Pastime Pinstripes: The History of the Baseball Stirrup

Pastime Pinstripes: The History of the Baseball Stirrup

This text was first published on on March 26, 2016 as part of an English project at McDaniel College. It has been edited for its purposes on this blog and can be read in its entirety and original form by clicking here. To learn more about Pastime Pinstripes, please read our post “The Grain of the Game Announces New Blog Features.”

Ever since the New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club debuted the first uniformed look of the game on April 24, 1849, uniforms have evolved almost as much as the players themselves. The team took to the diamond outfitted in blue wool pants, white flannel shirts, and straw hats. The look was accompanied by leather belts and full collars on the shirts. By the end of the 1850′s, the style had spread to most other teams, each adopting their own style of shirt with a logo, emblem, or nameplate on the front, and sometimes all three, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame’s “Dressed to the Nines” online exhibit, an overall comprehensive source for all baseball uniform history.

Although the style was in full swing, many players disliked the way their pants fell to their ankles. According to a New York Times article written by Fred Bierman, they found that the pants often got caught in their feet when running, obstructing them from the highest caliber of play possible. To combat this, players used tape or belts to hold them down. In 1868, the Cincinnati Red Stockings (today’s Cincinnati Reds) debuted knickers (despite New York’s namesake) that were less restrictive and left the players’ socks visible. Cincinnati’s red socks (not to be confused with today’s Red Sox of Boston) became their trademark.

As each team adopted their own color of sock (look for the next post about uniforms colors in the late 19th century), players found that when they were spiked by an opponent’s cleat they could get blood poisoning if the sock dye ran into their wound. Players then began to wear white “sanitary socks” underneath their team-colored stockings for safety measures.

Players fitting their double-socked foot into a normal-sized pair of cleats became a problem and the stirrup was born. The new piece of technology allowed players to represent their team color while wearing the sanitary sock underneath, fitting both smoothly into their shoe.

Just like uniforms, stirrups themselves evolved throughout the ages. The first set showed barely any of the white under sock. By the time Mickey Mantle debuted with the New York Yankees in the 1950′s, players were showing a good amount of the white, and when Tom Seaver took to the field with the New York Mets in the 1960′s, stirrups were near secondary to the shiny white underneath. When Mike Schmidt hit the hot corner for the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1980′s, he wore his stirrups as thin stripes, appearing as an extension of the piping on his pant.

In about a century, baseball leg apparel had gone almost full circle. When players like Barry Bonds came out wearing pants down to their ankles, the circle was completed, for better or for worse. Bonds wore his pants tight and to the ankle. Many players today, like Prince Fielder, wear their pants to the ankles (or sometimes past the top of the shoe even), yet wear them baggy. This evolution (or anti-evolution) has led to players choosing the possibility of encountering the exact problem that, decades ago, players worked to eliminate.



Hops Lose Dazzling Opener to Emeralds

Hops Lose Dazzling Opener to Emeralds

HILLSBORO, Ore. – The Hops were shutout 6-0 by the Eugene Emeralds on Monday night at their home opener at Ron Tonkin Field in front of a sold out crowd of 5,093. The loss came to the home team after a 1-3 start to the season in Keizer where they allowed 30 runs to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, scoring just 11 of their own.

Starter Taylor Wright struck out nine while walking zero in five innings of three run, four hit ball for Hillsboro (1-3). The righty held the Emeralds (3-1) to just two hits through three innings, yet accrued his first loss of the season.

Unfortunately, those two hits scored the first runs of the brisk two hour and 25 minute game. With two outs in the top of the third (both from K’s), Eugene leadoff hitter D.J. Wilson singled to second. One pitch – and one pickoff move – later Andruw Monasterio homered to give the Emeralds a 2-0 lead. Wright would force the next hitter into a groundout to end the inning.

Wright gave up a leadoff double to Yeiler Peguero to start the fifth, a runner that would score one batter later.

Down 3-0, Hops reliever Jake Winston entered the game and lasted just one seven-batter inning. The first-year player out of Southern Mississippi gave up four hits and three runs in the inning, although only two were earned. Shortstop Manny Jefferson would allow Kevonte Mitchell to reach on an error to start the inning. By the time Winston left the game and the top of the sixth was over, the Hops faced a six run deficit.

Kirby Bellow, Jordan Watson, and Julio Perez each threw an inning of no-run ball for Hillsboro to close out the game, but the damage had been done.

