As many of you readers are aware, Leo Strawn, Jr. often sends in ticker contributions for some obscure sports (usually, but not always, Australian Rules Football), but he’s a renaissance man when it comes to his sports tastes. He also dabbles in eBay and Etsy. So, whenever someone purchases something in 2014, Leo will be sending out a pair of “Thank You” cards with every sale (he created all these himself). Leo originally sent me the above graphic, which shows the cards he’ll be including, so I asked if he could send them individually, and to include the story (literally) behind the card. And with that, here we go:
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My “Thank You” Cards By Leo Strawn, Jr.
These are the fronts of thank you cards that I will be including (2 per purchase, so no one gets upset because of just getting a checklist) in 2014 with sports related sales through eBay and etsy. They will each be business cards size.
There are twelve cards in Series One in 2014. First 11 cards represent a major professional North American gridiron football league or predecessor rugby league in U.S. or Canada. (Series Two will likely be my favorite helmets of all time, and Series Three will focus on baseball, I think, but that’s down the road a ways. Will either do a new series every six months or annually, not sure yet.)
Each card has a small description on back (along with “thanks” and the shop URLs).
The bunny rabbit is the logo for our shops, designed by my significant other, who is an amazing sculptress/doll maker and who named the shops that primarily focus on our creative talents. I designed these cards because I am getting back into sports memorabilia, and I wanted less artsy “thank yous” to send out with those purchases.
Here is an extended description of each card (I can only fit so much info onto the back of a business card!) and the league/union that is focuses upon (in chronological order):
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1902: The original National Football League: This league was hardly “national” since all three teams were located in Pennsylvania. Two of the clubs were essentially baseball teams playing gridiron; the NL Phillies and Connie Mack’s AL Athletics. This photo I stumbled across shows the third team, the Pittsburgh Stars, practicing for their championship game, which they won against Connie Mack’s squad, 11-0 on Nov. 29. That game was a quickly scheduled contest after a Thanksgiving Day game ended in a scoreless tie two days prior. Only about 2000 spectators witnessed the rematch.
Mack ended up in the red, and that pretty much ended the first professional football league in the States. Interestingly, some of the brightest baseball stars of that time played in this league, e.g., HOFer Rube Waddell played for the Athletics and Christy Mathewson was the fullback for the Stars.
Additional info: Although I have seen Pittsburgh (spelled with no “h” at the time) also called “Pros” and “Westerners”, “Stars” seems to be the official nickname. Also, here is a photo of Connie Mack and the 1902 Philadelphia Athletics football squad.
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1906: The Ohio League. While there was still no truly “national” league at this time, several regional leagues cropped up, most notably this league, from which 5 of the original NFL (APFA) teams came, more than any other state; Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Tigers (or Indians, depending upon which source you believe), Columbus Panhandles and Dayton Triangles. And, of course, the APFA formation meetings were held by Canton Bulldogs owner Ralph Hay in his Hupmobile dealership showroom in Canton, in August and September of 1920. (The August meeting was held with managers of Akron, Cleveland and Dayton, along with Hay representing Canton.)
This photo shows the second of two “World Championship” games in 1906 between Canton and the Massillon Tigers, this game held in Massillon. Had it not been for a betting scandal, the Ohio League (where most of the money was spent to attract the best talent of the time) may have evolved into a national league, but because of that scandal, the Tigers folded for a number of years, resurrecting this intense rivalry between neighboring towns about a decade later. Sadly, the Tigers did not join the APFA. Standouts like Knute Rockne, Gus Dorais and Greasy Neale played for the Tigers in their resurrected form, while Jim Thorpe held the reins for the Bulldogs during those years.
In this particular photo from the game that gave the Tigers the title on November 24, 1906, won by Massillon 13-6, the “gridiron” can plainly be seen on the field, marked off in 5 yard increments because the forward pass had to be thrown from at least 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage and had to travel at least that distance, thus the grid helped officials in that first year of the legalization of the forward pass, an aspect of our game that set North American football apart from its rugby counterparts in Europe and other parts of the world. (That rule was implemented to reduce the number of fatalities in football here. One source says 18 players were killed and another 159 seriously injured in 1905.)
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1924: Canadian Rugby Union: This was an umbrella organization that oversaw rugby unions in Canada. Reorganized from its predecessor, CRFU, in 1892, it organized the Grey Cup competition starting in 1909, and eventually gave way to the Canadian Football Council in 1956, which became the CFL in 1958 as the Grey Cup became fully professional.
One of the unions it oversaw was the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union, also called the “Big Four”, made up of Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton, which became the Eastern Football Conference (n.k.a. East Division) of the CFL. This photo from 1924 shows a game between the Ottawa Rough Riders and Toronto Argonauts. Games played in the Big 4 were televised in the U.S. on NBC in the 1950′s. (Notice the cap worn by the ball carrier in this photo.)
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1926: The original American Football League: This league was built by C. C. Pyle, the agent of Red Grange, to capitalize on Grange’s popularity after George Halas wouldn’t come to terms with Pyle and Grange on a contract after the 1925 season. The empty seats seen in the photo would lead to the league’s quick demise, after only one season. The Yankees were given the old Brooklyn franchise and joined the NFL the following season.
