A Classic World Series
This year's World Series features two of baseball's most classic-looking teams, the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both franchises have made very few changes to their aesthetic over the years; here's a good summary of both: There was some tinkering in the early years but once both clubs nailed down one look they stuck to it. Now that you've got a good sense of what both teams have been wearing, enjoy four beautiful shots of notable Red Sox and Dodgers players: Jackie Robinson, Sandy Kofax, Luis Tiant, and Ted Williams. All four images are from The SPORT Collection.
1908: Debut of the "Red Sox"
The Boston Red Sox are having a heck of a year. They finished the 2018 regular season with 108 wins, and, on route to that end point, breached the century mark before any other team claimed 90. They ranked first for hits, RBIs, and runs. Their pitching staff had the most wins in the league and were top-10 in ERA. And so, not surprisingly, the Sox became favourites to win the World Series by August. The postseason got off to a good start for the Sox as they beat their most hated rivals – the New York Yankees – in four games, outscoring the Bombers 27 to 14 in the process. As of this writing Boston is leading Houston in the American League Championship Series two games to one. Each club has won one away game and the Sox will try to make it two at "the Juice Box," Houston's Minute Maid Park. If you look back at the baseball history books it becomes clear that, for some reason, the Sox are most successful at the beginning of each new century. They won the World Series in 1903, 1912, 1916, and 1918, then waited 86 long years before winning it all again in 2004, followed by 2007 and 2013. There must be something about the big calendar change that magically fills each Sox player and coach with a certain joie de vivre. And it looks like the club could match their 20th century championship total by winning it all in 2018, just as they did 100 years ago. Here at The SPORT Gallery we're celebrating the Sox and their great season with a very specific call back: the 1908 stocking logo. At the beginning of their franchise history the Sox went by a different name, the Boston Americans. They were the Americans for six seasons, from 1901 to 1907, before taking their current title. To announce this change the franchise donned a large red stocking on their chests, a bold move that had their top looking like a hockey sweater. This bold sartorial choice was in fact the first time the Boston franchise officially announced their "Red Sox" nickname. The jersey lasted just that one season, but the name stuck around, of course. We've now had 100 years of Red Sox baseball, and what better way to celebrate that anniversary by bringing back the 1908 stocking logo! It's a timeless look, and is a significant marker for the club. The fine folks at American Needle and Red Jacket Clothing helped us to create two custom products, the "Statesman" cap and the "Hillwood" tee. Both feature the 1908 logo, have a vintage-inspired design overall, and are of the highest quality. Better yet, both can only be found at The SPORT Gallery. Want to grab a hat and/or tee? We've got them stocked at all three of our physical locations – Boston, Toronto, and Vancouver – and online. US customers can visit us at thesportgallery.com, and those in Canada can go to thesportgallery.ca!
The Red Sox have had many unique players don the "B" and take the field at Fenway Park. Ted Williams and his grumpy, John Wayne-like persona, a god among men. His teammate "The Scientist," Dom DiMaggio, in his spectacles. In the 1960s and '70s there was tough-as-nails Carl Yastrzemski and, of course, "Spaceman" Bill Lee with his Eephus pitch and communist leanings. More recently we witnessed Manny Ramirez' antics and that strange Kevin Youkilis batting stance. But today the spotlight is on none of these men. It falls on the one-and-only Luis Tiant. The man they call "El Tiante" is known for his intensity and for being a big-game pitcher. He dominated in Boston and lead the Sox' charge to the American League pennant in 1975. Outside of his playing style, Tiant is known for some quirky traits. First off, a twisting, loopy windup before each pitch that at one point would have him facing out to center field. The Cuban ace is also known for his deep love of cigars; you can find him smoking away at any point of the day, including in the shower! There is, of course, his trademark horseshoe moustache that works its way down to the chin. He's had this iconic facial hair since the early '70s but since going grey it has become especially impactful. El Tiante is someone you can't take your eyes off off – he controls a game and its viewers' attention. On a team full of talent, amongst names like Yastrzemski, Rice, and Fisk, Tiant was the guy both fans and players wanted to get behind. Even in photographs he stands out. Tiant's personal style breaks through the uniformity of sport. It can be hard to explain, but some ballplayers just "have it," a certain swagger; red-hot pitching with a cooler-than-cool demeanour... El Tiante is ice cold. Though he may have retired after the 1982 season, Tiant is still very popular with baseball fans. He is greeted with much fanfare when in Boston. And recently a documentary film was made about the Cuban-born pitcher's journey back to his homeland after having spent almost 50 years in exile. As there have been ongoing travel restrictions between Cuba and the United States many Cuban players, including Tiant, have been forced to say goodbye to friends and family in order to pursue a major league career. As he did on the mound, Tiant shines on the screen, a quiet but captivating protagonist in a full-length film. Somewhat amazingly, Tiant has not been voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was first on the ballot in 1998 and appeared a few times after that but has not been able to receive enough votes. But, as MLB.com points out in an article about the pitcher, Tiant's numbers line up with one of the all-time greats, Catfish Hunter. Hunter: 224-166, 3.26 ERA, 104 ERA+, 2,012 Ks, 954 BBsTiant: 217-156, 3.21 ERA, 118 ERA+, 2,270 Ks, 1,027 BBs Tiant led the American League in ERA twice, in 1968 with Cleveland and in 1972 with the Red Sox. He was cut by the Twins in 1970 and left for dead, but changed his pitching style to include those jerky motions and became the go-to arm in Boston. It was a career of reinvention bookended by dominance, one that certainly deserves the ultimate recognition of being celebrated in Cooperstown. He's been added to the ballot this year so hopefully this Hall of Fame issue gets resolved, but even if not, Luis Tiant has something that many Hall of Famers do not: iconic style. When you think of stand-out images of Major League Baseball at various points over the years, Tiant's dominant profile is one of them. He makes up a part of baseball's visual memory book, which is priceless.
Ted Williams at 100
"The Splendid Splinter," "Teddy Ballgame," "The Kid"; "All-Star," "Hero..." and, sometimes, "Villain." Ted Williams has been known by many names. But there is none that suited him so well as "The Greatest Hitter That Ever Lived." Hitting a baseball was an obsession for Williams; he dedicated his life to that simple task. Though simple, it is by no means easy to hit a round ball with a round bat. The best major league hitters succeed three times out of ten. No one has done better than that mark for an entire season since 1941. The last person to hit .400? Ted Williams. Yesterday would have been Williams' 100th birthday. He passed 16 years ago, in 2002, at the age of 83. Today his legend is as formidable as ever. He is remembered as the ultimate master of his craft, as a foe of the press, and as an tireless supporter of the Jimmy Fund for children with cancer. To salute Williams on his centennial, we've put together a selection of the best prints from our photographic archive of The Greatest Hitter That Ever Lived. Though he was never at peace with being written about or having his photo taken, Williams was an extremely popular subject. As a result, we are very fortunate to have a number of great images of him. Enjoy! (Yes, that's him pitching on the bottom left! He pitched two innings of a 12-1 loss to the Tigers on August 24, 1940, giving up only one run.)