Saturday, March 12, 2005

These Are Old Blues

A few months ago, BS Memorial put up a link to this site, which is a database of every baseball team's uniform from every year.

I've been on that site ever since, without sleeping or eating.

I got to thinking about my favorite kind of uniform from my youth, a true relic, the light blue road uniform. So bad, it's good. So many teams had them. It's almost inexplicable that this would catch on, especially with teams that didn't even have blue as one of their team colors. The Cardinals? They're the Redbirds. But for some reason, it just seems right to imagine The Wizard of Oz in that light blue zoot suit, flipping through the air.

The other big thing from the seventies and eighties was the pullover top (instead of button-down), with the stripes on the sleeves, and around the waist on the pants, where a belt should be.

Thanks to this trend, in my baseball playing career, I literally never got to wear a button-down jersey. How F'd up is that? Peter Brady got to wear one in, like, '71. And all the kids probably wear 'em now. But my generation got totally screwed. Little League, Babe Ruth, Pony-Colt, High School... I always had the double-knit pullover with the V-neck and the stripes around the sleeves.

I found out that the Pirates started this trend along with their unveiling of Three Rivers Stadium in '70. By '78, every team but the Dodgers and yanks (who fear change) had worn a uniform without buttons. (Of course, way back, they also didn't have buttons, but I'm talking about the modern era here.)

The Reds, Cubs, and Cards still wore pullovers as late as '92-- Coincidentally, the year I started my final year of organized baseball.

But back to the blues:

The height of bluism was around 1980. Every team that ever wore the road blues were wearing them in 1980. This was the year I turned five, right around when I'd fully grasped the concept of baseball. By '81, I'd collected every sticker of the inaugural Topps Sticker Book, so I was definitely aware by '80. Before that, actually. So my initial look at baseball uniforms involved lots of blue.

The blue teams were: In the AL, Kansas City (73-82), Milwaukee (70-84)(70 was their first year. The Seattle Pilots, their precursor, in their one year, 69, wore a brighter blue road uni), Minnesota (73-86), Seattle (77-84), Texas (76-82), and Toronto (77-88); and in the NL, Atlanta (80-86), Chicago (76-81), Montreal (69-91) (69 was their first year), Philadelphia (73-88), and St. Louis (73-84).

Can you believe the Expos wore that crap for 23 years?!

Note: The blue usually corresponded with the pullover uniforms. A rarity was to have the blue with buttons. The Brewers of 70 and 71 had blue with buttons, (so did the 69 Pilots), as did the Rangers of 81 and 82. (The Rangers messed with me on this research project, as apparently, in some years, they wore uniforms with buttons that went, like, a third of the way down the chest. I don't remember these.)

There were also, of course, zippered uniforms. The Phillies had these for a while in the eighties, and were the last team to incorporate this shitty feature.

Then you've got all the crazy alternate jerseys that teams wore. Go to that site and look around.

It's also weird how the uniform changes mirrored society. I always liked the disco era's clothes that everyone makes fun of, if for no other reason than it was, like, the one time that mainstream society ever tried to look any different at all. If you look at a timeline of, say, the "average man"'s clothes over the last century, you'll see:

Suit and tie, suit and tie, suit and tie, suit and tie, crazy-ass colorful polyester leisure suit with bell bottoms, glitter, gold chains, and an afro, suit and tie, suit and tie, suit and tie...

That's why I love movies from that era. It doesn't have to be good, it just has to have people wearing those clothes and not even realizing it because, at the time, they were totally blending in and normal. And when society nowadays does do something different, it's always a retro-version of some other trend. But the seventies, those people just went ape-shit on the clothes, out of nowhere. And then people said, Uh-oh, we'd better fall right back into line, quick. Even people with metal through their faces now, they still wear normal clothes when they're at work. Or at least not as weird as the seventies. For the most part.

That's my whittled-way-down post on uniforms. This is one of those "separate blog" categories. Perfect example of why: I didn't even get to the Red Sox uniforms here.


Post a Comment

If you're "anonymous," please leave a name, even if it's a fake one, for differentiation purposes.

If you're having trouble commenting, try signing in to whatever account you're using first, then come back here once you're signed in.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

My Photo
Location: Rhode Island, United States