Here, Grange is carrying the ball for the New York Yankees in an empty Yankee Stadium against the Boston Bulldogs on November 14, 1926. This AFL couldn’t compete with the NFL in any shared market, including the Chicago Bulls (in the same NFL market as the Bears and Cardinals) owned by Joey Sternaman, the brother of Bears co-founder and co-owner, Dutch Sternaman. APFA charter member Rock Island Independents left the NFL to play in this league, never to return.
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1932: NFL: This photo is one of the lesser known pics from the important tie-breaker playoff game between the Bears and Portsmouth Spartans (n.k.a. Detroit Lions). The game was played indoors at Chicago Stadium (rather than Wrigley Field) because of a nasty blizzard. To accommodate for the small size of the arena, the field had been shortened on all sides and the end zones were rounded, forcing several important rule changes to the game. Among these changes was that the ball could be thrown from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage, and of course that rule stayed in effect from then on, and which, along with moving the goal posts up to the goal line (a rule that was used until 1974), caused scoring to increase (although not in this particular game, which ended 9-0 in favor of Chicago). Because of the narrowness of the field, hash marks were first introduced in this game, also.
The following season, the NFL was split into two divisions, with the winner of each at season’s end playing in an official championship game. But, because this was a tie-breaker, the NFL didn’t consider it post-season, thus the game counted in the final standings, which caused the Spartans to finish 3rd, behind the Packers.
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1946: All-America Football Conference: This was the first of four seasons for the AAFC, won each year by the Cleveland Browns, led by Otto Graham and coached by the legendary Paul Brown, who also won a fifth straight title in their first season in the NFL, 1950.
This photo features Dante Lavelli running the ball against the Buffalo Bisons (sporting some very cool uniforms) in the league’s inaugural season. (The Browns are wearing all white, which makes about as much sense as them wearing orange helmets, but never mind that.)
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1965: AFL: This was the fourth attempt at a major pro league under that name (the first being the Grange league). Play began in 1960, with Houston Oilers (shown in this photo from ’65) taking the inaugural and second championships. George Blanda is handing off to Ode Burrell in this photo. (I chose this photo from 1965 mainly because of the eye-catching color, with Houston’s columbia blue helmets and jerseys with red/white stripes beautifully complimenting the official’s red/white striped shirt in the background. Great color photos of the early AFL days are not the easiest things in the world to find.)
Of course, the AFL fully merged into the NFL in 1970, but imagine how different things would have been had Al Davis gotten his wishes and the league remained a separate entity from the NFL. In my humble opinion, we might all be following the AFL, complete with historic NFL teams that jumped ship, but, alas, that’s an alternate reality somewhere else.
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1974: WFL: Not the European/American NFL feeder league, but a genuine attempt to follow in the footsteps of the AAFC and the AFL of the prior decade, except that they played a summer schedule. The WFL may have made it, if not for the “papergate” scandal in Philadelphia, just weeks into the 1974 season, which ruined the league’s credibility. This was the first of two seasons, the second of which, although technically as a new entity in 1975 under new leadership and with sound money, was abandoned halfway through the season. This was in part because the league kept the WFL name, and along with it, the black mark against its name because of the perception of the league after that ’74 attendance figure scandal.
This photo was taken during the (one and only) World Bowl, December 5, 1974, played between the Birmingham Americans and the Florida Blazers. George Mira can be seen throwing the league’s mustard colored ball in the Ams exciting 22-21 championship victory. WFL alumni include 3 HOFers, Larry Csonka, Paul Warfield and Curly Culp. Jim Fassel, who was a QB for the Hawaiians and threw the last pass in WFL’s short history later became a head coach and led the Giants to the NFL title in Super Bowl XXXV.
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1983: USFL: This photo features the first of three championships played in the United States Football League, this one a 24-22 victory by the Michigan Panthers (with one of the coolest helmet designs in history) over Chuck Fusina and the Philadelphia Stars on July 17, 1983. This would be the only USFL championship game Fusina and the Stars would lose, as they won the last two, one more as Philadelphia, and the last as Baltimore.
Like the WFL before it, the USFL had lured a lot of proven big name talent away from the NFL, and may have also survived had they not tried to directly compete with the NFL on a fall schedule after 3 years of spring football seasons. A strange ruling in federal court against the NFL doomed the USFL, although it was technically a victory for the upstart league.
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1994&2012: Current NFL and CFL. After the demise of the USFL, there have been no other major leagues (unless you consider either the XFL or UFL to be a serious major league, and I wouldn’t insult anyone’s intelligence by claiming that to be true), so I tried to locate two photos that spanned the last 3 decades, one from each league, that I thought were worthy, settling on Emmitt Smith and the Cowboys beating the Bills for the second consecutive Super Bowl, (XXVIII, played January 30, 1994), and Chad Kackert and the Argos defeating the Stampeders 35-22 in the 100th Grey Cup on November 25, 2012.
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I was trying to locate a photo from the AFL of the 1930′s, which was the league the Cleveland Rams jumped to the NFL from, but, alas, I could not find anything decent, so I left that off the list, as well as the third AFL which played a few years prior to the AAFC. Because of that, I decided to give the NFL two cards, one black & white prior to any mergers, and a color card for the current NFL.
