Turn Back the Clock Night

From BR Bullpen


Adam Kennedy warming up before Turn Back The Clock Night (July 1, 2011)

Turn Back the Clock Night is a promotion used in Major League Baseball. Teams compete in uniforms from their past, often in championship season attire. This promotion has been adopted throughout the league, sometimes even seeing only one team wearing past uniforms on certain days of the schedule. Most often the uniforms are vintage uniforms for the same teams, but they are sometimes uniforms of minor league predecessors of the Major League teams, uniforms from prior locations of the current franchise, Negro League clubs from the area or other historical local teams.

Origins and Success[edit]

The first Turn Back the Clock Night occurred in 1990 at old Comiskey Park. To celebrate the closing of the stadium, the White Sox donned 1917 uniforms from the last time the Sox had won the World Series; the visiting Milwaukee Brewers wore their normal road uniforms. The electronic scoreboards were shut off and a special hand-operated scoreboard was built. The public address system also wasn't used and the ushers - who also wore period costumes along with the grounds crew - announced the starting line-ups with megaphones. Also silent was the stadium organ. General admission tickets were 50¢, other tickets were half price and popcorn was 5¢.

The Baltimore Orioles followed suit a year later, offering 75¢ bleacher seats and 25¢ popcorn, matching the prices of 1966. The Chicago Cubs were the next to salute the past, wearing throwback uniforms in 1992. Since then, Turn Back the Clock games have become a frequent promotion across the league, with a handful of teams making it a yearly tradition.

Throwbacks as Regular Alternate Uniforms[edit]

When the Seattle Mariners wore their old teal colored Sunday home jerseys (originally used from 1994 to 1996) to honor their 1995 season during such a promotion in 2010, the response was so positive that the teal jerseys were brought back as a regular alternate jersey the following season. The jersey was originally retired at the behest of Ken Griffey Jr. who thought they were bad luck and that the team never won while wearing them. The M's got trounced 11-2 by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on this Turn Back the Clock promotion and were again trashed 12-3 the next time they wore the teal jerseys during their 2011 home opener against Cleveland.

The Milwaukee Brewers regularly wear throwback uniforms from the early 1990s throughout the season. The Toronto Blue Jays also wore their original powder blue road uniforms at some home games for a couple years until 2012, when they modified their uniform design to more resemble their past uniforms.

Turn Ahead the Clock Night[edit]

A spin-off -- Turn Ahead the Clock Night -- was first done by the Seattle Mariners in 1998. Seen as popular and innovative and deemed a success, Major League Baseball planned 14 such promotions for the following year with all but eight teams willing to participate. This string of games was not nearly as well received as the original, with national sports media figures mocking its hideous uniforms and general silliness. Turn Ahead the Clock Night fizzled quickly and is now heavily ridiculed.

Dates of Turn Back the Clock Promotions[edit]

This list is incomplete, as it's hard to document every instance of this promotion.

