Happy 4th of July. This is just a quick article that began as something else as I was looking for information on the 1919 Cincinnati Reds. The thing about the 1919 Reds is that you can’t seem to find anything on them that doesn’t link them to the Black Sox. What struck me about the period White Sox images I came across was the presence of the American Flag worn in both 1917 and 1918. Black Sox or White Sox…the problem is all the images are in B&W. Thanks goodness for the color renderings created by Mark Okkonen which when seen with the images, really seem to bring them to life.
In 1917 America found itself heading off to war in Europe, along with some of the biggest names in the game; Cobb, Mathewson, and Grover Cleveland Alexander where just a few. Pat Moran was given the opportunity to skipper the 1919 Cincinnati ball club because of Matty’s absence. Player’s drilled on the ball fields, while patriotic displays and practicalities were part of everyday life. I came across an interesting article in the Grand Rapids Tribune from November 28th, 1918. It was titled “OLD UNIFORM MUST BE USED NEXT YEAR.” The article goes on to describe the decision that “The uniforms department’s regulations specify that no material will be available after those manufacturers have used those supplies now in stock.” The thing I found most interesting is news of this announcement came some two weeks after the Armistice was signed on the 11th of November 1918 ( Hence the reason we celebrate Veteran’s Day on that Day).
While the fighting had stopped by the time this uniform edict was published, the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) numbered some 2 million men in uniform in Europe and it was anticipated the Army’s Quatermaster Service would have to provision a total of 4 million men by 1919. In looking at period images of the White Sox, it appears that enough material was on hand or the provisions lifted to enable them to get fresh uniforms for the 1919 season as well as the World Series. During the 1919 World Series, both the Sox and the Reds donned new uniforms for the fall classic.
As we celebrate the birth of our Nation today, see flags on uniforms and at ball parks, or listen to or sing along with the National Anthem, remember that this song was written by a man watching a flag flying in battle…for those of you reading this that have seen this first hand, you know what a special honor that is. Enjoy the day and all that it has to offer…that is truly the essence of why this nation was formed.
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