The mere thought of the great (not to mention Hall of Fame) players who wore those powder blue Montreal Expos uniforms is enough to bring any diehard baseball fan into a nostalgic haze. From Vlad Sr. and Pedro Martinez to Rusty Staub and Andre Dawson, Les Expos were responsible for some great memories during their 35-year run in the National League. Sadly, the team from north of the border went south and landed in Washington, D.C., where they now reside as the Nationals.
Les Expos live on
To pay tribute to those glory days at Jarry Park and later Olympic Stadium, the Nationals donned Expo throwback uniforms for their July 6th interleague game against the Kansas City Royals. The Washington Nationals will be riding a nostalgic wave in which several major league teams pay tribute to the past by wearing the jerseys of great teams of yesteryear. Not only do these games serve to scratch an itch for those fans who long for the return of their childhood heroes, but retro unis bring in big merchandizing dollars with the sale of bygone jerseys, caps, and T-shirts.
White Sox, blue shorts
Nothing can match the sheer absurdity of 1976 White Sox with their old-timey collared shirts and blue shorts (which they worse only once that season). The sight of all six-foot-two, 220-pound Carlton Fisk in what looked like ugly softball uniforms is a picture worthy for any fan’s baseball scrapbook. While the White Sox are known for dusting off retro uniforms each season, nothing matches those hilarious outfits which are indeed collector items.
The biggest red machine
Celebrating its honor as baseball’s oldest team, the 150-year-old Cincinnati Reds are trotting out 15 different uniforms the team has worn in its century and a half. While the 1911 road blue tops may be the coolest of the lot, the 1961 sleeveless jerseys are the best. Long before the Big Red Machine of the ‘70s, Cincinnati greats Frank Robinson and Leo Cardenas played at Crosley Field winning the National League pennant against all odds. The Reds will wear their ’61 duds on July 21 against St. Louis.
The Ryan express jerseys
Less for their look but more for their memories, the 1980 Astro jerseys with a shooting star and what some call a “tequila sunrise” pattern across the front is a classic. Designed by the ad agency McCann Erickson, what makes these retros (which the ‘Stros still wear from time to time) a piece of history is the players who wore them. Who can forget the steely-eyed image of Nolan Ryan staring down from the mount before putting a batter away? Or what about six-foot, eight-inch James Rodney (JR) Richard who twice led the league in strikeouts and finished in the top 10 in Cy Young voting three times. We must not forget the great Cesar Cedeno, 1970’s rookie of the year, who played in four all-star games.
With guns blazing
And, saving the best for last, we stay in Houston for the Houston Colt .45s. From the team’s entry into the National League (along with the Mets) in 1962 through 1964, the Space City ballclub was called the Colt .45s. In Dec. 1964, team owner Judge Roy Hofeinz renamed the team Astros as a tribute to the city’s key role in the NASA program when they moved into the Astrodome. For two years, the jerseys with a menacing Colt .45 pistol emblazoned across the front were proudly worn by such greats as Joe Morgan, Rusty Staub (before the Expos and Mets) and Jim Winn, aka “The Toy Cannon.”