Date Away Team Home Team
July 11, 1990 Milwaukee Brewers (no change) Chicago White Sox (1917)
June 19, 1991 Minnesota Twins (no change) Baltimore Orioles (1966)
June 21, 1992 Chicago Cubs (1948) Philadelphia Phillies (no change)
July 19/20/21, 1992 Atlanta Braves (1974) Philadelphia Phillies (1990)
July 26/27/28, 1992 Philadelphia Phillies (1987) Atlanta Braves (1974)
July 31, 1992 Detroit Tigers (1932) Cleveland Indians (1932)
May 23, 1993 Seattle Mariners (1977) Kansas City Royals (1969)
June 11, 1994 Seattle Mariners (1955 Seattle Rainiers) Oakland Athletics (1955 Oakland Oaks)
June 8, 1995 Cleveland Indians (1975) Milwaukee Brewers (1975)
September 9, 1995 Seattle Mariners (1946 Seattle Steelheads) Kansas City Royals (1946 Kansas City Monarchs)
July 31, 1996 Seattle Mariners (19?? Seattle Rainiers) Milwaukee Brewers (1946 Milwaukee Braves)
July 13, 1997 Cleveland Indians (1946 Cleveland Buckeyes) Minnesota Twins (1909 St. Paul Colored Gophers)
July 19, 1997 Kansas City Royals (1977) Seattle Mariners (1977)
August 29/30/31, 1997 Atlanta Braves (1912 Boston Braves) Boston Red Sox (1908)
June 26, 1999 Cleveland Indians (1946 Cleveland Buckeyes) Kansas City Royals (1924 Kansas City Monarchs)
June 26, 2000 Milwaukee Brewers (1989)
July 29, 2000 San Diego Padres (1969) Pittsburgh Pirates (1969)
June 23, 2001 Cleveland Indians (1946 Cleveland Buckeyes) Kansas City Royals (1942 Kansas City Monarchs)
April 4, 2003 Pittsburgh Pirates (1977) Philadelphia Phillies (1971)
June 5, 2003 Boston Red Sox (1903 Boston Americans) Pittsburgh Pirates (1903)
May 14, 2004 Chicago Cubs (no change) San Diego Padres (1984)
June 25, 2005 Seattle Mariners (1938 Seattle Rainiers) San Diego Padres (1936 San Diego Padres (PCL))
May 6, 2006 Chicago Cubs (no change) San Diego Padres (1948 San Diego Padres (PCL))
May 20, 2006 Pittsburgh Pirates (1935 Homestead Grays) Cleveland Indians (1946 Cleveland Buckeyes)
June 24, 2006 Atlanta Braves (1975) Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1975 Tampa Tarpons)
July 9, 2006 Detroit Tigers (1969) Seattle Mariners (1969 Seattle Pilots)
August 12, 2006 St. Louis Cardinals (1930s St. Louis Stars) Pittsburgh Pirates (19?? Homestead Grays)
May 11, 2007 St. Louis Cardinals (1972) San Diego Padres (1972)
June 2, 2007 Detroit Tigers (1977) Cleveland Indians (1977)
June 22, 2007 Boston Red Sox (1982) San Diego Padres (1982)
June 23, 2007 Los Angeles Dodgers (1955 Brooklyn Dodgers) Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1950s St. Petersburg Saints)
July 29, 2007 Oakland Athletics (1977) Seattle Mariners (1977)
September 14, 2007 San Francisco Giants (no change) San Diego Padres (1997)
June 27, 2008 Seattle Mariners (1978) San Diego Padres (1978)
April 25, 2009 Pittsburgh Pirates (no change) San Diego Padres (1969)
May 2, 2009 Oakland Athletics (1939 Oakland Oaks) Seattle Mariners (1939 Seattle Rainiers)
April 15, 2010 Atlanta Braves (1984) San Diego Padres (1984)
May 27, 2010 St. Louis Cardinals (no change) San Diego Padres (1978)
June 5, 2010 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (1995 California Angels) Seattle Mariners (1995 alternate)
June 25, 2010 Seattle Mariners (1982) Milwaukee Brewers (1982)
July 29, 2010 Los Angeles Dodgers (no change) San Diego Padres (1978)
August 12, 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates (1978) San Diego Padres (1978)
August 26, 2010 Arizona Diamondbacks (no change) San Diego Padres (1978)
September 30, 2010 Chicago Cubs (no change) San Diego Padres (1984)
May 15, 2011
(Civil Rights Game)
Philadelphia Phillies (1974) Atlanta Braves (1974)
May 21, 2011 Chicago Cubs (1918) Boston Red Sox (1918)
June 11, 2011 Washington Nationals (1936 Washington Senators) San Diego Padres (1936 San Diego Padres (PCL))
July 1, 2011 San Diego Padres (1984) Seattle Mariners (1984)
July 2, 2011 St. Louis Cardinals (1953) Tampa Bay Rays (1951 Tampa Smokers)
July 14, 2011 San Francisco Giants (no change) San Diego Padres (1983)
April 20, 2012 New York Yankees (1912 New York Highlanders) Boston Red Sox (1912)
May 2, 2012 Oakland Athletics (1936 Philadelphia Athletics) Boston Red Sox (1936)
May 26, 2012 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (1955 Los Angeles Angels (PCL)) Seattle Mariners (1955 Seattle Rainiers)
April 27, 2013 Detroit Tigers (19?? Detroit Stars) Atlanta Braves (19?? Atlanta Black Crackers)

Related Sites[edit]