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Griffins Fauxback Design Contest - Group 1

[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through Aug. 25, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken

The moment you’ve waited for is finally here. Today we begin voting on the first group of contestants for the Grand Rapids Griffins “Fauxback Design” contest. In case you missed it, the contest parameters and rules were laid out here.

I received a whopping 119 Entries in this contest, so the voting will be broken down as follows. Today: First 30 entrants; Tomorrow: Second 30 entrants; Monday: Third 30 entrants; and Tuesday: Final 29 entrants. As in previous contests, the submissions will be listed alphabetically. The TOP THREE contestants receiving votes in each group will move on to the final group (for a total of 12 finalists — three from each group), from which the Griffins will make a decision and declare the winner who I will announce on Friday, August 25.

We’re using a new polling system, which we hope will eliminate (or at least drastically reduce) any fraud or shenanigans. You will be permitted to vote for as many designs as you would like, but you may only vote ONCE. As you glance over the designs, be sure to write down the name and number of your favorite(s) and then cast your votes in the poll which follows the submissions. The poll(s) will close approximately twenty-four (24) hours after being posted — the TOP THREE vote recipients will move into the final group (the winner of which will be chosen by the Griffins).

Today the lede will focus on the first 30 submissions. Subsequent days the designs and voting may be a sub-lede, so please be sure to check back and check the full post each day.

REMINDER: The Griffins set out the following parameters for designing an alternate (fauxback) jersey. Please use them to guide you as you make your decision(s) below:

Design Guidelines:

• Create a brand new design for a Griffins alternate jersey (remember: you are ONLY designing a jersey, not a full uniform).
• DO NOT USE current or previous Grand Rapids Griffins logos or previous Griffins jersey design contest winning logo designs. Your work must be original.
• The jersey color must be red or black.
• This jersey will be part of an ’80s Fauxback Theme Night. If the Griffins existed in the 1980s, what would the jerseys have looked like?
• Use official team colors – CMYK Colors: Red 12/100/92/3, Gray 31/25/26/0, Gold 43/49/76/21, Black 75/68/67/90, White 0/0/0/0.

And now, the first 30 contestants (click any design to enlarge):

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1. Gary Abbott

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2. Alec Asensio

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3. Darren Bausano

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4. Mitch Behrend

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5. Alden Benner

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6. Zach Blackwell

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7. Nate Blunt

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8. Roarke Boes

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9. Will Brandt

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10. Ken Burns (Note: Sent in only logo)

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11. Matt Busnello

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12. Adam Cain

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13. Chase Carlson

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14. Kris Connelly

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15. Mason Connelly

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16. Rob Connelly

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17. Matt Cooksley

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18. Tyler Crowder

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19. Lucas Daitchman

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20. Joseph DeBonis

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21. Allison Deters

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22. Tim Diederiks

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23. Spencer Dixon

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24. John Elbertson

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25. Jenny Emelander

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26. James Engelbrekt

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27. Courtney Fathers

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28. Brooks Freeman

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29. Ben Geiger

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30. Marc Genser

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GROUP 1: You May Select As Many Designs As You Like

Meet Adam Cain …

As you have now hopefully all voted on your favorite reader submissions for the Griffins Fauxback Contest (if not — scroll back up and do so now!), I wanted to briefly introduce you to Adam Cain, whose jersey submission last year was also selected by the Grand Rapids Griffins to be worn during a game. You’ll recall that our big winner was Dan Kennedy, whose winning design from last year was worn on ice in a January game.

Adam’s design was also chosen, and the Griffins wore his design too on the ice during a March 2017 game.

Adam sent along this message and some photos (Adam entered this year’s contest as well, and he sent these along with his new concept):

Hey Phil,

I have also attached some pictures from the night my jersey was worn by the Griffins. I went to Grand Rapids in March and got to be a part of the pre-game festivities; just in case you want to use them on the site.

Thanks again,

Adam Cain

Here’s some shots. The winner of this year’s contest can expect some similar treatment from the Griffs! Good luck to everyone who entered — both to today’s first group and the three to follow!

Great stuff Adam — thanks for sharing and good luck this year.

Naming Wrongs update: Paul here. I’ve received a bunch of requests for RFK shirts, and I’m happy to announce that those shirts are now available in burgundy, gold, grey, and white (click to enlarge):

Scott Turner and I have no desire to profit from anything ’Skins-related, so we’ll be proud to donate all of the profits from these shirts to the American Indian College Fund. Even better, ESPN will match the donation.

These designs are now available in the Naming Wrongs shop. They’re also cross-listed in the Uni Watch shop, where card-carrying members can get 15% off. (If you’re a member and need the discount code, send me a note and I’ll hook you up.) My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

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And as long as we’re talking about Native Americans: Paul here (still). Yesterday I saw the new film Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, a documentary that traces the impact of Native American music and musicians on rock and roll, blues, jazz, and so on. It’s great stuff, with extra attention paid to Link Wray, the Native guitarist whose brooding, sinisiter-sounding 1958 single “Rumble” helped give birth to the power chord (and sounded so dangerous for its time that it remains the only instrumental track to be banned by U.S. radio).

If you’re in the NYC area, Rumble is currently playing at Cinema Village. There’s a full slate of screenings today, and then it’s showing once a day, at 5pm, from tomorrow through next Thursday. Don’t miss.

Here’s the trailer, followed by “Rumble”:

The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: The Orioles uploaded every media guide since 1954 to their team website. I wish more teams would do this. … More than a dozen MLB players shared the story behind their uniform numbers. The Cubs’ Albert Almora wears 5 because he’s not “big enough to wear two digits,” Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts ignored the team rivalry and wears 2 in honor of Derek Jeter, and Dellin Betances wears 68 because he’s 6-foot-8. … The Padres wore their splendid 1990s Way Back Wednesday throwbacks yesterday (from @nickgrodo). … The Tacoma Rainers will wear first responders jerseys later this month (from @OTS_Baseball). … A New York-style pizza restaurant in Denver is using the Yankees’ logo (from Dave Feigenbaum). … Diamondbacks players and staff wore spacesuits and NASA apparel for their trip to Houston (from @igTXSalazar).

