All that was missing was big hair. And Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall in the broadcast booth, Nancy Faust on the organ and a parking lot decorated with Ford Pintos and American Motors Gremlins.
On Throwback Thursday at U.S. Celluar Field, the White Sox turned back the clock to 1976 and a few years beyond by wearing the collared, blue and white V-neck jerseys worn from 1976-81.
The Sox wear the 1983s – which are popular with the players — with some regularity but this was the first time the ensemble made famous by a set that included shorts (worn three times in ’76) were the dress of choice for a game. Today’s players, thankful to be wearing pants, just rolled with the big and bold 70s look.
“I think they’re fun,’’ outfielder J.B. Shuck said, rubbing his fingers over the white jersey with blue collar hanging by his locker before the Sox played the Mariners. “They make these in a nice fabric so they feel good. It’s fun to mix it up a little bit and get a feel for what they wore back in the day.’’
These uniforms were throwbacks in 1976 to the old days of baseball, essentially making them throwbacks to throwbacks. While viewed by some as the worst in baseball – the untucked shirts had a softball feel about them — they were also revered by others. Sox fans fondly remembering Bill Veeck’s “South Side Hit Men” slugging their way into first place from July 1 through Aug. 12 of 1977 find it hard not to like them.
Richie Zisk, Oscar Gamble, Lamar Johnson …
“The Ed Farmer uniforms?” manager Robin Ventura said, referencing the Sox radio broadcaster who wore them as a reliever from 1979-81. “I like them. Business casual. Hopefully we can channel a little South Side Hit Men and score some runs.’’
Ventura wasn’t kidding. His team, coming off a shutout loss to the Red Sox the night before, went into Thursday’s game ranked 14th in runs scored and 12th in homers in the American League.
Ventura had a little fun with his team, telling players they’d have to wear the shorts during batting practice.
He was kidding.
“I’m glad we’re not wearing shorts,’’ right-hander Nate Jones said. “Baseball is meant to be played in pants.’’
You could say collars are meant for dress shirts, not baseball uniforms, but what the heck.
“Yeah, I might just leave it on after the game,’’ rookie third baseman Tyler Saladino said. “Just go out and grab a bit to eat.’’