WHAT WERE THE WHITE SOX DOING?
In the 1960s, the Chicago White Sox were owned by a money-challenged owner who cared deeply (Bill Veeck) and money-challenged owners who didn’t care as much (the Allyn Family). What is to follow is a recap of some of the uniform oddities that the team trotted out on the backs of it’s on-field personnel in the ’60’s.
Uniform recycling: The team was notorious for both major and minor league recycling of its 1960s flannels. Finding a pre-1969 Sox jersey, home or road, with original NOB is a major challenge. Also of note is the 1967-68 era, in which many 1967 road powder blues (by MacGregor) were recycled for 1968 with the addition of the Illinois Sesquicentennial patch that both the Sox and Cubs wore that year. One notable such jersey I have seen is the road blue of Ken Boyer, a former NL MVP who was playing out the string by then. He spent part of a season with the Chisox in 1967 after coming from the Mets, and spent an even shorter stint with the Pale Hose in 1968 before going to the Dodgers. The 1968 road flannel Boyer wore was a 1967-issued item.
Extreme Uniform Recycling: Then, there’s the case of longtime AL slugger Rocky Colavito. While the title of a written piece suggested “Don’t Knock the Rock”, that is exactly what the White Sox did upon his arrival in 1967, in terms of providing a jersey for a player of his magnitude.
The Sox grabbed a road flannel (this example I have seen) with a name and number change, and issued it to Rocky. Even more low-ticket was the fact that it was a 1966 flannel, meaning that the team also had to change the front of the jersey, from the arched dark blue CHICAGO to the 1967-68 style Chicago script, with the slash underneath bearing the team name WHITE SOX in white. How many dollars did they save doing this? I don’t know, but it’s insulting to give a major star a regular season jersey this refurbished…at least to me.
Another odd recycling didn’t involve a name/number/front change, but a TAG change! Don Gutteridge served as a coach under manager Al Lopez throughout 1965. The next season found Eddie Stanky taking over for The Senor, and Gutteridge was not returned. In mid-1968, however, with the Sox floundering after nearly winning the 1967 AL pennant, Stanky was shown the door, and Lopez returned, bringing Gutteridge back with him. The Sox broke out a home jersey of Don’s from 1965, and proceeded to change the year tag to reflect the year (1968). The patch for Illinois was added, and voila…you have a jersey Gutteridge wore three years earlier all set to be re-used, with a few adjustments. This tale comes from the 1990s newsletter Diamond Duds.
Overall, the Sox continued the low budget approach for uniforms until the Reinsdorf/Einhorn tandem took over calling the shots in 1981…but even they had a uniform supply problem their first season in charge…that will be saved for next time.
DOWN ON THE FARM
The Salt Lake Bees trotted out pink breast cancer awareness jerseys a week ago. No word as to how these jerseys will be released as of yet.
Also, Carlos Zambrano, rotation ace of the Chicago Cubs, had a rehab start last Monday on the road. Big Z was wearing a grey Daytona front pinstriped jersey, bearing #13, and made by Wilson. That was his only game action in his Advanced Class A rehab.
Bill Kelso, a pitcher who spent three seasons with the Angels, died May 11 at age 69. Kelso was a callup during 1964 and 1966, then had his strongest year in 1967, going 5-3 for the Angels in 69 appearances (68 in relief), posting a 2.97 ERA and notching 11 saves. He spent his final big league year (1968) with the Reds.
Clint Smith, a 2-time Lady Byng Trophy winner and Hall of Famer, died this past Thursday at age 95. His NHL career included a stint with the Rangers (1936-43) followed by a stop with the Blackhawks (1943-47). He was the final survivor of the 1940 Stanley Cup Champion Rangers.
From White Sox manager Stanky in 1968, rejecting a clubhouse visit by presidential candidate Hubert H. Humphrey after a galling Sox loss in Minnesota:
“Who cares? He can’t hit!”.