Hopefully these cards will keep our shop in the minds of those who buy from us, and create some return business, and also give people a bit of info on the history of our brand of professional football!
Yesterday we revealed the second set of concepts for the “Diplomats” (you can still submit for the Explorers [deadline: 3/12] and the Governors [deadline 3/17]). And today, we’ll reveal the fifth team for concepting.
If you missed yesterday’s post, which revealed the readers submissions for the “Diplomats,” you can vote for your favorite concepts (you may vote for up to three). Link here (scroll down — second article).
Here’s Ross with this week’s updates/information:
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Shout It From the Top of a Mountain
Short and sweet today, boys and girls. The Lookouts are the first team in the series that really lend themselves to an homage to Sacagawea or the other enlisted men in the Corps of Discovery. Maybe that’s just me. I see a Columbus Crew-esque theme, with a shoutout to the people that made Lewis & Clark look so good. That or an eagle in a classic case of “why the hell not?” They can see for miles and were apparently abundant in 1800 America.
Click To Enlarge
Those are my two cents, but also why I am tossing this to Uni Watch Nation. Wow me something better than those crap ideas.
Lastly, what do we think of maroon and scarlet? Kind of a modified Virginia Tech that I threw together and was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. It seems to work well with a compound word nickname. What say y’all?
As always, same rules apply.
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To all that entered the contest for the Captains of the LCBL, thank you for your thoughtful presentations. Big thanks to all the readers that cast votes. It made it easier for us (the league execs) to choose what we want; choosing the best out of two is more our speed. Bert Ayres and Ryan Foose were literally atop the standings from the get-go — aligned alphabetically when ballots opened.
The league decided to go in Ryan’s direction. We asked for some subtle tweaks — to incorporate elements that others touched on — and he humbly obliged. The uniform will remain a mystery until a final reveal of all twelve at the end. But we wanted to give Uni Watch Nation a taste of the winning identity:
Click To Enlarge
Thanks again to all who participated. Ryan intends to be at our All-Star Game at Busch Stadium (July 3, with all y’all invited) adorned in his own hat and jersey. Based on his skill set he might have to choose which winning submission to rep. Maybe not. Who wants to knock him off the podium?
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Just one colorization today, and it’s from Pete Woychick, a stalwart colorizer.
Pete, of course, has a story to go with his colorization. Click on images to enlarge.
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Left-fielder Matty McIntyre had a ten-year major league career with Philadelphia-AL, Detroit, and Chicago-AL. His best season came with the Tigers in 1908, when he finished among the league leaders in several offensive categories. Friction with Ty Cobb and diminishing performance (perhaps due, in part, to a broken ankle suffered in 1907; here, five years later, he is still wearing a leather ankle brace) eventually led to the sale of McIntyre to the White Sox. McIntyre died in 1920, about two months shy of his 40th birthday.
This photo is from 1912, his final season in the Bigs. I’m reasonably confident saying the setting is Hilltop Park, New York-AL, based on the building visible behind the left-center fence and the presence of some of the same sponsors (BVD, Philip Morris), albeit different ads, as shown in this photo circa 1910. An additional clue is the advertisement for Peter Doelger, a New York brewery. Also of note is the concrete or granite (?) base of the fence—play those caroms accordingly, boys!
Thanks Pete. Great colorization, as always. OK, colorizers — keep them coming!
Uni Tweaks Concepts
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
We begin today with Taylor Stallings, with a tweak for the Utah State Aggies:
Here’s another couple uni tweaks, for Utah state basketball. Figure they could use some spicing up. Love how these turned out, what do you think?
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Next up is Dylan Desimine with some new looks for the Cleveland baseball club:
This is something I whipped up for Cleveland’s professional ballclub. While Wahoo isn’t eliminated, I did change the colors to make it less offensive. I want the focus to be more on the main elements of the uniform though, rather than the sleeve Wahoo.
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And we close today with Mike King with some tweaks for the Brooklyn Nets:
The Brooklyn Nets will be wearing their first Alternate Jerseys tabbed ‘Brooklyn Blue Jerseys’ for 5 of their last 8 Home Games. The jerseys will feature their regular ‘BROOKLYN’ wordmark in Blue with a grey jersey with sleeves. I decided to mock-up the Nets current logos and Home Jersey in those Colors. The Grey/White/Blue color scheme must have been considered, since the old Brooklyn Dodgers featured the same color scheme. As a Nets fan, I really like how the White looks with the Dodger Blue. Even though I really like the Black & White color scheme the Nets went with, the White/Grey/Blue looks really nice and clean.
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And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Another small amount of ticker submissions yesterday, so old school ticker today:
You fine readers may recall that back in November of last year, I ran a series of interviews and concepts from Jesse Alkire (Part I is here and Part II is here). Those featured uniform concepts for all 32 teams.
The designs (whether you agreed or disagreed with them) were outstanding in their thought process and execution, and if there could be any criticism of them at all, it was that Jesse only showed “straight on” views of each uni. Well, that’s all about to change, since Jesse is now back, and he’s got views of the side(s) of the helmet, back of the uniform, and the pants (particularly stripes). The result (with the additions) is really, really outstanding. Today we’re going to look at the first 16 of those additions (including the original straight-on views) complete with descriptions.
