Friday, July 12, 2013

Return of the Pinstripes?

Reader Michael Mastauskas sent in an interesting tip via Facebook - could we be seeing a new return to pinstripes in the Brewers' near-future?

No, not those. These pinstripes.

This black-and-white cap was spotted by Michael in a Lids store in Milwaukee. It's also on

According to the tag, the Brewers will be wearing this cap in 2013. This appears to be an honest-to-goodness leak; it hasn't yet made it to the Brewers' online shop.

The cap belongs to this uniform, the Brewers' "Milwaukee Bears" 1923 throwback, worn every year in a Negro Leagues Tribute Game:

At least, it's what the Brewers used to wear in those games. From the event's inception in 2006 through 2008, they took the field in the black-and-white pinstripes. In 2009, however, the throwback was re-designed in cream and royal blue:

And now, they appear to have switched back to the pinstriped throwbacks. I haven't seen any announcements to that effect, but I can't think of any other reason why this cap would surface now.

So which of these two uniforms is historically accurate? We don't know.

I originally thought that the new 2009 overhaul was the result of some new information about the old club, but this move obviously makes me question that assumption.

The Milwaukee Bears were a Negro National League team that played only one season at Borchert Field before disbanding. That brief tenure, combined with the spirit of the time, means that there is a distinct lack of information about the club today. I'm not aware of any of their uniforms surviving, nor have I even seen a photograph. I suspect that the uniforms the Brewers have worn are a combination of conjecture and wild guesses.

So why the change back to an old version of the throwback uniform? Perhaps the Brewers felt the old style had become stale after four seasons. Perhaps blue and white jerseys with "BEARS" proudly splashed across the front weren't huge sellers in Milwaukee. The city name would certainly seem more popular at the cash register.

Shame; I loved the old blue cap, which was never commercially available outside of Milwaukee. Classic, yet distinctive, the kind of logo our National League Brewers could adopt with pride.

This year has seen greatly increased distribution of these sorts of one-off caps into the nationwide retail market, and I was really hoping that I'd finally be able to pick one up.

The Brewers play their 8th Annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game at Miller Park on Saturday, July 20th. This is traditionally a popular game, but tickets are still available - you could see these throwback uniforms in person!

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