Throwback uniforms started with White Sox 25 years ago

SHARE Throwback uniforms started with White Sox 25 years ago
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White Sox pitcher Wayne Edwards (left) and manager Jeff Torborg with Sun-Times photographer Tom Cruze on July 11, 1990. | Sun-Times Media

When the White Sox take the field to play the Cubs on Sunday, they will be wearing a 1959 replica uniform to honor Minnie Minoso and the Cubs will wear a 1958 uniform to honor Ernie Banks. Fitting, since the White Sox initiated the “throwback” phenomena 25 years ago.

Little did the White Sox know what they would start when they took the field on July 11, 1990, for “Turn Back the Clock” day. It was the last year the White Sox would play in Comiskey Park. Under the direction of marketing vide president Rob Gallas, the organization came up with an idea to play a game as if it was 1917, the last season the White Sox won a World Series. Tickets and concession prices were rolled back, electric scoreboards were turned off and fans dressed in period.

One nostalgic piece they weren’t sure about: the uniforms.

From a July 8, 1990 Sun-Times article:

Everyone said the uniforms wouldn’t fly, but when we went to Major League Baseball they said, `Sounds like fun. Go ahead,’ Gallas said. Then we approached (manager) Jeff (Torborg) and Pudge and Ozzie (team captains Carlton Fisk and Ozzie Guillen) and they said great. But the thing to remember is we’re not trying to be historically correct. The uniforms aren’t made of the old flannel-wool material and they aren’t as baggy as they were because we said we don’t want to get in the way of the game. It’s more a nostalgia thing. We said, `Let’s have fun and do things that remind people it’s the last year of the old park.’

Turns out the players embraced the old uniforms. Their postgame comments in the Sun-Times:

We should wear these all year, they’re better than what we’ve got now, shortstop Ozzie Guillen said. Look at all the uniforms in the All-Star game and who had the ugliest one? The White Sox.

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Ozzie Guillen liked his throwback better than the White Sox’ current uniforms. | Sun-Times Media

Bullpen catcher Barry Foote on the uniforms: These are exact replicas. I got a picture of Fisk in his uniform. It’s not very often a man can do that, go back to his rookie uniform before his career is over.

A story this week from SportingNews.com revealed the brainchild of the “throwback” uniforms:

The idea of wearing replica uniforms from the past was an incredibly novel idea in 1990. The concept was credited to 15-year-old Ken Adams, son of Chuck Adams, the White Sox’s vice president for publicity and community affairs.

In hindsight, it’s amazing to think there were reservations about doing the replica clothing. Each uniform cost the White Sox $300. Players were allowed to keep their caps, but the jerseys were later auctioned off. In all, the White Sox estimated they spent $600,000 on the “throwback” day, which has since blossomed into a million dollar industry for all the major sports leagues.

From the exploding scoreboard to the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” seventh-inning stretch, the White Sox have always been innovators.

Shoutout to the White Sox on this “throwback” Thursday.

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