A Rainbow Start WIth No End In Sight

“Even if you wear it here, they will come.”

Don’t miss the great ESPN article by Paul Lukas for ESPN.Com on the 1975 introduction of the Houston Astros rainbow jersey. It’s dated August 2, 2017 and it amounts to a guided retrospective dialogue conducted by Lucas among the same people, including our own Tal Smith, who conceived, designed, and put it into the marketplace of our minds, changing forever our perceptions of how a major league baseball uniform could look – with a little runaway imagination – and a lot of public presence – over time.

Here’s the link:

http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/20219881/the-history-houston-iconic-rainbow-uniforms-story-worth-telling

I’ll never forget the first time I saw the design. It wasn’t on the jersey itself, but upon a panel truck that had stopped at a neighbor’s house, sometime in early 1975. I don’t know who the driver of the truck was – maybe he was one of the participants in the article’s retrospective – but my curiosity compelled me to ask about the truck, which also was clearly marked as the new design format for the Houston Astros.

Contact was superficial and hurried as I shouted a friendly question to the driver from my front yard as he scrambled to leave the house he briefly visited.

“Is that the new design for a fleet of Astros panel trucks?” I hollered.

“No, but it is how the new Astros jerseys are going to look!” The man yelled back in a friendly voice.

What a dynamite idea the rainbow turned out to be. Thanks to Charlie Finley, owner of the Oakland A’s, the artistic palate door already had been swung wide open with his early 1970s introduction of how many things a club could do with brightly contrasting jersey combinations of yellow and green. And now the Astros were about to take things to an even wilder level. It was the logical extension of the Aquarian Age, even if MLB was posting no affinity for psychedelic identity through the new rainbow view of things at field level.

And now the rainbow is back – for reverent retro game use – and an everyday apparel option for fans who want to show their historical support for the Astros from the stands – in the company of those artistic hearts who simply love wearing rainbows. Anywhere.

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Thanks to Tal Smith and Darrell Pittman for their separate notices about this linked historical article.

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

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5 Responses to “A Rainbow Start WIth No End In Sight”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    Sorry, Bill, but I hated those rainbow uniforms and still do. I loved the original home uniforms with the smoke coming out of the barrel of the .45 and forming the “C” in Colts as well as the classic road grays with HOUSTON emblazoned on the front, which the team now wears again on the road.

    The current home white jerseys with ASTROS across the front and the blue cap with the orange star and white “H” are my favorites.

    I can live with the blue jerseys with the subdued vertical rainbow stripe down the side, but I like orange only as trim–not as the main color.

    And that concludes my fashion review.

  2. Fred Soland Says:

    Well, I really loved those rainbow uniforms. I loved the colors, but most of all I loved the fact that we stood out from the crowd. There was no need to be stodgy and be the same. I also liked the uniforms during the Hal Lanier tenure that had the mini rainbow trim on the solid color jersey as well.

  3. gregclucas Says:

    The rainbow uniforms will be associated with the Houston Astros (whether they ever wear them again as a main uniform or not) as long as the Astros exist. Certainly not as classic as the Yankee pinstripe or the simple Dodgers script…or even the Cardinals bird sitting on the bat, but everyone knows what team it is when the rainbows are seen.

    Too garish for many? Certainly. But certainly distinct. Personally I really liked the uniform that was worn in the final days of the Astrodome as the home park. If it had used the Houston traditional colors it would have been better in my opinion, but perhaps not quite so classy as using navy blue, silver and gold. None of the brick red based uniforms were to my liking (sorry Mrs. McLane), but like anything one gets used to them the longer they are around. The Astros have a tendency not to keep things around all that long. Maybe once they establish a long term winning tradition there won’t be so much urgency to always change things. But then, merchandise sales are so important. And who wants to wear “last year’s cap or shirt?”

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      “The Astros have a tendency not to keep things around all that long.”

      Two of the few exceptions to that rule, Gene Elston and Milo Hamilton, ended up not liking each other very much. 🙂

  4. Tom Hunter Says:

    One follow up on the rainbow uniforms. As I recall, the home jerseys were white and the road uniforms were cream-colored, but the road uniforms also had ASTROS across the front–not HOUSTON, which made me think this was intentional during the time when there were rumors of the franchise being moved to northern Virginia or D.C.

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