Football News: The 49ers are helping a Bay Area high school football team that had $11,000 worth of helmets and shoulder pads stolen from them last month. … The Dolphins released their home jersey schedule. They will wear white three times. … Players and coaches wore “Diversity is Strength” shirts on the sidelines at the British Columbia-Saskatchewan game on Sunday. The back of the shirt listed a number of former CFL players of different ethnic and religious backgrounds. “The league was apparently planning on rolling them out later this season but rushed them out after the horrific events in Charlottesville,” said Kit McGuinness. … Earlier this year we discussed how some teams used to paint one of the endzones in the visiting team’s colors. Sometimes, it went further than that: During a 1983 game at Lambeau Field, the Packers played “Hail to the Redskins” on the PA after every Washington score (from Steven R. Marks). … The Falcons new stadium will have a Chick-Fil-A, but like the rest of the chain, it will be closed on Sundays. … Here’s a good look at the new anthracite jerseys for Washington State (from @broc1984).

NBA News: The Pistons updated their title banners with their new logo (from Bryan Kimball). … One Suns writer is pleased that the team has yet to add an ad patch (from Phil).

Grab Bag: New uniforms for Western Kentucky volleyball (from Phil). … A Kentucky Derby poster signed by 55 winning jockeys is up for auction. … A writer named his favorite Detroit sports uniforms of all-time. It’s interesting that he listed a few throwbacks instead of the original uniform (from Phil). … Check it out: A Georgetown Hoyas-themed driving helmet (from @bryanwdc, via Phil). … Students at Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington, Ky., selected “Broncos” as the name for the school’s athletics teams (from Josh Claywell). … New logo for Tinder, the match-making app. … New logo for BBC Sport (from Greg Franklin).

Premier League Kit Review 2017-18 (Part I)

[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through Aug. 25, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken, with Kyle Evans & CJ Fleck

I’m back, once again, with Kyle Evans and CJ Fleck, who have combined on here several times to bring you the kits (aka uniforms) of various leagues, and earlier this month, Kyle flew solo to bring you a nice look-back at the All Star Game uniforms of MLS. With the Premier League kicking off last week, Kyle & CJ will now take you through the first half of the new uniforms (kits) of the EPL for 2017-18. If you’re not familiar with their ratings, Kyle goes on a 0-5 star scale, while CJ is in the “good” or “stupid” camp. You can click any photos to enlarge. Take it away, lads…

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Thanks Phil! We’re happy to be back with our next set of uniform rundowns and this time we’ll take a look at all the new kits for this season’s Premier League which kicked off on Friday. Before we go through all the kits, there’s two notable league-wide jersey changes to be aware of – first, the standardized font used for names and numbers of all jerseys in the league has been modified from previous seasons and the colors of the names and numbers will all be one of the five options below. Second, teams are now allowed an advertiser on the left sleeve in addition to the advertiser on the front of the jersey and as a result, the Premier League logo patch will now appear on the right sleeve. If you have any interest in a list of the new sleeve ads, the league has a list here.

And now here are each of the primary, secondary, and in some cases third kits that will be worn this season, accompanied by our ratings as usual.

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Kyle: The Gunners retain their classic primary design, this season with a slightly darker shade of red, and add a light blue to navy gradient as their secondary kit and a dark gray, black, and pink third kit. For me, the primary looks fantastic as usual, I don’t entirely hate this particular gradient but I’m used to Arsenal’s secondary kit involving yellow, and the third isn’t that bad either (I think I would love it if the pink was replaced with red). Rating: 5 stars primary, 3 stars secondary, 3 stars third

CJ: I’m not an Arsenal fan, but I do get particular about their classic design. Red shirt, contrasting white sleeves. Apparently, Puma thinks this means the sleeves go to the shoulders. I think this look is an affront to the Arsenal aesthetic, but I’d still call it good. As for the secondary, what is it with gradients? I hate this trend, as I’ve stated on the blog before. What about the usual yellow? Stupid. Pink on black/slate/shale/whatever (I’m not a color expert, don’t kill me) works for the third but I’m calling it stupid for the barely distinct shoulder thing Puma is doing here.

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Kyle: Bournemouth have an updated version of their classic red and black vertical stripes primary jersey, and a light blue over navy secondary kit as well as a black third with neon green shoulder/sleeve panels complete with “Umbro diamonds”. Great primary look, and the color combination of this secondary kit has become increasingly popular and while this particular uniform is quite a nice look, it does feel more generic than in the past. Don’t get me started on the ridiculous third kit. Rating: 5 stars primary, 4 stars secondary, 1 star third

CJ: Give me stripes! Love the touch of red on the socks. Good. I like the combination of light and dark blue, as well. Good, again. As for the third….do I even have to say it? Stupid.

. . .

Brighton & Hove Albion

Kyle: Newly promoted Brighton will wear their usual blue and white vertical stripes as their primary jersey, an all-yellow with Nike template shoulders as their secondary, and they will carry over an all-black with neon green accents from last season as their third kit. Lovely vertical stripes, I’m tired of that Nike template, and the look is generic but I actually don’t mind neon at all as long as it’s used in small and supporting amounts exactly as in this third kit. Rating: 5 stars primary, 1 star secondary, 3 stars third

CJ: Stripes again, but the socks being a different color continues to bug me. If you’ve been a reader of our reviews, you know that’s a pet peeve of mine. Overall good on the primary, though. The secondary looks like Australia, I’m sorry. The contrasted badge doesn’t help. Stupid. The third is nice, not too offensive, though neon isn’t my favorite. Perhaps a push.

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Kyle: The Clarets have their traditional claret and blue primary look, but this time with a dot gradient design on the shoulder and shorts stripes, and an all-white secondary that features horizontal stripes which actually consist of the word “Clarets” repeated over and over. This color combination has always been one of my favorite looks, but Burnley have dampened my view this season with the dot gradient and the “words as stripes” designs – unless you’re super close you can’t read the words and it just looks like jagged stripes! Rating: 3 stars primary, 2 stars secondary

CJ: GRADIENTS, GO AWAY. Ruining a good thing here. Again. Why. Also, I actually like the “words as stripes” thing, even if the two most known precedents recently are Conor McGregor (known bloviator) and Hosni Mubarak (overthrown President of Egypt). Good.

