I’m a uni-nerd, I always enjoy looking at uniforms past and present, see what works and what doesn’t, what’s interesting and what’s not. I guess it all comes with being a visual person.
So when I was going through my 1991 Line Drive cards with the intent of purging the less interesting cards, it occurred to me that I should make sure that I’ve got at least one card that gives an idea of what each team’s uniforms look like… or at least one set of each team’s uniforms, since most of these cards picture everybody wearing the same set.
1991 is an interesting time for AAA uniforms because you had a new batch of MLB expansion on the horizon, and you had several cities (and potential ownership groups) who wanted to present an image that showed that they were read for the Majors. I’ll point them out as we go along (in alphabetical order by city).
Albuquerque Dukes (Dodgers)
After all these years, I still can’t decide whether I like the cartoony conquistador at the center of this team’s branding. I will say that I much prefer the name and logos of the current Albuquerque Isotopes.
Buffalo Bisons (Pirates)
Buffalo was one of the cities that was angling for a 1993 expansion team, and I still think there were some shenanigans involved in picking Miami over Buffalo. I don’t know that Buffalo would’ve been anything more than mid-market team, but it’s not like the Marlins have established themselves as a model franchise in an ideal city.
I’ve always liked the Bisons uniforms, and I’ve got a hat just like this in my wardrobe (although I’ll admit it’s been a few years since I’ve worn it).
Calgary Cannons (Mariners)
I’m amused at how the cap is just a Cubs hat with yellow trim around the “C”. I tend to think of blue/red/yellow as a “Hockey Rockies” color combination, because that’s what the NHL’s Colorado Rockies wore during their short time on this Earth. It’s a nice combination if it’s done right.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Indians)
I often mock US soccer teams that take on names that are “soccer-y” (or “football-y”) like “Sporting Kansas City”, “Dallas FC” or “DC United”. It’s not an organic or natural naming convention in this country, just give it up.
Similarly, I’m tired of any baseball team that plays Mad Libs by filling in the blanks on “_______ SOX”.
… or “_____ DOGS” or “______ CATS” for that matter.
I bring all this up because I can’t think of anything much to say about the Colorado Springs Sky Sox uniforms.
Columbus Clippers (Yankees)
The Clippers had some pretty nice uniforms which echoed their parent club without whacking you over the head with their YANKEE-OSITY.
Denver Zephyrs (Brewers)
Before the Rockies came along, there was another group that was trying to get Major League baseball in Denver, even going as far as to place ads in national publications about – if I can remember correctly – “The team that has nothing… YET”. I really liked their branding, back at the time I had a Zephyrs cap and t-shirt. I still have the fitted hat, but I don’t wear it anymore because it either shrunk or my head grew.
This isn’t the greatest photo, but it gives a decent overview of what the entire uniform looked like. Green and blue… PROPER green and blue, not “neon green and slate blue” is a color combination that should get used more in sports.
Edmonton Trappers (Angels)
Back in 1991 there were a fair number of affiliated minor league teams in Canada; today, there’s just one. I’m surprised that someone in baseball isn’t more concerned about that.
Indianapolis Indians (Expos)
Can you tell that the Indians were an Expos farm team at the time?
I can’t think of anything to say about this.
Las Vegas Stars (Padres)
A pretty decent uniform that had just joined the Padres in making the switch away from brown and orange.
Louisville Redbirds (Cardinals)
I don’t have a problem with teams like this that take their parent club’s uniforms and sort of make it their own.
Nashville Sounds (Reds)
When you’ve got a team in Nashville, you always have to have music play into it somehow, especially when your team is called the Sounds. The Sounds currently are in the process of rebranding after their switch to a new ballpark and a new affiliation with the Athletics.
Oklahoma City 89ers (Rangers)
I would guess that “89ers” is a reference to the Land Rush of 1889. I prefer “RedHawks” as a team name.
Just a Royals uniform with an “O” on the cap. Nothing to see here.
Pawtucket Red Sox
Just a Red Sox uniform with a “P” on the cap. Nothing to see here.
Phoenix Firebirds (Giants)
To my thinking, “Firebirds” is a way better name than “Diamondbacks”, but nobody asked me. Another city that was angling for a 1993 expansion team, another MLB-worth uniform, another cap I own. I still wear this cap, I love the “Phoenix emerging from a baseball” logo.
Portland Beavers (Twins)
The weird tail on the “P” on the cap bothered me until I realized that it’s meant to match the underline on the “M” on the Twins cap. It still looks stupid.
It’s not right that Portland doesn’t have a team. I know Hilllsboro is near Portland, but that’s not the same. There needs to be a team named the Portland Beavers in baseball, that’s all there is to it.
The Richmond Braves at least had a more interesting cap than the Iowa Cubs, Omaha Royals or Pawtucket Red Sox.
Rochester Red Wings (Orioles)
At the last National I went to, one dealer had a Cal Ripken Red Wings jersey on display. It was extremely odd to see “RIPKEN” on a jersey that wasn’t the Orioles.
These are pretty nice uniforms. I still can’t get used to the Red Wings being a Twins affiliate.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (Phillies)
The Red Barons had the best uniforms of any AAA team not angling for an expansion franchise… I always thought they had a classic look, and I wasn’t too thrilled that the team became the SWB Yankees and then the RailRiders (which is at least better than “Yankees”). This is yet another team where I have the cap. My cap is adjustable and doesn’t fit well; I wish I’d bought a better cap at the time.
Syracuse Chiefs (Blue Jays)
An interesting uniform that takes the Blue Jays motif and uses it in a different way. It’s interesting to note that the team is still the Chiefs but goes for a railroad theme rather than a Native American theme.
Tacoma Tigers (Athletics)
The Indianapolis Indians are not an Indians farm team, and the Tacoma Tigers were not a Tigers farm team. Go figure.
Tidewater Tides (Mets)
Any doubts that this was a Mets farm team? Of all the stupid things perpetrated by the Wilpons, one of the moves that I resent the most is the fact that they took the Tides for granted, and the Tides said “Later, losers!”… since then, it’s been musical affiliates at the AAA level. Thanks, Jeff Wilpon.
Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers)
Just like there needs to always be a Portland Beavers in baseball, there needs to be a Toledo Mud Hens. One of these days I need to get a Mud Hens t-shirt.
Tucson Toros (Astros)
Kenny Lofton coulda shoulda been on the “Players when the wuz” post, but he does a decent job of modeling the Toros uniforms. It’s interesting how similar the Toros and Dukes uniforms are, I wonder what it looked like when they played each other.
Vancouver Canadians (White Sox)
I like the alternating red and black lettering on the jersey… Unfortunately the jerseys are lettered that way because the team was owned by Molson at the time, and the lettering echoed the label on Molson Canadian beer… sort of the New York Red Bulls of the 1990’s. I still like the way it looks.
Incidentally, this is not the same team as the current Vancouver Canadians… The AAA Canadians moved to Sacramento after the 1999 season.
Tomorrow’s post: We wrap up our trip through 1991 Line Drive with a run through the AA uniforms.