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Uni Watch Profiles: Jon Springer

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In a world full of strife and vice, thank god we can take refuge in web sites like Jon Springer’s Mets by the Numbers. Yeah, I know there’s been a lot of Mets coverage around here lately, and that some of you have probably had enough of it already, but trust me on this one: You don’t have to be a Mets fan to appreciate Springer’s amazing site, which is easily the most uni-numerically obsessive spot on the internet.

Springer’s been running the site for seven years, during which time he’s delved into long-running mysteries (what number did Mike Bishop wear in 1983?), kept track of oddities (Jeff McKnight wore five different numbers as a Met), and basically documented a key aspect of the team’s history.

I’ve corresponded with Springer since about 2000, but I hadn’t met him until earlier this year, when he attended the Uni Watch Athletics Aesthetics Party. We’ve hung out a few times since then, including a few weeks ago, when we got together in Brooklyn to discuss his project over a few beers, burgers, and fries. He brought along a bunch of the original notes he compiled while setting up his web site (look here, here, here, here, and here). When you see all this handwritten stuff, you start to realize what a Herculean task Springer undertook, which makes his site that much more impressive.

The interview is pretty long, but stick with it, even if you don’t care about the Mets — the issues we discussed would apply pretty much to any team.

Uni Watch: How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living?

Jon Springer: I’m 40, I live in Brooklyn, and I’m an editor at a trade publication.

UW: Are you a lifelong Mets fan?

JS: Yes. My older brother and dad were Mets fans, so I was born into it.

UW: What’s your earliest memory of being interested in uniform numbers — either the Mets’ numbers or uni number in general?

JS: I tended to notice them, I guess, as a kid. Like, my older brother, he’s as big a fan, and as knowledgeable, as I am, but he doesn’t know anything about uniform numbers. But I remember numbers, for some reason.

UW: Were you poring over the roster in your scorecard when you were a kid, taking note of everyone’s number?

JS: Not necessarily. But when I was a kid, my friends and I were into baseball cards, and we’d draw our own cards, and we wanted them to look authentic, so you had to include the player’s number in there. You couldn’t just draw Jerry Koosman — he had to have “36” on his jersey. So that probably had something to do with it. I just associated the players with their numbers.

UW: Did you play Little League or youth sports, and was your number important to you?

JS: I only played a few years of Little League, and they gave us numbers based on height.

UW [incredulous]: You mean, like, the shortest kid was No. 1?

JS: You got it. I was No. 3 once, and No. 4 twice.

UW: So were you thinking, “Cool, I’m Bud Harrelson, or Rusty Staub“?

JS: A little bit, but it was also like, “Oh, I’m the scrawniest kid.” Bud Harrelson was cooler in the Met pantheon than me being the third-shortest kid was in Little League.

UW: Are you number-centric in general? Like, are you particularly good at math?

JS: No.

UW: Do you have a lucky number?

JS: No.

UW: Do you play the lottery?

JS: I had a job in high school, working in a senior citizens’ apartment complex. One of my jobs was to run errands for the residents, and I often had to go buy lottery tickets for them. I would play 6, 10, 13, 17, 18, and 37. June 10th is my birthday, so that’s the 6 and the 10, and 13 was this number I sort of connected with, as slacker high school kid, I guess. But the other numbers were for the Mets: 17 and 18 were for Hernandez and Strawberry, and 37 was for Casey Stengel.

UW: Oooh, very nice. Now, when did you start tracking and documenting the Mets’ uniform numbers? Were you doing this before the web site existed?

JS: I started the web site just because I was interested in starting a web site. I always thought that I knew what all the numbers were — which turned out to be wrong, but still, I thought I knew. And I had just gotten my first personal computer, and I felt like there was this thing going on, the internet, and I wanted to participate. I was inspired by this web site about Bobby Valentine — it’s not up anymore, but it was really good, really smart. And it occurred to me that the internet was a good place to do a project that had a narrow focus and could be obsessive.

UW: I wouldn’t know anything about that myself.