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Kyle: Chelsea moves to Nike this season, and brings a simple all-blue primary, an almost white but actually a very light blue-ish gray secondary, and although not officially released yet, their third jersey has been leaked which is a newer Nike template in black with a somewhat subtle camo pattern. In my eyes, “no design” is a design and I think it works well here with Chelsea, although I’m not sure what I think of that unique hue on the secondary kit yet. And somewhat subtle sure, but ehh to that “camo” template. Rating: 5 stars primary, 4 stars secondary, 2 stars third

CJ: There’s almost nothing to critique on the primary kit, so that’s a reluctant good. The secondary almost looks like Manchester City if you squint hard enough, so that gets a stupid from me. As for the third, if that camo is easily visible, absolutely stupid.

. . .

Crystal Palace

Kyle: Palace have gone through a few different designs for their primary jersey in recent years, and now return to red and blue vertical stripes with a dash of yellow trim, and also introduce an all-black secondary with a red and blue horizontal stripe. Love the vertical stripes, and I at least like the use of team colors on the black jersey. Rating: 5 stars primary, 3 stars secondary

CJ: Boy that primary is a thing of beauty. The touch of yellow isn’t my thing, but I know it’s a Crystal Palace thing, so I’ll give it a pass. Good. The secondary also rates a good with the incorporation of team colors, as Kyle states. I like the sock design, as well.

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Kyle: Everton drop the yellow from last year’s kits and return to a blue over white primary, this time including navy armpit panels and a shoulder stripe made up of “Umbro diamonds”, and will also wear a secondary kit consisting of greater than one, and less than fifty, shades of gray. I’m not sure which of the those two designs on the primary is more egregious (I understand the parallel of using these diamonds to the Adidas “3 stripes” but somehow this feels/looks worse), and the various grays do nothing for me. After initially writing this up, Everton also released a third jersey with dark navy and purple vertical stripes and yellow accents. I have to admit that my immediate reaction was of disgust, but it’s quickly growing on me. It’s definitely unique and probably the best look of the three, which isn’t saying much at all, but still. Rating: 1 star primary, 1 star secondary, 3 stars third

CJ: Yes, it’s great when players look like a sweaty mess all the time. Umbro, what are you doing? Stupid. I can’t even handle the gray monstrosity that is the secondary. It’s like someone washed an all white kit incorrectly in different loads of laundry. Stupid. The third is…something else. I don’t know what to say about it, actually. Need to see it on the field. Let’s say push.

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Huddersfield Town

Kyle: Huddersfield is also newly promoted to the Premier League and will wear a primary jersey including light blue and white vertical stripes with the Puma dot gradient design, a secondary jersey with a unique ‘flash stripe’ pattern which is actually a modern remake of a fan favorite kit from the early 90’s, and a dark navy kit with pink pinstripes and accents. I actually love the ‘flash’ design, for some reason it just really works for me and I like the idea of remaking a historical kit for their fans. As for the other kits, I’m not a fan of those dot gradients as a part of the vertical stripes, and the pink pinstripes are a solid look. Rating: 2 stars primary, 5+ stars secondary, 4 stars third

CJ: So close to perfection on that primary, but gradients remain the bane of my existence. Begrudging good, if only because the secondary is catastrophic. We need to leave the 90s in the 90s, in my opinion. It was fun, everyone temporarily lost their minds, but we came back to Earth. Stupid. It really says a lot about a kit when pink on black pinstripes is actually an improvement, which is why I call the third good.

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Leicester City

Kyle: Now over a year removed from their improbable title, Leicester have an all-blue and all-black kit, each using the same design of shoulder stripes made up of small gold dots. Their third kit is all-white and also features the same design, but using small blue dots instead of gold. More often than not, I prefer the consistency across multiple kits for the same team and I like the use of gold as a secondary color on the blue and black, now only if we can figure out who at Puma likes dot-based designs so much…Rating: 4 stars primary, 4 stars secondary, 4 stars third

CJ: Leicester are apparently wearing epaulettes like a soldier on parade. This is a weird choice on the primary, but I strangely like it on the secondary. Gold and black go together a bit better, I suppose. Good for all three.

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Kyle: Liverpool is celebrating its 125th anniversary as a club and each of its kits this season are modern remakes of kits worn in previous years to celebrate the team’s history. The primary all-red is darker than the red worn in recent years and is in line with jerseys from the 1970’s, the white secondary jersey features green pinstripes in opposite quarters and was inspired by a 1996 jersey, and the all-neon orange third was drawn from a similar kit worn in the early 2000’s. The primary is beautiful with a nice anniversary logo as well, the original secondary from the 90’s featured solid quarters and I much prefer that to the pinstripes here, and the all-neon is way too much for me and let’s hope this isn’t a trend as Liverpool had an even worse all-neon yellow as their third kit last season. Rating: 5 stars primary, 2 stars secondary, 1 star third

CJ: Hoo boy that primary is a thing of beauty, badge included. Timeless. Good. I think I’ve already stated my feelings on the decade of grunge and wild design, so let’s just say stupid for the secondary. As for the third, I was unaware the Netherlands played in the Premier League. Stupid.

• • •

Thanks lads. Great stuff — and we’ll have Part II of the EPL kits shortly!

More NBA Unis…

Nike and the NBA seem to have (thankfully) taken a break from unveiling new uniforms this week, but there are still a few teams who haven’t yet dropped (officially anyway) their new duds. Below are some of the as-yet-not-officially-released unis:

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You can see many more photos from the NBA Rookie Photo Shoot.

H/T to Josh Frederick for the NBA Rookie Shoot site.

Some Notes from Jerry Reuss

I received a couple e-mails from our pal Jerry Reuss yesterday, one of which relates to yesterday’s lede detailing the Pittsburgh Pirates debuting of their new “bumblebee” uniforms sets at the beginning of the 1977 season.

First was this:

Hi Phil,

Hope this note finds you in good spirits!

