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baseball Giants -- solid black helmets in 1977; by Clark through 1982

Ferdinand Cesarano

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I was watching several episodes of This Week in Baseball from 1977, and I was surprised to see the Giants wearing solid black helmets, as opposed to helmets with an orange visor to match the new caps.

In 1977, the Giants switched from this uniform:


(by the way, I love the orange-on-black lettering)

...to this uniform:


...which they kept through 1982.

From the evidence in the video, it is clear that the Giants wore solid black helmets in 1977.


All the shots from the videos are like that; in all the 1977 videos that I have watched, I have yet to see a shot of the Giants in helmets having an orange brim. And the 1978 baseball cards confirm this:


It would seem that the orange brim on the helmet came in for the 1978 season, as the 1979 cards indicate:


But Jack Clark continued to wear the solid black helmet even after 1977. Here's a shot from 1982, as evidenced by the patch commemmorating the Giants' 25th season in San Francisco:


Clark's 1983 cards from Topps and from Drake's show him wearing the solid black helmet in 1982:


But is seems that it was only Clark who wore this; in the Topps card, we can see the on-deck hitter wearing the orange-brimmed helmet.

I have yet to find any other Giants player wearing the solid black helmet in the 1978-82 period. Even Clark himself didn't always wear it, as we can see in the inset picture in his 1983 Topps card, and also in his 1980 Topps card:


Up until now, I would have said that the Giants' helmet matched their caps for the entirety of that uniform's existence. I am embarrassed that I didn't notice the use of the black helmet in 1977 and its continued use by Jack Clark up through 1982, especially considering that I thought of the Giants as my favourite team in the National League. (Of course, I didn't actually get to see them very often; I was just favourably inclined to them because of their history in New York.)

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I would assume that Jack Clark liked the solid black helmet, so he kept it when the rest of the team switched.

The 1978 helmet switch would seem to indicate that the orange billed hats were an afterthought in the Giants' redesign for 1977. It would not be the only pre-release change, as there's also an unused uniform from the 1977 redesign, using the 1950's-72 script:


When combined with the road uniform from the 1977 season, it seems that the Giants were hesitant to deviate too much from their previous looks when adopting the pullover/sansabelt template.

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I'm often amazed at the things I failed to notice prior to the time when I began reading this site. This is a case in point. Good stuff.

Before I discovered this site, it took me minutes to figure out the difference between two uniforms with completely different striping patterns. I would always think "what the heck are these guys talking about, its the same thing." that was before i became a total loser
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Nice observation. It's interesting, but the Giants also currently wear the solid black helmets with the Orange billed caps and it's a non issue. Honestly, the thought about them having a matching helmet to go with the Orange bills hasn't ever even crossed my mind before this thread.

I'm actually surprised they ever had an orange billed helmet in the first place.

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The current orange-brimmed cap is not the primary cap. While the preferable state if affairs is that the helmet match the cap (indeed, there should be a rule to that effect), the current helmet matches the primary cap.

In 1977-82, the orange-brimmed hat was the only hat. And, for the majority of that time, the helmet matched it.


It is interesting to be reminded that this wasn't the case in that set's first year.


The Giants were essentially using the previous year's helmet with the new uniform. The same thing happened when the Pirates changed unis (mid-season) in 1970; for a while they continued using the old helmets that didn't match the caps, then later switched to a matching helmet.



The weirder thing is the use of the solid black helmet by one player in later years. Players should not be freestyling with the caps/helmets. David Wells was not allowed to continue wearing a Babe Ruth hat, even though the design was almost the same as the modern Yankee hat. And rightfully so. Joe Maurer should never have been allowed to get away with wearing a non-standard helmet.

Likewise with the socks. I am a big fan of stirrups, and I am pleased to see more players understanding that they belong on a baseball uniform. But I don't like to see multiple sock styles within the same team. Individual players should not be unilaterally deciding to wear, let's say, striped socks; they should all be required to wear the team-issued socks and only those socks.

It's strange that Clark was allowed to wear a helmet that differed from the team standard. If he had a particular helmet that he liked so much, then surely the equipment manager could have painted its brim to match the team standard.

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  • 4 weeks later...

There he goes again! I am so surprised that I didn't notice this back then.

That calendar would have been interesting. We see on the right side the new wordmark that came in with the 1983 uniforms. But, of course, all the pictures in the calendar would have had the old uniforms.

I really disliked that new Giants wordmark. The 1983 road uniform was nice; but, for the home set, I wish they had just done a button-down/belt version of the 1982 uniforms. (And they should have kept the varsity numbers. The number font on that 1983 set was very unattractive.)

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What I didn't notice until recently were the names of the players on the back of the orange-brimmed batting helmets in an orange script font for a time. There aren't many photos I can find of this. This photo is the clearest I have found showing the back of Darrell Evans' helmet.


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What I didn't notice until recently were the names of the players on the back of the orange-brimmed batting helmets in an orange script font for a time. There aren't many photos I can find of this. This photo is the clearest I have found showing the back of Darrell Evans' helmet.


Wow! That is such a cool find! I had never noticed this at all.

The Giants just keep on giving!

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