In December of 2022, we solved a mystery about the 1894 Browns, but it left a large void of more unanswered questions.
Initially we believed that the 1895 Mayo Cut Plug baseball card being circulated of Dad Clarkson in a St. Louis jersey was authentic. It was our understanding that baseball cards typically depicted a photo of the previous season, leading us to believe that the 1895 Clarkson card depicted what the 1894 Browns looked like. Upon further inspection, and with collaborative researching and cross referencing with Craig Brown, we found out that it isn’t Dad Clarkson at all. It’s his brother John Clarkson.
John Clarkson, the hall of famer, never played for any St. Louis teams. Craig Brown rustled up an 1887 shot of John Clarkson in a Boston uniform that has a peculiarly almost exact pose, and also rustled up some other examples of Mayo Cut Plug cards being doctored.
We think the cigarette card company pulled out a photo of “Clarkson” from their files, and doctored it to put a St. Louis jersey on him. The “photoshop” job they did is quite convincing. They added St. Louis lettering, making the type contour around the folds of the shirt while also blending in with the shadows. They added a buttoned placket and neck tie as well, all while seamlessly removing Boston from the photo.
Beyond the doctored photo we only have one newspaper article which tells of a blue road uniform. The article says “St. Louis Browns,” leading us to believe the team wore two lines of text on the uniform. We have no certainty of this claim. We also do not know if the lettering on the front of the jersey was white, brown, or red.
Does the St. Louis lettering carry any merit?
What version of Adobe Photoshop did they use in 1895?
What did the blue road uniforms look like?
Were they blue with brown? Or were they blue with red?
Did the team have two different road uniforms?
Boston Globe: March 24, 1894
St. Louis will travel this year with the following uniforms: blue cap with brown trimmings, blue flannel shirt and trousers with brown trimmings, brown belt and stockings and ‘St. Louis Browns’ across the shirt front. Home uniforms during the championship season will be of white flannel with brown trimmings
The Sporting Life: March 31, 1894
The Browns have announced their selection of ’94 uniforms. At home they will wear white with brown trimmings. On the road, blue flannel shirts and pants, with brown trimmings and the name, “St. Louis Browns,” across the shirt front. The cap is of blue, with brown trimmings, and the belt and stockings are brown.
The Evening World: May 30, 1894
The St. Louis uniform makes a horrible blot on the green of the diamond. The suit is of dark blue, trimmed profusely with bright crimson, and carries a tag bearing the title in letters a foot or so across the shirt front. All that is left of the old Browns is the dingy stockings, some of which look as though handed down for two or three generations.
Sporting Life: June 9, 1894
The St. Louis uniform makes a horrible blot on the green of the diamond. The suit is of dark blue, trimmed profusely with bright crimson, and carries a tag bearing the title in letters a foot or so long across the shirt front.