Styling off the field in the disco years: baseball yearbook photos from the mid-to-late 1970s

Sure the 1970s are an easy target…but I mock them with love because I lived them. That’s me on the right on prom night in 1975, the night I graduated from high school. (I’ve cropped out my lovely date as a courtesy to her because she does not deserve to be lumped in with the likes of me.) I wore some atrocious stuff in those days that I would be happy to show you now, with the benefit of almost 40 years hindsight, only I was never photographed wearing it or any photographs that were taken were mysteriously “lost.” Although I’m not sure anyone ever took a picture of me in the brown leisure suit I wore on my first date in college…or the rayon shirt my father loaned me when I took my prom date to see “Jaws,” the shirt that was covered with a print of film strips showing a kitten playing with a ball of yarn. (Hey, not only did I wear it, Dad must have too, and he was a grown-up!)

Anyway, these memories have come flooding back now that I’ve begun acquiring baseball team yearbooks of the 1970s. In many the only photos of players included are ones of them in uniform…and they certainly have their appeal for posts along the lines of “Hair of the ’70s,” “Sideburns of the ’70s” or “Mustaches of the ’70s.” But a few yearbooks have real treasures: portraits of players in street clothes with their families, so we get a full dose of what people were proud to wear back then. At the time I valued those photos as a chance to see some cute wives. But now it’s a time capsule of fashion, and it’s time to crack it open.

My scanner may not quite do these photos justice, but we’ll give it a try. Let’s start with this from the 1975 Pirates yearbook:

Pitcher Jim Rooker is the tall fellow, with 14-year-old son David, wife Betty and 10-year-old daughter Stephanie, who has without a doubt the widest bell bottoms I’ve ever seen. I think there are some buffalo roaming on Jim’s shirt, along with God knows what else…a little too close in style to my kitten-film-strip shirt for my comfort. Speaking of bell bottoms…

That’s Garry Maddox in a photo from the 1979 Phillies yearbook, along with wife Sondra and sons Derrick and Garry Jr. Now for Garry’s teammate Mike Schmidt:

Mike’s combination of perm, ‘stache and vest bring to mind the model who was used in the Camel cigarette ads that were ubiquitous in the sports magazines of the time, usually doing something like lighting his Camel from a lantern.

Let’s spend some time visiting with the Minnesota Twins, who offered the most family photos in the (admittedly few) yearbooks I have from the era…

Near as I can tell Glenn Borgmann is not wearing a sweater over a shirt, he’s wearing a sweater-ish shirt that has a collar. I don’t remember ever seeing anything like what Linda Borgmann is wearing. That’s from the 1977 yearbook. Also from 1977:

Dave Goltz is wearing something a little too much like my college-first-date ensemble. Bobby Randall seems to be wearing something similar below:

I wish we could get a better look at the print on Bob Gorinski’s shirt below…

We haven’t seen any animals yet…

What an adorable bunch Tom Burgmeier and family are…and yes, I remember people wore shirts like that with a straight face. We also wore plaid with pride:

Craig Kusick’s pants were actually kind of tame by the standards of plaid pants in the ’70s. Now let’s move the clock up to 1979:

Of the yearbooks I have, Roy Smalley wins the prize so far for most chest exposed in a portrait. Guys far worse looking than he would expose far more.

I share the photo below not so much for the fashion (except maybe for the chair) but because I can’t quite figure out the look on the face of Linda Adams, wife of Twins’ outfielder Glenn…

One more color family shot, this from the 1975 Pirates yearbook:

That’s Dave Giusti with wife Virginia and daughters Laura (10) and Cynthia (6). One more from the ’75 Pirates…this isn’t a street-clothes photo of Manny Sanguillen, but oh that beret…

Yes, he’s wearing it over his batting helmet. This is actually a full-page photo in the yearbook, I had to crop a little of it out.

While my preference is color photos with the player in street clothes, there were a couple of black-and-white shots with the player in uniform I found intriguing in the 1975 Dodgers yearbook…like this one of future Hall of Famer Don Sutton and family:

I’m not trying to be mean, I just have no frame of reference for what Staci Sutton is wearing. And yes, that is future broadcaster Daron Sutton with bat in hand.

That’s Dodger shortstop (and future manager) Bill Russell…his wife Mary Anne has what I believe to be the widest collar I’ve ever seen on a woman’s blouse.

Here’s an ad from the 1979 Mets yearbook:

That’s Joe Torre on the left, Lee Mazzilli in the right, trying to move some threads for Bonds.

Finally, a couple of non-player photos to share…

That’s the Mets’ broadcast team of Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson and Ralph Kiner in their 1978 yearbook…if memory serves that’s actually a pretty restrained look for Lindsey, who was the Craig Sager of his day. And finally, what I wouldn’t give to see this photo in color:

That’s Twins owner Calvin Griffith in their 1977 yearbook. Never thought I’d ever see “Calvin Griffith” and “paisley sportcoat” in the same sentence.

Believe me, I’m not ripping any of the players or their families here for their choice of clothes…they were young, active, attractive people in the prime of their lives. It wasn’t their fault that the prime of their lives fell in the late ’70s.

All right, let the snarky comments begin. If I get more good photos I’ll share them in future posts.

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