Let the Alternates Begin

» 21 May 2009 » In npb »

NPB teams typically use interleague play as an opportunity to bust out the alternative uniforms. Interleague started earlier this week, and this season is no exception.

The SoftBank Hawks introduced their third uniforms yesterday, and Sanspo has pics here and here. I think I prefer this to their normal third jersey, but I hope at some point they bring back the helmet the old Daiei Hawks wore in the late 80’s.

The only other team to have introduced their throwbacks so far this year is the Hanshin Tigers, who have sensibly opted to revive their 1985 Nippon-ichi uniforms. If you’ve been following Japanese baseball over the last few years, you are probably aware that Hanshin has a checked past when it comes to alternate jerseys: last year’s awful fade/airbrush design, 2007’s alternate logo and yellow pinstripes on black, and the earlier 70’s era throwabacks, which I kind of like.

Seibu has plans to wear 80’s-era throwbacks, and Yakult is going to dust off their old Kokutetsu Swallows design, but neither team has introduced the uniforms yet, so don’t bother with the links unless you’re interested in re-reading what I just wrote in Japanese.

My favorite recent throwback was last year’s Lotte Orions revival. I hope they use those again. Lotte has one of the best home uniforms in Japan, the classic black pinstripes on white. But their road and alt uniforms… not so much.

For more on Japanese baseball uniforms, check out the two posts that UniWatch ran last month. UniWatch produces so much content it’s almost a sensory overload, but they don’t miss a thing and it’s worth the read, especially when you can find something like this set of 1981 Chicago White Sox prototype uniforms.

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  1. Patrick
    21/05/2009 at 3:41 pm Permalink

    Regarding uniforms, my only comment is that Lotte has got to get rid of those hideous chocoball zig-zaq eyesores. Please! Before the next Ham series (when I might have to look at them). Some people think Bobby Valentine has been good for Japanese baseball, but I don’t know how anyone can look at those uniforms (for which Mr Valentine has been given credit for designing) and not want to banish the gentleman to the North Korean league.

    Also, I have a minor complaint about the Nippon Ham uniforms. Human beings are generally symetrical and their shirts ought to be as well. Ham needs to do away with the black on one shoulder white on the other thing.

  2. Patrick
    21/05/2009 at 7:18 pm Permalink

    Reader Jeremy passed along this Flickr album that has tons of great pics in it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28475240@N08/sets/

    The old Marines road grays were definitely better: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28475240@N08/3484885850/in/set-72157617437840946/

    Thanks for sharing this Jeremy.

  3. Patrick
    21/05/2009 at 7:21 pm Permalink

    Here’s a pic of that great Daiei helmet in game action too: http://www.plus-blog.sportsnavi.com/account/bbsano/images/20070606-00.jpg

  4. Patrick
    21/05/2009 at 7:55 pm Permalink

    Bonus points to Softbank for getting rid of that glorified batting practice uniform.

    And I’m willing to bet that Hanshin has now instructed Kevin Mench to grow a huge beard in hopes that the spirt of Randy Bass joins with him and allows him to contribute to the team. I mean, they’ve tried everything else and with the 85 throwbacks coming into play, so it couldn’t hurt to try this right?

  5. Patrick
    22/05/2009 at 2:59 am Permalink

    Alternates almost always suck unless they’re throwbacks. Maybe I’m just sentimental. The Daiei (literally) Hawk helmets rock, they’ve gotta bring that back one year. This year’s Hawks alternates are better than their regular unis, even if the colour scheme doesn’t match the cap.