Recently, I came across this brief film clip from This Week In Baseball. I pitched and won the suspended game from the day before and started the scheduled game and won…two wins in one day! I only won four games in my career at Wrigley…the last two on August 18, 1982…thirty-five years ago on Friday.

If you feel it’s Uni-Worthy, feel free to add it.

My best,

Jerry Reuss

How great is that? Two wins in a single day — I don’t have a copy of Baseball Reference handy, but I’d venture there weren’t too many pitchers who recorded two wins in one day (and I’d further wager that most of those who did were relievers who ‘lucked’ into the wins). If anyone wants to dig that info up, that’d be great.

After Jerry sent me that note (I didn’t know if he’d seen yesterday’s post or not), I mentioned he was quoted and discussed in it, and he followed up with this:

Just read today’s post featuring Jerry W.’s commentary. As I read it, I remembered a picture that a fan gave me years ago from Opening Day of 1977. If I remember correctly, this was the first pitch of the season. Lou Brock was the Cardinals hitter, Duffy Dyer the catcher, Omar Moreno the CF and Ed Sudol was the HP umpire. According to, the Bucs and the new uniforms had a rather shaky debut.

Brock grounded out (third to first);
Templeton reached on an error by Stennett [Templeton to first];
McBride reached on an error by Reuss [Templeton to third, McBride to first];
Cruz forced McBride (third to second) [Templeton scored (unearned)];
Simmons singled to third [Cruz to second];
Hernandez reached on an error by Stargell [Cruz scored (unearned) (no RBI), Simmons to third, Hernandez to second];
Reitz doubled to right [Simmons scored (unearned), Hernandez scored (unearned)];
Tyson flied out to center;
4 R (0 ER), 2 H, 3 E, 1 LOB. Cardinals 4, Pirates 0.

He also sent along this photo (you can click to enlarge):

That’s from Opening Day, 1977.

Thanks Jerry!

The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsThe Braves will wear 1974 throwback jerseys on Friday and Saturday for Hank Aaron Heritage Weekend. Looks like they’re going all out, including batting helmets. … The Dodgers gave away Gil Hodges bobbleheads (in Brooklyn unis) during last night’s game. Oohh, that blousing (from BSmile). … The White Sox are holding a fan contest to design a T-shirt that will be given away at a game later this season (from Ryan Lindemann). … Eduardo Nunez was traded from the Giants to the Red Sox last month. Since then, he’s continued to wear the orange and back elbow protector he wore with the Giants (from Cory Casden). … The Giants will be wearing an orange cap with a black brim next weekend for “Players Weekend.” But one Lids ad shows an all-orange Giants cap (from @chcknskrtch). … Anyone else remember Dandy, the Yankees’ old mascot? Here he is on the cover of the Yankees’ 1981 scorebook (from Stephen Santangelo). … It looks like Turner Field’s transformation into Georgia State’s football stadium is complete (from Bo Childers). … WWE wrestlers Braun Stroman, Alexia Bliss, and Big Cass visited Yankee Stadium yesterday and got customized jerseys — with NOB (from David Firestone). … Jeepneys are the most popular form of transportation in the Philippines. MBDChicago’s mother has one that is decked out in Cubs logos.

NFL News: Have you ever wanted to get a Los Angeles Chargers tattoo? Now’s your chance to get one for free (from Mike). … The Falcons have a poster in their new locker room describing uniform violations (from Matt Shevin). … Passengers flying Alaska Airlines at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport can get early boarding access if they wear a Russell Wilson Seahawks jersey. …  Monday was the 49th Anniversary of the first CFL game. This is what the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Edmonton Eskimos wore (from Pro Football Journal).

College/High School Football NewsOhio State QB JT Barrett will be going with Roman Numeral OB this season (from Jon Star). … ICYMI from the baseball section:It looks like Turner Field’s transformation into Georgia State’s football stadium is complete (from Bo Childers). … Ewing High School in New Jersey put together a uniform history page for its football team (from Phil Hayes).

Soccer News: Fresno FC, a team that will join USL in 2018, is seeking advice on Twitter as to what to do with their kits (from Aaron Wiens). … Good graphic that shows what some teams Premier League teams were wearing during the league’s first season 25 years ago (from Ted Arnold). … A man was protesting President Trump in front of the Lincoln Memorial yesterday while wearing a USMNT jersey (from James Gilbert).

Grab Bag: South Burlington (Vermont) High School announced earlier this year that it would no longer call itself the Rebels. Now, they’ve unveiled their new nickname — the Wolves (from Jay Pritchard). …New unis for Moorhead High School (Minnesota) Spuds (from Greg Enkers). … Rand Martin found this eclectic mix of pennants at a pizzeria in Olympia, Washington. … NASCAR driver John Hunter Nemechek has a picture of Hulk Hogan on his helmet (from David Firestone). … Where dine-in Pizza Huts used to be a small-town staple, they’re becoming harder and harder to find. So what’s become of the distinctively-shaped buildings? One photographer is trying to find out (also from David Firestone). … With President Trump making his first visit to Trump Tower since Inauguration Day, officials went the extra mile to remove some Trump Organization branding as to avoid conflicts of interest.

That’s it for today — thanks to Kyle & CJ for Part I of their review of the EPL kits

Tomorrow we will have the first round of Griffins Fauxback Jersey voting (with a new polling system — more on that tomorrow), so be sure to check back then. I had close to 120 submissions this year, so we’ll be voting in blocks of 30ish. Some great submissions this time around too!


Remember When There Were No New Uni Unveilings?

[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through Aug. 25, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken, with Jerry Wolper

There was once a time, not that long ago (although in the uni-verse, that’s the stone age) when teams would get new uniforms to little or no fanfare. This may seem like a quaint concept today, when even a new cap, helmet or pair of socks seems to be accompanied by massive social media saturation, a hype video (fortunately no longer set to an Imagine Dragons piece) and usually a bunch of press. But back in the day, many times teams walked off the field one year wearing one set of uniforms, and retook the field the next year wearing a brand new outfit, often to the surprise (and sometimes consternation) of the fans.