JS: So I thought about might work on the internet. At one point I thought about doing a site about Turk Wendell. And then in the summer of 1998, I came up with the idea of accumulating an all-time numerical Mets roster — sort of for my own knowledge and sort of for this web project I was envisioning. That Thanksgiving, I ruptured my Achiles tendon, and I was in a cast and on crutches. So with nothing to do, I started going through my dad’s files. He’s a cartoonist, and he did a lot of sports-related material during his career, so I went through all his old yearbooks and scorecards. And I took this yellow pad of paper and wrote, “1,” and wrote down everyone who wore than number, and then “2,” and so on — just to kinda get started.

UW [astonished]: You weren’t doing this on your newly purchased PC?

JS: No. I’m still not good at data collection or data management. Really, the whole thing’s on paper. So that’s sort of where it started.

UW: Do you still have that original yellow pad?

JS: No, I threw it away a few years ago when I moved. But I have photos of it. Anyway, once I got started, it happened pretty quickly.

UW: And when did the web site go live?

JS: February 1999. I used the WYSIWYG program and Netscape Communicator. That’s what I still use! I’m not a web site designer or database manager — I’m a writer. So I was working hard on the text part of the site, and stealing photographs, scanning photographs from yearbooks and all that other shit that I had. And basically, what I was trying to do was to write enough text to surround the pictures, because I didn’t know how to resize photos. [Laughs.] I still don’t know much of that stuff.

UW: So the site in those early days looked a lot like it still looks today?

JS: Very much so. One reason it never changed is that I had no design software, I didn’t have lots of fonts. But my thing was that I wanted to write a history of the Mets and incorporate this numerical concept. So the site started on February 2nd, 1999, and at that point I was missing 150 players who I had no idea what number they wore. It was very unsophisticated compared to what it is today.

UW: Did you get reaction relatively quickly? Did people find the site?

JS: Yeah, but slowly. I still get e-mails from people saying, “Holy shit, where did this come from, it’s great!” And I’m like, “Yeah, it’s only been up for seven years.” I guess I didn’t do a very good job linking out. I’m not a link whore. I think if I had been more proactive, I’d probably get more hits.

UW: But it sounds like you probably did this as much for yourself as for anyone else.

JS: That’s probably true. Y’know, a lot of people ask, “Link to my site” — like, when I started the page, it seemed like everyone had a “Links” section on their site, and they’d like to everyone. But I decided I was gonna be…

UW: A little more discriminating?

JS: Exactly. “Links That Don’t Suck,” only. Fuck the rest of ’em. I don’t mean to come off as elitist — if I like it, I’ll link to it. But if I don’t like it… That’s why I don’t get as many hits.

UW: Okay, now sometimes it’s hard to document what number someone’s been wearing, especially if a guy’s been riding the Triple-A shuttle up and and down all season and they haven’t always given him the same number each time. How do you track down these things?

JS: I have to say that readers who found the site have been more helpful than I would have been on my own. I encountered a small handful of people who were more obsessive about this stuff than I ever could have hoped to be.

UW: Was that a comedown for you? Were you like, “Shit, I thought I was The Man, but now it turns out I’m not The Man after all”?

JS: Nah, as long as they didn’t publish a web site first! But remember, my thing was that I was trying to write, not just research. Anyway, it was through the help of a few readers who were really meticulous and demanded that I make changes — fix this, revise this — that I began to realize what I was doing was actually valuable.

UW: You mean you realized you were documenting history?

JS: Yeah. It helped me realize that uniform numbers are more than just ways to remember players — they’re bookmarks. A player wears a certain number for a certain period of time and that defines them for that time, because only one player can wear that number on that team. And if they change it, there’s a story there, which is cool from a writing standpoint. You could reverse-engineer the whole history of uniform numbers and find transactions and trades. And that didn’t really dawn on me until readers started getting in touch and breaking down who wore what number right down to the exact date. So that’s when I realized I was creating a moving history of the team, not just a list of numbers.

UW: I know readers send you a lot of stuff — recently, I saw someone sent you a scorecard that showed Dan Frisella wearing No. 29 in 1969 [instead of his later 34], and another time someone sent you video of Jesse Orosco wearing No. 61 in 1979 [instead of his customary 47]. How’d he get that video?

