Saturday, June 22, 2013

Back in Blue, Part III: More on the Brewers' Second 1970 Prototype

This AP wire photo from 1970 recently turned up on eBay.

MILWAUKEE, WIS., April 6—Player John Kennedy and airline stewardess Barbara Heimann enter Milwaukee airport as Milwaukee Brewers made first appearance in the city since moving from Seattle. Miss Heimann wore a brewers uniform.
We've discussed in some detail the jersey Ms. Heimann is wearing; it is the prototype briefly used by the Brewers in the heady days after a Washington court allowed Bud Selig to buy the bankrupt Pilots and move them to the Cream City. You might remember that when Selig formed his group to bring baseball back to the Cream City, he borrowed the name and mascot of his boyhood team.

This particular jersey was actually the second prototype; the first was a pinstriped number displayed in the window of College Athletic sporting goods on Plankinton Avenue in downtown Milwaukee to raise interest before the Pilots' sale and move was even approved.

BREWERS' BACKER — Wearing a Brewers' uniform, airline stewardess Barbara Heimann, Chicago, gave a victory sign shortly after the plane carrying the team arrived at Mitchell Field.
This wire photo brings to five the total number of pictures we currently have of this jersey, all taken within the span of less than one week as the newly-minted Milwaukee Brewers were scrambling to prepare for rapidly-approaching Opening Day. I'd like to put all five photos here, in one place, so we can create as complete an image of the second prototype as possible.

The first two extant photos were taken at Mitchell Field as the Brewer players arrived at their new hometown. While the AP photographer above was capturing Ms. Heimann and second baseman John Kennedy entering the Mitchell Field terminal, a Milwaukee Journal shutterbug, crouching down, was capturing the same shot, Ms. Heimann staring right into his lens. Same raised arm, same V-for-victory salute (rather ironic, since Milwaukee's return to the majors was coming in the person of a truly dreadful team barely removed from its expansion roots).

The other three were taken four days before at Spring Training in Arizona right after the move was made official. The first of those shows a before and after of the transition, with the prototype uniform and the old Pilots uniform side-by-side:

TEMPE, ARIZ.—THE NEW AND THE OLD—Manager Dave Bristol models one of the new uniforms his team will be wearing now that the Seattle Pilots have become the Milwaukee Brewers. Catcher Jerry McNertny wears one of the old uniforms.
An almost-identical photo, snapped as Bristol turned his head, was published in the Ludington (Michigan) Daily News:

Pilots to Brewers

Although they sport different uniforms Manager Dave Bristol (l) and catcher Jerry McNertny (r) represent the same team. Bristol wears the uniform of the American League's newest city, Milwaukee, while McNertny wears the uniform of the now defunct Seattle Pilots. A bankruptcy referee recently approved the sale of the Seattle Pilots to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers open their home season tomorrow against the California Angels.
Finally we have this handsome full-frontal shot of the jersey, modeled by pitcher Marty Pattin:

TEMPE, ARIZ.—Marty Pattin, who won seven games for the Seattle Pilots in 1969, breaks out a Milwaukee Brewer uniform at the Pilot-Brewers training camp here 4/1, a day after the Pilots became the Brewers.
The caption is kind to ol' Marty: he won seven games for Seattle but lost twelve. Milwaukee would be good to him for the two years he spent there, first doubling his win total in 1970 for a 17-12 record, and then following it up in 1971 with an even 14-14 mark.

Adding this new wire photo to the mix, I'm more convinced than ever that there was only one prototype of this style made, passed from Pattin to Bristol to the flight attendant so they could display it for the cameras.

We still don't know what the color scheme was. A reader was able to confirm that the Brewers' first prototype, a pinstriped number created before the Pilots' sale was official, was the blue and red of our American Association Brewers. This second prototype looks more like blue and gold to me, but we can't be sure.

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