Friday, June 7, 2019

Julio Acosta, 1944

We have a lot of Milwaukee Chicks coverage this year, in honor of their 75th Anniversary, but that doesn't mean we're forgetting the Brewers. This is Brewer hurler Julio Acosta, photographed in St. Paul, Minnesota.

This was taken at Lexington Park in St. Paul, when the Brewers were in town to play a four-game series against the Saints.

Acosta had been signed by Bill Veeck the previous season. Acosta had a particularly flamoyant Milwaukee debut, courtesy of Sport Shirt Bill's showmanship: he burst out of a 15-foot cardboard cake wheeled out to home plate and presented to Brewers manager Charlie Grimm as part of a birthday celebration for the Milwaukee skipper.

Couple details of the uniform that stand out to me.

Look at the curve on his brim! That cap looks well worn-in. It's a bit hard to read the red felt "M" against the blue wool in this print.

Acosta is wearing the Brewers' road gray flannels. This uniform is unique in Brewers history for a total lack of blue on either the jersey or pants, featuring instead red script and numbers outlined in white. Veeck's first stab at a road uniform was unveiled in 1942, solid blue head-to toe with red details trimmed in white. This unique look had led to a lot of ribbing from the other teams in the American Association, and for the next season the Brewers had lifted the red-and-white patches from their blue uniforms and sewn them on to a more traditional gray.

Underneath his jersey, Acosta is wearing an undershirt with white sleeves, a style that was popular at the time and now reads as iconic of its era. White sleeves were very much the standard in the early decades of the twentieth century, but by 1951 all major league clubs had adopted colored undershirt sleeves.

Posed with his arms raised in a wind-up motion, you see that the red soutache sleeve stripe doesn't go all the way around, leaving about an inch-long gap under his arm. You can also clearly see his underarm gussets, offering greater range of movement.

Curious how he's wearing his belt, with the buckle all the way to the side.

We see this from time to time on ballplayers, especi but I don't know if I've ever understood the reason behind it. Was it a comfort thing? Did he appreciate the rakish style? I honestly don't know.

Acosta didn't pitch in that series against the St. Paul Saints; the 25-year old hurler had lost a close one to the Minneapolis Millers on June 21st, as the Brewers began their road swing through Minnesota, and his spot in the rotation wouldn't come up again until the Brewers had headed home to Borchert Field. Acosta ended the 1944 season with a 13-10 record and 3.89 ERA.

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