JS: I have no idea. But the Orosco story was one of the very first queries I had about the web site. This guy wrote to me and said, “Jesse Orosco wore No. 61 for his Mets debut.” And I was like, “Really? Prove it.” And he couldn’t document it — he just remembered. And actually, it was documented in this book, called This Date in Mets History by Dennis D’Agostino, who I think was a PR intern with the Mets. The book included uniform numbers, and it included Orosco wearing 61. What it didn’t include was any context. Why would Orosco wear No. 61? And that became one of the several holy grails on the site.

UW: So what was the story behind that?

JS: I knew and trusted the guy who told me about Orosco, so I put a note on the site, saying I was pretty sure it was true and asking if anyone could document it. And sure as shit, some guy wrote in and said he had the scorecard from the first game of the 1979 season, because he was there. And later, another guy sent me video stills. The thing is, Orosco wasn’t even supposed to be on the team. The team was in the dying days of the DeLouret ownership, and they were cutting costs all over the place — there weren’t even trying. And they released all these players at the end of spring training, including Nelson Briles, and that’s how Orosco made the team. And that’s why he was wearing a stinky spring training jersey with no name on the back — it was a last-minute thing.

UW: What were some other holy grails?

JS: I’ve got this one reader — he doesn’t like his name published, so let’s just say he’s a professor at a Midwestern college. And he’s obsessed with the Mets’ numbers. He says he used to call the Mets every time a new player joined the team to ask what number the guy’d be wearing, and they would tell him. Anyway, he’s come up with a lot of surprising but accurate discoveries, including one about Roger Craig. The story there is that Roger Craig changed his number from 38 to 13 to stop a 19-game losing streak in 1963. But what nobody knows — except this professor guy and me, and now everyone who reads this interview — is that for one game in 1963, he borrowed Tracy Stallard’s No. 36 jersey. And he went out and lost. So the Mets actually had two guys who wore the same number.

UW: But what did Stallard wear that day?

JS: Well, he wouldn’t have pitched, because he was a starter and it wasn’t his day.

UW: Yeah, but what’d he wear sitting in the dugout?

JS: I don’t know. I don’t even know if that’s legal or whatever.

UW: How did you confirm that?

JS: I ended up finding it in a Sporting News article. The problem was, at first I couldn’t confirm it, and my policy at the time was to publish only stuff that I could be sure of. And the guy, the professor guy, was like, “Aw, c’mon, you’ve gotta put it in there, I know it’s true.” But hey, I don’t know if it’s true — I’m trying to adhere to certain standards, y’know? And you don’t wanna get to the point where you’re basically taking orders from your readers and they’re telling you what to do.

UW: Is the Mets front office aware of you, and have you ever consulted them for research assistance?

JS: They know about the project, I think. I left a message several years ago for Charlie Samuels [the equipment manager], trying to get a phone interview with him — never heard back. I’ve written to Jay Horowitz [the PR director] a few times, because if I call to ask for anything, they say, “Send a fax to Jay Horowitz,” so I’ve done that a few times. I’ve always gotten a response, which is usually, y’know, “Good luck with your project.”

UW: Have they ever come to you, asking for your help in documenting some aspect of the team’s history?

JS: No.

UW: Have they ever hassled you about using the Mets name or anything like that?

JS: Absolutely not. They’ve been good about that. And I’ve ripped off hundreds of photos from their yearbooks, without permission, and I thank them for that.

UW: What’s it like when you’re on vacation, or traveling overseas? Like, are you freaking out knowing that the team is making roster moves and you’re not around to keep your finger on the uni-numeric pulse, so to speak?

JS: Sometimes, yeah. I remember being in Europe for a few weeks in 2001, when they released Rickey Henderson, and yeah, I wished I was home so I could update the site. But at the same time, I don’t know how many people really care about that on a day-to-day basis, y’know?

UW: Is your head completely wired for Mets numbers? Like, if you’re at a motel and they give you room No. 20, do you instinctively think of Tommie Agee?

JS [simultaneously]: Howard Johnson? [Mutual laughter.] Yeah, to a certain extent. The PIN for my ATM card is a Mets-related number, too.

UW: Do you follow other teams’ numbers, or even notice them, or just the Mets?

JS: I notice when there are unusual numbers on other teams. Like Josh Towers, who wears a single-digit number, even though he’s a pitcher. I notice that kind of thing.

UW: What if a Mets pitcher did that?