Jesse prefaces the set with the following:
Team uniforms in the NFL are, generally speaking, cluttered. Two, sometimes three distinct striping patterns appear on a single uniform. Color palettes are often inconsistent. Poor design, by modern standards, is considered hallowed and classic simply because of age and heritage.
I set out to give every NFL team a more cohesive, simplified uniform set. Factors such as history, uniqueness, and brand integration helped to decide which particular uniform elements were ownable for each team and how that could help give them their own distinct look and feel.
This project was the subject of a two-part feature on the popular uniform design blog, Uni Watch, which can be viewed here: Part I and Part II
And now, the first 16 teams, alphabetically by city (click on any image to enlarge):
• Limited the use of black to an accent color.
• Numbers inspired by the team’s custom type.
• Cues from the primary logo influence the sleeve design.
• Feather/sunburst stitching on the shoulders and helmet, taking cues from the Arizona flag and cardinal feathers.
• Used a brighter red, which pops brighter on solid black and conveys a fiercer, piercing image.
• Numbers inspired by the team’s custom type.
• Sharp points on the color and sleeves resemble talons, taking cues from the primary logo.
• More menacing, darker design to match the macabre of Edgar Allen Poe.
• Purple to black gradient throughout takes cues from the raven’s glossy feathers, changing shades when activated by light and movement.
• The number and letter type plays off the idea of color and light refraction.
• Feather design on shoulders, updated logo.
• A team without a consistent striping pattern in their history, a simplified stripe here takes it’s cue from the singular stripe in the team’s primary logo.
• The number type is italicized and has both rounded and pointed edges, taking cues again from the primary logo.
• Helmet features oversized “knock-out” version of the team’s primary logo on the right side, with player number on left side.
• Numbers inspired by the team’s custom type.
• Striping pattern takes cues from the panther’s whiskers on the team’s primary logo.
• All-black home alternate uniform a more literal interpretation of the sleek, black panther featured as the team’s primary logo.
• A strong, proud uniform tradition remains virtually untouched.
• Removed outline on road jersey numbers to stay consistent with sleeve striping.
• Horizontal pant stripes add modern flare to a historic look, keeps consistent with one striping pattern throughout.
• White, Navy, and orange pants an option with either home or road jersey.
• Orange takes over as the primary color, as the team’s namesake animal and primary logo are predominantly orange.
• Black tiger striping on shoulders continues onto the chest and pants as a sublimation.
• Numbers inspired by the team’s custom type.
• As the Browns are in a unique position of being without a primary logo, this re-design allows them to completely own their most prominent uniform element — the color brown.
• With this minimalist sensibility in mind, color blocking stands as the main uniform element. Even the stripes act as large blocks of solid color.
• The custom letter and number type gives the set a retro feel, keeping it from becoming too modern with a small wink toward the traditional.
• A single shade of silver, — blue-tinted — is paired with a single shade of blue — navy — for a consistent look that fixes one of the NFL’s most egregious uniform errors.
• The 2-stripe pattern, a Cowboys signature element, is applied to the helmet, jersey, and pants.
• White pants provide a clean, crisp, and classic alternative to silver, with either the home or road jersey.
• Hard to believe this uniform is nearly 20 years old, but the initial design was strong and holds up well today, needing only minimal tweaks.
• Player names changed to now match the number outline color. Number colors on road jersey changed to make road uniform a proper inverse of home uniform.
• Solid color socks and bright shoes give this now classic uniform a modern touch.
• Consolidated striping into one consistent pattern that is unique to the Lions, applied throughout to both home and road uniforms.
• Tweaked number colors to stay consistent with striping.
Green Bay Packers:
• Consolidated striping into two consistent elements that are unique to the Packers, applied throughout to both home and road uniforms.
• Rugged number type inspired by the team’s wordmark.
• New helmet a manifestation of the team’s primary logo — horns on the left and right, heavy red stripe down the center.
• More cues from the team’s primary logo throughout, with stars on the sleeves and a horned stripe on the pants.
• Alternate “Battle Red” uniform an option for marquee matchups, such as playoff games or rivalry games.
* Another strong, proud uniform tradition remains virtually untouched.
* Pants stripe modified to remain consistent with entire set.
* Blue pants an option on the road to achieve the classic white/color look.
• Sublimated jaguar gradient pattern on the shoulders and pants feature holographic effect when activated by light and movement. A similar gradient appears on the helmet, as well.
• The gradient pattern allows for use of the jaguar’s signature element without feeling too gaudy, as animal print often can.
• Alternate “Jungle Night” uniform an option for marquee matchups, such as playoff games or rivalry games.
Kansas City Chiefs:
• Another strong, proud uniform tradition remains virtually untouched.
• Solid-color socks and red shoes give one of the NFL’s most traditional uniforms a slick, modern feel.
And there you have it — the first 16 redesigned teams, by Jesse Alkire. Back soon with the second set. Readers? How great are these? Make sure you express your thoughts (good, bad or indifferent) down in the comments section below. OK? OK!
