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TFHS Closer Look: Prototype Padres

The Padres could have looked really different in 1985.

The prototype jersey you saw during All-Star Week.

While most of the collective Padres universe is still reeling from the uniform debut that no one cared for allowed by an owner who doesn’t particularly care, another tidbit of the Padres past surfaced recently.

The Padres prototype jersey.

You may remember this jersey from All-Star weekend. It was noted as a prototype jersey the Padres were mulling over for the 1985 season. The jersey itself is a pretty radical departure from the Padres design we know and love from 1985. A pullover jersey with a unique Padres wordmark and orange pinstripes could have been in the Padres future.

The Friar on the sleeve.

The Friar on the sleeve is very unique as well. Note the yellow remaining on the triple stripe on the shoulder and sleeve here, however. It’s the only real semblance of yellow in this whole jersey.

I know what you’re thinking. “Come on SD Hat Guy, this is old news. Surely you haven’t taken this long to talk about a jersey, right?”

Well, I have...for a good reason. I wanted to talk about the cap.

The 1985 prototype cap. A rarity emerges.
MLB Hall of Fame

A good pal showed me this cap before Paul Lukas of UniWatch fame tweeted it out. This cap is the proposed prototype cap for what would have been the 1985 Padres.

It’s sort of strange though, isn’t it? We were told by the holder of the cap design that the matching cap for the jersey shown at the ASG FanFest was “brown with a italicized SD”. The cap shown here matches that description. What seems odd to me that a jersey with such a heavy use of orange would pair with a brown and gold cap. Perhaps the yellow shoulder stripe pulls it together?

Even stranger is this piece in my collection:

Another Padres prototype...or perhaps an error.

What looks to be the standard bell cap for the 1984 Padres has its yellow replaced with a striking orange color. From my understanding, a small cache of these were found in a backroom at a sports store in Buffalo (home of New Era). I’m fortunate that one of these has made its way into my collection. But what is it, exactly?

Well, we’re not sure. I inquired master of the taco cap and cap scholar Paul Carr of The Ballcap Blog about his knowledge of this cap. Through our discourse and his research he told me that the cap here is either a prototype or a mistake. New Era didn’t exactly keep accurate records of the caps they produced and for what purpose back then. Check out his article for an even odder looking prototype cap.

Who knows what Padres brass were thinking in 1985? Judging by the amount of prototype caps and this jersey, they were definitely looking for a change for the Padres, just as the fans are hoping for another change now.