JS: That would be really historic. Cory Lidle wore No. 11, as you know [actually, I didn’t], and that’s the lowest number any Mets pitcher has ever worn. At one time, actually, all the Met pitchers wanted to wear numbers in the teens, but Sid Fernandez wouldn’t go for it [because he wore No. 50, in honor of his native Hawaii, just as Benny Agbayani later did].

UW: Are you a memorabilia guy? Like, do you have a bunch of jerseys with cool numbers?

JS: No, I’m not a collector.

UW: Which teams do you think have the best-looking uniform numbers?

JS: You mean the actual numerals, the font?

UW: Yeah, is that something you look at too?

JS: The Red Sox have an excellent look. The “4” is pretty normal-looking, but then the “3” has those cool angles, kind of pointy — I like that. Then there’s that minor league team with the uneven numbers…

UW: The Quad Cities Swing? Man, that’s a nightmare. What about the Phillies’ numbers, with their rounded edges?

JS: Yeah, uh, I kinda like the Mets’ numbers better.

UW: I’ve been watching some Angels games recently, and damn, their numbers look great.

JS: Yeah, they’ve really improved their uniform over the past few years. Think back to how horrible it was with the fucking wings….

UW: Don’t even get me started. Now, your wife isn’t a sports fan, right?

JS: That isn’t necessarily true.

UW: Well, that’s what she told me.

JS: Well, if I was hit by a bus tomorrow, she probably wouldn’t care about how the Mets did as much as she does now, that’s true. She’d probably remarry a non-sports fan.

UW: So does this project of yours put a strain on your relationship?

JS: She’s very supportive of it, actually. So we’re at the point where we don’t necessarily share the “dying for the Mets” thing, but she never turns me down when I tell her to come to a game, and…

UW: Wait a minute — you tell her to come to a game?

JS [laughing]: You know, ask her, whatever. Like, she’s not the one who comes home and says, “I’ve got Mets tickets for tonight” — I’m the one who does that. Anyway, she’s been very encouraging about my pursuing this project to the extent that I have. Although she thinks I spend too much time on the internet. I do spend a lot of time and energy on this.

UW: I wouldn’t know anything about that either. What about friends and family?

JS: My dad’s really into it. He thinks it’s, like, the greatest web site ever.

UW: So he’s proud of you. But what about the older brother you mentioned?

JS: He likes it, I guess. But he doesn’t really care about uniform numbers.

UW: What about people at work? Do they all know about your site?

JS: Yeah, some of them. What I don’t like is being introduced to people as “the guy with the web site.” I’d be just as happy if people didn’t know.

UW: Anything we haven’t covered?

JS: Yeah, I was thinking about this on the way over. I play on softball team, and I don’t have a consistent number. I wore 7 this year — I guess that’s for Reyes. A couple of years ago I wore 5, for Shinjo. I’ve worn 13, 17 — basically, I don’t have a favorite number. But I’m looking for one. The other day I was outside and I was thinking, “24 would be a cool number.” It’s not retired by the Mets, but it’s semi-retired, for Willie Mays.

UW: Yeah, but then they unretired it, for Rickey, and Mays raised a big stink [because original team owner Joan Payson had supposedly promised him that the number would never be used again, although it was never officially retired]. Willie was so out of line there — he played a whopping season and a half for the Mets, big deal. The Giants retired his number, so isn’t that enough?

JS: The Mets don’t always seem to be great stewards of their own history. They do some weird shit. They overdo some things, they overlook other things. And I imagine it’s because interns must run the whole show there.

UW: I think it’s also because the Wilpons are much more interested in highlighting their era of ownership than the Payson era. Like the Shea Stadium 40th anniversary patch featured those neon figurines on the outside of the stadium, which is fine, but they could have just as easily designed the patch so it also showed those blue and orange metal panels that used to be on the stadium’s exterior. But when Wilpon and Doubleday bought the team, one of the first things they did was to get rid of those panels. It was their way of saying, “This is our stadium now.” So they wouldn’t show the panels on the patch either, even though that was the stadium’s graphic signature for years.

JS: Good point.

UW: Last question: You’ve just been traded to the New York Mets. What number do you ask for?

JS: Today I’m gonna say 24.

UW: Because of Willie Mays?

