Uni Watch: MLB’s white-shoed All-Stars

From SABR member Paul Lukas at ESPN.com on July 5, 2012:

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game will take place next Tuesday in Kansas City. And if history is any guide, we’ll see plenty of players exhibiting something that’s become an All-Star Game staple: They’ll be wearing white shoes.

White shoes for the All-Star Game is a tradition that goes back several decades, and it’s had an impact that extends well beyond the baseball diamond. You know how NBA players always showcase special sneakers for the NBA All-Star Game? That’s a direct outgrowth of MLB’s long-standing protocol that a special game calls for special footwear.

Until recently, however, it wasn’t clear when this tradition started. The earliest documented case in the Uni Watch archives came from the 1976 All-Star Game, when Dave Kingman of the Mets went ivory-footed, although Uni Watch had a nagging suspicion that there were earlier examples.

Now, thanks to researcher Jon Helfenstein, who runs the excellent Fleer Sticker Project blog, we have the answer. It’s a timely bit of info, too, because it turns out that the white All-Star Game shoes debuted in 1973, which happens to be the last time the Midsummer Classic was played in Kansas City.

Read the full article here: http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/5695/uni-watch-mlb-all-stars-white-shoes

Originally published: July 5, 2012. Last Updated: July 5, 2012.