October 31, 2006

Halloween at Comiskey, circa 1977

If you haven’t read Bill Veeck’s fantastic memoir Veeck—As in Wreck, I recommend it highly. Before I read it a few years ago, I knew vaguely of Eddie Gaedel, of the night of a thousand exploding disco albums and Veeck's legacy in Middle West baseball. But after reading it, you learn to appreciate the man not so much for his stunts, but for his ability to get fans in the ballpark to see the White Sox. Perhaps one of his better-known inventions was the Chicago White Sox uniform of the late 1970s, definitely one-of-a-kind (though a more accurate description is ‘hideous’). And while it’s not one of the game’s brightest moments, it’s an historical checkpoint I keep coming back to. More specifically: the wide lapels (and not so much the garish (and short-lived) shorts). Today, the game is used to the v-neck, button-down jersey, and yet it was founded on a wide-lapeled shirt a player had to lace up in the front. So while you almost half-expect Goose Gossage to pull a large peace medallion from between the lapels of his leisure-suit-cum-White-Sox-uniform, you also have to respect the homage (if however slight and unintentional) that Seventies fashion wrought.

And as a sidebar, the best part of this card is not the guys sitting cross-legged on the ground like they’re at summer camp, or even the special guest star pennant for a dazed and confused Bob Lemon, but the second trainer in from the left, third row back. This jersey was ugly, no doubt about it. But it was especially no good if you weren’t wearing an undershirt. This guy looks like he should work at a gas station.

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