For Pete's Sake

The Royals had to wear Brewers uniforms for a game 42 years ago Wednesday

Once, George Brett and Hal McRae both wore No. 5 in the same Royals game.

During that game in Milwaukee, manager Whitey Herzog didn’t wear a jersey, choosing to don just a Royals coat. Amos Otis joked that he wanted to wear Hank Aaron’s old jersey.


So was Brewers pitcher Jerry Augustine for the game the Royals played in Milwaukee on June 12, 1977. The reason for the uniform craziness: thieves had broken into the Royals clubhouse the night before and made off with 52 of the team’s 60 jerseys, 20 caps, 20 gloves, 15 jackets and 10 pairs of shoes, per a story the next day in the Milwaukee Sentinel.

“I’ve heard some funny stories, like you can’t tell the players without a scorecard — or with one,” Jim Colborn, the Royals starting pitcher that day, told the New York Times.

The Sentinel story noted that Kansas City’s equipment manager valued the stolen goods at $3,500* and made a frantic plea with the Brewers to let the Royals borrow some items.

*Times have changed, no?

So, many (but not all) of the Royals wore the Brewers’ road uniforms for the game. Otis was given No. 2, which belonged to Milwaukee manager Alex Grammas, a career .247 hitter.

“No, on second thought, I want No. 44, Hank Aaron’s uniform that is on display in the window outside (in the stadium concourse),” Otis joked to the Sentinel.

The Royals played the first game in franchise history 50 years ago April 8. Team historian Curt Nelson talks about the significance of the date.

McRae wore a Brewers’ No. 5 while Brett’s Royals’ No. 5 wasn’t taken.** Herzog simply wore his jacket, that story noted.

**How’d the thieves miss that?

The game was featured on “This Week In Baseball” in 1977 and the legendary Mel Allen was amused. Twitter user Baseball by BSmile shared this clip:

Perhaps frazzled by the uniform problem, the Royals were held to seven singles and lost 4-0.

As Otis noted when getting his Brewers jersey (per the Sentinel): “God is this ugly.”

The five longest winning streaks in Kansas City Royals history have been at least 10 games. The 1977 Royals recorded two winning streaks of more than 10 games.