JS: Because, because I don’t have a favorite number, goddamn it. Maybe my favorite number would be the one they’d issue me, and I’d say, “Hey, that’s it — this is my favorite number.” Things just happen, y’know? You don’t always make them happen.

————-

Well put. Big thanks to Jon for his time and insights, and to everyone who’s read all the way to the end. The next Uni Watch Profiles subject will be Joe Hilseberg, who used to work in the Baltimore shop that sewed all the numbers and letters on the Orioles’ and Ravens’ jerseys. Look for that interview in the next week or two.

 

73 comments to Uni Watch Profiles: Jon Springer

  • Robert | September 8, 2006 at 8:30 am |

    Springer’s website is amazing. We need someone with that level of obsession about his local team’s numbers in every Major League city. I would love to see a similar site on the Reds.

  • jesse | September 8, 2006 at 8:33 am |

    No patch on the Steelers jersey last night, awesome. I always thought the Pats were lame ass for doing that every year.

  • Bill Campbell | September 8, 2006 at 8:46 am |

    Tried to watch the Oregon State – Boise State game last nite. Between the Boise State all blue uniforms, the blue field, and OSU’s ugly uniforms it was pretty much eye strain city. My head still hurts.

  • Sean | September 8, 2006 at 8:51 am |

    Did anyone catch Joey Porter’s yellow shoelaces last night? I noticed someone wearing them early in the game but it was clear who had them on when he was racing in for a touchdown after his interception late in the game.

  • Richard | September 8, 2006 at 9:24 am |

    Didn’t see Porter’s shoelaces, but can someone tell me what was with the orange and white shoes the Dolphins were wearing? And if they’re going to go with that design, everyone should wear them, and not 1/2 in orange and 1/2 in black.

    Dolphin’s Fins

  • todd krevanchi (krvanch) | September 8, 2006 at 9:24 am |

    [quote comment=”7920″]Tried to watch the Oregon State – Boise State game last nite. Between the Boise State all blue uniforms, the blue field, and OSU’s ugly uniforms it was pretty much eye strain city. My head still hurts.[/quote]

    you know i’ve never understood the concept of why synthetic turf (astroturf, et al) has always been green.

    grass is green, thats why fields have been green.

    now, they synhetically create the surface turf.

    take license man!

    i mean, are they really trying to “fool” us into thinking that what they are playing on is actually grass? “we better make this laboratory creation green, as not to alarm the paid attendance into thinking that the teams might not be playing on actual grass.”

    although its weird seeing blue turf, i’ve always given props to boise st. for having the balls to use blue turf, and stick with it.

  • Todd R | September 8, 2006 at 9:36 am |

    Great interview. Agreed that Shea Stadium was much more of a midcentury icon when it still contained the corregated confetti, now it lacks any charm at all, blue and monolithic.

    Regarding Red Sox numbers-this style was at one time the “house number font” for the Tim McCauliffe Uniform Corp, based in Brockton, Mass.

    This numbering font was used by many Major League teams over many years, including the Red Sox, Seattle Pilots, Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, Senators, A’s-and yes, the Mets, in their earliest years.

  • Kevin | September 8, 2006 at 9:41 am |

    [quote comment=”7917″]Springer’s website is amazing. We need someone with that level of obsession about his local team’s numbers in every Major League city. I would love to see a similar site on the Reds.[/quote]

    I’m a huge St. Louis Blues fan and would love something like this so I am tempted to start a site and learn more about their history (plus it only goes back to the 60s so it wouldn’t be as bad as doing the Cardinals or something like that).

  • Ken S. | September 8, 2006 at 9:57 am |

    Great interview today!

    I am also a lifelong Mets fan, and the earliest season that I can recall vividly is 1966. For some reason, I can remember the players’ uniform numbers quite well from the 60’s and 70’s, but not so well since the late 70’s. I’ve always felt that the line of demarcation was when they starting putting names on the uniforms, somewhat diluting the importance of identifying the player by number. Have any of you other number-centric folks experienced this?

  • DJLitten | September 8, 2006 at 9:59 am |

    Great interview. Springer, like many of us, is just a normal guy with uniform obsessive compulsive disorder (UOCD).

    Has the New England Journal of Medicine published anything on UOCD?

