Christmas has once again come and gone and someone special must have read my Christmas wish-list posted here two weeks ago, that retro standings board I wrote about was waiting for me under the tree Sunday morning!
This past week my wife and I have been watching Game 6 of the 1992 World Series one inning at a time, her reaction to Tom Henke blowing the save in the 9th was priceless (yes kids, in Tom Henke’s last appearance as a Blue Jay he gave up the game-tying run with the Jays just one strike away from the championship, of course Dave Winfield helped us forget all about that). Throughout the game the CBS feed would cut-away to a SkyDome packed full of fans just watching the game on the JumboTron waving their foam blue “J”s around in the air (Dear Blue Jays, please hand out those foam blue “J”‘s again in 2012. 20th anniversary + return of blue = do it!). I can’t wait to see that passion return to the city, slowly you can feel it starting to return.
Last week I started my 2011 MLB logo and uniform year-in-review looking at National League teams alphabetically from Arizona through New York, this week I’m continuing with part two of this series which will be looking at the remainder of the National League clubs as well as the first four American League teams.
The Philadelphia Phillies took part in three retro-throwback games during the year, two of these games during the Civil Rights weekend in Atlanta in which they helped honour important figures in Atlanta’s baseball history. First up on May 14th the Phillies joined the Braves in paying tribute to the Negro Leagues by donning the uniforms of the Philadelphia Stars, winners of the 1934 Negro National League Championship.
The next afternoon both clubs turned the clocks ahead four decades to honour Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th career home run which he hit in 1974. The Phillies took to the field with Roy Halladay on the mound wearing their classic powder-blue jerseys with red caps.
Finally the club participated in a 1980′s themed event at home against the San Diego Padres, this time wearing their white uniforms with maroon caps and pinstripes – the same uniforms worn during their 1980 World Series win.
Like their cross-state rivals in Philadelphia, the Pittsburgh Pirates also wore three special themed jerseys throughout the season. The first of which took place on June 21st against the Baltimore Orioles to honour the 40th anniversary of their 1971 World Series matchup in which the Pirates won 4 games to 3. This retro set included pullover jerseys and the elastic waistband pants. Nicely done.
On July 23rd the Pirates and Cardinals honoured the Negro Leagues with period jerseys, Pittsburgh wearing the jerseys of the famous Homestead Grays. Twelve eventual Hall of Famers suited up for the Grays during their 30+ season run. This was the 8th time in the last 5 years the Grays uniforms were worn on the field by a Major League Baseball club.
In August the Pirates and Brewers became the first teams in Major League history to wear their uniforms in German, with the Pittsburgh Pirates wearing uniforms reading “Piraten” across the front. This was done in honour of Milwaukee’s large German population. Naturally, the Brewers also wore German uniforms for this one.
Also in Milwaukee the Pirates helped the Brewers honour the military by joining in with the Brewers in wearing camouflaged caps on May 15th.
Finally the Pirates honoured the manager of their 1979 World Series championship team, Chuck Tanner, who had died before the season. The Pirates wore a star patch on their sleeve featuring Tanner’s number 7.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
During the off-season the San Diego Padres made some tweaks to their logo and uniform set, the most noticeable of which was the elimination of their rarely-used all-khaki road jersey replaced with a standard road grey, prior to the 2011 season the Padres were the only club in the Major Leagues to not have a grey road uniform. Their famous camouflaged alternate jersey also got an update, the camouflage pattern was changed to the new “digital camo” pattern used by the military these days and the caps were switched from green to brown. “San Diego” was also removed from the primary logo.
The Padres turned back the clock to their 1980′s brown, yellow and orange set several times during the season, the first time in Seattle where both clubs wore 1984 throwbacks on July 1st. On July 14th the club again wore their ’80s uniform to honour former Padres manager Dick Williams who had died a week earlier.
On June 11th the Padres hosted the Washington Nationals for a game featuring uniforms from the 1936 season. The Padres wearing the jerseys of the former Pacific Coast League San Diego Padres club which featured a blank black cap. The odd thing is that despite the fact that this cap is blank, Major League Baseball sold (and still sells) this cap on their online shop for the same cost of a regular game cap. I’d love to know if anyone actually bought it.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
The defending 2010 world champion San Francisco Giants rolled out two championship-related uniform novelties during the season. Firstly during their World Series ring ceremony before a game on April 9th the Giants wore their regular home uniforms with gold in place of black on the jersey and their familiar orange “SF” on the cap in gold, carrying-on a recent tradition other World Champions have done in the past several seasons.