Eugene starter Manuel Rondon threw five innings of one hit shutout ball, facing just one batter over the minimum. The southpaw combined with righty Michael Knighton to force the Hops to go three-up, three-down in all but two innings the entire game.

Knighton allowed just two hits in four innings, both of which came in the ninth. The first-year Chicago Cubs prospect earned his first save, preserving Rondon’s first win.

Hillsboro’s Ron Tonkin Field opener was a sloppy one. The Hops committed four errors: errant throws from Jefferson (2) and Wright and a missed catch by first baseman Luke Lowery. Catcher Alexis Olmeda had one passed ball.

Eugene added two errors of their own to the mess: one missed throw by Monasterio and a botched grounder by Peguero.

Not the clean outcome that fans, players, and coaches alike were hoping for, the Hops will look to Championship Night tonight against the Emeralds for their first win at home of the 2016 season. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. with mini replica championship trophies to be handed out to the first 1,500 fans through the gates at Ron Tonkin Field.

The Grain of the Game Announces New Blog Features

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Grain of the Game author Atticus Rice would like to thank all of the followers of the blog for being, well, followers. Through interactions on Twitter and the blog, our numbers have soared since the first post was published.

Now, as the 2016 Minor League Baseball season is finally in full swing with the start of Class-A Short Season ball, the blog has a few exciting announcements regarding new blog features.

The new features include live posts  that will be written during events and updated – and edited – after the events conclude, ballpark and uniform/branding reviews, baseball history quips, and and a number of others, some to be released later this year. A full breakdown of each new feature is below.


After a trial run during the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Mini Camp held at Hillsboro’s Ron Tonkin Field last week, QuickTake will be a feature that revolves around live posts that will be updated, unedited, throughout the event, and then wrapped up following the conclusion of the event .

Filed under the title, and category, as “QuickTake,” the feature should be expected every now and then, and will not be regularly scheduled.

Park Pass

As a way to document the author’s attempts to catch a  game at every ballpark a baseball team calls home, Park Pass will be anew feature that highlights first time visits to ballparks across the country. To not swarm the blog with these types of posts, followers should expect them infrequently, only upon visits to new ballparks.

Exceptions will be made for parks that were visited before this announcement with this type of post in mind. The date the park was visited (or dates) will always be made clear.

Brand Blues

Despite an episode of Makers of Sport Podcast that the author recently listened to which argued that ‘brand’ is likely the incorrect term to name this feature for what it is, Brand Blues will include posts celebrating, critiquing, criticizing, and/or simply making note of various teams’ brands – logo, uniform, use of the aforementioned, and everything in between- for the sake of what baseball design should look like, in the eyes of the author. Disagreeing with and debating the opinions expressed in these posts is not only welcomed, but encouraged.

Pastime Pinstripes

A project started for am English class at McDaniel College in the spring of 2016, Pastime Pinstripes is a “personal learning network” which focuses on the history and evolution of baseball uniforms and logos. Rather than continuing both blogs  at the same time, the decision was made to merge the two and make posts that would be better fit for Pastime Pinstripes special features on The Grain of the Game.

Posts of this nature should be expected on a weekly basis, typically posted on Sunday afternoons. While most of the posts will be new content, all posts from the original blog will be reposted on this blog on an infrequent basis. Each recycled post will be clearly marked as so.

If anyone desires, the original Pastime Pinstripes blog can be found here, along with the Twitter account here.

Sweetspot Scorecards

Given the nature of baseball, it only makes sense to keep score. The author has always believed in this, recently to the point where he has started producing his own scorecards, while still testing those made by others. To celebrate this, The Grain of the Game will begin to post features that showcase select scorecards, both game-used and ready-to-print to use at the park yourself.

If any followers or fans would like to request a custom scorecard they are more than welcome to. Requests will be filled as soon as possible.

As always, game and season previews and recaps will continue to fuel the blog as the main type of post. Team news and additional features will also remain to have a presence.

Any questions, comments, or concerns regarding the new features and/or this announcement should be directed to the comments section of this post or to the author’s Twitter, at @atticusrice.

Hops Edge By Volcanoes for First Ever Opening Day Win

Hops Edge By Volcanoes for First Ever Opening Day Win

KEIZER, Ore. – The back-to-back Northwest League defending champion Hillsboro Hops edged past division rival Salem-Keizer on Friday 6-5. The Opening Day win was the first for Hillsboro in their four year history, taking their all-time record against the Volcanoes to 19-18.