Our pal, and frequent Uni Watch contributor, Jerry Wolper (who has worked on several articles with me, and who is responsible for the AMAZING Buc-Tracker Project [writeup] and [project]) will take us back to that time today. Jerry is, among other things, an incredible researcher — frequently scouring hundreds (probably thousands) of archived articles to document his research. We’ll check in with him now as he documents the (lack of) hype over the “Bumblebee” Pirate uniform introductions in the late 1970s. Here’s Jerry

• • •

Let’s just wear new uniforms
By Jerry Wolper

The world has changed a lot in the last forty years. Now, when a team is going to wear a new set of uniforms, it’s a major event, which is nice for those of us who care, even with all the marketing nonsense. When the Pirates switched to their mix-and-match set in 1977, it just happened. I went through the archives of the Pittsburgh Press and Post-Gazette sports sections in the 1976-77 offseason, and here’s what I found:

One October 8, 1976 column about upcoming changes mentioned that the Pirates “will wear new uniforms in 1977,” but the rest of the piece was about personnel moves. And that was it until spring training. The photos of new players (and a new manager) at introductory press conferences had them holding up 1976 jerseys:


When the beat writers got to Bradenton for spring training, they wrote brief descriptions of the new unis; in the Feb. 24 Post-Gazette, Charley Feeney wrote, “[Pirates Vice-President Joe] O’Toole said the Pirates will wear the three uniforms both at home and on the road. The uniform colors are gold shirts and black pants, black shirts and gold pants, and a striped black and gold. The two caps, not included in the uniform price, will be black with gold piping and gold with black piping.”

In that day’s Press, Bob Smizik wrote, “With not one, not two, but three different sets of flashy new uniforms awaiting them, with an enthusiastic new manager greeting them but still without a third baseman, they began. Almost.” since rain kept them off the field. Smizik also quoted O’Toole about charges by the National Association of Uniform Manufacturers that the team was being un-American by ordering uniforms from Japan. “We bought three sets. One was made by an American firm and the other two by a Japanese company. They came up with the best uniform for us. They’ll probably cost us more, but we were interested in quality.”

In a March 1 column, Smizik wrote, “The Pirates will be wearing new uniforms during the coming season and they could pose problems. There are three basic outfits, solid gold, solid black, and a white with a gold and black stripe. But by switching around tops and bottoms (a gold top with black bottoms, etc.) and adding two different colored sweatshirts and hats the Pirates figure they’ll have nine outfits.” He wondered if pitchers, or the team, would become superstitious about wearing unis they’d won in. There was a day where the prototypes were worn and photographed; the AP sent out a picture…

pic 2

…and the April 3 Pittsburgh Press Sunday Roto Magazine had some color photos with other players still wearing the old uniforms; the magazine article itself was about the team. Unfortunately, some tweets with those Roto photos have disappeared.

In the April 6 Press baseball preview, Smizik wrote:

“As for the threads, in one attempt to bring back the fans, the Pirates have gone to three new and completely different sets of uniforms. There is a solid black, a solid gold, and a white with a gold and black pinstrip[sic].

“All three can be worn with each other, and when two different colored hats and sweatshirts are thrown in, the Pirates will be attired as they’ve never been attired before.”

In a Pirate ad in the same preview, new uniforms are apparently a selling point.

On Opening Day, April 7, Feeney wrote in the Post-Gazette:

“The Pirates will be a three-uniform team this season.

“The uniform colors are pin-stripe, black and gold. For today’s inaugural, the players will wear pin-stripe uniform[sic] with black hats and black socks.”

In that afternoon’s Press, Pat Livingston’s column started with

As the Pirates frolicked listlessly through the abbreviated drill that, due to the chilly weather, had been substituted for the regular workout, Jerry Reuss took a dispassionate view of the babel of colors streaking across the tartan-turf outfield.

To accommodate television, which wanted a preview of the Bucs’ tri-color mix-and-match uniforms, Tony Bartirome had outfitted half the squad in the colorful garb the Pirates will wear this year.

Willie Stargell dressed out in solid black. Bill Robinson was in gold pants and a striped jersey. Tommy Helms wore a black shirt over gold pants. Mario Mendoza was in stripes.

“Creeping Finley-ism,” snorted Reuss, the blond iconoclast who started today’s opener against the St. Louis Cardinals.

“Hey, that’s a good line,” a reporter remarked. “I’m going to use it.”

“If you use it,” cautioned Reuss, “credit it to the right person. It’s not my line.”

“It’s not! Whose is it?”

“I don’t know,” admitted Reuss. “Somebody in Boston. A couple of years ago, when they wanted to put an electronic scoreboard in Fenway Park, the Red Sox turned it down. ‘We don’t want that thing’, somebody said. ‘That’s creeping Finleyism.'”

The column ended with:

“Suppose Jerry Reuss were to win six in a row wearing the striped uniform, a writer wondered. What would happen if, on the day of his seventh start, the front office dictated black as the uniform of the day?

“Tanner didn’t hesitate, even to ponder the question.

“‘If any pitcher wins six in a row wearing stripes and he wants to wear stripes, we’ll all wear stripes on the day he pitches,’ declared the Pirate manager.”

Then the season started, and the uniforms didn’t get much attention. There’s much more attention at

• • •

Great job on that Jerry — thanks for researching and investigating this matter. For a set of uniforms that would become “iconic” it’s amazing just how little fanfare was associated with their introduction. We appreciate your bringing this chapter in Pirates uniform history to the fore!

Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Both NYC football teams represented today. This New York Jets helmet buggy in great shape! And wouldn’t this look nice at Uni Watch HQ in Brooklyn. This is a “Cosmo Electric” 14″ New York Giants wall clock , and it “ticks when the battery is inserted,” which is always a plus. But it has “not been tested for accuracy,” so there’s a drawback. Now for the rest of the week:


• Here’s a 1970s MLB “Cricket” table lighter made by Gillette, with all the National League team logos. Don’t know if it works, though.

• For 1970s MLB retro greatness, you can’t beat the Tequila Sunrise AND the Atlanta Braves feather pullover, shown here as part of Majestic’s Cooperstown line.

• Love the helmet looks on these 1970s NFL stickers.

• IMO, the Mariners should have never ditched this logo. Their 1980s trident is showcased on this promo seat cushion.

