How to be a Uniform Snob Part 2: Phillies vs. Padres (Throwbacks!)

2003 throwbacks

From 2003 against the Pirates in solid yellow—ladies and gentlemen: your 1970s!

The pictures with formal write-ups of the uniforms in question are from Bill Henderson’s excellent MLB Game Worn Jerseys of the Double-Knit Era. Buy it here. If you’re even remotely interested in the rest of this entry, this will be the best $25 you’ll spend all baseball season. AND, he’s from the Philadelphia/Delaware County area, so his Phillies chapter is made with special care. (That’s actually a joke, I think. Each team gets an amazingly thorough treatment throughout. Yes, even the Diamondbacks.)

Check out Kyle’s throwback-tastic write-up from earlier today for what he considers the Phillies’ best logo. I disagree, but I like his enthusiasm. Also, notice that he’s talking about a specific logo, not the uniforms of the 70s/80s in general.

It’s 80s night at Citizen’s Bank Park tonight, and even though they’ve had “70s night” and “80s night” promotions for the last few years, they’ll actually be trotting out throwbacks for one of the games. For those who were always disappointed that their recent “70s nights” never included the players dressing like the team of the 70s, consider this vindication for those times when you tuned in, only to see a few “retro” graphics on the broadcast but nothing else of note except for the ballgirls wearing something like this

This is the the third Phillies throwback game of the season (the Negro League throwbacks write-up and the write-up for the more-or-less “away” version of tonight’s uniforms). Of course, Uni-Watch has their write-up today (scroll down to the Phillies logo) and they’re so gosh-darn thorough that even if I would’ve come up with these points on my own (I was working on it, I swear!), they pretty much covered everything already. I’ll recap here and add some more sizzle (snark?).

In terms of impressing boring (I wasn’t sure which word to strike-thru) your friends, subtly work these factoids into a response every time someone says, “they should wear these uniforms all the time,” or “it’s so cool they’re wearing the uniforms from the 80s. These should be the new alternates.”

1)      The 1984 uniform (the “target” for this 80s promotion) included a zipper on the front; the change to buttons happened with the 1987 jersey. I’m sure this is just chalked up to Majestic’s current templates not having this feature… and, anyway, as a player, I’d cringe every time I did a head first slide with a zipper all along my torso.

2)      The players won’t “look” like 1984 players because they’ll be wearing the pants at shoe height or lower, the jerseys (and pants) will likely be extra-baggy, and no stirrups will be in sight (some players will actually wear them, but it’s unlikely to catch-on with more than a few guys).

3)      There will probably be a Majestic logo on the uniform somewhere (check the sleeves). The 1984 uniform was made by Wilson. Yep, someone keeps track of this (from the great MLB Game Worn Jerseys of the Double-Knit Era).

4)      New Era might put the “batterman” logo on the back of the hats. Judging by MLB Shop, the “on-field” hats will have it, but the “authentic” MLB Shop product does not always match what the players wear. There was some confusion about the “on-field” vs. MLB Shop hats the Mariners wore a couple of weekends ago. So just because it’s on MLB Shop and “authentic”… your mileage may vary. Also, the “P” logo on the hat is noticeably larger than it actually was on hats from the era.

5)      Will they pay for the correct helmets (see the picture above)? Or will they just don their normal (and clashing bright red against maroon) batting helmets. It’s on the Phillies to pay for these themselves, so let’s see how cheap they are (or hopefully aren’t).

The Padres will be wearing their 1984 uniform which is one of those wonderful “only in the 70s/early 80s” looks. A brown pull-over jersey with yellow and orange highlight details, yellow sanitaries with brown stirrups (though it’s doubtful that the yellow sanitaries, much less brown stirrups will be visible). Of special note is that they wore white pants as part of their road uniform, which isn’t something seen anymore. Teams sometimes wear their normal pants with throwback jerseys (check out the catcher’s pants in this picture), but I’m not sure the Padres normal grey + navy pants will work with the “colors of autumn” palette of the jersey and hat.

Fingers Speaking of the hat, the geometry of the paneling is meant to evoke a church bell. The interesting detail here is that that geometry is rather unique among other teams, so each manufacturer had its own take in the “right” way to make the hat, so you’ll see noticeable variation among time periods and manufacturers (even back when they weren’t throwbacks). Check out fellow uniform-enthusiast Paul Carr’s exhaustive (in a good way) search into tracking down these variations on The Ballcap Blog. Oh yeah, it’s a four part (ongoing?) series. One, two, three, four. (note: Padres fans, I’m not sure if the hat to the right accurately conveys the exact 1984 style — my guess is that it doesn’t)

I’ll give the edge to the Phillies. I like that uniform era, where “racetrack” stripes along the shoulders and up the sides were more common, and even though the powder blues don’t really do much for me, in whole, it’s still a good look. Some people harp on the fact that the Phillies are rather staid in their uniform options – with a simple home/away strategy from 1992–2007, then home/away/alternate since then – and how they need to add a solid red jersey (derisively called “softball tops” by some), but this conservative approach makes these throwback games more notable and really makes the special uniforms stand-out.

For the record, I’m still going to request that the Phillies break out the ’89-91 road grey jersey. It’s got the maroon/burgundy, funky “p,” but ditches the powder blue.

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