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The Oral History of the Houston Astros “Tequila Sunrise” uniforms

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The uniforms the Houston Astros wore between 1975 and 1993 are perhaps the most polarizing uniform in baseball history. Some call them the “Tequila Sunrise” uniforms, others refer to them as the “Rainbow” uniforms. You know which ones I’m talking about, though: the ones with the orange, yellow and red stripes and the big blue star on them.

From 1975 through 1979 they wore the same uniforms at home and on the road. In 1980 they got a more muted road number, with the stripes only appearing on the shoulders. Beginning in 1987 they eliminated the body stripes all together, going with shoulder stripes on both uniforms. Starting in 1994 the least vestiges of the design were eliminated. Only in recent years have they brought it back, and then only as an occasional, special occasion alternate.

When discussing those uniforms — and others, including the bright ensembles worn by the A’s, Pirates and some other teams — most people just roll their eyes and say “eh, it was the 70s.” That’s a pretty good explanation, actually, but today Paul Lukas of UniWatch has the story of how those Astros uniforms actually came into existence. It’s in the form of an oral history, with Lukas talking to the designers of that famous kit.

Short version: the Astros were struggling, both on the field and financially, and wanted to freshen things up. They hired the giant ad agency, McCann Erickson, to come up with something. A graphic designer, tasked with coming up with something “different,” cut up a bunch of colored paper and arranged it into stripes and just went from there. Fun note: he had a Texas sunset in mind when he put it together, making the moniker “tequila sunrise” a bit inapt. Also, there were some changes from initial prototypes, however. The star was supposed to be white and the cap was radically different:

I liked the white star, but it was not to be. It was a good thing that cap wasn’t used, because the star-H designed that was actually used, and which is used again today, is one of sports’ best logos.

Anyway, a fun read about a unique uniform from a weird time.

 

Mariners acquire Nick Rumbelow from Yankees

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The Mariners acquired Yankees’ right-hander Nick Rumbelow in exchange for minor league righty Juan Then and left-hander JP Sears, per an official announcement on Saturday. Rumbelow made 17 appearances for the Yankees in 2015 before undergoing Tommy John surgery and could provide some bullpen depth for the Mariners in 2018.

The 26-year-old right-hander spent the majority of his 2017 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he delivered an 0.62 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 over 29 innings. The Yankees didn’t rush Rumbelow into a full workload after he missed the 2016 season recovering from Tommy John, but he didn’t appear to have any significant setbacks with his health or performance and should be ready to compete for a role next spring.

Sears, 21, was ranked 21st in the Mariners’ organization by MLB Pipeline. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 2017 draft and features a deceptive, low-velocity fastball that he can throw for strikes to either side of the plate. In his first year of pro ball, he split 17 games between Short-Season A Everett and Single-A Clinton, turning in an 0.65 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 16.6 SO/9 across two levels.

Then, 17, also completed his first year of pro ball after signing with the Mariners as a free agent. He went 2-2 in 13 games of rookie ball, pitching to a 2.64 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 61 1/3 innings. Neither Sears nor Then will take the mound for the Yankees anytime soon, and offloading Rumbelow to the Mariners should clear up some room on New York’s 40-man roster as they prepare for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.