This is one of those books where I’m upset I didn’t know about its existence sooner.
Today’s entry in the Gaslamp Ball Book Club is a visual guide made available as an e-book: The Game Worn Guide to San Diego Padres Jerseys by William F. Henderson.
As a hat collector I also have a correlative interest in jerseys and uniform design. Being an occasional browser of Uni-Watch, I looked into a Paul Lukas recommendation to check out Bill Henderson’s continuing work on baseball jerseys at Game Worn Guides. Bill has two different versions available for purchase: a mammoth-sized full guide of every team’s uniforms and a team-tailored version. We’ll be talking about the Padres-specific version, of course.
The Game Worn Guide is not just a look into jerseys the Padres have worn over the years: this book is a masterclass on Major League Baseball uniforms. The book is perfect for those interested in the minutiae of uniform construction. Bill delves into jersey and uniform construction, differences between fabrics used over the years, uniform number fonts and styles, differences between game worn and retail issue, spotting counterfeits...the Guide is an exhaustive read into every nuance you could imagine about the jerseys ballplayers wear. Though the research is heavy, the reading never feels dull; Bill has taken care to include a smorgasbord of photos (many from his own vast collection of jerseys) and examples from baseball’s past and present to provide excellent illustration into the content.
The Padres-specific portion of the Guide touches on every jersey worn by the major league team (no such luck on the PCL days due to their scarcity). Even Bill notes that the Padres were one of the hardest teams to research thanks to the multitude of jerseys the team has utilized over the decades. The guide presents each jersey in chronological order from 1969 to 2017 and includes plenty of notes and some commentary on each example. The content is impeccably-researched; this reader learned a new fact or two about the Padres in each different uniform page. Not only does Bill cover the standard on-field jerseys, the Guide includes pages exploring batting practice jerseys and an especially intriguing section examining the many special event jerseys the Padres have (or haven’t) worn on the field. Without spoiling the content, there are many interesting/bizarre Padres jerseys that never saw the light of day in this book.
With the price of admission being $10 for the team-specific and $40 for the full download, the e-book makes for a great cost-accessible reference for uniform aesthetics students and an excellent time-filler for those just looking to learn something new and interesting about how/why baseball players are dressed as they are. If you’re looking for something new to learn about our Padres, this hat collector recommends giving this e-book a try!