The St. Louis Club will this season play in a handsome suit of white, with brown belts and stockings. The uniform will be the most tasteful ever shown in St. Louis, and the return of the old colors will doubtless be enthusiastically greeted by the admirers of the team.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, February 3, 1884
Well, this certainly raises a few questions. The quote from the Globe is clear about what the Browns uniforms looked like: white shirt and pants, brown belt and brown stockings. However, the photo that I've posted above is supposedly the 1884 St. Louis Browns and they sure aren't wearing white shirts and pants. Now, I also have photos that were identified as the 1883 and the 1885 Browns and both those clubs were wearing white.
I think there are a couple of possibilities here. First, the Globe could be wrong about the uniforms. Second, the photos are misidentified. The Globe mentions a return to "the old colors" which implies that the club wore white in the past, didn't wear white in 1883 and then returned to white uniforms in 1884. I have three photos, for three consecutive years, when the club wore white, then a dark uniform and then returned to white. It's possible that the team photos I have are for 1882, 1883 and 1884 rather than 1883, 1884 and 1885. The final possibility is that the club in the photo above is not the Browns at all.
I'm not exactly sure what the problem is here but something is amiss. Maybe someone with better eyes than me can take a look at the above photo and help us identify it. But at the moment, I don't feel that I can identify the early Browns' team photos with any accuracy.
Update: Both David Ball and David Nemec were kind enough to take a look at the above photograph and it is there opinion, which I share based on my confidence in their knowledge, that it's a picture of the 1887 Cleveland Blues and, therefore, not a picture of the 1884 St. Louis Browns. My thanks to both of those gentlemen for their help.