When I was a kid in the late 1970s, I was an avid fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In my teens, even though my family lived just a couple of blocks from the old Yankee Stadium on River Avenue and 161st in The Bronx, and my brother and almost all of my friends were Yankees fans, I proudly sported my royal blue Dodgers baseball cap, and later, my team’s Starter Jacket as a college student.
One night in April of 2021, I happened upon a photo posted on social media of a gentleman wearing a deep royal blue Dodgers t-shirt at Yosemite National Park. That image brought on a wave of baseball nostalgia and sent me down a decades-long, internet exploration of my childhood team. I spent most of that evening last looking up videos of games, interviews, team photos, and all else I could find about the late 70s Dodger teams. Seeing all of the names I remembered and revered, moved me and reminded me of why I loved baseball and why it was such a big part of my life. It brought back memories of playing right field on my neighborhood team and imitating the batting stance of the great Dodgers’ right-fielder Reggie Smith. It brought back a time in my life that I had mostly put away, and inspired a desire to pay homage to the heroes of my childhood who provided the much-needed escape from the challenges of my life in those times.
More than a shirt bearing more than the team’s logo, I found myself wanting to find a shirt bearing the names of the players connected to my love for the game. I particularly loved the great 1977 team that not only played in the World Series against the Yankees, but became the first in the major leagues to have four players, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Smith and Dusty Baker, to hit 30+ home runs each in a season. Not finding such a shirt, I put my skills as a graphic designer to work and came up with a t-shirt design that arranged the names as I remembered seeing them in the boxscore lineup of one of the daily New York newspapers on the day after the previous night’s game.
Creating a mockup for that design, inspired me to create one with my brother’s favorite Yankees lineup of that era.
and later, my team’s fierce rival of that time, the Cincinnati Reds.
The process of creating these designs reminded me of how much baseball fans of that era had the benefit of long-time connections to and a love for those names, boxscores, and starting lineups of their favorite teams. Those who know understand that these are not just names on a page or a shirt, they are a connection to a time in our lives, to watching a game on a Saturday afternoon with your dad or grandad, to listening to the 7-minute, late-inning, two-out, bases-loaded duel between flamethrowing bullpen ace and power-hitting homerun king on a transistor pocket radio. There are deep, beautiful memories in these names, which is why I believe that there is a wonderful opportunity here to present something that taps into a part of the soul of what it means to be a baseball fan. I would love to team with an MLBPA-licensed sports apparel company to make these shirts, featuring the great lineups of all past and present MLB teams available to the public.
I know that I would also be one of the first customers. ~ Darryl