After a hitless top of the first, Hillsboro starter Anfernee Benitez gave up a lead off double to the Volcanoes’ Manuel Geraldo. A Benitez wild pitch with Geraldo on third scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first. Benitez would give up another double and throw out a second wild pitch, with no fault, before the inning was over.

The Hops responded with three of their own in the second thanks to back-to-back hits from Justin Chigbogu and Alexis Olmeda and a three run blast from Jeff Smith.

The score remained 3-1 until Hillsboro’s Luke Lowery hit a shot of his own with Josh Anderson on base in the sixth.

Salem-Keizer’s Gustavo Cabrera added a homer of his own in the seventh after a pitching change for Hillsboro. Two more came in for the Volcanoes in the last of the seventh putting the home team within one, 5-4.

The Hops added an extra insurance run off a Chigbogu double in the eighth which scored Lowery.

The Volcanoes threatened a comeback in the bottom of the ninth scoring one on a Cabrera single, but the defending champs were able to shut things down, ending the 2 hour and 46 minute Opening Day contest.

As noted by Hops’ play-by-play announcer Rich Burk during his post game show, it was a very clean game, with no errors committed by either team, a rare feat at the start of the Northwest League season.

Lowery led the team with two RBI’s, hitting 2-for-4 and scoring two runs of his own. Smith drove in three, hitting 1-for-4.

Anderson and Chigbogu both doubled for the visitors.

Cabrera led the Volcanoes with two RBI’s and a run of his own hitting 2-for-4.

Hops starter Benitez lasted five innings, earning his first win of the 2016 season. The fifth-year player struck out six while allowing just one run on six hits. Despite being banged up early in the first inning, Benitez was able to calm down and find his groove after being handed a lead to work with.

Julio Perez earned his first save for the Hops with one inning of work where he allowed one run on two hits while striking out just one.

The Hops pitching staff combined for 10 K’s while giving a free pass to just one batter. 12 hits scored five runs.

The Volcanoes staff of three allowed six runs on 11 hits while striking out seven and walking three, along with hitting one.

As the numbers show, the Hops outlasted – and outscored- the Volcanoes just enough, garnering one more run on one less hit.

A perfect 1-0 for the first time in history, the Hops will turn to right handed Tyler Mark tonight in attempt to start a winning streak. Salem-Keizer will start Hengerber Medina, a third year righty.

Game time is set for 6:35 p.m. in Keizer.

The Hops return to Hillsboro for their home opener Monday for a 7:05 p.m. game time against the Eugene Emeralds.

As always, make sure to stay up to date on all things Hillsboro Hops, Northwest League, and Grain of the Game by following the blog (at left) and the author on Twitter at @atticusrice.

Introducing the 2016 Hillsboro Hops

Introducing the 2016 Hillsboro Hops

HILLSBORO, Ore. – The back-to-back defending Northwest League Champion Hillsboro Hops begin their fourth season on Friday.

The Short-Season Class-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks open their fourth season on the road against division rivals Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. The Hops and Volcanoes are 18-18 against each other in the last three seasons since the Hops moved from Yakima. A win will put either club over .500. Despite this, the Hops have never won on opening day, a feat they hope to accomplish tomorrow behind second year manager Shelley Duncan.

Duncan was at the helm of last year’s championship team, the second brought home to Hillsboro in as many years for the young ball club. He led the Hops to a 45-31 season, taking first place by six games in the South Division over Salem-Keizer (39-37), and the best record in the league, by three games, over the Everett AquaSox (42-34).

The Hops 2016 roster, just announced on Wednesday, includes eight players Duncan worked with in 2015, as well as 12 players just drafted last weekend in Major League Baseball’s 2016 draft.

Among the new draftees is the Diamondbacks’ top pick (#39 overall) Anfernee Grier. The Auburn University outfielder hit .366 with 12 homeruns and 41 RBI’s this last year as a junior.

Joining Grier from the 2016 draft will be, in order they were drafted, RHP Jon Duplantier, LHP Jordan Watson, RHP Tommy Eveld, C Gavin Stupienski, INF Manny Jefferson, LHP Colin Poche, RHP Jake Winston, RHP Riley Smith, RHP Trevor Simms, INF Paxton De La Garza, and OF Billy Endris.

