad wore.
You can see how the collar looks from the front here:
With their blue caps and helmets (and in a very light cream colored uni), players for the Cubs who wore their pants pajama-style looked a LOT like today’s Red Sox from the side and rear.
Another concern that I had had was the fact that both teams were wearing very light uniforms: the Reds were in white with thin pinstripes, and the Cubs were wearing a light cream. While the hues provided little differentiation (which isn’t really needed in MLB, anyway), the Cubs had more than enough navy to easily distinguish the two clubs apart on the field.
This was definitely one of the best looking MLB games in a long time. Of course, the setting is incredible (even if they do Hollywood-it-up on the broadcast). But there are just some guys who seemed destined to appear in a Field of Dreams game…
And I can’t get enough of those cornfield in the background photos…
Both squads posed for team portraits using the field to terrific effect.
Unfortunately, the umpires were not wearing any kind of throwback apparel. But the Reds equipment crew had some fun “throwing back.”
One of my favorite moments of the evening wasn’t uni related…but it was tremendous.
"Hey dad, you want to have a catch?"
— MLB (@MLB) August 11, 2022
This was interesting: A Harry Caray hologram sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 12, 2022
Even though the game wasn’t particularly exciting, and even though the Reds and Cubs have had better seasons, I thoroughly enjoyed the uniforms and the setting. MLB hasn’t yet dubbed this the “annual” Field of Dreams game, but I’m guessing after how well received the first one was (and with an exciting walkoff finish), and with how great this one looked, it wouldn’t surprise me if they do turn this into an annual thing. I’d love to see an annual designated “throwback” game here with all the pre-expansion teams getting to play in “realistic” 1910-1930s throwbacks. Take me out to that ballgame.
You can see tons of additional photos here.