Thursday, April 7, 2011

Players' gangsta' pants nothing new

Uncommon commons. Based on contemporary accounts from The Sporting News; tidbits that as a collector of baseball and football cards I found interesting because they help bring to life the faces on the cards I collected. I figure that if I found these items of interest, so would other vintage card collectors.

Like every other generation of baseball fan, I despair at the lack of respect for the game's tradition shown by the current crop of major leaguers.

This is visually evident by such current uniform trends as caps with flat visors and  pants with the cuffs worn at shoetop level. I guess I should be grateful that the players haven't adopted the urban fashion of wearing their pants half hanging off their ass. Nobody wants to see Prince Fielder sporting a jockstrap whaletail.

I found a citation in a 1953 Sporting News, however, that shows pants legs pulled down low aren't really new.

In that year, Pacific Coast League president Clarence Rowland ordered Sacramento Solons players Joe Brovia and Eddie Brockman to pull their pants legs up from their ankles to the traditional mid-calf or higher position. Brovia claimed he wore his pants legs low for good luck.

Ironically, PCL prexy Rowland's nickname -- by which he was known in baseball circles for decades -- was "Pants."

Brovia was a Coast League cult favorite of the 1940s and 1950s who hit a home run that traveled more than 560 feet in San Francisco's Seals Stadium on April 19, 1947. 

For a really great account of Joe Brovia's mutual love affair with PCL baseball fans, you should read Jim Sargent's biographical sketch, "The Coast League Legend Who Loved Baseball Fans," at You'll have to key the URL into your browser, links to the site are currently not working. 

Brovia was a career minor leaguers who had only a month of big league service time, with the 1955 Cincinnati Redlegs. He appears on a number of minor league baseball cards, like the 1954 MD Super Service Sacramento Solons team issue and 1953 Mother's Cookies cards shown here.

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