Look bad, feel bad, play bad? Do Boise Hawks' uniforms dictate success?

tphibbs@idahostatesman.comJuly 6, 2014 

The Boise Hawks are in the midst of their 28th season in the Northwest League. From their days playing at Borah High's Bill Wigle Field during their first two years of existence, to winning three consecutive championships from 1993-95, and now as the present-day affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, the Hawks have undergone extensive makeovers - revamping logos and changing colors.

The Idaho Statesman flipped open the chapters of the past to uncover which particular combination proved most successful, and which set should be forgotten.

THE EARLY DAYS

Boise spent its first three seasons, 1987-89, as an independent franchise under the direction of Mal Fichman, who replaced manager Derrel Thomas late in the '87 season. The Hawks struggled mightily, going 91-136 during the three-year span. The reason? The uniforms. Adhering to the primary color scheme of navy, scarlet red and white, Boise's home jerseys featured an alternating white-blue collar, "Hawks" written in cursive font, and a deep V-neck more appropriate for "Jersey Shore." The cap was painted blue with "Boise" printed in plain block lettering across the front.

THE ANGELS ERA

The Hawks joined the California Angels minor-league system in 1990, and enjoyed a run of dominance. Boise captured its first of four league championships in 1991, and won six division championships in '91, '93, '94, '95, '96 and 1997. The Hawks won 501 games and scored nearly 5,000 runs in the 11-year stretch, equating to nearly 6 runs per game. In the 14 years since, Boise has only scored 26 more runs (not including Saturday's game).

In 1997, Boise rearranged its color scheme to navy, red, periwinkle - a bluish-purple - and white, which would remain until 2001. The restructured logo resembled a seagull more than an actual hawk. It was engulfed by a baseball, which, again, looked more like crosshairs than an actual ball. The hats were trucker-style mesh, adding to the appeal of the retro-look, and the jerseys mimicked the Angles pattern with the "A" in Hawks topped by a halo. An alternate logo featured the "H" in Hawks sprouting the traditional angel wings.

THE CURRENT CLUB

Boise switched its allegiance to the Cubs in 2001 and has remained with the franchise since. Similar to their California scenario, the Hawks won the league title one year after joining the minor-league system. Boise added another championship in 2004. Not including Saturday's game, Boise is 520-489 in its 14 years with Chicago. From 2002-2006, the Hawks were dark navy, red and white before switching to their current colors in 2007, which Hawks General Manager Todd Rahr said were to reflect Boise's outdoor personality.

City of Trees Green represented Boise's numerous trees, deep brick red portrayed the downtown brickwork, orange characterized the sun and yellow depicted the agricultural community.

Boise has won 54 percent of games, a total of 1,112 wins (not including Saturday). The 1997-2001 color scheme accounted for the highest winning percentage of 62 percent. The current combination has won 49 percent.

HAWKS 15, EMERALDS 3

Boise scored six runs in the third inning and added nine more in the ensuing three frames to claim the highest single-game run total in the Northwest League this season. Jeffrey Baez slugged his league-leading sixth homer of the season, a three-run shot in the third. Trevor Graham, who earned the win, threw five innings, striking out eight - the most for any Boise pitcher since August of 2013. The final game of three-game series is today at 7:15 p.m. before the Hawks' homestand against Hillsboro begins on Tuesday.

Trevor Phibbs: 377-6424; Twitter: @IDS_Phibbs

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