  • Edgy DC | September 8, 2006 at 10:05 am |

    Jon, link to my site: http://www.cranepool...

  • Bill Campbell | September 8, 2006 at 10:07 am |

    Another NFL uniform bash. My daughter wants to know “what’s with those ref costumes? Did some one’s mentally handicaped kid or blind guy make those? Worst costumes I have ever seen!” Yes she did call them COSTUMES. I’m so proud!

  • Stormy | September 8, 2006 at 10:09 am |

    Thanks for the interview guys. As a Mets fan, I’ve appreciated MBTN.net for many years.

  • Brian A | September 8, 2006 at 10:22 am |

    Anyone else catch this last night? In the Boise State/Oregon State game last night, Boise State RB Ian Johnson had coverd up the nike swoosh tab on his clear visor. Here is a pic, you can kind of make it out. It is covered with a ’64’ sticker. Here is a picture.

  • Terry Mark | September 8, 2006 at 10:29 am |

    I really enjoyed the interview. My hat is off to Mr. Springer for the time he has put into his passion.

    I always enjoy hearing the stories behind why players wear a certain number — “my older brother wore it” or “it was my favorite players’ number” or “that’s what they gave me my first spring training.”

    As for me, I always pick “31” for the jerseys I buy and when I played on the company softball team. It’s my anniversary date.

  • AMS | September 8, 2006 at 10:29 am |

    The Pittsburgh Penguins have taken care of the “by the numbers” idea themselves… This is a pretty nice little reference tool:

    http://www.pittsburg...

  • Ken | September 8, 2006 at 10:32 am |

    Going back to yesterday’s entry, the New Era site has some interesting information about the 59fifty’s and the company’s history.

    They also link to a few sites where you can get some older caps. Check out Mickey’s Place and Cooperstown Ballcap Co.

  • The Ol Goaler | September 8, 2006 at 10:44 am |

    [quote comment=”7927″][quote comment=”7917″]Springer’s website is amazing. We need someone with that level of obsession about his local team’s numbers in every Major League city. I would love to see a similar site on the Reds.[/quote]

    I’m a huge St. Louis Blues fan and would love something like this so I am tempted to start a site and learn more about their history (plus it only goes back to the 60s so it wouldn’t be as bad as doing the Cardinals or something like that).[/quote]

    It’s already available here on the Blues’ official site.

    As a 13-year-old during the Blues’ first season in 1967-68, I was fascinated with Blues’ goalie Glenn Hall. While I was too small and too slow for football and basketball, and couldn’t hit a curveball to save my soul, I did discover that I could get in the way of fast-moving objects during our street/gym hockey games. I appropriated’s Mr. Hall’s #1, and have worn it ever since.

    Great fun! I think there’s a Cardinals’ number site, but I don’t know where it is…

  • Paul Lukas | September 8, 2006 at 10:57 am |

    Breaking News: Reader Bob Higley just alerted me to an item in today’s Lawrence Journal-World:

    “The [Louisiana-Monroe] Warhawks debuted their [new] home uniforms last week against Alcorn State, but according to the Monroe News Star, the road uniforms hadn’t arrived by Tuesday afternoon. If they don’t show by Friday, ULM will have to ask permission to wear its home maroon uniforms for Saturday’s game against Kansas.”

    It’s not clear whether Kansas would have to wear white at home or if we’d end up with a maroon-vs.-blue matchup.

  • Frank Mercogliano | September 8, 2006 at 11:13 am |

    Two things, I’m pretty sure Fernandez actually wore 10 for a couple of games back in their heyday…possibly 85 or 87, because when they were all going for the teens, it was Darling 12, Aguliera 15, Gooden 16, Ojeda 19, and Fernandez went to 10 for just a bit.

    Also, regarding the blue turf and why are synthetic surfaces made green, right after Boise State went ot the blue turf, the football rules committee made a rule that you have to have a green playing surface, but thet BSU was gransfathered in. The moment they switch back to green, that will be it, but they can keep it blue as long as they want.

    And while they deny this over there, when the first turf was installed and before the lines were down on it, seagulls would injure and kill themselves trying to catch fish, since it looked like a pond.

