The 1897-98 uniform design was similar to the 1896 season, but with a laced up shirt instead of button down. It is likely that the Browns wore the exact same uniforms in 1898 that they did in 1897. Not the exact same design, the exact same pieces of fabric. Newspaper accounts from 1897 describe these uniforms being cheaply made with inexpensive fabrics, and that they are bound to fall apart. The photo from 1898 we have shows the uniforms with missing letters. Chris Von der Ahe was beginning to fail financially, and it is our assumption that they chose new cheap uniforms in 1897, and then recycled the exact same shirts in 1898.
St. Louis Post Dispatch: March 9, 1897
In the office of the Browns, with the doors and windows open, sat Secretary Muckenfuss with Mr. Von der Ahe selecting stuff for the team’s new uniforms. A pretty cream white has been adopted as the body uniform for home games with the familiar brown belt, caps and stockings. For games away from home, light gray will be used instead of the white trousers and shirts.
Sporting Life: May 1, 1897
The new St. Louis uniform did not delight. The Browns wore brown, of course, but the team’s finances were in the red. The new uniforms were described as the “cheapest thing in seven leagues” and were predicted to “shrink like a boiled sponge” in the first rain.
St. Louis Post Dispatch: July 11, 1897
Rooters who sit in the grand stand clad in seersucker clothes and neglige shirts may kick about the weather, but they don’t know how lucky they are. When the victorious Browns came off the field Friday afternoon a Post-Dispatch man put Capt. Billy Hallman’s shirt and trousers on a set of scales. The uniform weighed just 15.5 pounds.
Of this weight from three to five pounds was water, or rather perspiration. A baseball uniform is made of the heaviest quality of flannel, lined with a double thickness of sheep’s wool. The wool absorbs the perspiration without permitting it to dry up, or to become absorbed, in turn, by the atmosphere. Therefore each additional bead of perspiration that trickles from a player’s body goes to make the uniform heavier. A suit of light weight underwear is usually worn by the players, and that, too, becomes soaked with perspiration and adds to the Turkish bath sweating a man takes on the field. Besides accumulating the perspiration a goodly amount of dirt settles in the soaked uniform, adding a pound or two to the total.
In addition to the uniform, a player has a pair of heavy woolen stockings — they must be heavy and closely knit to withstand all the slipping and sliding a ball tosser has to do, a pair of shoes weighted by spikes and toe plates, and to polish off this arctic attire he wears a flannel cap, thick an wide enough for a cushion for your office chair.
Think of that, you crash-clothed fans up there in the grandstand with a tankard of iced lemonade to be had every time you raise a finger.
Is it any wonder that Mike Grady flopped over after standing up under such a load in the brolling sun for an hour or so?
The uniform of every other man on the team were the same as Hallman’s after the game. Dan Lally, just to show that he had oozed as profusely as any of his teammates, playfully grabbed a handful of the suburbs of his shirt as it hung on a nail, and the water poured from it until a pool formed on the dressing-room floor.
Brown – PMS 732