Greg Luzinski will look positively stunning in his new claret-and-navy ensemble, tailored to highlight the Bull's pecs and 'ceps. Those are just his roadies. Around the yard, Greg will feel right at home in a classic white-and-blue combo that harks back to the days of Shoeless Joe.
Say it ain't so? Then picture Carlton Fisk in swashbuckling lavender-and-gold stripes against an eggshell backdrop, with those knickers that Lady Di would adore. It's you. Pudge. Or, how about Ron LeFlore running the bases in the very together colors of yellow, red and sky, with ChicaGo (clever, n'est-ce pas?) passionately emblazoned on his torso and his lucky 7 nestled within his own personal star on his chest? Won't Tony Bernazard be the envy of all the other second basemen when he turns the pivot in a dramatic tunic patriotically ribboned down the north side in the hues of Old Glory? Mind you, none of these fabulous creations is off the rack, and all come fully accessorized with matching caps, shoes and hose that go perfectly with butter-soft leather gloves.
The preceding fashion show was brought to you by the Chicago White Sox, who recently invited both fans and professional designers to submit their creations in a contest to change the team's uniform. Some 1,600 designs poured in from Panama and Peoria, Joliet and Japan. "Sixteen hundred entries, huh?" mused ace Reliever Ed Farmer. "That means there were 1.600 improvements on what we have now."
What the White Sox have now are those navy-and-white jammies, with the old-fashioned lettering and wing collars. Actually, the players feel the current uniforms are very comfortable. But the Sox have also heard the other boys laughing and nagging mothers in the stands telling them to tuck in their shirts. So, in hope of curtailing such jibes, the new Chicago owners, Eddie Einhom and Jerry Reinsdorf, sponsored the contest. The rules were fairly simple: All designs had to include jerseys and trousers, both home and away. Any colors could be used, but the home jerseys had to have white as a background. The team logo, a silly-looking silhouette of a batter with a horrendous hitch in his swing, couldn't be altered. Amateurs were asked to put their designs on forms provided by the club, while professional designers were free to submit their ideas in any form.
There were a number of gag entries, which were unfortunately eliminated. They included a tuxedo outfit, a punk-rock mix-and-match complete with safety pins, a caveman ensemble and a tourist uniform for the road: Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts and a camera to hang from the neck. One design called for a Clark Kent warmup suit, a phone-booth dugout and. Great Caesar's Ghost, it's....
The preliminary judging was held three weeks ago at Comiskey Park. In the oak-paneled Bards' Room, 11 of the nation's fashion arbiters narrowed the 1,600 designs down to six, three by amateurs and three by pros. Actual uniforms will be made from those six designs, and Sox fans will vote on their favorites during games played the week of June 26-July 2. The winning uniform will be revealed on Monday night, Aug. 31. On Monday night, Aug. 31, this reporter plans to be as far away from Chicago as is humanly possible.
You see, yours truly was one of the judges. The panel included the fashion editors of Chicago's two major dailies, several TV personalities, Reinsdorf's wife, Martyl, two journalists, one uniform manufacturer's rep and First Baseman Lamar Johnson and his wife, Valory. The jury deliberated for about four hours.
The Sox' director of special projects, Laureen Ong Fadil, ran a very tight ship, and the judging went smoothly. While some of the amateur creations were surprisingly good, the professional entries, on the whole, were disappointing. One pro, though, was nice enough to send in an actual uniform. It was a gold-on-orange Dr. Denton number made out of a material that looked like the stuff you put down on the floor before you lay carpet. By and large, most of the designers tried too hard. A simple outfit in compatible colors would have done very nicely. For some reason, a lot of people kept putting the Chicago skyline on their uniforms. As for the designer who put the names Einhorn and Reinsdorf on the backs of his creations, it didn't do him one bit of good.
The makeup of the panel also didn't seem quite fair to the players—too much Earl Blackwell and not enough Ewell Blackwell, if you know what I mean. At one point, Lamar Johnson looked at what one of the fashion editors was jotting down as her first choice and nearly swooned. "All I know is that 24 guys are going to say it's all my fault." said Johnson, who, sure enough, was fined $10 the next day by Farmer and the White Sox kangaroo court. And they haven't even seen the uniforms yet.