Today we’ll be taking a look at the second set of uniform submissions for the Lewis & Clark Design-a-Uniform Contest, for the team known as the “Diplomats.” If you’re not familiar with the contest, please give that a read. The contest’s creator, W. Ross Clites will be asking readers to design uniforms for all of the teams in the Lewis & Clark League, and thus far we’ve asked for submissions for a total of four teams. Last weekend we looked at the first team, the Captains, and today we have the submissions for the second team, the “Diplomats.”
Two other teams have been put to readers for concepts, the Explorers and the Governors. If you’d like to submit your concept for either team, the deadline for submissions for the Explorers is Wednesday, March 12, and the deadline for submissions for the Governors is Wednesday, March 19. Tomorrow, Ross will have a short write-up for the fifth team, so make sure you check back then!
At this point I’ll turn it over to Ross, who will go over the guidelines for voting, and then I’ll be back with some final words before we take a look at the entries from our contestants. Here’s Ross (these guidelines will likely accompany each set of voting):
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Alright boys and girls, here is how the voting is going to go for each Lewis & Clark Baseball League team:
1. The hierarchy of importance goes primary logo, then uniform design, and then all rest (i.e. hat design, secondary logos, etc.) Cast a vote for the design with your favorite primary logo, first and foremost. Do not fault someone for going outside the design guidelines. Changing a wordmark or adding a third color is not a disqualifier for good thought process.
2. Your votes will take the field of applicants down to a final two per team.
3. We, the LCBL Executive Board will make the final decision on the winning proposal. However — and this is big — design is never complete and collaboration is paramount to success. We will likely settle on a combination of the final two submissions. We might love the logo of one, but prefer the jersey scheme of the other. In this, you will both be winners with full prizes to ensue. The possibility does exist for a total victory, of sorts. One designer could present the best looking jersey, logo, hat, and all the rest. Do not get offended when your submission gets handed back to you with redlined edits. We hate to hand out homework to the winning look, but tweaks may be requested. It is a studio project and not a math equation; the “right” answer takes some massaging of details.
4. With permission from both finalists, our graphics department will meld the two submissions together (if necessary) and place it in our common platform. This is done as a common denominator showcase for all twelve to look uniform when the contest has reached its end.
5. Someone, not even in the top two, could see an element (such as an awesome secondary logo) appear in the final iteration. We would never select the winner based solely on a minor design element, but we will also not let it go to waste. In this, all submissions could be part of a bigger design team. This contest — and frankly this site — was created to identify the best possible combinations of logos and materials in the sports world. This rarely comes from one person’s mind; we will reward any of those that play a part in making our on-field product the best it can be.
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Thanks, Ross. A few words about the submissions below:
Some of the contestants sent one single image, others sent multiple images. Some contestants sent descriptions (in some cases, very lengthy ones), others had little or no description. In an effort to make the voting as fair as possible, I have put those who sent multiple images into one single image, and no descriptions of the uniforms will follow. If you’d like to see all the entries for the Diplomats and their write-ups/descriptions, I have hosted the entire set on Flickr. Keeping in mind Ross’ rules for voting, you may use these as an additional guide in determining which submission(s) you think are the best.
The submissions will be in alphabetical order and voting will follow. You may vote for any three of the concepts below. You may click on any image to enlarge. OK? OK. Here we go:
OK, readers. That’s quite an impressive set of contributions! Now it’s time for you to vote. You’ll be allowed to vote for up to THREE (3) submissions. You may wish to scroll up for one more viewing, and write down your favorites.
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U.W.F.F.L. Week 27
By Rob Holecko
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Well we have finally made it to the final week of the inaugural UWWFL 2013-14 season. (“This was longer than we thought it would be. That’s what she said”.)
Congratulations again to all of our champions, the Minnesota Mustangs, who won UWFFL Bowl XIV, the Anchorage Orcas, who won the minor league national championship game and will be promoted to the UWFFL next season, as well as the three conference champions, Hartford, Birmingham and Vancouver, who will also be promoted to the big league this fall. Now it is Week 27 and this week we will crown one last champion as we present the championship of our international section, the La Lega Internaztionale di Uni Watchers Fantacalcio, World Bowl XVI in Sao Paolo, Brazil, along with a few exhibition games.
In the World Bowl, we have a matchup which some may find an analog to in current events. Since, however, this is all just made up anyway, don’t read too much into that when picking a winner. Try to focus more on the team’s uniforms than on which country is invading the other. For the Utopian Power from Kiev, they have eschewed their normal red and blue colors and are wearing a new World Bowl version of their away kit in the Ukrainian flag colors of blue and yellow, and which featurs the Ukrainian Tryzub (or, Trident), a symbol more than a millennium old and a part of the Ukrainian heraldic history since the very beginning of the 20th century. The “home” team, Spartak Russia from Moscow, is dressed like an angry aggressor wearing their black third kit.
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Our first post-season exhibition matchup is a memorial/benefit game in Copenhagen, Denmark, in honor of the unfortunate giraffe, Marius, who was euthanized and then fed to the lions in front of schoolchildren last month at a Copenhagen Zoo because he “wasn’t needed”. Our minor league team from Virginia, the Roanoke Giraffes are wearing a special uniform for this matchup against one of the international teams, the Stockholm Lutekvist, who are also debuting an updated look for this matchup. Both teams are wearing special patches and helmet decals to honor Marius, and any imaginary money than may be raised by this game, were it to have been real, would have been donated to some sort of fund which seeks to stop zoos from mistreating animals.
