negro league march madness

Uni Bracket - Play In

This week’s Spotlight is a celebration of the opening of another incredible Baseball season. We are also going to pay tribute to another great tradition of March Madness and do a bracket for the best uniform in Negro Leagues History.

We need you to pick the winners!

Our field and rankings are brought to us by the incomparable Phil Hecken - Uniform Aficionado & Deputy Editor of Uni Watch, a website devoted to the Obsessive Study of Athletic Aesthetics.

Phil also used to write for the Sporting News and has been quoted in the Washington Post and had some sports photography appear on ESPN

Today we feature our play-in brackets featuring 17th seed – The 1945 Kansas City Monarchs vs. the 20th seed 1937 Cincinnati Tigers.

The 1945 Kansas City Monarchs – Phil’s comments – “I had the Monarchs in my Top 10 (but that was the 1942 squad). This one is almost as good. The giant “KC” and three-fourths placket piping are beautiful and can be read from space. This uniform was also worn by my favorite ballplayer of all time, so it’s also got that going for it.”

The 1937 Cincinnati Tigers – Phil’s comments – “rounding out the field in this delicious number from the Cincinnati Tigers, not too fancy, but with a wonderful font in Tiffany style. This was a home run in any league.

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#17 - 1945 Kansas City Monarchs vs. #20 - 1937 Cincinnati Tigers

Next is the 18th seed – The 1930 Detroit Stars vs. the 19th seed 1923 Milwaukee Bears.

Coming in at #18 - 1930 Detroit Stars – Phil’s comments – “another team on my original Top 10, the Stars had a couple sets of great uniforms. This one, wonderfully recreated by the Detroit Tigers for a Negro League throwback game. The uniform was bereft of any words, relying simply on the power of the red star on the jersey and cap. It was all they’d need.”

#19 - 1923 Milwaukee Bears – Phil’s comments – “no list of ‘best’ NLB uniforms would be complete without at least one offering from the Milwaukee Bears. While the team wore several different uniforms and styles over the years, the pinstriped togs from 1923 stand out as their best. The cap featured the same pinstriping as the uniform & the block “M” was a perfect compliment.”

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#18 - 1930 Detroit Stars vs. #19 - 1923 Milwaukee Bears

Next is the 18th seed – The 1939 Philadelphia Stars vs. the 16th seed 1946 Seattle Steelheads.

Coming in at #13 - 1939 Philadelphia Stars – Phil’s comments “throughout their history, the Stars always had nice uniforms, but for some reason, this particular iteration always stands out for me, the abbreviated “PHILA.” (w/colored button for a period!) spread across chest (as opposed to stacked version of later vintage) is endearing.”

Coming in at #16 - 1946 Seattle Steelheads – Phil’s comments – “unfortunately not many photographs exist of this team, as they only existed for a 2 month span. Fortunately the Seattle Mariners played a throwback game in which they recreated these staid beauties. The beautiful black & white, with a block “S” cap & thick pants striping were a great combination.”

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#13 - 1939 Philadelphia Stars vs. #16 - 1946 Seattle Steelheads

Next is the 14th seed – The 1940 Birmingham Black Barons vs. the 15th seed 1952 Indianapolis Clowns.

Coming in at #14 - 1940 Birmingham Black Barons – Phil’s comments – “another jersey that was fairly simple in its elegance at first glance, but a closer look reveals full black-and-red piping and a drop shadow under ‘Barons’, the team combined this jersey with a great BBB logoed-cap.”

Finally, at #15 – the 1952 Indianapolis Clowns – Phil’s comments – “you may recognize the fella wearing the uniform pictured. Before he became Home Run King, Henry Aaron wore a beautiful monochrome royal Indianapolis Clowns road uniform. Not surprisingly, that team was the Negro AL Champ. If you know me at all, you know I’m a sucker for a dark monochrome uniform & this one is outstanding.”

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#14 - 1940 Birmingham Black Barons vs. #15 - 1952 Indianapolis Clowns

To learn more about the Negro League, it's players, and a history, Teambrown is your go to location!