The 1882 color coding system fairly well documented. In the 19th Century, the National League came up with a system to better identify players on the field. In today’s world we are very accustomed to this type of idea. Every player on the field wears a number and/or name on their uniform. In 1882, they decided to dress everyone different, whether that be in different shirts, different patterns, or different colors. There are some great photos and documentation of other teams using this system, see Craig Brown’s site for more information:
The American Association adopted this idea at some point in 1882. The Browns decided to wear different color caps at each position on the field, however, we don’t really know which caps were used for which positions on the field. The newspaper accounts also don’t help much in identifying colors by position, but describe players seemingly changed caps on a whim, and wore whatever the wanted to wear, including Comiskey wearing a white turban.

The team photo, while scratchy and pulled from the newspaper, clearly shows a smattering of different caps.
Based on the October article, we think the team wore 6 different cap colors, brown, light blue, dark blue, white, gray, and black.

History Mysteries:
What positions did each cap color designate?
When did they start using the color coding system?
When did they stop using the color coding system?

1882 Brown Stockings wearing different caps
The 1882 Brown Stockings, from left to right: 
Edgar Cuthbert, William Gleason, Charles Morton, Oscar Walker, Charles Comiskey, Jack Gleason, Daisy Dorr, Harry McCaffery, Tom Sullivan, Joe Crotty, Edward Brown, George McGinnis.
Photo from “The National Game” by Alfred H. Spink (1910).

St. Louis Globe Democrat: March 26, 1882
Perhaps there will be stormy weather today, and if there is there will be another postponement but if the weather is half-way fair the Browns will make their Inaugural appearance, with the Standards opposing them. The Browns, with the exception named, will appear with their regular playing nine. They will wear their practice-day uniforms, which are of gray flannel, with brown stockings and caps of variegated colors. The Standards will also appear in their new uniforms.

St. Louis Globe Democrat: April 2, 1882
St. Louis wore uniforms of gray with brown stockings and different colored caps.

St. Louis Post Dispatch: April 14, 1882
The League “costumes” look pretty, but will prove impractical owing to the confusion they will cause on the field. Nothing like a regular uniform for the teams.

St. Louis Globe Democrat: April 22, 1882
The Browns to-day will place their strongest team in the field, which will include Sullivan and McGinnis as their battery; Comiskey, Smiley and J. Gleason on the bases; W. Gleason at short field and the regulars on the outside. Both teams will appear in new uniforms. The Browns will put away their somber-colored suits and come out in white flannel with brown stockings. The Eclipse will appear in suits of bright gray, with red caps and stockings. So as to give the business community time to see the game, it will not be called until 4 o’clock.

St. Louis Post Dispatch: May 2, 1882
The Browns will also appear in their fine new uniforms – brown stockings, belts and caps, white shirts and knee-breeches. 

Missouri Republican: May 3, 1882
St. Louis uniform is plain white except cap, belt, and stockings are brown.

St. Louis Globe Democrat: May 3, 1882
The home team had thrown aside their old snits of gray and came out in pure white, with the old-time brown stockings and caps.

St. Louis Globe Democrat: July 31, 1882
The Brown Stockings Beaten by Their Cincinnati Rivals.
The Cincinnati nine again defeated the St. Louis team yesterday, and played a faultless game, not an error, passed ball or wild pitch being credited to them. It rained hard all day, and from 1 to 3 in the afternoon it fairly poured. At the latter hour the weather cleared somewhat, and then the crowd commenced pouring into the ball grounds. The Browns came on the field early, and looked the better for their late tour. A change from the old penitentiary caps to a head-gear of solid blue altered their appearance somewhat for the better…

The Pantagraph: September 8, 1882
The St. Louis Browns, as they still persist in calling themselves, have dropped their old uniforms, and now appear in white. 

St. Louis Globe Democrat: October 8, 1882
The Browns this year seldom come on the field [in St. Louis] all uniformed alike. Their failing seems to be in the matter of head gear. [Charlie] Comiskey has a weakness for wearing a cap different in color from that worn by his comrades. First it was gray that he wore, then a light blue, now he eschews caps altogether, and comes out in a white turban. [Sleeper] Sullivan seldom wears the same cap twice. [Bert] Dorr very often wears a pair of breeches that look as though they were made to fit the Cardiff Giant. [Jumbo] McGinnis’ failing is in always wearing a common undershirt instead of the regulation garment. [Ned] Cuthbert wears a light blue cap today instead of dark blue. [Bill] Gleason wears a black [cap] instead of dark blue. Jack Gleason is neat, and comes out in full dress. [Oscar] Walker looks as though he picked up the first cap he could lay his hands upon, without regard to color. [Ed] Brown’s clothes fit him too liberally, while [John] Shoup, the new man, comes out with a cap with a reel in it, and puts that on very baggy. [Joe] Crotty’s clothes generally fit him. There are rules regarding the fining of players for not appearing in full uniform. They have not been enforced this year, but they will next.

Baseball in Newspaper Accounts 1882, research from Preston Orem
Castings aside their storm uniforms, the Browns appeared in snowy white for Ladies Day.

Baseball in Newspaper Accounts 1882, research from Preston Orem
The uniform selected by the St. Louis Browns was pure white shirts and pants with the old time brown stockings caps.

Cincinnati Enquirer: February 19, 1883
Last year the team never came upon the field in full uniform, but this season they will be obliged to appear always in full dress, and a heavy penalty will follow the infringement of this rule.

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