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Sadly, our two other exhibition matchups to wrap up the season have fallen through. First there was The Rob Ford Classic, which was supposed to be held in Toronto, however everybody involved apparently was smoking crack or something because no teams showed up, and no one involved can even remember which teams were invited, or if any teams even were invited at all.
…and then finally, there was also supposed to be a game played in either Tijuana or Mexico City involving two teams that had found themselves at odds with league management, (and in one case, on the lam from the law), however that game was being organized without the league’s blessing and outside of the league’s jurisdiction, so we can’t really tell you anything about it or if it is even taking place at all. (Don’t ask what FTV stands for.)
Well that’s about all we have for you this season, we’ll be back next week with Week 1 of the Spring 2014 Developmental League where fifty teams will begin to fight for placement in UWFFL’s various leagues in the fall. From the commissioner’s podium, we bid you adieu.
And there you have it. Pretty chock-full post today. Big (huge) thanks to Jesse for sharing all of his designs and of course good luck to all the submitters for the Diplomats. Ross will be back tomorrow with the next uniform design contest, and will announce the “winners” of the “Captains” submissions from last weekend. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to cast your votes on today’s designs!
Everyone have a great Saturday and I’ll catch you fine folks tomorrow.
“‘adidas’ is no more pretentious than ‘ee cummings.’ I say that the true anti-pretension stance is simply to call everyone what they wish to be called. The other guy calling himself something silly is just as pretentious either way, but arguing the point is a form of pretension. On the other hand, capitalizing more than one letter inside a word with no spaces? Fuck that, and yes, I’m talking to you, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and I don’t care how pretentious it makes me to say so.”
–R. Scott Rogers
The big news yesterday was that Adidas released a bunch of March Merch Madness uniforms, all of which are shown in the slideshow above. I offered some thoughts about them in this ESPN piece, which went up yesterday afternoon, shortly after the designs were released.
Baylor got the worst of it — sleeved Day-Glo at home, sleeved G.I. Joe on the road, and an idiotic slogan (although at least the apostrophe is facing the right way [but then again, why no space between Sic and ’Em?]):
As I mentioned to an ESPN News anchor later in the day, Baylor is in a unique position, because it’s the only major school with different outfitters for basketball (Adidas) and football (Nike). So the Bears have the dubious “privilege” of wearing the latest newfangled nonsense from two different loathsome companies — a pretty neat trick! In fact, Baylor’s football and basketball uniforms have been so awful in recent years that I’ve started to think Nike and Adidas are going the extra mile to make the school’s uniforms extra-ridiculous — maybe in an attempt to outdo each other, or maybe as a way of telling Baylor, “If you don’t sign an school-wide exclusive with us, we’ll keep making you wear crap like this!”
Unmasking the Commenters: I recently invited the site’s commenters to tell us a bit more about themselves and give us a peek at what they look like, just because I thought it would be fun to pull back the internet’s curtain of anonymity. I’ll keep showcasing you folks as long as you keep sending in your photos and quick bios.
Yesterday we featured DenverGregg, a frequent presence in the comments section. Today’s commenter is RoccoT, who’s more inclined to pick his spots. Here he is (click to enlarge):
My screen name, RoccoT, is just a nickname I picked up along the way from SCTV. I live about 45 minutes south of Toronto and work as a graphic designer. I have done some sports-related designing of logos, uniforms, etc. for local teams and other uni-centric websites. My previous job was painting hockey goalie masks, a couple of which made it to the NHL. When not reading Uni Watch, I play hockey and golf and am involved in my son’s baseball team. (Yes, he wears the high socks — only kid on his team to do so. Sigh.) This photo is from one of our annual pond hockey weekends. Two teams, 12 guys, 12-plus cases of beer, BBQ, curling. Each participant gets a set of personalized hockey cards, a program, and a VIP badge. It’s a great DIY project that I do every year.
Thanks, RoccoT — you help make Uni Watch a better place.
Do you want to be featured in “Unmasking the Commenters”? If so, send me a photo and a quick paragraph about yourself. You don’t have to reveal your real name, and the photo doesn’t have to show your face, but you must include a photo to be considered. Send everything this-a-way.
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’Skins Watch: The ’Skins are currently running a marketing campaign to bolster support for the team name, but our friends the Indian Country Today Media Network are having none of it (thanks, Phil).
Baseball News: The A’s are once again giving away a series of pins for Throwback Thursdays, and this year’s batch features some real doozies from all three cities in the franchise’s history. Man, Harvey the Rabbit and Charley O. the mule — gotta like that (from my old zine pal Tom Lupoff). … Lee Mazzilli wore No. 13 during his second stint with the Mets. Now his son, currently in camp with the Mets, is wearing that same number. … Now that’s a rally cap. From a recent TCU game (from Chris Flinn). … Dodgers OF Carl Crawford is changing uni numbers from 25 to 3, because he and his wife are expecting their third child and 25 “just didn’t feel comfortable” (from Chris Cruz). … We’ve seen these before, but once more won’t hurt: Here’s a great slideshow of old Life magazine photos from the Dodgers’ 1948 spring training camp. Satin unis galore! (From Sean Walsh.) … David Feigenbaum notes that Phillies reliever Jonathan Papelbon was wearing a regular game cap, not a BP cap, for yesterday’s spring training game. … Abilene Christian’s uniforms yesterday were, uh, I don’t even know where to start. That’s a lot to take in! (Thanks, Phil.) … Oooh, check out this Ray Kroc 80th birthday Padres cap (from Douglas Ford). … Love the new Mets luggage decal that Pro Helmet Decals honcho David Surlecki came up with. … Frank Jobe, the surgeon who pioneered the Tommy John procedure, died yesterday. Will the Dodgers, for whom he was working at the time, wear a memorial patch? Will pitchers who’ve had the procedure wear their own tribute? Will MLB come up with some sort of gesture for the man who saved countless pitchers’ careers? … Today it’s all Expos, all the time on the SI Vault Twitter feed.