• This 1970s Phillies mascot doll (Phil) is still in fine shape given his age.

• Nice looking set of 1970s Houston Oilers wristbands, still in the package.

• Interesting wooden drink coasters with drawings of NFL players from the 1970s, including Terry Bradshaw of the…Pittsburg Steelers.

• This Canada Dry bumper sticker says, “PATS FEVER: Together We Can Make It.” It doesn’t say what the “it” is, though.

• More Pats: here’s a set of those smoked drink glasses that every NFL team had in the 1970s- these are for the Patriots and include a sticker for Schaefer Stadium. The interesting thing there to me is that I didn’t know for the longest time that Schaefer was a beer. Same thing with Rich (dairy) Stadium in Buffalo, and Ericsson (cell) Stadium in Charlotte. Schaefer and Rich were regional naming rights deals, and Ericsson phones hadn’t landed in my market as yet.

• Here’s a 1970s NFL brass belt buckle– who could the QB be for #16? It would be too early for Montana.

Griffins Jersey Contest Reminder – LAST CALL

In case you missed it, I’m again hosting a jersey design contest in conjunction with the Grand Rapids Griffins (an AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings). All the details are contained in this post.

The deadline for getting your submission in to me is TODAY August 15 (at 6:00 pm Eastern Time), and we’ll have reader voting on the concept jerseys beginning on August 17th! Last year we had 85 entries and I’d expect we’ll equal or surpass that this year. Prizes include a custom jersey based on your design and tickets to the game that the Griffins will be playing in the jerseys you designed! No entries will be accepted after the 6:00 EASTERN DAYLIGHT TIME deadline. Thanks!

StripeRite discount reminder: Paul here. In case you missed it yesterday, you can now use the checkout code uniwatch to get a 15% discount on any orders from the first, second, and third batches of StripeRite socks. The code is good through Aug. 31.

Word to the wise: We have low stock on most of the designs from the first two batches. Once those are gone, they are likely gone for good.

• • • • •

LAST CALL for the Titans contest: Paul here (again). Today is the final day to submit entries for my Titans-redesign contest. Full details here.

The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: Blue Jays infielder Ryan Goins said that the team has decided to stop wearing its Sunday red jerseys. He said the team’s 2-7 record in red this year is to blame. The Jays are actually 3-5 in the alternates, but several of the losses were particularly lopsided (from Michael Duffy). … In case we missed it, the Astros and Rangers wore 1999 throwbacks on Saturday to honor their respective newly inducted hall of famers, Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez. Delino DeShields, Jr., seems to have worn his regular Rangers home uniform, though (from Michael Miller and @igTXSalazar). … Last Friday, the Akron RubberDucks wore jerseys that were designed by patients at a local children’s hospital (from David Fisher). … A little late, but Brent Fountain created a few jersey T-shirt mashups for a Red Sox-Astros game during Fathers’ Day weekend.

NFL News: New Rams WR Sammy Watkins is wearing No. 2 this preseason. Single-digit numbers are not allowed for receivers during the regular season (from Tris Wykes). … Unlike the regular season, NFL teams have locally produced preseason telecasts that feature different graphics and on-screen scoreboards depending on what station on which they are airing. … As you can see in this video clip from 1983, the Giants wore black armband stripes that season as a memorial to Bob Ledbetter, the offensive backfield coach of the Giants, who died during that October. Here’s another look at the stripe (from Brian Wulff).

College Football News: Hawaii has new green matte helmets (from Phil). … New unis for Louisiana Monroe. … New gold jerseys for Texas State (from Brant Freeman). … New away uniforms for Colgate (from Andrew DeFrank). … Tennessee QB Quinten Dormady says he’ll wear loose sleeves this season, much like what Peyton Manning used to do when he was a Volunteer (from @keyvon212). … Ohio State QB JT Barrett IV will go RNOB this year. He did not last year (from Mark McClure).

Hockey News: New jerseys for the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL. I dig that cartoonish logo, plus that OHL logo is delightfully dated (from Wade Heidt). … Also from Wade: New jerseys for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL.

NBA News: Bruno Mars had an outdated customized Pacers jersey for his show in Indianapolis on Sunday night. Mars and his fellow performers wore jerseys at previous stops along the 24K Magic World Tour (from Alex). … The NBA released the season schedule yesterday. The Magic used a lot of whipped cream pies to reveal theirs.

College Hoops News: You can vote for your favorite Syracuse basketball uniform. The Derrick Coleman-era orange unis were pretty good (from Phil). … The University of Illinois simplified its logo.

Mike Schmidt? Hammerin’ Hank? The Homerun King?

[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through Aug. 25, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken, with Frank McGuigan

“Why is today’s splash photo a tweet?” you may ask. The answer lies below.

Back on July 14th, when the Phillies were about to play a throwback game against the Brewers (wearing their powder blue road uniforms from 1982), Frank McGuigan (a Uni Watch reader and ticker contributor) tweeted to Paul and me a 1983 Donruss baseball card featuring Mike Schmidt, only Schmidt wasn’t wearing his regular #20, but instead was photographed in what appears to be uniform number 37. Frank’s text accompanying the baseball card said, “Celebrating ’82 tonight. The year Schmidt didn’t have his jersey on baseball card picture day.”

Intrigued at this potential “uni mystery” I asked Frank if he knew more and if so, would he be able to elaborate. He didn’t let me down! Below, then, is the story of how Michael Jack Schmidt came to wear the “wrong” jersey on his 1983 Donruss card. Here’s Frank:

• • • • • •

Mike Schmidt? Hammerin’ Hank? The Homerun King?
by Frank McGuigan

Schmidt 83 Donruss

In 1986, at the end of sixth grade, I had a new neighbor move in across the street from me. His name was, and still is, Rob Tola. My baseball card collecting had been very light up until that point in my life. I had a small box of various cards that I kept in my closet. Rob, on the other hand, had been collecting for quite some time. His welcome-himself-to-the-neighborhood gift to me was ripping me off of my Wade Boggs and Tony Fernandez 1984 Fleer cards. He salivated once he got a gander of what I had in the box. He gave me seven crappy cards that included an unmint 1984 Topps Pete Rose and a 1986 Topps Don Baylor. He sold Baylor to me by telling me he was going to break the Major League HBP record; also that he was trading me SEVEN cards for just two. No, I’m not still bitter.