The new recruits are joined by Duncan’s eight from 2015 include five that won the championship: C Alexis Olmeda, INF Josh Anderson, RHP Tyler Mark, RHP Jeferson Mejia, RHP Tucker Ward. RHP Jose Martinez, INF Jeff Smith, and 3B Nic Coffman will also return to the team, although they were not present for the final games of the season.

Coffman, a Portland native, remains the only player with that title to suit up for the Hops in their four years of existence. Coffman graduation from Wilson High School in Southwest Portland followed by Lane Community College and Corban University.

Also on the roster is LHP Anfernee Benitez, RHP Julio Perez, RHP Jake Winston, RHP Taylor Wright, INF Justin Chigbou, OF Matt McPhearson, OF Matt Railey, and OF Marcus Wilson. A detailed roster can be viewed here, courtesy of the Hillsboro Hops.

On deck for fans this summer at Hillsboro’s Ron Tonkin Field are a number of fun and wacky promotions. Besides post-game fireworks shows on June 20 (opening night), July 4 (Independence Day), and September 5 (fan appreciation night, final home game), the Hops will be handing out magnet schedules to all fans and showcasing a pre-game championship celebration (June 20), handing out replica championship trophies (June 21), bobblehead Barleys (August 15), and McDonald’s lunch boxes (September 3). Fans can also catch the San Diego Chicken (July 13), Portland Beavers Night (July 28), Youth Sports Weekend (August 20-21), and Craft Beer Night (August 23), among many other promotions.

After back-to-back Northwest League championships, Hops fans all around the Portland Metro Area should have something to look forward to this summer, with all the action starting Friday, June 17 in Salem-Keizer and at home on Monday, June 20 against the Eugene Emeralds.

Make sure to keep up to date with all things Hillsboro Hops and Northwest League by following the blog (at left) and the author on Twitter at @atticusrice.

Recap: Hillsboro Hops Ticket Pickup Event and Diamondbacks Mini Camp

Recap: Hillsboro Hops Ticket Pickup Event and Diamondbacks Mini Camp

HILLSBORO, Ore. – The Hillsboro Hops hosted their inaugural Ticket Pickup Event yesterday, open to all ticket plan holders. The event was held in conjunction with an Arizona Diamondbacks Mini Camp at Ron Tonkin Field. A QuickTake post of the event can be found here.

The event was an overall success with a variety of free food and beverage items, posters and decals being handed out, photo ops with the Northwest League Championship trophy, and plenty of baseball to watch prior to Friday’s League opener (and Monday’s home opener).

Thanks to the Mini Camp, in attendance at the park was not only many eager Hops fans, but about 40 young prospects in the Diamondbacks franchise, along with a full coaching staff. A list of the staff wasn’t released, nor was it clear exactly everyone who was there, but returning 2015 Hops manager Shelley Duncan was helping out along with Hops consultant and Oregon native Ben Petrick.

Three of the players at the park had already spent some time in Hillsboro, all helping the Hops to their latest championship last season. These men were Josh Anderson, Alexis Olmeda, and Nic Coffman, all 2015 draftees.

Anderson, now with 35 games under his belt in the 2016 season with Full-A Kane County (currently on the disabled list), spent 43 games with Hillsboro in 2015, accumulating 41 hits and a line of .270/.345/.362.

Olmeda, one of the late-season heroes with the 2015 Hops (scored key runs multiple times), spent 40 games with the club last season, earning 36 hits and scoring 15 runs with a line of .265/.384/.324. The catcher from Puerto Rico caught 13 runners.

Coffman, a Portland, OR native, spent just four games with the Hops in 2015, hitting 2-for-11 in the span, although he did drive in a run and score one of his own. Between two other low-level teams in 2015, the Non-Drafted Free Agent from Corban earned a line of .211/.250/.250.

Anderson already spending time in Kane County, it is unlikely that he will spend a significant amount of time with the Hops, if any, depending on his condition. Olmeda and Coffman, on the other hand, have a fair chance of ending up in Hillsboro again, what will most likely be a warm welcome for the fan-favorite catcher and the hometown kid.

Also in attendance at the Mini Camp was Tommy Eveld and Jordan Watson, 9th and 7th round 2016 draftees.

