Friday, May 4, 2018

Turning Ahead the Clock

I'll freely admit it.  I love wild and colorful jerseys.  The late 90's brought on some crazy times when it came to jerseys.  Uncommon colors, wild fonts, logos that were straight out of Sunday morning cartoons.  All that under the specter of the impending new millennium.  Y2K aside, it was worth freaking out over.  After all, we can probably safely say this was the first, and hell maybe only, millennium humanity has really been able to realize and go wild over.

So it's no real shocker that I absolutely love the absurd Turn Ahead the Clock jerseys.  You have to give the Mariners credit.  Seattle is a pretty forward thinking place.  But with turn back the clock jerseys becoming quite the rage in the early and mid 90's, it took some creativity to take the clock the other direction.

The idea was to try to envision what baseball would look like in 2027.  And the Kingdome already had the future space-agey vibe going.  The original promo in 1998 between the Royals and Mariners some interesting leaps forward.
The Mariners color scheme would be altered, ditching emerald for a rust color.  Maybe they were going for a post-industrial blade runner vibe.  Maybe they were just ahead of the curve on ditching the teal before the newly minted Grizzlies and Diamondbacks could even ponder the concept.

The Royals took a little more conservative (I'm using that term very, very loosely) approach, keeping yellow and blues, but ditching their normal shades for a more yellow and aqua scheme.  The Mariners added silver batting helmets, while the Royals went with a very appropriate sparkly gold.

It's worth mentioning nowhere in all these futuristic interpretations was anyone trying to add in a pitch clock, count mound visits, or stick a runner on second base in extra innings.  See, back in the 90's people had the good sense to want to see a future filled with joy, reason, and baseball the way it was meant to be played.  Anybody have a time machine to send Rob Manfred back there on a more permanent basis?
In 1999 the promo went league wide as part of a promotion with 21st Century real estate.  Ah, nascent corporate branding.  We really were entering the 21st century.

The promo was decidedly less inspired.  The boring teams like the Yankees and Dodgers opted out.  And many of the teams that opted in thought the 21st century meant just rotating your logo to the side a little and making it reeeeeally big.

Still, the somewhat forgotten uniqueness makes these some fun options.  Some teams, like the Brewers, Twins, and Mets took the extra step of reimagining their logos and/or uniforms.  But many teams just sort of phoned in the concept.
High res photos from these games are frustratingly hard to come by.  But as I've played around with customs, I've wanted to make a Turn Ahead the Clock set for quite a while.  I usually don't use my own designs, since I love the nostalgic aspect of taking a classic design that I like and giving it a fresh take with new players or eras.  But in this case I wanted something both futuristic and with enough space that I would be able to feature the Turn Ahead the Clock jerseys prominently.  After all, they are the stars of the show.

I'm pretty happy with how these turned out.  Many of the teams featured silver prominently in their logos, so the colors get a little plain for my taste.  But I can't really complain.
There are still a few other photos that are high enough quality that I should be able to put together a 15-20 card insert set.  More high res photos of the games have popped up in recent years, so I'm somewhat optimistic I'll be able to represent all the teams that participated.  I'm looking forward to getting these cards printed out and into binder pages.  While they were far from the most complex I've made, this set has some of my favorite customs in my collection.

And in case you weren't aware, the Mariners are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the original TBTC night with a game on June 30 where they'll be dusting off the silver and rust.  You can expect many, many customs to follow.


  1. The Mets were especially crazy...they pretended that by 2027 they would have moved out of New York. To Mercury!

    1. I was explaining the promo to my wife while I was making these. She asked, "Why Mercury?" The best answer I could muster was "Why not?"

      I made a Hershiser from the Mercury Mets game that is up on Twitter (@battlinbucs)

  2. Replies
    1. I'm still waiting to see if the Mariners sell jerseys from the TATC game they're doing in June (I assume they will). New Era reprinted some of the hats this year as well. I seem to love the jerseys the rest of the world hates.

  3. I thought the idea was cool when they had it in the late ‘90’s. I have a ‘98 World Series program that has 1 or 2 pictures from the promo.

  4. Ugh. I hated these jerseys. Someone just posted a Chuck Finley card and he was wearing the Turn Ahead The Clock jersey. It was so hideous... I couldn't help but stare at the card.