Anyway, for Christmas that year my parents bought me a complete set of 1986 Topps cards, which Rob repeatedly asked me to break up to trade him Don Mattingly and Eric Davis. I didn’t fall for it. But, that is the year that my card collecting got off the ground. I wised-up a bit and hit the ground running. Of course, this was also about the time baseball cards flooded the market and started to ruin the hobby. Give me a 1987 Topps name and I can tell you what the card looks like.

Mike Schmidt was my favorite player as a kid. So, I made it a quest to obtain every Mike Schmidt baseball card I could get my hands on. Rob and I went to baseball card shows, collectibles stores… any place we could get our hands on some cards. It was during one of those trips to a baseball card show that I obtained the 1983 Donruss Mike Schmidt.

That night, armed with new cards, Rob and I began reorganizing our card books in my room, as we had done quite frequently. We took a closer look at the Donruss card and wondered whose jersey Schmidt was wearing on this card. This being 1987, we did not have the luxury of the internet. I had an electronic paperweight called the Commodore 64. And we sure as hell weren’t stepping foot in a library. But as it turned out, I had all the information in my room that would allow us to make an educated guess.

I attended a few Phillies games each year and I always made it a point to, at the very least, get a yearbook every year. Most all card collectors knew back then that anything on a particular year’s card had all of the previous year’s info on it, including the picture. Many times, the pictures appeared to be from the previous year’s Spring Training. If my memory serves me correctly, the Phils wore their regular uniforms during Spring Training games back in the 80s. So, we went to the 1982 yearbook. All we knew was the jersey appeared to be number 37 and the name on the back was short and ended with a G.

From here it was a rather simple process. We went straight to the team picture looking for anyone with those credentials. Only one guy popped up. It was Batting Practice Pitcher, Hank King. We had no idea who he was. He appeared nowhere else in any publication. However, we only had a short name that ended with a G. Because for some reason, the Phillies weirdly wore their team jackets for that year’s team picture and King had his zippered all the way to the top. Thanks, Hank.



We did not know if King even had a jersey. Did they give one to a Batting Practice Pitcher who made $15 a day? They are not officially recorded in team number history in the media guide for the Phillies. So, we took a shot and went to the 1983 yearbook.

Thankfully, in the 1983 team picture, the Phils ditched the jackets. And there was King again in the picture, clearly wearing a jersey. However, the number on the jersey is blocked by Alejandro Sanches sitting in front of him. But that is a good thing, because as I recently discovered, Stan Bahnsen was issued number 37 when he came up to the Phils on September 1, 1982 and King probably had a different jersey by then. It does prove though, that King was issued a jersey and was most likely wearing one under that jacket in the 1982 team photo.



There are a few people out there who believe, or want to believe, that Schmidt is wearing a Ryne Sandberg jersey on the card. Sandberg had a cup of coffee with the Phils in 1981 and wore number 37, before Dallas Green fleeced the Phils that winter as General Manager of the Cubs . However, the G in Sandberg would have come much farther past the 7 on the back of the jersey. Plus, why would the Phils carry around a Sandberg jersey on the road with them the next season? It’s not a Sandberg jersey.


For close to 30 years, there had been no official confirmation that this is Hank King’s jersey, or why Schmidt was even wearing it. It was just a very educated, common sense guess on our part. Was he just taking BP in a t-shirt when the Donruss people showed up for a picture? I could hear them asking him to get his jersey on and him saying, “I’m Mike Schmidt. I’m hitting right now. I’m not going back to the locker room and getting my jersey. Hank, give me your jersey.” Or maybe he wanted to pay homage to the man who was his long-time BP pitcher since 1975?

After tweeting the card on July 14th, I began to re-research the card to see if I could come to any definitive conclusion. I found a couple other people who appear to have done the same detective work Rob and I did. Again though, no story as to why he’s wearing it.

IMG_6488 hank king

Additionally, we believe back in those days, jerseys were recycled and not kept by players when they left the team. So I checked the heights and weights of Sandberg, King and Bahnsen,on Baseball Reference to see if they’d all potentially fit the same jersey: Sandberg 6’1”, 175; King 6’2”, 195; Bahnsen 6”2, 185. Certainly seems plausible. And the timeline of when it’s believed the picture was taken indicates that number 37 was available for King (January 27, 1982 to September 1, 1982).

I was able to find Hank King on Facebook, and I did reach out to him for confirmation and the story. However, my message has not been read yet. It does not appear Hank has been active on Facebook for quite some time, so it may not come to fruition.

Rob and I also reached out to Phillies broadcaster, Tom McCarthy. On home weekends, McCarthy and Mike Schmidt work the television broadcasts for the Phillies. I have gotten responses from McCarthy before. But at the time, the Phillies were on the road. We figured we’d probably have to wait until they were back home for any chance at a response. We decided reminding him while he was broadcasting with Schmidt was the best course of action. McCarthy is a uniform nut like us, so he could be on top of it.

And then it happened. At 9:56 PM on July 22, 2017, we got confirmation from the man himself, via Tom McCarthy.


The jersey Mike Schmidt was wearing was in fact Hank King’s. The Phillies went on the road and forgot to take Schmidt’s jersey with them. What? Now, if I were a real reporter, and not just a fan tweeting a broadcaster during a game, I would have had a ton of follow-up questions. For instance, of all the people’s jersey’s to forget, how could it be the one of the reigning two-time MVP and future Hall of Famer? Seems to me King’s jersey would be the more acceptable one to forget. Also, why of all days, did Donruss choose to use the picture from that day for his baseball card? Was this a regular season game? The list goes on.

However, even without all the additional answers, there are three major developments that were resolved here. First, Mike Schmidt is wearing Hank King’s jersey on the card. Second, He was wearing it because the Phillies simply forgot to bring his to a road game. Finally, and most importantly, I did reobtain the Wade Boggs and Tony Fernandez 1984 Fleer cards in a trade for a 1987 Topps Jose Canseco. They remain in my card book to this day.

