Even if you do not keep tabs on the annual Cubs Convention, if you are reading Cubbies Crib you at least know the festivities have kicked off for the winter weekend event thanks to our very own Andrew Denny. One of the numerous treats from Cubs Con included the unveiling of a set of throwback uniforms the North Siders will wear over the course of the 2014 season to celebrate 100 years of Wrigley Field. Chris Creamer of SportsLogos.net was the first source out there that has provided actual pictures of what was displayed via one of their friends.
Back on Halloween 2013, I had discussed here on Cubbies Crib of the potential foundation being laid to implement new uniform styles for the 2014 season and thanks to SportsLogos.net, we are now seeing the results. As a jersey collector and enthusiast, these offerings for 2014 certainly excite. As I mentioned back in October, the Cubs need to catch up with the times in terms of seeking every avenue possible to collect an extra dollar of revenue, and this is certainly one way of doing so. While a segment of increasingly impatient fans would rather see changes on the field as opposed to the wardrobe, rest assured this is just a small cog in the machine that will lead to a new tradition of winning in the future.
In the mean time, let’s take a look at the beauties that will be worn this upcoming season (photo credits to SportsLogos.net and Uni-Watch.com).
1) 2014 Alternate Road Jersey
This throwback inspired alternate road jersey features “Cubs” in large block letters as used by the team in the early 1920’s. The blue piping is not seen on any of the variations used during those years and the left sleeve patch seen below is the current secondary “walking Cub” logo used on both the home and away jerseys. This uniform appears to be replacing the solid royal alternate jerseys that were a favorite of Carlos Zambrano and worn by the team in recent years. The combination of the old school font and updated spin off results in an unsatisfied look. Positive marks for trying something new, but the Cubs should have either stuck with going the accurate throwback route or creating a fresh new piece altogether.
2) 1914 Federals Throwback Jersey
To be worn on April 23rd, the 100th birthday of Wrigley Field, this retro top is a tip of the cap to the original inhabitants of the ballpark in 1914. The enlarged “C” with “Feds” within it is similar to the current Cubs home chest logo. More importantly, this throwback offering appears to be an accurate reproduction of the Feds jersey from the 1914 season, as seen in the side by side photo courtesy of SportsLogo.net. Even the collar has the accurate colored trim. Bonus points if the jersey is a shade of cream as opposed to the pure white used for the current home pinstripe Cubs uniforms.
3) 1929 Cubs Throwback Jersey
This cream colored uniform top is planning to be donned on May 4th against the rival Cardinals. Positive marks for another accurate reproduction. The only variation here with the originals is that the half button down should be more of a 3/4 button down, but that minor detail does not take away from the overall clean look of the throwback choice to represent the 1920’s. Selfishly I would have preferred this wishbone “C” logo with “ubs” in the middle from 1926 instead of the well liked retro Cubs bear logo, as Mitchell & Ness reproduced the authentic wool version of this jersey a few years ago. However, the standing Cub logo is classic and this season’s edition with modern fabrics will make these easier to wear on those humid Chicago days at Wrigley.
4) 1937 Cubs Throwback Jersey
Another cream jersey that is accurate to the original, right down to the zipper front. This one will be worn two weeks later on May 18th. However, this was a one year wonder as royal blue piping would be added down from the shoulders to the sleeve on this template the next two seasons. Considering the brief existence, I would have preferred to see the 1939 version of this jersey, complete with the baseball centennial patch. Mitchell & Ness also recreated the 1938 version.
5) 1942 Cubs Throwback Jersey
This one is the gem of the bunch for me. This funky vest with sleeve look was introduced the year before in 1941. For those who find hard to stomach, it has that “so ugly it’s pretty” feel to it when it comes to uniforms. Think the Chicago Blackhawks sweater last seen during the 1991-1992 season for the 75th Anniversary of the NHL. The cream color would be accurate to the time period, along with the zipper front and head spoon piping carried over the 1937 jersey above. Notice the change to the Cubs logo, which is one step closer to the current front chest logo as we know it. Even the red piping on the royal blue sleeves is correct and the cherry on top is the Health shield patch on the front. These were worn across MLB as patriotic support for U.S. troops in World War II. I am a sucker for patches and this one really helps take this one to the top of this list. I look forward to seeing them on June 8th.
