Old School: Winter Garden Little League introduces throwback threads
As part of the league’s efforts to improve player and family experience, players will wear Cooperstown Classic “throwback” uniforms.
| 1:30 p.m. September 15, 2016
WINTER GARDEN The hats and uniforms range from light blue to mustard yellow and certainly do not look like the ones on big-league fields today — and that was the idea.
This fall, Winter Garden Little League has introduced a line of Cooperstown Classic “Throwback” uniforms to freshen up the league’s uniform offerings.
The uniforms, which include throwback looks for teams such as the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres as well as the former Montreal Expos (since relocated and renamed the Washington Nationals), have been well received and have created an opportunity to further bridge the generational gap between parents and their kids.
“I get to tell (my three sons in Little League) about how the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals … to tell them about the greats who used to play for those teams,” said David Ocasio, a coach at WGLL and a member of the board of directors responsible for public relations. “(As a league) we’re able to keep it nice and fresh and let the kids enjoy the uniforms.”
While all the uniforms are different from what those teams currently wear, some of the looks are quite distinguished.
Beyond the Expos, who no longer exist, there are the mustard yellow and brown uniforms for the Padres (now navy and white); the red, white and navy uniforms for the White Sox (now black and white); the light blue jerseys utilized by the Cardinals (now predominately red and white) and the red, white and blue look of the Atlanta Braves (now navy and red).
The uniforms have injected some excitement into the fall season for a league which recently was recognized as one of the top in the country for new player growth.
“Keeping things new will be my continued focus here,” league president Matt Eidelman said. “It’s something kids have never seen before. So far the feedback has been fantastic.”
The distribution of the uniforms took place Sept. 10 as part of a celebration to kick off the fall season. Olympic medalist Novlene Williams-Mills, a Winter Garden resident who earned silver as part of a relay team for Jamaica, threw out the first pitch and posed for photos with the kids. A movie on the field followed, with a screening of the classic baseball movie “The Sandlot.”
The event, which partnered with the Florida Department of Children and Families, Matthew’s Hope and The GCI Guys, among others, was an unusually large event for the kickoff of a fall season — typically the less prominent season in the Little League schedule.
“It’s about bringing our teams together and it’s about family for us,” Eidelman said.
Games for the fall season at Winter Garden Little League began Sept. 12. Now, the league and its board of directors will have the challenge of matching the festivities in the spring.
“It’s a gift and a curse, right?” Ocasio joked. “Now we have to top this in the spring season.”