Mariners to Wear Seattle Steelheads Uniforms May 16 vs. Boston
On May 16, the Mariners and Red Sox will honor the Negro Leagues with a special Turn Back the Clock night. Seattle will wear the uniforms of the Seattle Steelheads while Boston will don the jerseys of the Boston Royal Giants.
The Steelheads were members of the West Coast Negro Baseball League, which formed in 1946. Despite originally planning a 110-game season against teams in five other cities, the league folded after just two months.
The Mariners honored the Steelheads during a Turn Back the Clock night during the 1995 season, but did not have any photos to go off of to design the uniforms. Working with a design company, the team was able to make an educated guess on what the jerseys may have looked like.
Recently, local baseball historian David Eskenazi unearthed a photo of Steelhead player Paul Hardy. The Mariners used the photo to create a new version of the uniform closer to the original. The photo is not in color and does not show the logo on the hat, but gave designers a good look at the stripes on the uniforms and stirrups, as well as the lettering on the jersey.
Center fielder Austin Jackson modeled the uniform for promotional pictures. Eskenazi provided a bat and glove from the era to complete the throwback look.
The fascinating story of the Steelheads can be found in an article by Eskenazi: “Wayback Machine: Seattle Steelheads’ Short Life.”