10 MLB teams that wore uniforms for a city other than their own
Wednesday afternoon the Chicago Cubs will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first baseball game played at Wrigley Field.
As part of those 100th birthday celebrations both the Chicago Cubs and their opponents, the Arizona Diamondbacks, will be wearing uniforms based off of the two teams that squared off in that inaugural match — the Chicago Federals and Kansas City Packers; two Federal League teams, a league which tried to compete with the American and National Leagues but lasted no more than two seasons. Once the league folded up shop in 1916, the Cubs moved into the stadium and have called it home ever since.
Neither the Cubs, nor the Diamondbacks, are the same franchise as those two 1914 clubs; the Cubs and Federals are as connected to one another as you and the previous owner of your car, while the KC Packers and D-Backs share only one thing in common — they played a ballgame on the north side of Chicago on April 23.
It's a great gesture by the Arizona side, kudos to the D-Backs, and they'll retain some sense of their current identity by way of a Diamondbacks logo patch on the sleeve.
This isn't the first time a Major League team has worn a uniform representing another city ... not even close.
As you'd expect the most frequent occurrence of a team wearing another city's uniform is when a relocated franchise goes with a long ago throwback, pre-relocation.
Atlanta Braves / Boston, MA; Milwaukee, WI
The Atlanta Braves have worn the uniforms of the Boston Braves on at least three different occasions (1997, 2008, and 2011) and once as the Milwaukee Braves (1998). They have worn both Boston and Milwaukee uniforms playing a game in those respective cities against the Red Sox and Brewers.
Los Angeles Dodgers / Brooklyn, NY
It took a while for the Dodgers to join the throwback craze, it wasn't until 2005 (15 years after the first throwback games) that the club would wear a uniform bearing "Brooklyn" across the chest, since that first game 9 years ago they've worn the Brooklyn "B" cap several times, including an entire series of games throughout the 2011 season in which they wore powder blue "Brooklyn" uniforms at home.
San Francisco Giants / New York, NY
The Giants were the first club to wear a uniform from another city, turning back the clock to their days as the New York Giants in 1991 and then twice in 1992. New York uniforms were worn by San Francisco three more times in the early 2000s before the Giants went both outside the franchise and the city (like the D-Backs are doing today) and wore the uniforms of the Brooklyn Royal Giants, an old Negro League team in 2008.
Oakland Athletics / Philadelphia, PA
They've never worn a uniform which has read "Philadelphia", but the Oakland A's have worn Philadelphia Athletics uniforms on several occasions, the most recent was during Fenway Park's 100th anniversary season in 2012, when both teams dressed in 1930s outfits.
Milwaukee Brewers / Seattle, WA
Quick, why do the Brewers wear blue and gold? Because those were the colors of the Seattle Pilots, the team the Brewers once were, and when the team relocated to Milwaukee for 1970 there was not enough time for new owner Bud Selig to order uniforms in his desired color scheme of blue and red. Like seriously, there wasn't enough time, the team actually relocated in between spring training and Opening Day. Since the move the Brewers have worn Seattle Pilots uniforms twice, in 1999 and again in 2000.
Baltimore Orioles / St. Louis, MO
Only once has the Baltimore Orioles made any reference, in uniform, to the fact they were the St. Louis Browns for over half-a-century, and that came via a historically inaccurate recreation during a 1940s throwback game in St. Louis against the Cardinals in 2003. The Orioles opted to wear the Browns road uniforms from that era but instead of "St. Louis" arched across the chest it was replaced with "Browns".
Minnesota Twins / Washington, DC
The Twins have a great history when it comes to uniforms - both of the Twins and of the various minor league clubs which have called the Twin Cities home over the years. That didn't stop the team from going back to a pre-Minnesota franchise look for just one game in 2001 when, as part of the 100th anniversary celebrations of the American League, they wore the uniforms of the 1901 Washington Senators.
Toronto Blue Jays / Chatham, ON
Toronto was an expansion franchise when they made their AL debut in 1977 so their "another city throwback" is to a club they had no historical ties to. In 2001 for a Negro League tribute game at Shea Stadium the Blue Jays wore the uniforms of the Chatham Colored All-Stars, a 1930s team based about 200 miles southwest of the city, in fact they're much closer to Detroit than Toronto. The Blue Jays would honor the Chatham All-Stars once more, at home, in 2002.
Tampa Bay Rays / Jacksonville, FL
Like the Blue Jays, the Rays were an expansion club, and like the Jays they threw back to a Negro League team 200 miles away. In 2008 they wore the uniforms of the Jacksonville Red Caps for two consecutive games in late June.
Texas Rangers / Washington, DC
Finally there's the Texas Rangers, a team who longed to belong with the other throwback teams so much that they created their own fake 1920s uniforms in the early 90s just to play along. They ended up finally wearing the uniforms of the 1960s Washington Senators, the team they were before relocating to Texas in 1972, for several games in 2002 and again in 2008. The Rangers are one of two non-Washington teams to wear Washington-based throwback jerseys, along with the previously mentioned Minnesota Twins.
The Rangers also, once, used a pretty interesting compromise, which the Arizona Diamondbacks may have wanted to consider for their game today.
In 1994, during the height of Texas' "we want an old uniform but we don't have one" days, the team did dip back into the uniforms of those Washington Senators but they were updated, ever so slightly. Washington's famous "curly W" logo (currently used by the Washington Nationals) was transformed into a curly "T", the "Senators" script across the chest was re-done to read "Rangers" in the exact same style. They both represented their pre-relocation franchise history and their current home fans. An interesting idea, and from what I can tell they're the only team to ever do this for a throwback game.
Today's game in Chicago is just the first of nine different throwback games to take place at Wrigley Field throughout the 2014 season, I can't wait to see what other old-timey gems await us in the months to come.
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