Lukas: The Okkonen Files: The birth of Dressed to the Nines

From SABR member Paul Lukas at Uni-Watch on June 19, 2019, with SABR member Tom Shieber:

Last month I wrote an obituary/tribute for Marc Okkonen (that’s him at right, throwing out the first pitch at the 2016 home opener of his hometown Muskegon Clippers; click to enlarge), whose pioneering research into baseball uniform history helped make Uni Watch possible. As I wrote at the end of that obit, I regret that I never got to meet or even communicate with Okkonen. And in the days following the publication of that obit, it troubled me that I had so little sense of this person who’d been such a big influence on Uni Watch and the larger uni-verse.

So today we kick off the Okkonen Files, which I envision as a short-ish series of entries that will give us some greater insights into this giant of uniform research. I decided to start by interviewing my longtime friend Tom Shieber, senior curator at the Baseball Hall of Fame, who built the Dressed to the Nines online uniform exhibit, including a uniform database based on Okkonen’s mock-ups and drawings, that has appeared on the Hall’s website since 2003.

Some quick background on Tom, just to provide some context for the interview that follows: He has a long-running blog called Baseball Researcher, which solves baseball photo mysteries and helps document the sport’s early visual history, and he was a prominent photo researcher in the SABR community well before he started working at the Hall in 1998. (In his pre-Hall days, he worked as an astronomer!)

Read the full article here:


Originally published: June 19, 2019. Last Updated: June 19, 2019.