Friday, March 11, 2011

Team colors: White Sox

From the time I started these Team Colors posts, the team I was the most interested in documenting was the White Sox.

Until I did the breakdown, I had no idea which color that Topps would use most frequently on its White Sox cards. That's because the White Sox have gone through a few different color schemes in the last 60 or so years.

A breakdown:

1945-48, navy, white/black, red
1949-63, black, red, white
1964-70: navy, white
1971-75: red, white
1976-81: navy, white
1982-90: navy, red, white
1991-present: black, silver and white

I didn't even include the 1932-35 years when one of the White Sox's team colors was yellow.

But you do have to give the south siders credit. White has been a consistent color in the White Sox's color scheme ever since the start of the 20th century.

That's the other problem for Topps. The colors white and black -- if you consider them colors -- are not the colors traditionally picked to make a connection with a certain team. First, just about every team wears white jerseys, but doesn't consider "white" as a team color. Secondly, white and black aren't exactly colorful. Card companies want COLOR, which is why Topps used gold and light green and light blue a lot with the White Sox through the '60s and '70s.

White and black are traditionally not associated with teams on cards. And, for these team colors posts, I ignore white and black when counting colors on Topps cards. When black and white appear in the design of a card, it's usually not to signal that you're looking at a particular team, like using red for the Reds or orange for the Orioles.

So, the White Sox are different than every other team, and I was curious to see if Topps broke out of its pattern and attributed black and white specifically to White Sox cards.

Here is the rundown for the years when Topps used specific colors based on what team it was featuring:

1964: light blue
1965: light blue and gold
1966: gold
1967: purple
1968: gold
1969: gold
1971: gold and light blue
1972: light green, yellow and blue
1974: red and yellow
1976: light green and red
1977: red and green
1978: red and yellow
1979: green and red
1980: blue, red and yellow
1981: light green and navy blue
1982: green and purple
1983: red and purple
1984: red and light green
1985: red and blue
1986: white
1987: blue
1988: light green and pink
1989: white, blue and red
1991: blue and red
1992: silver, black and white
1993: light blue, silver and black
1994: silver and black
1998: black
2000: black
2002: black and silver
2003: black
2004: silver and black
2005: silver and black
2006: purple and silver
2007: white and silver
2008: silver and black
2009: silver
2010: black
2011: black

Wow. That was a close one. Until 2010, the color most associated with the White Sox was red. That would have been appropriate in the '70s, when the White Sox had red caps, or in the '80s, when red was a key part of those weird SOX jerseys. But certainly not now.

It took until 1992 (a year after the White Sox went to black as a primary color), but Topps has now embraced black when featuring the White Sox.

White is another story. It's only been featured four times, most notably in 1986, when it was displayed very prominently.

So here's the verdict:

White Sox team colors: black, silver and white

What Topps thinks are the White Sox's team colors: black, silver and red

Close enough.

(The tally: Black-12, Silver-10, Red-10, Blue-6, Gold-5, Light Green-5, Light Blue-4, Purple-4, Yellow-4, White-4, Green-2, Navy Blue-1, Pink-1)

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