The Houston Astros’ plan to commemorate their franchise’s 50th anniversary this year hit a roadblock when Major League Baseball officials decided players could not wear special “throwback” uniforms featuring the team’s original name — the Colt .45s — with their original logo, a pistol.
Players instead will be wearing versions of the original uniform but with the gun image removed.
That’s a call that didn’t sit well with one Astros fan, who fired off a complaint to the MLB, accusing the organization of letting “misplaced political correctness destroy one of the greatest uniforms in baseball history.” According to Astros Daily, the team’s authentication manager Mike Acosta sent back the following reply:
[D]uring our discussion with Major League Baseball, it was expressed to us that we could wear the uniform as long as the pistol was removed. We realize this changes the original design, but we still want to honor the Colt .45s. We are also under an obligation to follow Major League Baseball’s requests.
Personally I can see how in this time period any sports league (MLB, NFL, NBA, etc.) would not want a team logo associated with a weapon on their uniform that is broadcast to many people. In recent years the Washington Bullets were renamed the Wizards because of this very subject. The symbol of a warm gun with the “C” coming out as smoke is an image many of us have for the Colt .45s. The Wild West theme this franchise had in the early 1960s is symbolic of how times have changed in our society.
The Astros were known as the Colt .45s from 1962 through 1964, when the name changed over the licensing dispute. The Colts uniforms are among several retro jerseys players will wear during home games on special “Flashback Fridays.”
Yahoo! Sports mocked the decision to remove the pistol:
Yep, I would say that is indeed symbolic how times have changed in our society. In fact, there’s nothing at all hypocritical about it all. It’s not like we’re subjected to 1,437 images of guns each day — from No. 1 selling video games to primetime television.
Nope, it’s the pistol on the chests of what will likely be a 100-loss team — for all of two early season games! — that will send the wrong message to children. In a state where it’s legal to carry a concealed firearm, no less. Yup, got it. Makes sense.
In a Houston Chronicle online poll, 97 percent of respondents disagreed with the MLB’s ruling, with one commenter pointing out the seeming disconnect between the decision about the pistol and the names and logos of other league teams:
Cleveland [Indians] – Racially offensive stereotype as a logo – ok
Atlanta [Braves] – Weapon [tomahawk] as a logo – ok
Milwaukee [Brewers] – Alcohol manufacture as a team name – ok
Pittsburgh [Pirates] – Violent criminal as a logo – ok
Houston – Throwback uniform to be used for 2 of 162 games, in celebration of our 50th anniversary, has a weapon as a logo – not ok.
Well done, Mr. Selig. Well done indeed.