Monday, July 20, 2015

White shoes: Oakland As, Joe Namath, Billy Johnson. And Brett Gardner?

In yesterday's Yankee game at the Stadium Brett Gardner wore white shoes.  To my knowledge Gardner is the first Yankee to wear white shoes.  I hope he is the last.

Not necessarily in chronological order, pioneers in wearing white shoes:
- Oakland As: "Charlie Finley ... On December 19, 1960, Finley purchased a controlling interest in the Kansas City Athletics ....

In 1963, Finley changed the team's colors to Kelly Green, Gold, and White. In 1967, he replaced the team's traditional black cleats with white. Finley also started phasing out the team name "Athletics" in favor of "A's." (When Mickey Mantle saw the A's' green-and-gold uniforms, he jeered, "They should have come out of the dugout on tippy-toes, holding hands and singing," according toBaseball Digest.)...

moved to California in January 1968 ...

Finley agreed to sell the A's ... before the 1981 season."

- Joe Namath: aka, "Broadway Joe" or "Joe Willie", New York Jet Hall of Fame quarterback. "Namath stood out from other AFL and NFL players by wearing low-cut white shoes rather than traditional black high-tops (thus the nickname "Joe Willie Whiteshoes"). Today, the NFL often fines players for not wearing shoes that match those of their teammates."

Billy White Shoes Johnson: "Johnson earned his famous nickname as a high schooler at Chichester High School in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, where he dyed his shoes as part of a dare."

Will Brett Gardner’s cleats get him fined?
By George A. King III and Zach Braziller
July 19, 2015 New York Post
Will Brett Gardner’s cleats get him fined?
According to MLB rules, uniforms have to comply with certain rules regarding color, and because Gardner was the only Yankee wearing completely white spikes, he could be disciplined.


“Just a one-time thing, man,” Gardner said Sunday night at a Carlos Beltran charity event at Gotham Hall. “Just today. Won’t happen again. Some guys wanted me to wear them. CC [Sabathia] was pitching today, and he was excited about them. So I said, ‘Why not?’ ...

A few years ago, umpire Joe West told Sabathia to remove his gray spikes at Fenway Park because they didn’t conform to other shoes worn by Yankees players.

________________________________

Where the heck was Yankee manager Joe Girardi?  Even if he was negligent and did not notice Gardner take the field in the top of the first wearing his garish white shoes, Girardi must have been aware by the time Gardner returned to the dugout.  Gardner was batting second so he had time to change if Girardi had so ordered.  Girardi should have told Gardner that he was out of uniform and that if he did not change he would be replaced and suspended.  Girardi showed weakness and a lack of leadership, which this season has been manifested by way too many "Little League" level mistakes by Yankee players (see DiDi Gregorius and Chase Headley, especially).

Brett Gardner showed very poor judgement.  The 31 year old Gardner had just been selected to be a member of an All Star team for the first time and now he was behaving in a very self centered way.

Wait, you say.  It's not a big deal and/or shoes are not part of the uniform.  And besides, why can't players express their individuality and modify their uniform?

Argh.

Think of what uniform means.  The players are supposed to dress the same.  That's the whole idea.  They already have something individual: each player has a number that is unique on his team.  That's to help fans distinguish the players ... because they are wearing the same type of clothes.  Duh.

If Gardner doesn't want to dress like the Yankees, he should play for another team.  I hadn't paid attention to this but do players on other teams wear different color shoes from their teammates?

Shoes are part of the uniformity.  In the 1950s and 1960s the Boston Celtics were the only NBA team to wear black or dark basketball shoes.  How do you think coach Red Auerbach would have reacted if Bob Cousey decided to show up wearing shoes that did not match those of his teammates?

Celtics court change with a move to white sneakers
By Joseph P. Kahn, Globe Staff, 11/5/2003

The Boston Celtics, pro basketball's most tradition-conscious franchise, started this season on a new foot -- in more ways than one...

After decades of wearing dark-colored footwear, the boys in green took the court in white sneakers. Longtime Celtics watchers were amazed...

Auerbach, 86, who retains the title of team president and who attended the home opener last Wednesday, says that notwithstanding the mystique factor, he has no problem with the color change, which was proposed by a couple of players and endorsed by Ainge. The Celtics haven't worn white sneakers since the days of Chuck "The Rifleman" Connors. Black, yes. Green, you bet. But white shoes? Those were worn by sissy boys from Los Angeles or Philadelphia.

________________________________

The point is that the Celtics all wore the same color shoes.  When the Oakland As wear one of their many uniforms, all the players wear the uniform of the day.  That's what members of a team do.

The Yankee uniforms are more traditional than those of any of the other 30 Major Baseball League (MBL) teams.  The Yankees are the only team that does not put a player's name on the uniform.  The Yankee uniform has remained essentially the same for many decades.  More than any MBL team the Yankees have resisted having alternate uniforms.

I think that players on a team should not only wear the same type of clothes but that they should wear those clothes the same way.  Pants and socks should be worn the same length.  How would Yankee fans, who may want to give Gardner a pass on his white shoes, react if the likes of a Manny Ramirez joined the team and showed up in what appear to be uniform pajamas?  In other words, looking like a complete clown.

2 comments:

Pharaoh Bhang said...

What a pathetic life you must live. You have so little happening that you have to write an article bitching about the color of spikes someone wears?! Get a grip, grandpa. You apparently don't realize how ridiculous it is to say a professional baseball player uses "poor judgement" for wearing a pair of shoes he wants to wear. I guess anyone can be a "journalist" nowadays, huh? Let me quote Woody Harrelson's Marty Hart by saying, "...old men die, and the world keeps spinning."

Kenneth Matinale said...

Let me get this straight: a clown who identifies itself as "Pharaoh Bhang" is making fun of me? "Pharaoh Bhang"? Wow. Anyone can be a critic.

Oh, and nice look. Yeah. "Pharaoh Bhang". Young morons die, too. Spin on, man. "Pharaoh Bhang". At least it's good for a laugh.

Oh, and you're done here, Pharaoh Bhang. The pharaohs are all dead, like you.