Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century

Researched, Illustrated, & Written by Marc Okkonen

Sterling Publishing Co. 1991


Marc Okkonen got the idea for this book from THE NATURAL. "I watched the movie and immediately noticed the flaws in the uniforms and wondered why these uniforms could not have been precise duplications as intended."

After only a few years of backbreaking and maddening research he produced this book, a monument of research. Now who would want such a book? Well, the author of this publication, for one.

*****

Marc Okkonen

c/o National Baseball Library

Dear Marc,

Thank you for putting together Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century. Im the editor of a publication called A Red Sox Journal, and I remember once spending hours trying to pin down what year a certain photograph was taken; it was a frustrating task for someone with limited resources. Red Sox uniform changes are usually so minor that some detective work is needed. Anyway, I thought I might make a few small contributions.

On the subject of caps, Boston did go to the white-outlined B in 1946, but there was another change during the mid-fifties. They went from a large pointy sewn-on patch B, to a smaller and neater-looking embroidered emblem, indentical to the one used today. As near as I can tell, this change took place in 1955. See enclosed samples. The 1975 Red Sox drawing shows a half-and-half navy/red cap crown (sort of an Expos style). This rare cap didn't last very long, and is seldom seen in souvenir shops. A friend of mine who is lifelong fanatic was actually wearing one recently; I asked him what year it was from and he said 1974. I'm inclined to believe him. I can't recall if they changed caps during the 1975 regular season (from all-blue or from half-and-half), but I am sure that during the post-season of 1975 the BoSox wore the all-red crown with a blue B and blue bill, as thousands of photographs will testify. This would seem to be the appropriate cap to show for '75. The Topps baseball cards (with photos presumably taken the previous year) show all-navy for 1975 issues and red crowns for 1976. No half-and-halfs in sight.

Road uniforms. In 1986 the Red Sox road jersey had a peculiar lettering with BO on one side of the buttons, and STON on the other (used since 1984?). In 1987 Rawlings undertook to manufacture all MLB uniforms, with their name on one sleeve. The Red Sox and (I believe) the Tigers and Yankees chose to not to use Rawlings for their home uniforms (the BoSox stayed with Wilson) but used Rawlings on the road. These had the more symmetrical BOS || TON lettering. However, some players, such as Clemens and Rice, disliked the fit of the Rawlings jerseys and continued to wear "last years model" during 87.


During the 1987 season the Sox home jerseys featured a patch on the sleeve commemorating the 75th anniversary of Fenway Park. I have enclosed a sample.

Stockings. Unless I missed it, your book doesnt note a new trend in hosiery--the all-in-one stocking. This was first made by taking the thin strip that remained of the outer sock, cutting it off, and sewing it onto the sanitary sock. I first saw Oaklands Canseco doing this about 1988 and Red Sox players adopting it in 1989. Maybe they are now manufacturing socks this way. It seems to be (so far) an individual choice and not an official sartorial policy (except maybe in Oakland). The enclosed photo shows Bostons Mike Greenwell in 1989 with his new-style stocking on one foot and a cast on the other.

I hope I am contributing in some small way to the greater general knowledge, and your 2nd edition. In any case, I dont know many other people who are interested in this stuff. Thanks

David Nevard
The Buffalo Head Society

*****

Dear David,

Thank you for your nice reception of my uniforms book and your very observant data on Red Sox uniforms. The difference in the cap "B" is small enough to ignore given the size of my art. Yes I've been told of the BOS-TON vs. BO-STON variation and hope to cover this difference in future revised editions. I've already corrected the '75 page to all-red crown and moved the half-red cap to a '74 alternate (along with all-red sox). And incidentally, my book is incorrect in depicting red shoes way too early--not used until '78, or maybe '77. The one-piece sox construction is worth noting, but its not noticeable enough to warrant new art, at least for now. Trying to keep up with patches is another nightmare, but I've noted your input on the '87 patch for future "fine tuning"--I always hope it's on the right sleeve do I can ignore it! Your valuable comments are much appreciated.

Marc Okkonen

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