Hall of Famer Robin Yount, the first player enshrined into Cooperstown wearing that cap, helped unveil the new-old look as part of the "Brewers Winter Warm-Up" on Thursday night in the ballpark's .300 Club. Other participants included include Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker, manager Ned Yost, third base coach Dale Sveum, plus current players Bill Hall, Miller, Lyle Overbay, Derrick Turnbow and Matt Wise and former Brewers Jerry Augustine, Jim Gantner, Larry Hisle and Gorman Thomas.
It's a look originally made famous by the power-hitting Brewers teams of the late 1970s and early 1980s, including the 1982 American League Champion Brewers that featured future Hall of Famers Yount (the team's new bench coach), Paul Molitor, Rollie Fingers and Don Sutton. The centerpiece is the logo, comprised of a lowercase "m" and "b" arranged in the shape of a baseball glove.
"Whoever came up with that is a genius," Overbay said.
That would be Tom Meindel, an art student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, who submitted the winning design in 1977. He won $2,000 for his effort, and the Brewers wore his brainchild from 1978-1993, though it has remained popular in Milwaukee and in recent years has shown up in ballpark promotions.
One of those promotions in 2005 was essentially served as a focus group. Fans entering Miller Park were offered a choice between two T-shirts, one with the team's current logo or one with the retro look. Old school won in a landslide.
"There is clearly a strong bond between the current fan base and the teams of the 1980s, and we believe that Sundays will bring a unique atmosphere to Miller Park," Brewers executive vice president of business operations Rick Schlesinger said.
The team hopes the fans will add to that atmosphere, dubbed "Retro Sundays." Music and entertainment from the era will be featured, and fans are encouraged to make their own fashion statements.
The team will host Brewers legends from the 1980s, who will participate in events such as autograph sessions and game broadcasts. Several of the Sunday games will also include fan promotional giveaways tailored to the era.
The Brewers began planning for new alternate uniforms more than a year ago, before new owner Mark Attanasio took the helm. The club worked with Major League Baseball Properties and considered a number of options, including some mock-ups that combined the old and the new. In the end, only the most subtle updates -- most notably buttons down the front of the jersey and a more modern, athletic cut -- were used.
"We figured that if we were going to go retro, we might as well just do it and not mess with a good thing," Schlesinger said. "Fans are obviously going to have their own opinions, but we felt that most fans wanted to see the old logo."
A special 20-game ticket package has been designed around "Retro Sundays." With the Retro Sunday Plus plan, fans receive tickets to each of the 13 Sunday afternoon home dates at Miller Park, as well as seven other games. Two of the dates in the package include all-fan giveaways.
The Retro Sunday Plus ticket plan starts at just $160. For ticket information, please contact the Brewers ticket office at (414) 902-4100.
The new jerseys are already available in the Brewers online shop and at the FanZone at Miller Park. The gear modeled on Thursday night is being auctioned online.
"But we did not look at this as a revenue-generator," Schlesinger said. "Even if we get a 300 percent bump in sales, it is still a very, very small part of our business. This was done as a response to what we were hearing from our fans."
Wise believes there is also some good mojo to be had. He participated in a similar fashion show in Anaheim before the 2002 season, when the Angels updated their look, and the team went on to win the World Series.
Added Hall: "Hopefully we can go out there and have a Cinderella season."