IMG_6500 IMG_6499

From the Phils 2004 Media Guide:


You can follow Frank on Twitter @FrankMcGuigan; Additional articles on Hank King can be found here, here, and here.

• • • • • •

Great research, Frank! And thanks for solving another “uni mystery” out there. Well done, sir.

New NBA Uni Update

On Friday, several teams unveiled new uniforms for the 2017-18 NBA Season. Johnny Ek showed you two of them (Lakers & Spurs) on Saturday, but in case you missed it, here’s who unveiled on Friday:


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Griffins Jersey Contest Reminder – TWO Days Left

In case you missed it, I’m again hosting a jersey design contest in conjunction with the Grand Rapids Griffins (an AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings). All the details are contained in this post.

The deadline for getting your submission in to me is this TUESDAY August 15 (at 6:00 pm Eastern Time), and we’ll have reader voting on the concept jerseys beginning on August 17th! Last year we had 85 entries and I’d expect we’ll equal or surpass that this year. Prizes include a custom jersey based on your design and tickets to the game that the Griffins will be playing in the jerseys you designed!

NEW StripeRite discount: Paul here. From now through the end of the month, you can use the discount code uniwatch to get a 15% discount on any orders from the first, second, and third batches of StripeRite socks. The code is good through Aug. 31.

Word to the wise: We have low stock on most of the designs from the first two batches. Once those are gone, they are likely gone for good.

• • • • •

Titans redesign reminder: Paul here (again). Today is the next-to-last day to submit entries for my Titans-redesign contest. Full details here.

• • • • •

Naming Wrongs update: Paul here (still). Last week I told you about some new Naming Wrongs designs for Boston Garden, the Metrodome, the Aud, and Foxboro. Today I have a new batch to tell you about. One at a time:

Igloo: I was excited to do some designs for the Igloo, in part because “igloo” is such a fun, playful word. Scott Turner did a nice job of capturing that in the shirts that we’re offering. First we have a basic type version, available in four designs: black with gold type, black with gold/white type, grey, and — my favorite — navy:

Then we have an illustrated version, available in seven treatments: black with white type, black with gold type, gold, navy, grey with black type, grey with light blue type, and grey with navy type:

Forum: We wanted to do a series of shirts for the Forum. They’re available in English (red, white, and grey) and French (once again in red, white, and grey):

Rainbow Dome: I had previously announced the launch of a bunch of designs for the Astrodome. At some point we added some designs with rainbow striping, which I don’t think I ever formally announced, so here they are, in navy, white, and navy with striped lettering:

All of these designs are now available in the Naming Wrongs shop. They’re also cross-listed in the Uni Watch shop, where card-carrying members can get 15% off. (If you’re a member and need the discount code, send me a note and I’ll hook you up.) Major, major thanks to my collaborator, Scott M.X. Turner, who’s been working really hard on these.

The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: ICYMI: The Reds and Brewers wore Negro League throwbacks on Saturday. … Sounds like Indians players enjoyed wearing blood-clot throwbacks this weekend almost as much as we enjoyed looking at them (from Jason Hillyer). … Unfortunately, the Tribe and Rays played a much more drab blue-on-blue game yesterday (from Robert Hayes). … Matt Garza must have missed a button yesterday (from David Hartman). … The Cubs and Diamondbacks went color-on-color last night (from Scott Criscuolo). … Speaking of, the Orioles and A’s went color-on-color on Saturday night (from Andrew Cosentino). … Pro Football Journal found this shot of Rangers pitcher David Clyde wearing painted blue cleats in 1973-74. Anyone know if this was commonplace for the 1970s Rangers? (From Alex Melendez). … The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp wore jerseys designed by artist Guy Harvey yesterday (from Vincent Wong). … Check out these Perfect Game USA helmets (from Megan Brown).

Pro Football NewsThe Seahawks took the field yesterday wearing a memorial decal for Hall-of-Famer Cortez Kennedy, who died in May (from Big Ed). … This piece breaks down why some members of the Washington Redskins chose not to wear Nike cleats (from Tom Turner). … Color-on-color last night between the Edmonton Wildcats and the Calgary Colts of the Canadian Junior Football League (from Wade Heidt).

College/High School Football News: Looks like Western Michigan may be taking a more traditional approach to their jerseys this season (from The Beer Baron). … The Citadel will have updated jerseys this season (from Will Chitty). … New jerseys this season for Valdosta State University (from Chris Chao). … Texas has the old NFL logo displayed in its new football facility (from Alex). … New uniforms for Chaparral High School in Arizona (from John Germinaro‏).

NBA NewsICYMI: The NBA has updated the championship collar tab on the back of jerseys. … A towing company in Orlando is poaching the Magic’s logo (from Jon Solomonson). … The Minnesota Lynx unveiled a new logo on Saturday, and it takes inspiration from the Timberwolves’ new logo (from Kevin Brown). … Lots of good stuff in this old Knicks/Celtics photos: Taped ankles in Chuck Taylors, and an old-school knee brace. But the best part? Tom “Satch” Sanders tattered Celtics shorts. “Back in the day when team ownership announced to its players that they were going to get “new” uniforms, they actually meant new uniforms,” said Ray Hund.

Soccer NewsIn an El Clasico matchup yesterday, Barcelona wore their traditional blues while Real Madrid wore teal change kits. It’s almost like two teams going blue-on-blue in Game 7 of the World Series (from Rip Van Whiskey). … Speaking of El Clasico, one fan had the audacity to take both sides (from Kieran Canning). … The keeper for Lille OSC was red-carded yesterday, so one of the players already on the pitch had to take over in net. Because he had to wear the keeper’s jersey and didn’t have time to change shorts, he had mismatching numbers (from Robert Porch). … Loja CD, a fourth-tier team in Spain, wore jerseys with shrimp on them yesterday (from George Rafael).

Grab BagI think Paul would agree with this article from an August 8th, 1903, issue of The Afro-American: “For purple is the most dangerous color there is.” (From Jim Nedelka). … It’s not often you see numbers featured so prominently on the front of a hockey jersey. These shots of the Boston Bruins were taken in either the late 1930s for early 1940s (from Back Afta This).