May 19, 1979.
A Saturday night at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium.
The Montreal Expos were in town to face the NL East Division leading Phillies. It was the first game back following a lengthy umpire’s strike, Camera Day at the ballpark. Both benches cleared after Montreal’s Gary Carter took a fastball to his head, and the Phillies blew a 4-0 lead on the way to a 10-5 loss.
And oh yes, the Phillies wore their all-burgundy “Saturday Night Special” uniforms for the first time.
The loss must have been the uniforms fault, the players figured. They hated how they fit, most importantly they hated how they looked. Following the game the Phillies players reportedly tossed them into a pile on the floor of their Veterans Stadium locker room.
The plan was to wear the all-burgundy uniforms for every Saturday Night game, home and away, “until we lose two in a row” said the Phillies PR man of the time Larry Shenk.
They were never to be worn again…
The Philadelphia Phillies will take to the diamond this Saturday Night (ah!) against the Atlanta Braves, once again for Camera Day (a-ha!). The Braves will be wearing their 1979 uniforms, the Phillies in their all-burgundy Saturday Night Specials. Zippers and all!
If they lose, we’ll see if Shenk’s comment will ring true… despite the 40-year gap between games, that would be two losses in a row.
The Phillies have been wearing 1979-style uniforms as an official alternate uniform throughout the 2019 season, typically reserved for every Thursday home game the club recently brought them out in Pittsburgh to help the Pirates celebrate the 40th anniversary of their 1979 World Series championship. The Phillies are 2-4 this season when wearing the retro look.
UPDATE July 27/19 4pm ET
The Atlanta Braves have shared a photo of what they’ll be wearing in the game tonight, it’s a faithful replica of their 1979 road grey uniform.
Both Atlanta Braves throwback pics are courtesy Twitter/@Braves