Monday, June 22, 2009

Gimme an "M"!

In this Milwaukee Journal photo from April 25, 1935, the Brewers inspect their new home uniforms, delivered just in time for Opening Day.

The caption reads:
Brewers Home, Look Over New Uniforms for Friday's Opening

The Milwaukee baseball team pulled in from Minneapolis at 5:30 a.m. Thursday and-much to the surprise of trainmen who know the late sleeping habits of ball players-turned out at once, having orders to report for practise at Borchert field. The picture shows Manager Sothoron and some of the players looking over the new uniforms they will wear Friday in the opening game. Left to right they are Ted Gullic, Sothoron, Wayne La Master, Ernie Wingard, Massmann, Detore, Hope, Forest Pressnell, Jack Rowe and Tony Rensa. (Journal Staff Photo)
I rather like the stylized M logo, matching the "MILWAUKEE" wordmark from the team's road jerseys. And is that a new cap Gullic is holding? Perhaps with a matching M? I'll see if I can dig up some more photos.

Sadly, this stylish new home uniform was to be short-lived; by the 1936 season, when Sothoron's boys brought the American Association pennant back to Milwaukee, the Brewers were wearing a block M over their hearts. The Brews would then stay with the block monogram until adopting a script wordmark for their jerseys in the late 1940s.

So why ditch the new jerseys?

I suspect I know the answer. It seems likely to me that the Brews decided to drop their new logo because they looked too much like that of the Minneapolis Millers, who were wearing an almost-identical monogram, modeled here by former Brewer legend Joe "Unser Choe" Howser, who spent several seasons off and on with Minneapolis:

I don't know when the Millers adopted their version of the "M" logo - reliable information on the Millers information isn't any easier to find than that of the Brewers - but it was no later than 1932. The "M" isn't exact, but it's pretty darn close to the Brewers' 1935 duds.

As of 1933 the Millers were sporting a more flowing M:

But by 1938, the Millers would return to their similar monogram, seen here on a young Ted Williams:

The logo had changed a bit in the intervening years. That's not quite the same as our 1935 Brewers' initial - the diagonal lines are thicker, and the verticals are missing the inside spur.

So, was that it? Did the Brews decide that their fancy new jerseys made them look more like Minnesotans than Wisconsinites? Again, more research is needed.

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