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A's 1972 uniforms had a version with no front number


Ferdinand Cesarano

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The A's brought in their most iconic uniform set in 1972, and they wore it through 1980. From 1973 to 1980, there was no number on the front of the jersey.

Up until today, I had believed that the 1972 set always had numbers on the front (in the Expos font, different from the block back numbers). For example:

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But today I saw a report that Haywood Hale Broun did in 1972 about the then-new uniforms in baseball. And the A's were shown wearing uniforms that had no front number.

Here is a screenshot of Gene Tenace:

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And we know that the clip really is from 1972, because it shows Mike Epstein and Dave Duncan, both of whom left the A's after 1972.

(By the way, the whole report is wonderful. The loud-jacketed and mustachioed Broun makes several very funny deadpan remarks at the end.)

Then I remembered that I had seen a shot from 1972 showing Epstein, Reggie Jackson, and Darold Knowles in an A's jersey lacking front numbers.

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I had originally thought that this was a prototype jersey, because the collar looked a little weird. But I guess it was the numberless version of the regular uniform.

So the 1972 A's evidently had a version of their jerseys with front numbers, and a version without front numbers.

Then I thought that perhaps they brought in the front-numbered version for the post-season. But there are 1973 baseball cards that show them wearing the front number during the regular season.

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Then again, several cards show the uniform lacking the front number.

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So it would appear that they just had two versions of the uniform that year.

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Do we know any of those numberless jerseys are from the season? Not unheard of for teams to make changes after the preseason, and I wouldn't call it settled unless you can conclusively date a photo to the regular season.

That was my first thought, but I don't think those stadia in the background(s) would have been around for Exhibition games back in 1972.

ETA - Specifically the Joe Rudi card. I can see the Tenace screen shot to be Spring Training. Baby Bull looks like an MLB shot with three outfield decks.

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I just noticed the difference between the back and front fonts...that bugs me.


Do we know any of those numberless jerseys are from the season? Not unheard of for teams to make changes after the preseason, and I wouldn't call it settled unless you can conclusively date a photo to the regular season.

That was my first thought, but I don't think those stadia in the background(s) would have been around for Exhibition games back in 1972.

The empty ballpark is meaningless...coulda been shot right upon arrival from spring training. The Joe Rudi card looks like regular season but I guess it's not definitive. They are wearing white, so they should be at home...does the little barrier in front of the crowd look like Oakland Colosseum in that era?

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According to Bill Henderson's MLB uniform guide, the A's added the front numbers to all jerseys (white, yellow, and green) midway through the 1972 season. He does not have a definitive date, but at some point between mid-July and the postseason.

The A's that made the All-Star Game wore jerseys without front numbers.

It's very odd..the 1971 uniforms had front numbers. The 1972 season started without them, then added them later on. From 1973-1980, no front numbers.

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I don't think that any changes were made mid-season. The Cardinals removed front numbers for the 1998 season, and put them back the next year.

Oddly enough, they had done the same thing in 1979, that year replacing the front numbers with numbers on the left sleeve. That year Keith Hernandez had a big year and was co-MVP. So pictures of two of the biggest individual accomplishments in recent Cardinal history wind up looking weird on account of the missing front number.

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