Throwback

So what do you do when you’re a Major League Baseball team playing its final season in an historical ballpark? Well, one thing you do is celebrate by paying homage to the team that won your most recent World Series championship. This is what the Chicago White Sox did on July 11, 1990 in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers, starting the trend known as Turn Back the Clock Night- one which continues to this day.

The Sox, playing their final season at historic Old Commisky Park, turned back the clock by returning to 1917 prices (although the probably didn’t pay their players 1917 wages), outfitting the ground crew in time period clothing, turning off the public address system and electronic scoreboard- using a hand operated one instead, and wearing throwback uniforms.

The team had to receive permission from the American League to wear the replica uniforms, which were manufactured by Rawlings and, unlike the original unis, featured uniform numbers. The replicas did feature a few differences, but one thing that remained was the American flag patch on the left sleeve.

This event did not go unnoticed by the manufacturers of baseball cards, as a number of cards in sets from 1991 featured White Sox players in the throwback garb. Donruss, Fleer (Ultra), Topps (flagship, Bowman and Stadium Club), Score and Upper Deck all captured the moment on cardboard. This, too, started a tradition that continues to this very day- cards featuring players in their throwbacks.

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Topps capitalized on the nostalgia in its 2015 Update Series by including 50 card variations of players from Series 1 and 2 in their throwback uniforms. Featuring a design that is similar to its base-card counterparts, the cards have a light-brown border and feature the old “umbrella” Topps logo. While thought to originally be exclusive to Walmart packs and boxes, we now know that some of the variations are exclusive to Target stores. Cards can be identified by a code on the back of the card, with Walmart cards ending in 5605 while Target cards end in 5604. Odds for pulling a throwback variation run at 1:2 rack packs.

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