(Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the Dazzy Vance Chronicles!)
By Glen Sparks
It wasn’t easy being Dodger green.
But, for one season, for some reason, the Dodgers wore green caps, along with green-trimmed uniforms. In 1937, the Dodgers looked more like a forest than an ocean. Even the opposing players had to raise an eyebrow. Where, oh, where, did that Dodger blue go?
Dodger blue uniforms harken back at least to the McKinley administration. You can see in the Hall of Fame’s uniform database that the Dodgers’ road uniforms in 1900 were blue (albeit, navy blue rather than Dodger blue), with red home unis. The team switched to all red in 1902 but went back to blue in 1903. In fact, the ‘03 home uniforms look awfully close to traditional Dodger blue.
From there, we see almost exclusively blue and white Dodger uniforms until we get to 1925. From that season through 1931, the team incorporated some red into the socks, and once more from 1934-35. But, again, the uniform was mostly blue and white throughout these seasons. The 1936 edition was entirely blue and white, including the socks.
So, what are we to make of 1937? Well, no one seems to know. I found a blog posting from Todd Radom that includes an article by Roscoe McGowen—of the New York Times, no less—about the uniform changes. The article, though, offers an announcement without an explanation. McGowen does quote Brooklyn “Business Manager Gorman (no first name)”, who says “The road uniforms are a distinct departure from the drab gray of other years. The color is tan, with Kelly green caps, stockings, name and numbers, just as in home uniforms.” (You can take a look at the cap and other uniform pieces by scrolling down on this web site.).
The new green uniforms did nothing to help the team on the field. In 1936, the Dodgers finished in seventh place, 67-87 (.435). The 1937 Dodgers ended up in sixth place, but with a 62-91 (.405) won-loss mark.
In 1938, Brooklyn was Dodger blue again. The team went 69-80 (.463) and began gaining momentum. The 1941 squad advanced to the World Series, going 100-54, before losing to the New York Yankees.
The Dodgers never went back to being green. Except for this day, of course, the day every team puts a little bit of St. Patrick onto its uniform.
We don’t know exactly why the Dodgers did what they did in 1937. We just know it didn’t take. We like our Ferraris red, our pumpkins orange and our tuxedos black. We like our Dodger uniforms blue.