Saturday, February 5, 2011
Team colors: A's
In honor of the Super Bowl, I thought I'd address the major league team that dresses the most like one of the two teams playing in what Martha Stewart-types call "The Big Game."
The color green is not terribly common in professional sports, but it is particularly uncommon in major league baseball. Of the four major professional sports, MLB seems the most frightened of the color. A brief rundown:
NFL: Teams that wear green are the Packers, Jets, Eagles and Seahawks. The Eagles have converted to something called "midnight green," which means "stare really hard and you might seen green in there." I prefer their old uniforms.
NHL: Green-wearers are the Stars, Wild and Canucks. Of course, the dearly departed Whalers wore green, and I rather liked the Christmas red-and-green uniforms the Devils used to wear. It was the only thing good about that team.
NBA: Teams featuring green are the Celtics, Bucs and Jazz. The Timberwolves once wore green as did the now-extinct SuperSonics. I had to look most of this up, because with the exception of the most famous teams in the NBA, I couldn't tell you what they wear.
In major league baseball there are just two teams to wear green, the Mariners and the A's. And Seattle doesn't exactly feature it prominently. The Rays and Brewers used to display green, but not anymore.
I don't know why that is. Maybe it's because the playing field is green and teams worry no one will be able to see the fielders. That's silly, but I can't think of a reason.
In a way, it benefits the A's -- or at least it did when they were really good. Green (and gold) became the epitome of cool because a very cool team wore it. The Swingin' A's of the 1970s were the baddest, coolest team in all of sports. They wore green. I associated that color with awesome players and awesome-looking cards.
That continued through the Billy Ball years of Mike Norris and Tony Armas and then the Bash Brothers years of Jose, Carney, Eck and Big Mac.
Today, the A's are just kind of "out there somewhere," flying under the radar, and even their unique color scheme can't help them. But I still root for them, because of what they represented for a 20-year period.
So here is a look at the colors that Topps used for A's cards through the years when it was matching up colors with the team shown on the card. I'm pretty sure green will be well-represented.
1964: purple and yellow
1965: black, red and yellow
1966: purple and yellow
1968: purple and yellow
1969: purple and yellow
1971: red and yellow
1972: red, yellow and orange
1974: green and yellow
1976: green and yellow
1977: green, orange and red
1978: green and pink
1979: red, yellow and green
1980: green, yellow and blue
1981: blue, green and yellow
1982: green and pink
1983: green and pink
1984: green and blue
1985: green and yellow
1988: green and purple
1989: gold, green and red
1991: green and yellow
1992: green, gold and yellow
1993: green, gold and red
1994: gold, green and red
2002: green and gold
2003: green and gold
2004: green and gold
2005: green and gold
2006: green and gold
2007: green and gold
2008: green and gold
This is the first team in which I've used the 2011 set. I'll have to go back through the other teams already posted and add 2011 to the list. (Don't expect it for awhile).
A couple of things:
Green may be the A's most distinct color but Topps didn't use green with them until the 1974 set. The '74 set was really a breakthrough in terms of using colors that reflected the ones used by teams. That set doesn't get enough credit.
I know the other color for the A's is gold, but I could not characterize the color used for the A's in most of the sets as gold. It was definitely yellow. I didn't see gold until the 1989 set.
So does Topps say that the A's team colors include gold or yellow?
Topps says the A's team colors are: green and YELLOW.
Sorry, gold. You started your comeback too late.
Enjoy the football game. And all that other non-football stuff that has to go with it.
(The tally: Green-31, Yellow-15, Gold-11, Red-8, Purple-5, Blue-4, Pink-3, Orange-2, Black-1)