Thursday, May 9, 2013

1913 Throwback Jersey Review

Today, we're going to take a closer look at the jerseys Majestic supplied to the Brewers for their 1913 Turn Back the Clock game. We wanted an authentic feel from these "authentics"; how did they do?

We start with the base fabric, in a pleasing off-white color to mimic the softer appearance of natural wool flannel. No harsh white here. The trim is a very dark navy, darker than the Brewers' current color, and this when set against the cream creates a very striking combination.

Looking a little closer, I note that Majestic and the Brewers "rounded off" some of the corners of the original's design. The 1913 jersey in Paul Tenpenny's collection shows a trapunto-style quilting along the cuffs, which really couldn't be expected to be included here.

Similarly absent is the detailed stitching along the shoulders, seen here during my interview with FOX Sports Wisconsin:

If some of the finer details were eliminated, the throwback jersey hits all the high notes, and hits them dead-on. The basic layout is correct; these throwback jerseys have set-in sleeves, as the original does, rather than the raglan sleeves found on the Brewers' regular set.

The placket piping runs along the bottom of the cadet collar (itself worthy of notice, and faithful to the original) wrapping around the neck and extending halfway down the inside of the jersey:

It's a nice touch that wouldn't be obvious on the field.

The original jersey's piping is a much lighter hue, although it's impossible to know if it was always a royal blue or if the intervening century has faded it from the original darker color. Given this ambiguity, matching the piping to the chest logo is definitely the correct call, although I'm intrigued by the thought of blending two shades of blue on this jersey.

And as far as that chest logo goes: splendid.

I have to admit, when I first saw the Corey Hart bobblehead back in January, I feared that they would apply a standard block "M", even a squat one, to the jersey and be done with it. I needn't have worried, because somebody on the design team was obviously paying very close attention.

The defining feature of the Brews' 1913 logo, to my eye, is the way the diagonal lines relate to vertical ones. In a traditional block "M" (think Milwaukee Braves), the diagonal strokes start at the top of the letterform. In 1913, they started lower down, about at the level of the bottom of the serifs. This gives the negative space an elongated home-plate appearance, or a shape like the point of a sword. The Majestic jersey captures that perfectly.

Best of all, the logo is rendered not in modern-day tackle twill, but in felt. The texture is just right for the vintage feel.

This graphic, created by Phil Hecken to accompany my article on Uni Watch, tells the story:

Overall, a gorgeous jersey, and one I'm proud to have in my closet. This could be an excellent starting point for the Brewers' next uniform set.

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