In the Frederick News-Post sports office Thursday night, a few of us watched the end of the Washington Wizards’ loss to the Denver Nuggets.
Right after the game, FNP sports writer Joe Ferraro said, “They probably won’t wear those uniforms again.”
He was referring to the red Baltimore Pride throwbacks worn by the Wizards that night to acknowledge the franchise’s past life as the Baltimore Bullets.
No matter how superstitious the Wizards are, they are scheduled to play in their Baltimore Pride uniforms at least two more times this season. That’s fine with me.
Many sports fans are probably indifferent about throwbacks, others probably hate them. But I like the variety and nod to sports history provided by retro looks.
Sure, those Baltimore Pride uniforms are odd. They have short sleeves, a racing stripe that starts on the jersey and keeps going on the shorts and vertical surnames on the back.
But loud, weird clothes don’t faze me, probably because my formative years occurred in the 1970s.
The Wizards’ Baltimore Pride uniform is just one of many throwbacks worn by Baltimore-Washington area pro teams over the years. Here are some others I’d like to see worn in the future.
Might as well start with the aforementioned Wizards. They’ve done a good job recognizing their franchise history, wearing throwbacks for the Chicago Zephyrs, Baltimore Bullets and Washington Bullets.
But they could also pay homage to their city’s basketball past with Washington Capitols throwbacks. This Washington team was a charter member of the Basketball Association of America in 1946, and it continued when that league became part of the newly formed NBA in 1949.
NBA Senior Vice President of Basketball Communications Tim Frank confirmed the Capitols, who folded during the 1950-51 season, wore green and white.
Another good choice would be the Washington Lichtman Bears, an all-black team that won the 1943 World Professional Basketball Tournament.
I’ve been unable to find documentation for what colors this team wore. Photos, including those on the website blackfives.org, and newsreel footage I’ve seen are black and white.
If authentic colors can’t be determined, the Wizards could just wear colors normally associated with Bears, like black and brown, to honor a team that shouldn’t be forgotten.
Like the Wizards, the Capitals wore throwbacks this week, donning red, star-laden uniforms on Wednesday.
So far, my favorite Caps retro look was last season’s Winter Classic uniform. And I’d like to see them don a throwback for another specific game, albeit a considerably lower-profile one.
If the Capitals ever play another scrimmage in Baltimore, as they last did in 2013, they should wear Baltimore Skipjacks uniforms.
While there were several incarnations of the Skipjacks, the obvious choice is the version that wore red, white and blue when it was the Caps’ American Hockey League affiliate from 1988 to 1993.
The Orioles should wear throwbacks for the Baltimore Terrapins, who played in the Federal League during its final two years of existence in 1914 and 1915.
The Federal League tried to take on the American and National League. Baltimore’s entry used the Terrapins name before the University of Maryland, where teams used to be called the Old Liners.
Other Major League Baseball teams, such as the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals, have worn Federal League throwbacks.
From everything I’ve seen online, the Feds had black hats with an orange “B” and sported a Diamondback terrapin on their left breast.
Now that the Nationals have firmly established themselves in D.C., they should be secure enough to acknowledge their franchise’s past by wearing Montreal Expos uniforms.
As long as Montreal lacks an MLB team, the Nats should keep the city’s big league memory alive, just as the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers did for Washington by wearing Senators throwbacks.
Besides, I always liked the Expos’ red, white and blue uniforms. Those colors wouldn’t be out of place in America’s capital.
I’d like to see the Ravens in uniforms worn by the first incarnation of the Baltimore Colts, the city’s first NFL team.
This isn’t the same Colts franchise that bolted Baltimore for Indianapolis in 1984. These Colts wore green and white jerseys and silver helmets during their one and only year in the NFL in 1950 (they played the previous three seasons in the All-America Football Conference).
Three years after the original Colts folded, another Colts franchise — the one that still exists in Indy — started playing in Baltimore.
Would the NFL or even the Ravens look askance at a 1950 Colts throwback, figuring any reference to the Baltimore Colts would just dredge up memories of the controversy surrounding the current Colts’ departure from Baltimore? Perhaps.
But baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers have donned Milwaukee Braves throwbacks when they played the Atlanta Braves. I’m not suggesting the Ravens wear green Colts throwbacks against Indy. I’d just like to see them worn in some game to honor Baltimore’s first NFL team.
However, in recent years, the NFL hasn’t let teams wear different helmets during throwback days for safety reasons, so the Ravens wouldn’t get to wear silver helmets.
How about a throwback for the 1921 Washington team that played in the American Professional Football Association, which later changed its name to the NFL?
I’ve seen this team referred to by various nicknames, but profootballhof.com calls it the Senators. They played just three APFA games but were Washington’s first representative in what proved to be football’s mainstay pro league.
This team played during the black-and-white photo era, so creating a completely accurate throwback might be a tall order.
But if the Redskins are looking for ideas, the website www.gridiron-uniforms.com has a nice rendition of a Senators uniform, which includes a blue jersey with white stripes on the sleeves and gold pants.