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Expansion

 

Major League Baseball comes to the desert

On March 9, 1995, the owners voted to award two new expansion franchises to Phoenix, Arizona, and Tampa, Florida, to start play in the 1998 season.  On that same day, the team name and logo were announced.  The colors were officially known as Purple, Arizona Turquoise, Black, Metallic Copper, and White.  (Note that while these are the official names, I will sometimes use other descriptions, such as teal and cream, throughout the website).  The teal and copper were inspired by Arizona desert, and purple was team owner Jerry Colangelo's favorite color (as evidenced by his other team, the Phoenix Suns).  It quickly became apparent that purple is a difficult color to deal with, as matching the shades across many textures and fabrics (such as helmets, caps, and jerseys) is almost impossible.  Thus, in many pictures the colors appear to not match at all.  This would later be used as a reasoning for changing the color scheme in 2007.

Owner Jerry Colangleo displays a t-shirt with the new Diamondbacks logo on March 9, 1995.

Reaction was mostly positive, as evidenced by these articles from the Arizona Republic.  (Click on each for a larger view).  Also note the prophetic comment by one fan: "It's like the last 17 pro sports organizations have picked teal.  Some day they'll be sorry and change it."

 

When the logo and colors were first introduced, the team was scheduled to wear two caps, classified as home (white/purple) and road (black/turquoise).  However, this changed before a game was ever played, as two more caps were introduced.  The new all purple cap became the standard home cap, changing the white cap to an alternate option.  The teal/purple cap was another alternate.  Also during this time, the "A" logo was slightly reduced in size on the originals.  (Many retail versions of the original caps still used the larger logo).

Home

Road

The new home cap, released after the
original two.  With this addition, the
white/purple cap was re-classified as an
alternate option.

Another new alternate cap, although
worn extremely rarely.

While the jerseys had not been finalized, the articles above mention the design, which again was changed quite a bit before the team took the field.  The original version called for copper pinstripes and the "A" logo on the chest.  It is possible that sample versions were made, although I have never seen a picture of one.  This is possibly what the team was originally intended to look like:

The team identity begans to take place when Buck Showalter was named manager on November 15, 1995.  The American League Manager of the Year in 1994, Showalter had just led the Yankees to the first playoff appearance in over a decade, but was replaced in New York by Joe Torre.  The deal was originally for 7 years, though it would not last that long.  During his tenure, Showalter would have much influence on the on-field appearance, such as requiring players to wear traditional stirrups and banning facial hair (though an exception will be made once the team acquires Randy Johnson in 1999).  Another of his ideas was to add the "A" logo to the socks.  By this time, the home jersey has also changed from the prototype above to the design that the team will eventually wear, with "Diamondbacks" written across the chest, and purple pinstripes replacing copper.

New manager Buck Showalter is introduced and displays the home jersey and cap (the purple hat was created later).

A traditionalist, Showalter mandadted that players wear classic stirrups,
and pants should be worn just high enough to show the logo.

Even though the white cap was rarely worn on the field, it was still used in many promotional shots, and it even made its way onto many baseball cards, espacially those of minor leaguers.  The caps used were usually the first editions with large logos.  Most hats in retail shops and those still available online are also the ones with large logos.

The caps worn in games had a slightly smaller logo.

After being declared a free agent, first baseman Travis Lee signed with the Diamondbacks on October 11, 1996.  As the first major signing by the team, Lee became the face of the franchise leading up to their first game, still a full season away.  Because the Diamondbacks didn't yet have a class-AAA minor league affiliate, Lee played the 1997 season loaned out to other team's affiliates.  On November 18, 1997, the Diamondbacks and Devil Rays held their expansion draft, each selecting 35 players to fill their rosters.  The team further took shape on December 1, when they acquired third baseman Matt Williams from the Cleveland Indians.

Travis Lee, the first major acquisition by the team.  Note the special 1998 patch on the sleeve.  This patch was a prototype and was never actually worn during a game.  More information can be found in the "Patches" page.