In the spring of 1938, Bill Deyo, the president of the Anniston Rams, described his sartorial preferences for the Southeastern League expansion team’s inaugural-year uniforms. He even planned a shopping trip to Atlanta to pick them out.
“He proposes solid colors, avoiding checks and stripes, which fail to flatter the physiques of the wearers,” The Anniston Star newspaper reported.
True to his word, Deyo selected models for the ’38 season that featured neither checks nor stripes. The home uniforms had “Rams” arched lettering on the chest. The road uniforms had “Anniston” arched lettering on the chest. Each button-front jersey had “spoon-style” piping on the front. A block “A” adorned the front of the cap, which also had piping running along the seams.
And the colors?
No known color photographs of the Rams exist — not even at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County, the repository for the famed Russell Brothers photo collection. And few mentions of the Rams’ uniforms in The Star detail the team’s uniform hues.
But this one does: On March 24, 1938, The Star reported that the Rams’ uniforms were white (home) and gray (road) and the lettering, piping, socks and caps were red. (Or cardinal, as it later referred to the uniforms’ dominant color.) The first-year Rams were abysmal, going 62-86 and changing managers halfway through the season, but at least they looked splendid doing it.
So, too, does this one: In the spring of 1939, The Star reported that the Rams had changed their dominant uniform color from red (or cardinal) to maroon. What’s more, Anniston’s jerseys would feature sleeves of contrasting colors — the jersey was white, the sleeves were maroon — a “Rams” script logo was on the left breast, piping marked the seams and a commemorative patch adorned a sleeve. The pants were white. The belts, socks and caps were maroon.
Or perhaps scarlet, which isn’t the same as maroon. That’s one of the problems of determining the Rams’ colors. The Star used varying and inexact terms when describing the uniforms, so, in the case of the ’39 team, it’s difficult to know if The Star meant maroon or scarlet, which the newspaper used interchangeably that spring.
“Front office workers think Anniston will have one of the most striking home uniforms in the league,” The Star reported. “Road uniforms will be the usual gray, according to league rules.”
Far from the days when baseball team owners designed their squads’ uniforms to appeal to television viewers — particularly color-TV viewers — the Rams’ uniforms essentially followed a few basic trends from year to year. Home whites, road grays, dark-colored hats and socks and varying styles of “Rams” and “Anniston” on the front. A few of the uniform styles they wore for a single season, perhaps for good reason.
But nowhere in The Star after 1939 does it mention the dominant color of the Rams’ uniforms, making it impossible to prove if Anniston wore red/maroon in all 10 seasons or if it became a baseball chameleon.
In 1940 the Rams wore pinstriped models that featured jerseys with “spoon-style” piping and a circular logo on the left chest. “Rams” was embroidered in script inside the circle. A block “A” was sewn on the cap, which again had piping on the seams — and created an unfortunate look with the piping running through the “A.”
In 1941 the Rams wore the regrettable hand-me-downs from the 1939 season. The Rams’ 1942 uniforms never made the pages of The Star, so take a guess: how bad were they?
In 1946 the Rams began wearing a uniform style they’d revisit several times before folding. The ’46 Rams — the league champs — ditched the contrasting sleeves and circular logos and wore jerseys featuring a large block “A” on the left chest and “spoon-style” piping and hats and socks of a dark color. Anniston wore the same uniform style — Same set worn two years in a row? Who knows? — in 1947.
In 1948 the Rams wore uniforms akin to their inaugural set: block “A” on a dark-colored cap, the word “Anniston” arched across the jerseys’ front. The “spoon-style” piping the team had often worn seems to have been removed. Based on the team’s earlier preferences, the “Anniston” jerseys may have been the road model paired with a home “Rams” jersey.
In 1949 the Rams returned to a familiar look — the block “A” on the jersey’s left chest from the ’46 and ’47 seasons. Notable were the striped stirrups, which were a departure from the previous years and perhaps a worthwhile improvement.
In 1950 the Rams debuted a completely new set featuring “Rams” and “Anniston” in familiar baseball cursive script for their home and road uniforms. The piping was again absent and the “A” on the caps was cursive, not block. The look may have been the cleanest, most modern look the Rams ever wore.
And yet, two questions remain unanswered: what was the Rams’ dominant uniform color after World War II, and is there a musty Anniston uniform stuffed inside someone’s attic or basement? It’s a never-ending search.