NFL News: Uni Watch is about what the players wear, not what the fans buy, so I don’t generally give a shit about whose jerseys are moving the most (or least) units. Still, I have to admit that it’s interesting to learn that the Seahawks’ “12th Fan” jersey has become a top seller.
Soccer News: Yesterday’s MLS roundup didn’t mention the new New England kit (from Tom Mulgrew). … “New York City FC (NYC’s new MLS club) was supposed to unveil a logo set last week but had to push it back when the Yankees, one of the soccer team’s corporate owners, expressed a concern that one of the designs infringed on their intellectual property,” says Chance Michaels. “A lot of us are speculating that this means there was an interlocking monogram, but we don’t yet know.” … Here’s a gallery that features a good look at all of the home jerseys for the new League of Ireland soccer season. “Also of note in that gallery: the new ball with that retro feel and the slightly bizarre etching of our glorious president Michael D. Higgins’s face on a medal,” says Patrick Fleming. … A Wolverhampton fan bought a jersey that had an upside-down logo patch, wrote a letter of complaint about it, and received a very amusing reply (from Marc Bauche).
NBA News: The Heat and Spurs did the “Los”/”El” thing last night. After the game, LeBron James blamed his poor shooting performance on the sleeves (and also, according to that story, discarded his mask after the first quarter). How many players have to complain about the sleeves before the league does something about them? … The Raptors will wear their old purple dinosaur uniform as a throwback next season. Although this is arguably the worst uniform in NBA history (and was a major missed opportunity for an infinite regression!), it totally works as an anniversary throwback — embrace your history, even your ugly history! … The Nets will wear shooting shirts with THOB on Monday.
What Paul did last night: Great time last night at the “Baseball as Good Medicine” event at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse in Manhattan . There was a bunch of really great storytelling, we raised a lot of money for the excellent Photo ID Foundation, and at least one participant heartily enjoyed the free beer and Cracker Jack.
Pictured above is the event’s coordinator/curator, Annie Levy, standing in the center of the evening’s storytellers (l-r): Ben Hill of MiLB.com; Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing; myself; Peter Schwartz of Bloomberg News; Rabbi Jeffrey Sirkman; and Dr. Ivan Oransky. Everyone did a great job — lots of very entertaining stories told by interesting, engaging people.
My own story — which had nothing to do with uniforms, sorry — was about one of my favorite baseball-related moments from my childhood. Here’s a video of it — crummy lighting, crummy sound, and I pretty much just sit there, so it’s not very compelling to look at, but at least it’ll give you a sense of what the event was like (video shot by Heather McCabe):
I know most of you don’t care about the stuff I post over at Permanent Record. And even those of you who do care (hi Robert, hi James, hi David!) probably prefer it when the PermaRec posts are relatively short, or at least manageable. But every now and then I tap into something that merits a lengthier treatment, and that I think Uni Watch readers ought to take a look at. Today is one of those days.
So: I’ve recently become mildly obsessed with old employee photo I.D. badges like the ones shown above. They’re beautiful, they’re evocative, and they have lots of stories to tell. They’re also very uni-oriented, because everyone at a given company had to wear the same basic badge design. Maybe that’s part of why they appeal to me so much.
You can learn more about the employee badges, how I got obsessed with them, and some stories emanating from a few of them in the latest PermaRec entry. Even if you don’t usually look at the PermaRec stuff, I think you’ll like this one — please give it a look. Thanks.
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Unmasking the Commenters: I recently invited the site’s commenters to tell us a bit more about themselves and to give us a peek at what they look like, just because I thought it would be fun to pull back the internet’s curtain of anonymity. I plan to showcase everyone who’s responded so far, beginning with DenverGregg — a good choice for the lead-off spot because he’s often the first reader to post a comment each morning. Here he is (click to enlarge):
I’m DenverGregg. I’ve used this pseudonym on a variety of websites since 1995 due to my cumbersome last name and my love for my hometown. I’ve been reading Uni Watch since it was on Slate [that would have been in 2003 and ’04 — PL]. I’m one of the older commenters — my beard is old enough to legally buy booze or, I suppose, weed. This get-up is explained by Fat Tuesday, an event I both enjoy and resemble. I’ve worked as an anonymous restaurant reviewer, which was remarkably fun, and in sundry other jobs that have been less fun to varying degrees. These days I work in hospital finance. Most mornings I can be seen walking two exuberantly friendly dogs right after my daily fix of Uni Watch.