Originally meant to only last the opening home-stand, and then the opening month, the San Francisco Giants wore a 2010 World Champions patch on their sleeve throughout the entire season. For you history buffs, the Giants replaced their home and road uniforms for one-season back in 1906 with ones reading “World’s Champions” to celebrate their 1905 World Series win. Compared to that they celebrated pretty low-key in 2011.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
From one defending champion to another, the St. Louis Cardinals, baseball’s World Champions in 2011, dressed up in three special uniforms throughout their championship season. On June 18th the Cardinals jumped on the Spanish-jersey bandwagon when they took to the field in Milwaukee as “Los Cardenales”.
On July 2nd a 1950′s turn-back-the-clock match took place as the St Louis Cardinals took on Tampa. St. Louis wore their ’53 road jerseys and Tampa their minor-league Tampa Smokers set from 1951 giving us a glance at a match up that could never have taken place in the 50′s as Tampa only had a minor league team then.
The St. Louis Stars Negro League club, who produced three Hall of Famers during their time, were honoured by the Cardinals on July 23rd in Pittsburgh. This was the seventh time in over fifteen seasons that the Cardinals paid tribute to the Stars by wearing their uniforms in a game.
The Washington Nationals changed up their logo and uniform set entering the 2011 season more than any other club. The primary logo was changed from the mark that was used since 2005 (their first season in Washington) to a more simplified “W” inside a circle. The golden bevels which also adorned their uniform set numbers since the ’05 season were removed creating a flat red and blue look.
“NATIONALS” was removed from the home uniforms (maybe to prevent another embarrassing “NATINALS” typo incident?) and a patriotic “W” alternate jersey was introduced to replace their patriotic “DC” uniforms from 2010.
The Nationals took to the field wearing the uniforms of the 1936 American League Washington Senators (now the Minnesota Twins) for a game against the San Diego Padres, the throwback jerseys had blank fronts with a “W” on the sleeve.
Flipping over to the Junior Circuit, we continue with the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles wore one throwback jersey during the season. Being the good sports that they are, the Orioles wore the uniforms from their 1971 World Series loss to the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Also of note, the Orioles were also wearing the inspiration of their their future 2012 road cap as a throwback during this one.
In August former Orioles pitcher, general manager and broadcaster Mike Flanagan died unexpectedly – the team honoured their fallen teammate by wearing a memorial patch reading “FLANNY” for the final month of the season.
BOSTON RED SOX
The Boston Red Sox made one somewhat subtle change to their uniform set for the 2011 season and that was the inclusion of player names on the backs of their batting practice uniforms – perhaps to aid fans with all the talent they signed over that off-season.
On May 21st the Red Sox and Cubs paid tribute to their 1918 World Series matchup by wearing head-to-toe plain white uniforms with only a red number on the back. Unlike the Padres blank black caps, I cannot find any sign of MLB selling this for the price of a regular jersey or cap.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Chicago continued a recent tradition of theirs by honouring “Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” on September 9th. The White Sox wore their usual home pinstripes with green replacing black everywhere possible. The White Sox have donned the green and white jerseys in September for the past 6 seasons.
The Cleveland Indians made some adjustments to their jersey set during the off-season prior to the 2011 season, the most noticeable was the major simplification of their road jerseys. Gone was the stylized “Cleveland” across the front, replaced with a block, arched “CLEVELAND”. The Chief Wahoo logo was also removed from the road caps, replaced with a red “C” on blue. Their cursive “I” logo was eliminated, at the insistence of team president Mark Shapiro.
The Indians honoured perhaps their greatest player of all-time, Bob Feller, who had died prior to the season with a very classy patch on their jerseys.
Cleveland also wore green caps along with the Twins who were taking part in an Earth Day promotion in Minnesota on July 18th (originally scheduled for the actual Earth Day of April 22nd but postponed due to rain).
This wraps up part two of our 2011 MLB uniform and logo year-in-review, come back next week for our first post of 2012 where we’ll wrap up the year-in-review by covering the remaining American League clubs.
Happy New Year everyone!