In 1887 the Browns wore four uniforms, all radically different from each other and from other uniforms in other seasons. Their primary uniforms had referee style stripes. Their alternate “exhibition kit” uniforms were blue. We believe the maroon kits from the previous season made a return. And the World Series uniforms were possibly a different shade of blue from the exhibition kits.
Looking at the blue exhibition uniform, we find it odd for many reasons. One, the Browns are wearing Blue. Two, the team wore their team name on the jersey. Team’s in this era typically only wore their city name. Three, the team wore two lines of text on the jersey. In comparison with other seasons throughout the franchise’s history, the St. Louis Browns two lines of text can be seen in this season, and a small handful of other seasons in the 1890s. There is very little precedent for teams wearing two lines of text on their jersey, but we did see Abbot and Costello wear St. Louis Wolves jerseys with two lines of text.
In the newspaper accounts, they often refer to the Championship Season. This initially confused us, but further investigation shows they are referring to the regular season, and not any type of Postseason, Championship Series, nor World Series. The jersey lettering shown on the Championship Season striped jersey is accurate based on photographic record, but the lettering seen on the Exhibition jersey is purely based on the Championship Season jersey. The actual lettering is not known at this time.
Regarding colors, the maroon jerseys are based on hand drawn baseball cards from this era, as well as newspaper articles referring to the color as “wine colored.” The two blue uniforms may have been the same shade of blue, but we argue over how people defined colors in the 1880s. The three most descriptive newspaper articles refer to the World Series uniform being “bright blue” or “sky blue.” The Exhibition blue is darker based on baseball card drawings from the era, and typically bad weather / exhibition uniforms used darker colored fabrics. All colors have been approximated.
The Sporting Life: February, 1887
The St. Louis Browns’ uniforms will be of a rich shade of brown-striped imported cloth, and will exceed in color, finish and durability any uniforms ever used by St. Louis clubs.
St. Louis Globe Democrat: February 18, 1887
From the New York Sun — While most base-ball club managers are dickering for the man who can play the best ball, the manager of the Detroit team says he is determined to have the finest uniform in the League. “The pants,” as we learn through our esteemed cotemporary, the GLOBE-DEMOCRAT, “will be of English cricket flannel of indigo-blue color,” and the team will wear tourist blouses, which are expected to give the costume “a jaunty appearance that will be decidedly attractive.” The subject should not be neglected by any manager who wishes to be distinguished in his profession. The uniforms are really an important element in the enjoyment of baseball games. To see a lot of young men neatly dressed with fresh-looking garments of harmonious colors is immeasurably more attractive than to see the same party dressed in crudely colored, badly cut and unbecoming uniforms. We think the Detroit uniform, though, will not be bad. Dark blue preserves its richness far better than light blue, which is apt to look shabby and used up. But for all uniforms white is best, and whatever color each club selects can best be limited to the stockings, if knickerbockers are worn, and to some slight trimmings of the shirt. But an important thing which managers sometimes go wrong on is the hat. The worst hat that we recollect seeing was a flat-crowned affair that we believe used to be worn by the Chicagos. A simple roung-crowned cap is, by all odds, to be preferred to other styles, and it should be white, too, like the shirts and breeches. We also trust that all managers will carefully avoid dressing their men in close-fitting shirts. The general effect of these is to make the nine look rather “tough” than otherwise, whereas a loose shirt adds to every man’s grace, and, in conjunction with the breeches, which can not well be skin-tight, gives the costume a far more harmonious and coherent outline. Besides, with a loose shirt there is far less danger of catching cold.
(This provides proof to dark blue uniforms existing throughout the league as a trend)
Sporting Life: March 23, 1887
The Browns will have two new uniforms. The championship uniform will be of the champion’s color, brown and white striped, of the finest cloth. The relay or exhibition game uniform will be of blue — shirt and breeches — and wine colored stockings. Across the breast of the shirt words, “St. Louis Browns” will be placed in wine colored cloth. The boys of the of the boss club will be supplied with uniforms this season.
St. Louis Post Dispatch: June 14, 1887
The color of at least one uniform of each club in the League and American Association is given below. It would be next to impossible to give the several different uniforms of each club, as they change the different pieces of one uniform to another, and may appear on the field in a different make-up every day for a week. However, one complete uniform of each club is as follows:… St. Louis — white and brown shirts and caps, white trousers; brown stockings
The Sporting Life: 1887
The St. Louis Browns donned new uniforms in the first game with the Detroits. They are blue and brown. The caps are blue with brown stripes.
The Sporting Life: 1887
Maybe those beautiful new blue uniforms were the Browns’ hoodoos?
St. Louis Post Dispatch: October 9, 1887
Last championship game to-day.
The Detroits arrive this morning.
Tie games are becoming the fashion.
The Browns got their new uniforms last night. They are a solid blue, with brown stockings.
St. Louis Globe Democrat: October 11, 1887
The appearance of the Browns was the signal for a burst of applause which amounted almost to an ovation. The home boys looked very giddy in suits of a bright blue, forming, with the brown hose, a very showy combination.
The Evening World: October 14, 1887
For several hours the players remained in their apartments, but presently they strolled down into the hotel corridors and proved the centre of attraction for many delighted eyes. The uniform of the Detroits is a black suit, with snow-white caps and stockings. The St. Louis men take their popular name from their brown stockings and the Broad stripes of brown on their blue caps.
The Sun: October 15, 1887
At 1 1/2 o’clock the two nines in full uniform. The Browns in their dark blue and brown stockings, and the Detroits in blue uniforms and white stockings, took carriages for Washington Park. All along the line of the short parade they were greeted with cheers. They were the great attraction of the day, and everywhere they turned they met with great crowds, all eager to see the great ball clubs. As the clubs passed along the several streets the men cheered by name. The better known players, such as Comiskey, Hanlon, Lantham, Dan Brouthers, and Manager Watkins came in for a large share of the attentions.
New York Times: October 16, 1887
St. Louis followed in more carriages and received more cheers and admiration. No debutant or prima donna was ever more closely inspected than were the nine in blue and brown. They were a trible gaudy as they descended with scarlet “blazers” over their bright blue uniforms, and they lounged somewhat carelessly through the plebeian throng as if they owned the earth and could not afford to bother with its petty population.
Chicago Inter Ocean: October 26, 1887, research from Dan O’Brien www.rubewaddell.net
The St. Louis team was radiant in a sky-blue suit with red jackets and brown stockings.
Brown – PMS 732
Browns Maroon – PMS 7623
Browns Blue – PMS 660
Browns World Series Blue – PMS 659