Thanks, Gregg — and thanks also for your many worthwhile comments over the years. You help make Uni Watch a better place.
I’ll be featuring more commenters (and, eventually, Ticker contributors and maybe even readers/lurkers) in the days and weeks to come. If you’re a semi-regular commenter on the site and want to be featured here, send me a photo and a quick paragraph about yourself. You don’t have to reveal your real name, and the photo doesn’t have to show your face, but you must include a photo to be considered. Send everything here.
Baseball News: Before he got into broadcasting, Keith Olbermann spent some time in the 1970s as a baseball photographer. He was recently going through some of his old photos when he came across this shot of Jim Fregosi wearing the Rangers’ 1975 jersey in 1976. That all-caps “TEXAS” jersey was only worn in ’75 — the next year they went to this design. But Olbermann says the photo is definitely from ’76. For one thing, it was clearly taken at Yankee Stadium, which was closed for renovations in ’75. For another, Olbermann says he wasn’t yet working as a shutterbug in ’75, so the photo couldn’t have been from that year. And if you look in background, it appears that Fregosi’s teammate was wearing the’76 jersey with the ’76 sleeve patch. It’s not clear why Fregosi was wearing the ’75 jersey, but maybe it was just a batting practice thing (BP jerseys hadn’t been invented yet). …Speaking of 1976, I remember how A’s owner Charley Finley sold Rollie Fingers and Joe Rudi to the Bosox for $1 million apiece that year, and I remember how MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn quickly nullified the deal before Fingers and Rudi could play for Boston. What I don’t remember is seeing this great photo of Rudi and Fingers in Bosox gear (big thanks to Doug Keklak). … A Manhattan resident is suing his landlord because his apartment, which featured a ton of MLB bobbleheads and other baseball trinks, was mistakenly cleaned out (from Bruce Menard). … Yeesh, look what Georgia Tech was wearing the other day. “School colors don’t mean much anymore,” says Mike Raymer. Meanwhile, note the now-outdated logo on the umps Reebok footwear. … Check out this great 1962 shot of the Mets’ relievers huddling under Mets blankets on a cold Polo Grounds day. … Speaking of the Amazin’s, I was watching yesterday afternoon’s Mets/Marlins game and was struck by the sight of new Mets OF Chris Young wearing No. 1. Young is 6’2″, 190, which seems kinda big to be wearing No. 1, no? I’m used to that number being worn by little fellas! Young wore 24 and 25 with the D-Backs and A’s, so I don’t know why he switched to 1 this season. … Check out this clip from the old Jimmy Piersall biopic Fear Strikes Out. “Piersall’s Red Sox teammates are wearing high-number, non-baseball jersey numbers, and Piersall himself is shown wearing double-striping on his jersey sleeves,” notes Jake Elwell. “I wonder if the former was done so the studio wouldn’t have to pay any other players for their image rights. And the latter may have been a subtle way of making Jimmy stand out from his teammates in game scenes.” … A tequila sunrise jersey and a baseball with a clock embedded in it: two great tastes that taste great together (from Scott Fite). … I’m pretty sure the only people who care about the jerseys for the MLB Futures Game are the players who get to wear them, but here’s this year’s set anyway (thanks, Phil). … Several Phillies were wearing caps for the Baseball Assistance Team — that’s one of MLB’s charities — yesterday (from Harrison Tishler). … Also from Harrison: We’d previously seen the St. Paddy’s Day jerseys, but I don’t think we’ve seen these St. Paddy’s Day caps.
NFL News: The Bills won’t be playing their annual game in Toronto in 2014. … Here’s the latest on the OKC NFL uni-design contest. “If I’ve learned anything from this, it’s that the average internet user is better at design than whoever approved the new Buccaneers jerseys,” says Justin Cliburn. … If changes to the Browns uniforms are inevitable, long-suffering fan Christopher Noice hopes it looks something like this. “There’s no purer symbol of football than Paul Brown on the side of your head,” he says.
College Football News: Even after the Sandusky/Paterno scandal, the Penn State “brand” still has plenty of value (thanks, Phil). … “Clemson has ‘unretired’ quarterback Steve Fuller’s No. 4 for freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson — apparently with Fuller’s permission, although I disagree with the whole unretiring of retired numbers thing,” says Austin Pendergast. “But check out these two pictures of Watson at spring practice today. In the first one he just has a plain No. 4 practice jersey, but in the second one there’s a commemorative patch honoring Fuller. I guess someone just came and ironed it on mid-practice or something. It will be interesting to see if a patch appears on his game jersey as well.”
College Hoops News: “The Americans on FX usually does a great job re-creating the early ’80s, which is the time period in which the show is set,” says Preston Feiler. “But in last week’s season opener, there was a carnival scene that featured basketballs with modern logos. The UNC ball has a logo and wordmark used from 1999-present. Pitt’s ball contains a couple of wordmarks used since 1997. The UGA ball is using a wordmark from 2002. The bulldog-face logo has been used since 1964. Maryland’s ball has a wordmark from 1997 and a logo from 2001. Florida State’s ball is hard to tell, but the logo and wordmark seem to be the post-1990 version. Finally, the Michigan ball has a 1996 update version of their logo and wordmark.”