In 1882, the Brown Stockings wore plain uniforms with brown socks. However their caps were not always brown this season. The American Association adopted a peculiar colored cap system, created by the National League, used to identify players on the field. The idea was to color code each position by having each player wear a different color cap so that they could be better differentiated by the fans.
Newspaper accounts tell of the Browns wearing different colored caps, and the Browns team photo shows the players wearing different caps. The dates of when the Browns wore the varied caps and when they wore standard caps is not known. Among wearing the varied caps, we think the Browns tried out more than one varied cap system. Inferring from newspaper articles, we are assuming the following:
The Browns wore ten colors of caps in preseason, possibly in the regular season as well.
The Browns wore solid brown caps sometimes during the regular season.
The Browns wore striped caps similar to the National League’s varied cap system in the middle of the regular season.
The Browns wore solid dark blue caps later in the regular season.
The Browns wore six different colors of caps in the middle of, or late in the regular season.
The experiment was apparently met with much criticism from both the media and fans, and the team possibly stopped wearing the varied caps sometime during the 1882 season, and for sure did not continue with the varied cap system into 1883.
We also recommend referring to Craig Brown’s research on the varied cap system, as well as his inferences from the Browns 1882 season.
According to A.G. Spalding And The Rise of Baseball, the National League put forth rules for cap color by position, see below. We don’t know if the American Association used the exact same system.
Catcher – scarlet
Pitcher – light blue
1st Base – scarlet and white
2nd Base – orange and black
3rd Base – blue and white
Shortstop – maroon
Right Field – gray
Center Field – red and black
Left Field – white
1st Substitute – green
2nd Substitute – brown
St. Louis Post Dispatch: October 8, 1881
There is a very lively war going on in the local baseball fraternity, and the result is the presence in the field of two Brown Stocking base ball clubs. One, which will play tomorrow at the Grand Avenue Park, is called the Reorganized Browns. The other is called the Only and Original Browns, and it will play at the Compton Avenue Park tomorrow. The interest in base ball, which had flagged for several years, was revived last season by spirited games between the Reds and Browns. When the Grand Avenue Park passed out of the hands of Mr. Solari into those of Chris Von der Ahe, the latter formed a St. Louis Sportsmen’s Park Association, and improved the grounds by enlarging them and erecting additional buildings. The Brown Stockings Base Ball Club was organized with twelve members, the president being a well-known sporting reporter, Mr. James Penner, who was to act as manager, Mr. Ed Cuthbert as tenth man, and a nine composed of Messrs. McGinness, Baker, the Gleason brothers, Magner and McCaffrey. They were to do the playing of ball and the gate receipts were theirs. The association expected to make its money in the sale of reserved seats and refreshments. Their secretary, Mr. Al Spink, was to attend to the matter of arranging games, in connection with the club. The club had agreed to divide its money in twelve equal shares. At the outset of the the season, the dividends were very small, running as low as $3.75. By judicious management of the secretary in arranging games, sustained by the fine playing of the Brown Stockings, the attendance and receipts increased rapidly until the dividends of the players began to reach the handsome sum of $150 to $175 per month. When the heavy Eastern clubs came here McDonald, who is in bad health, and Mr. Gault, by consent of the club, substituted players in their positions, paying them by their dividend. In accordance with the contract made at the beginning of the season, all the members of the club are engaged in various business occupations, and some of them found it difficult to be released three days in the week to play ball. The Gleason brothers, both members of the Fire Department, could get off by putting on substitutions. In the case of McCaffrey, Seward, Magner and others this could not be done, and as a result in the Saturday and Monday games the Browns were forced to draw from the ranks of the rival club. The directors of the association objected to this arrangement, and claimed their right to demand that the club put its best nine in the field at all games. The directors also objected to James Penner, the club manager, and asked his removal, asking the club to substitute him with a hired ticket taker, his dividend to go into the general fund. The club refused to do this, and urged that on the weekday games they would be unable at all times to present their strongest team. This led the directory to undertake a re-organization of the club, except in the case of Cuthbert, who is superintendent of the association club house. The boys all talked loudly of sticking together and making no concession, but the association went steady to work and first induced the Gleason brothers to leave their companions. Two games were advertised, but when the Atlantics went out to the park they found no nine to meet them. McGinness and Baker, the pitcher and catcher, were next induced to go into the “reorganized” club, and then Lewis of the Reds, who has played occasionally with the Browns, and Peters, who has been playing for McDonald, were secured, and last night Seward, the Brown Stocking change catcher, came into the fold, and the nine will be filled out with member, of the Reds. The other Brown Stocking club, which will play at Compton Avenue Park today, will contain five of the old club, and will present a good nine. The visiting Atlantic club is in a delicate condition. They are friendly with both organizations; both want them to play tomorrow. Manager Barney was this morning being hauled about wildly by both elements and he despairingly exclaimed: “How happy could I be with either were t’other dear charmer away.” The games were at last arranged as follows: At Grand Avenue Park today and tomorrow the Browns play the Buckeyes of Cincinnati. At the Compton Avenue Park the Browns play the Atlantics of Brooklyn today and tomorrow.
Cincinnati Enquirer: February 19, 1882
The St. Louis team will have the traditional brown stocking suits, with a change of gray flannel pants and shirts for muddy weather. The varied colored cap system will also be adopted and will service in designating the players
St. Louis Globe Democrat: March 6, 1882
St. Louis to have two uniforms, one of white flannel and the other for practice and bad weather of blueish gray.
St. Louis Globe Democrat: March 20, 1882
Yesterday there was a large gathering of ball tossers at the Grand Avenue Park, all of the Standards, several of the Browns and a number of other well-known players being present. Smiley and Fusselbach, the newcomers, were also there and met with a hearty reception. Ben Miller, the Franklin Avenue hatter, wrote a letter to Manager Cuthbert on Saturday, which was accompanied by a box containing ten hats, a present from Mr. Miller to the Brown Stocking team. The lot are of different colors, so that the players wearing them can be easily distinguished. Cuthbert’s is a blue cap; Seward’s, brown; Shappert’s, yellow; Walker’s, orange; W. Gleason’s, green; J. Gleason’s, dark blue; Smiley’s, purple; Comiskey’s, white; McGinnis’, red; and Fusselbach’s, gray. These caps were shown to visitors at the park yesterday, and are the neatest thing of the kind ever gotten up.
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.
Brown – PMS 732
“Blueish Gray” – CMYK: 20/0/0/20