Minor League baseball is rich and full in history, for every exciting game in the Majors you can find an equally exciting one in the minors. The one major difference between the majors and the minors is the turnover between teams. Think about the number of MLB teams that have turned over in the last fifty years, there have been many many more minor league teams that have turned over in that same timespan (you’re more than welcome to figure out that number if you’d like). But, one team that hasn’t turned over since its inception in 1899 is the Rochester Red Wings, who are currently affiliated with the Minnesota Twins.
Since their inception, the Red Wings have donned many uniforms as well as various nicknames throughout the years. Including the one pictured below from 1901 when they were known as the Rochester Broncos.
This particular uniform shows the Old English R, and along with the 1901 Detroit Tigers, bore the Old English typeface on their uniform. While the Tigers still use the Old English D, the Red Wings no longer use the Old English R. Which, is kind of sad (at least in my opinion), when I think of baseball I think of the Old English typeface. Granted, I did grow up watching Alan Trammell and co. play for the Tigers so I’m a bit biased. Still, when I think of classic baseball, the golden age of baseball, this uniform is the epitome of that. It’s minimalistic, it gets the job done, kind of like a closer in baseball. Really, where this view for me comes from Field Of Dreams, I thought those classic uniforms were just the coolest thing ever. Not much as changed for me from when I was twelve.
Until I started doing research for this blog post, I had no idea about the Rochester Red Wings. There are so many MiLB teams, past and present, its hard to know every single one. I only stumbled upon them indirectly when the Rochester Historical Baseball Society joined Twitter. From there I found their website and dove in, eventually landing on the uniform above in their Rochester Uniform Database. It’s quite cool that an entire historical society has dedicated themselves to creating a database of what I seek out- historical minor league uniforms.
The Rochester Red Wings have been playing in Rochester, NY since 1899, when they were known as the Rochester Broncos. In their inaugural year, they won the Eastern League Championship (it’s now the International League and the Red Wings are still apart of it). The Red Wings have a long history of League Titles capturing them as well in 1901, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1939, 1940, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1971, 1974, 1988, 1990 and 1997. As well they’ve captured Division Titles in 1988, 1990, 1993, 1995, and 1997.
The Red Wings were known as the Rochester Broncos from 1899-1907, the Rochester Hustlers from 1908-1920, the Rochester Colts (1921), the Rochester Tribe (1922-1928) and lastly the Rochester Red Wings (1929-Present).
From 1929-1960, they served as the Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals becoming a powerhouse in the minors during the ’20s and ’30s. But from through the ’40s, the Red Wings declined in performance despite having Hall of Fame Pitcher Burleigh Grimes in the lineup. The early ’50s saw the Red Wings rising back to prominence before being sold off from the Cardinals to RCB Inc. (Rochester Community Baseball Inc.). The Red Wings remained an affiliate until 1960 when they became an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.
The Red Wings would remain affiliated with the Orioles into 2002 when they would become an affiliate of the Twins. Combined with three affiliates the Red Wings have won the International League Championship 10 times in 21 appearances (both are IL Records). The Rochester Red Wings have a rich history in Minor League Baseball (arguably, one of the richest if not the richest).and have a long history of uniforms to go along with it.
If you want to pour through the rich history of Rochester Baseball you can check out the Rochester Baseball Historical Society. That’s where you can find more on the Rochester Red Wings as well as all of their uniforms, including the one in this post.