6) 1953 Cubs Throwback Jersey
First introduced in 1943, this plain but clean looking edition of the Cubs home jersey would be a mainstay until 1956. The only change was going from buttons to the zippers during this period. So why this particular year? 1953 was the rookie season of none other than Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks. Now an ambassador to the team, look to see him involved in the festivities on on June 22nd. As for myself, I would have preferred the 1951 version for the National League 75th Anniversary patch. Another minus point is the fact that the Cubs wore the this version from 1948 back in 2008.
7) 1969 Cubs Throwback Jersey
A no brainer from a historical standpoint, as the older generation of Cubs fans still have fond memories of a great Cubs team that just ran out of gas at the end of the season. With a roster that included Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Fergie Jenkins, and Ken Holtzman, it is easy to see why 1969 is held dear despite missing out on the playoffs. This season also represents the 100th anniversary of MLB. While I have yet to see a picture that confirms accuracy right down to the patch, based on the correctness of the 1942 top I am going to assume the same attention to detail was made for this 1969 jersey. This uniform basically took the previous plain template and saw the introduction of the now famous royal blue pinstripes. On top of that, the Cubs introduced their first secondary sleeve logo in 1962, with it being continued beyond the 1969 season. An appropriate selection to mark the 1960s with despite Mitchell & Ness currently having their reproductions up for retail.
8) 1978 Cubs Throwback Jersey
This version represents the era when sky blue was a big fad around MLB. Positive points because I enjoy these light blue throwback jerseys (again the “so ugly its pretty” approach), but a bit disappointing to see this road jersey being included in the celebrations of Wrigley, the home ballpark of the Cubs. In fact, this is the only road jersey of the set. In defense of the North Siders, however, there was no stark changes made during the 1970’s from the 1960’s and even the transition into the 1980’s uniforms was lightweight. My choice for this decade would have been the 1976 pullover jersey, complete with the National League Centennial patch. If anything, this would have been a Grade A option for the 2014 road alternate instead of the one the Cubs decided on above. Regardless, this uniform will make its appearance at Wrigley on July 27th.
9) 1988 Cubs Throwback Jersey
As mentioned above, this 1980’s jersey worked with the 1960’s to overshadow the 1970’s in terms of uniform changes. However, this is the decade that saw the Cubs modernize their team logo to its current version, as well as seeing a change to the secondary logo on the left sleeve. This is also the decade which brought the North Side Ryne Sandberg, Rick Sutcliffe, Jody Davis, Andrew Dawson, Mark Grace, and Greg Maddux; as well as two division championships in 1984 and 1989. Can you tell I’m an ’80’s baby? My only argument against this choice is that it would have been fun to see the ’84 version complete with the NL East Champs patch worn in the playoffs that year, even if the thud out of the playoffs was so Cub like. 2014 would represent the 30th anniversary of the first Cubs postseason team since the 1945 World Series club. However, with Maddux being inducted into the Hall of Fame, we could see a tie in there as the ’88 season was the one where Mad Dog had his break out year. You will see these worn by the Cubs on August 10th.
10) 1994 Cubs Throwback Jersey
To be worn on August 24th, an interesting selection to say the least to represent the 1990’s. Again, nothing doing in terms of drastic changes to the home uniform from the previous decade, and that may be the reason the Cubs went the alternate jersey route for the ’90’s. However, uniform historians are still unclear on whether this version or its very similar mesh batting practice edition was the one actually worn in a few games. Regardless, this “Cuba” like script font is eye catching, even if for the wrong reasons. A tip of the cap for including the 125th MLB Anniversary patch, but if it were up to me I would have gone with the 1998 home uniform complete with the Harry Caray and Jack Brickhouse patches. Both broadcasters were legendary during there time up in the broadcast booth at Wrigley and it would have been a nice tie in for the decade. No Wrigley celebration would be complete without an acknowledgement to these two voices.
The interesting element is that the 2000’s are not being included in the series. While that is mainly due in part to the current uniforms not having changed since 1997, the Cubs could have gone with the 2001 jerseys with the American flag patch on the back as a tribute to September 11, or even one final look and goodbye to the solid blue alternate jersey top.
Overall, as I have mentioned before, it is great to see the Cubs going this route to honor both the history of Wrigley and to find just another avenue to boost revenue even by a few dollars. The team needs to capitalize on the throwback trend for as long as it lasts.
What are your thoughts on this jersey line up? Post a comment to be heard.