    Frank

  • C.N. | September 8, 2006 at 11:26 am |

    [quote comment=”7925″][quote comment=”7920″]Tried to watch the Oregon State – Boise State game last nite. Between the Boise State all blue uniforms, the blue field, and OSU’s ugly uniforms it was pretty much eye strain city. My head still hurts.[/quote]

    you know i’ve never understood the concept of why synthetic turf (astroturf, et al) has always been green.

    grass is green, thats why fields have been green.

    now, they synhetically create the surface turf.

    take license man!

    i mean, are they really trying to “fool” us into thinking that what they are playing on is actually grass? “we better make this laboratory creation green, as not to alarm the paid attendance into thinking that the teams might not be playing on actual grass.”

    although its weird seeing blue turf, i’ve always given props to boise st. for having the balls to use blue turf, and stick with it.[/quote]

    Right on. Good to see someone doing something different and not just keeping it normal. Although I would not like for blue to become the turf color of choice.

  • Wally1912 | September 8, 2006 at 11:32 am |

    This indicates we were wrong in assuming the Bruins were returning to the early 70’s look. I’m guessing they are going to celebrate Bobby Orr’s arrival 40 years ago.

    Patrice Bergeron to throw first pitch at Fenway on Sat., Sept. 9

    9/7/2006

    Patrice Bergeron is scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the Boston Red Sox game against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday, Sept. 9. Bergeron will be wearing a vintage jersey that the Bruins will wear on 13 occasions this upcoming season. The jersey is a replica from the 1966-67 season, which was Bobby Orr’s rookie year. Bergeron will be joined on the field by teammates, Andrew Alberts, Brad Boyes and Mark Stuart. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 PM, but the first pitch should occur around 6:45 PM.

    Boston Bruins Vintage Jersey Schedule for 2006-07

    Thursday, Oct. 26 vs. Montreal Canadiens

    Thursday, Nov. 9 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

    Thursday, Nov. 16 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

    Thursday, Dec. 7 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

    Saturday, Dec. 23 vs. Montreal Canadiens

    Friday, Dec. 29 at Chicago Blackhawks

    Thursday, Jan. 4 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

    Monday, Jan. 29 vs. New York Rangers

    Saturday, March 3 vs. Montreal Canadiens

    Sunday, March 11 at Detroit Red Wings

    Thursday, March 22 vs. Montreal Canadiens

    Saturday, March 24 vs. New York Rangers

    Saturday, April 7 vs. Ottawa Senators

  • Riff | September 8, 2006 at 11:41 am |

    [quote comment=”7924″]Didn’t see Porter’s shoelaces, but can someone tell me what was with the orange and white shoes the Dolphins were wearing? And if they’re going to go with that design, everyone should wear them, and not 1/2 in orange and 1/2 in black.

    Dolphin’s Fins[/quote]

    I think that has to do with the shoe manufacturer and what color laces they put on the shoes. (usually just black or whitewith an exception or two) The point is, those examples on the Dolphins weren’t customized by the player as, apparently, Porter’s were. If you’ll notice in the background and off to the right of that picture there are a few cleats with white laces. Those cleats are a few of the exceptions.

    Which brings me to another bone I have to pick. When orange cleats are now so widely available, why do so many players on the Dolphins still insist on navy cleats? It’s the only instance I can think of where a team wears cleats with in the shade of a trim color instead of a primary or secondary color. (You could argue the Vikings but no one makes purple cleats.) I mean when you think Dolphins, no one thinks “teal, orange and navy.” It just doesn’t look right.

    Speaking of not looking right, why are the Steeler’s still having problems with their sleeves? If Iowa can do it, and Nike used to, it’s obviously possible. Just another instance of Reebok f***ing up the NFL. But to their credit, Reebok has shown some hope.

  • Jon | September 8, 2006 at 11:52 am |

    [quote comment=”7946″]Two things, I’m pretty sure Fernandez actually wore 10 for a couple of games back in their heyday…possibly 85 or 87, because when they were all going for the teens, it was Darling 12, Aguliera 15, Gooden 16, Ojeda 19, and Fernandez went to 10 for just a bit.[/quote]

    Yes, that happened, but only in spring training. ST is too unwieldy for me so I don’t “count” that stuff officially.

