Today's column was written by Sports Design Blog reader and contributor Daniel Leonard from Tucson Arizona. I have gotten to know Daniel through his interaction with the site and have found that he and I shared the same childhood passion for sports and art. His comments are always well thought out and on the money. I knew he would be perfect for a guest spot on SDB. Today Daniel takes us back to baseball one last time this season with a look at the uniforms of the four remaining teams that are still chasing their World Series dream. Thanks to Dan for taking the time to share his thoughts with the readers of SDB today. You can find more information about Daniel and his wife and the way they put their artistic skills to work here.By Daniel Leonard
As the now extended 'Fall Classic' has begun, I'm here to comment on the
classic styles of the uniforms of the remaining four participants. The
Yankees, Angels, Dodgers and Phillies all sport what is now known to be
true classic baseball uniforms. Does how they appear have anything to do with
how well they play? Possibly.
The most recognizable uniform in all of American sport is obviously, the New York Yankees' home white, navy-blue pinstriped version. Their unapproachable record of 26 World and 39 American League championships is the gold standard all franchises, in all sports aspire to. Many teams over the years have adopted pinstripes, hoping to somehow emulate their success. Certainly, because of their history, they've not deviated much from this look.
The single color, navy-blue cap with the stylized, curved, white, interlocking 'NY' is known worldwide. Throughout the years, the gray road uniforms have been slightly altered, with or without an outline, around the navy 'NEW YORK'. Equally as recognizable is the Yankees logo. The white baseball, covered by 'Yankees', in script, with the bat supporting the 'k'. The 'k' is capped by Uncle Sam's, red and white top hat. Oddly, it only appears on the sleeve of their warm-up jackets or in the on-deck circle.
As players come and go, most aspire at some point in their careers to be Yankees. They understand that with donning those pinstripes, great expectations follow, from both fans and media. Some, like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter have reveled in those expectations. Others, too numerous to list, haven't fared so well.
In contrast, the Los Angeles Angels, opponents of the traditional powerhouse Yankees, have finally found success under the steady guidance of manager, Mike Sciocia. Born as an expansion team in 1962, they didn't win much in their first two decades of existence. The then, California Angels, were kind of the career-ending spot for many over-the-hill stars. Occasional, individual stand-out performers, like Nolan Ryan, Alex Johnson and Lyman Bostock's accomplishments were the only things Angel fans had to cheer. Meanwhile, the cross-town Dodgers did all the pennant winning. During those early years, they constantly tried different looks, usually going with the fashion trend of the time. Remember the original 'halo' on the navy-blue caps with the red bills? Inventive, but maybe a little 'too' different.
arrival of their championship-experienced manager, these Angels have
adopted the 'classic' look. Using red as the dominant color, the halo neatly
surrounds the big 'A' on the cap and the 'A' in ANGELS on the
jersey. Sadly, the halo no longer tops the stadium scoreboard. Staying
with the same ANGELS on all versions of the jersey (vests, white home, gray
road, and alternative red) gives them a consistent, great look. Their
stylized, curved numerals, with points coming out of the center, make them
unique. Hopefully, they'll stay with this style, as they've enjoyed success. Future Angels should aspire to follow the tradition of winning built
during the 'Sciocia' years.
Over on the senior circuit, both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies look the part of winners, though they've travelled different routes to arrive there.
The Dodgers, much like their cross-country rival Yankees have held to their traditional uniform since the middle of last century. With 6 World and 18 National League championships, many a young ball player has aspired to wear 'Dodger Blue'. The interlocking LA on the cap and shoulder of both the Dodger home and away jersey represents an attitude as much as it's city. Only block red numbers to the right, below the blue, scripted 'Dodgers' adorn their clean white home uniforms. No stripes on the legs or sleeves makes LA's National League franchise one of kind. Returning to the blue, scripted 'Los Angeles' across the chest on the visiting gray version is a tribute to their 1960's championship heritage. A fact, not lost on their current manager, Joe Torre (once a leader of four previous Yankee World champion squads) brought in to return to those lofty goals.
Finally, those Philadelphia Phillies. Red pinstripes are worn well by this current championship group seeking to repeat. With red as the dominant color, the cap boasts a white, 1950's style, scripted 'P' and the perfect contrasting, blue cap tip. An alternative, blue cap with red visor looks great when worn with either home white, pinstriped or away grays. Both with the 50's style, scripted 'Phillies' across the chest. Nice touch in the 'Phillies' script is the contrasting, blue stars which dot each lower case 'i'. The Phillies also have an excellent logo. Worn on the sleeve, the blue ballfield with the Liberty Bell in it, blends historic tradition of the city to the team. This current uniform is a radical departure from the zipper-fronted, 70's style worn by Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and Greg Luzinski. It's a version Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard are doing their best to stamp in their era as 'Classic'!