The Best and Worst Uniforms of All Time: The Los Angeles Dodgers

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The Best: The Dodgers are one of the three best lookin’ teams of all time (I’ll get to the other two in the coming days, but you can probably guess).  Since adopting the basics of their now-classic design in 1938, they have really only changed two things: (1) the addition of the red number in 1952; and (2) the words written in script on the front of the roadies. Take your pick between “Brooklyn,” “Los Angeles,” and “Dodgers.” They’re all sharp as a friggin’ tack.

Worst: You’ve gotta go back a ways to find a time when anything was different, but the red socks (sox?) were interesting. Hey, look! Early road blues! If you think those Giants plaids I mentioned this morning were wacky, get a load of these. The Nats think they’re patriotic for putting a red, white and blue curly W on their new uniforms? Pfft! Check this out, losers. That was in 1917, of course, and the Dodgers were doing their best to stick it to those fiendish Huns. 1935’s baby blue pinstripes weren’t much to look at. This alternate jersey from 1944 looks like a Kansas City Royal stepped into a time machine.

But my choice for the worst is a conditional one, because I can’t confirm that they ever wore it: a vest, in 1999.  The Hall of Fame database shows it as an actual road uniform that year. I found this, showing it as a faux-vest prototype, but the caption says it was never used. I could not find pics of any Dodgers actually wearing it.  I can’t for the life of me remember them ever wearing it, but I’ll admit, 1999 was a nadir year for baseball watching for me. I was too busy thinking I was going to be a successful lawyer one day. Any Dodgers fans have insight? If they did wear it, however, it boggles the mind.  How does someone, after 60+ years of uniform perfection, say “hey, the classiest organization in baseball needs to go sleeveless”?  I hope whoever thought of that got a big freakin’ promotion, because you just can’t find genius like that every day.

UPDATE: I should have just asked Bob Timmermann to begin with. In addition to being a Dodgers expert, he’s a librarian, so he knows this stuff. Bob writes: “The Dodgers did not wear any vest style uniforms in 1999. They did wear solid blue tops for one home stand that season. The uniforms were not received well.”  Thanks Bob!

Assessment: In life you don’t mess with perfection. The Dodgers rarely have. Good on ’em for that.

Free agent market slow, but players who have signed have exceeded expectations

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The winter meetings are near the end — many execs are leaving Vegas tonight — and once again, the free agent market has moved rather slowly. Last year’s free agent market was perhaps the slowest in recent memory. This offseason, only 11 multi-year contracts have been signed by free agents to date. Six have been for two years, three have been for three years, one for four years, and one for six years.

Despite another slowly-moving free agent market, the players are optimistic because those that have signed contracts have exceeded expectations in terms of total value, per Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal. Patrick Corbin got $140 million, Nathan Eovaldi got $68 million, Andrew McCutchen got $50 million. Heck, even Lance Lynn coming off of a bad year got $30 million from the Rangers.

For comparison, as the offseason began, Fancred’s insider Jon Heyman (and an unnamed “expert”) made predictions about what the various free agent markets would get. Heyman and the expert predicted $100 million and $85 million, respectively, for Corbin, who got $140 million. They predicted $45 million and $64 million, respectively, for Eovaldi, who got $68 million. And they foresaw $39 million and $60 million for McCutchen, who got $50 million. Heyman predicted Charlie Morton would take the $17.9 million qualifying offer and the expert predicted he’d sign a one-year, $17 million deal. Morton got two years and $30 million. Heyman predicted 2/$16M for Lance Lynn and the expert only went a million higher at 2/$17M. He got 3/$30M.

Heyman isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so let’s also glance at the predictions from MLB Trade Rumors. 6/$129M for Corbin, 4/$60M for Eovaldi, 3/$45M for McCutchen, 2/$32M for Morton, and 2/$16M for Lynn. MLBTR hit a lot closer to the center of the dartboard, so to speak, but generally the players still got a bit more than anticipated, which is good, and justifies the optimism. Hopefully the trend continues over the coming two or three months.

Going forward, though, we probably should adjust our expectations of the winter meetings. Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times brought up a great point, tweeting, “One problem with the Winter Meetings is they are still marketed as a news-making event at a time when executives no longer feel urgency to make news at said event.” All of the execs and journalists have access to one another via cell phones, so it’s become more of a hobnobbing event than a place to wheel and deal. These days, a deal could just as easily happen in the days leading up to or following the winter meetings. Maybe it’s just the new normal that we’ll be going into February with handfuls of free agents still looking for a new home.