Before the Montreal Expos were given a place to relocate and before the possibility the NFL’s San Diego Chargers could move to Los Angeles became a real threat, the San Diego Padres once had their eyes set on bringing baseball back to the Washington D.C. sports scene, and they were ready to dress the part.
Let us travel back to 1973. The Washington Senators last played a baseball game in the nation’s capital two years prior and some wealthy businessmen in the D.C. area were determined to bring the sport back after a brief time. Grocery store mogul Joseph Danzansky and couple of his business partners — attorney Marvin Willig and dentist Robert Schattner — made a bid to purchase the Senators (now the Texas Rangers) and bring the franchise back from Texas, but ultimately fell short of making the purchase. Danzansky did, however, follow through on the push to own a baseball franchise when he purchased the San Diego Padres in 1973. After gaining ownership of the Padres, his plan to relocate the Padres in D.C. was given unanimous approval by the rest of the National League later that year.
The Padres were so close to moving to D.C. that one of their pitchers modeled a "Washington" prototype uniform. https://t.co/ajucAycqKc
— Jake Russell (@_JakeRussell) June 16, 2016
With the Padres all set to make the move to D.C., a prototype of the possible uniform to be worn was put together for photos to be used in the next season’s batch of baseball cards from Topps. The Washington Post describes how this became the point that gave us photographic evidence the Padres were all in for Washington D.C. at one point in time;
The Padres were so close to becoming Washington’s baseball club that Topps produced a 1974 set of baseball cards of San Diego players with“Washington Nat’l Lea.” printed on them. Minor league pitcher Dave Freisleben even modeled prototype road uniforms with “Washington” emblazoned in red lettering across the front. The jersey and pants were light blue with collars, sleeves and a waistband adorned in red, white and blue. The hat featured a blue back and white front with a thin red block “W” with a star on the top right.
The light blue would have been typical of the era for baseball uniforms. Powder blue uniforms were pretty common for road uniforms, with the Cardinals, Braves, Phillies and Royals among those adopting the color for their road uniforms. The city name across the front would have also been pretty standard. The hat featured a white front panel with blue around the rest of the hat, similar in setup to some designs seen at the time, and perhaps a possible good alternate cap to be used by the current Washington Nationals at some point.
[Washington Post/Photo: Washington Post/Larry Littlefield]