Eveld, a dual (football) athlete at the University of San Francisco, pitched in 13 games in 2015, making two starts with a 1-2 record. Joining the baseball team after primarily playing football and having successes right away (four innings of hitless ball with five K’s in his debut), Eveld is regarded as a steal for the D-Backs in this year’s draft.

Watson, a pitcher out of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO), is best known for his 7-1 record and all-conference honors while pitching at Seminole State College prior to his work at USAO. The lefty earned an ERA of 3.2 and helped lead his team to a 41-18 record.

Not in attendance, yet listed on the roster, was 2016 4th round draftee Curtis Taylor out of the University of British Columbia. Clocked at speeds up to 95 mph, Taylor led his team with a 1.02 ERA and was named to the NAIA All-American Honorable Mention team.

A roster full of promise, those highlighted here are just a few names that Hops fans may already know or should get to know for this coming season. The events were an overall success and will most likely only grow to be even better in the years to come, as seen with the Hops Fan Fest the last two years.

The Hops open their fourth season as a team on Friday on the road against Salem-Keizer at 6:35 p.m. to defend their back-to-back Northwest League championships. The team (whose roster has yet to be decided, stay posted), will open at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro on Monday, June 20 at 7:05 p.m. against the Eugene Emeralds.

As always, make sure to follow the blog using one of our follow buttons, as well as the author on Twitter, at @atticusrice, for the the latest updates on all things Hillsboro Hops, Northwest League, and your weekly fix of baseball. Make sure to stay tuned for a 2016 Hops preview and roster reveal later this week.

QuickTake: Hillsboro Hops Ticket Pickup Event and D-Backs Mini Camp

QuickTake: Hillsboro Hops Ticket Pickup Event and D-Backs Mini Camp

NOTE: This post will be frequently updated. The latest version will always be time stamped after updates.

HILLSBORO, Ore – The 2014 and 2015 Hillsboro Hops are currently holding their 2016 Ticket Pickup Event for ticket plan holders at Ron Tonkin Field in conjunction with a Diamondbacks Mini Camp full of potential Hops and recent D-Backs draftees.

Being a mini plan ticket holder I managed to get the invite. The following includes a little information, unedited, about the events along with a few pictures, also unedited. A full length recap of the events will be posted in conjunction with this post later this evening. For the most up to date imformatiom make sure to follow me on Twitter at @atticusrice.

So what is this event? The Ticket Pickup Event, so far, consists of tables for fans to pickup either their mini plans or full season ticket packages (note the fancier setup for season tickets, should’ve splurged), full concessions (one free drink I’ve heard), a trophy display table with decals and other fun items (all free, except the trophy (I assume, if not then I call dibs)), and access to the team store and other ballpark amenities.

imageBut perhaps the most exciting part of the event is that it is happening at the same time as an Arizona Diamondbacks Mini Camp, full of young D-Back hopefuls, many of whom have played for the Hops or may play for them in the future. A picture of the full roster of players is at left.

As of now, players are warming up and beginning to take some drills.

A recap and debriefing of the attending players is in the making.

Update: 5:25 p.m.
Players are working with coaches in groups, split by position, on standard drills. It appears that coaches are wearing the Diamondbacks’ home white pants and players are wearing the team’s road grays.

As shown on the player roster (linked above), there are a number of players drafted in both 2015 and 2016 (as recently as this past weekend). It appears that players drafted last year (2015 Hop Alexi Olmeda, among others) are wearing jerseys with their name and number, while players drafted this year are wearing just their number. From a logistical standpoint this makes quite a bit of sense, as it would have been a nightmare for the Diamondbacks organization to make the proper jerseys for each of their draft picks from this year and send them out to the mini camp, among other locations.

Update: 6:00 p.m.
Field drills have ended and batting practice has begun! Cue the grounds crew setting up the protecting screens (yes, this did take a lot longer than I expected, especially for the backstop).

Update: 6:25 p.m.
So far only the catchers have taken batting practice, including Alexis Olmeda (2015), Luke Lowery (2015), and BJ Lopez (2012 NDFA). Olmeda seems himself back at Ron Tonkin Field and Lowery is hitting bombs straight out onto the Frontier Family Berm.

Update: 6:32 p.m.
Leaving just a tad bit early. Batting practice is still going strong, unsure if all players will get to hit, but it is unlikely.

Stay tuned for more updates, especially on Twitter in the days to come as the Mini Camp continues.