    Well, I enjoyed the interview too, and thank Paul and you guys for taking notice. I sure use an awful lot of profanity.

  • Jon | September 8, 2006 at 12:10 pm |

    Oh, and by the way, Shingo Takatsu wore No. 10 last year, so he actually has the lowest number for a Met pitcher. I overlooked that when I spoke to Paul.

    I assumed Paul knew all about Cory Lidle since he addressed the creation of his jersey in a prior uni-watch column.

  • Erich | September 8, 2006 at 12:57 pm |
  • Peter Wunsch | September 8, 2006 at 1:07 pm |

    The New York Rangers have a listing, by player, of every uni # worn, however it is only in their media guide, not on-line.

    Also, I was at Willie Mays night at Shea, and they led everyone to believe his number was retired. And then, to add insult to injury, the Giants did not retire Willie’s number until after they had retired McCovey and Marichal’s number. The feeling in SF was that Mays was a New Yorker.

  • Sak | September 8, 2006 at 1:16 pm |

    Great interview with Jon. Can’t wait for the interview with Joe Hilseberg. He is a legend in Baltimore.

  • John | September 8, 2006 at 1:27 pm |

    Riff said:
    [quote comment=”7949″]Speaking of not looking right, why are the Steeler’s still having problems with their sleeves? If Iowa can do it, and Nike used to, it’s obviously possible. Just another instance of Reebok f***ing up the NFL. But to their credit, Reebok has shown some hope.[/quote]

    I don’t think that is a Reebok issue; I think that is just the way that Parker has his jersey cut. Some teams make sure the cut jerseys show all the stripes perfectly (the Bears come to mind), but it seems like the Steelers let the players have a bit of leeway in cutting off part of the stripes.

  • Donny | September 8, 2006 at 1:41 pm |
  • Joe | September 8, 2006 at 2:01 pm |

    Pittsburgh Pirates Uniform History:

    http://home.mindspri...

  • Joe | September 8, 2006 at 2:02 pm |

    And here’s the Steelers . . .

    http://www.southerns...

  • Wally1912 | September 8, 2006 at 2:13 pm |
  • Chris | September 8, 2006 at 2:52 pm |

    All the links to the “official” uniform number pages are nice but part of what makes Jon’s site so great is the stories behind the numbers. These sites definetly leave room for imrovement by some uni-number obsessed person that probably writes into this site. Keep up the good work Jon.

  • todd krevanchi (krvanch) | September 8, 2006 at 2:56 pm |

    [quote comment=”7963″]Red Sox uniform numbers here…

    And here too…[/quote]

    amazing that the number 13 went unissued for 46 seasons…

  • Mr. Met | September 8, 2006 at 3:21 pm |

    [quote comment=”7924″]Didn’t see Porter’s shoelaces, but can someone tell me what was with the orange and white shoes the Dolphins were wearing? And if they’re going to go with that design, everyone should wear them, and not 1/2 in orange and 1/2 in black.[/quote]
    Actually the orange cleats are the usual footwear. I’ve seen some players use navy cleats before, but the navy was used as accents in the shoe, which was predominantly white. This is the first time that I’ve seen someone use navy or black as the primary color of the shoe. Chris Chambers in fact looked like he was wearing black cleats.

  • Andy Head | September 8, 2006 at 3:25 pm |

    My birthday’s 6/10, also… not quite 40, though.

    Incidentally, Jon, if it helps, I wear 00 for softball. Not a very traditional baseball number, but I picked it up in high school for basketball and it kinda stuck with me ever since, through college intramurals, beer leagues, and company softball. Might give it a try if you don’t find something of your own – it’s been good to me.

  • Richard | September 8, 2006 at 3:32 pm |

    I always take 13. I guess it started in youth sports when the bigger numbers came with the bigger sizes, and I just kept taking it. Some call it unlucky, but I think it’s perfect.

    Plus, I was waiting til I got my big break with the Red Sox so I could have it from John Valentin, but it looks like now neither of us will need it anymore…

  • David T | September 8, 2006 at 5:13 pm |

    It seems like it’s been a while (at least in Minneapolis) since kids were killed for their jerseys and shoes, but this apparently happened to a 15-year-old over his Morgan State throwback jersey last weekend. Awful.

    http://www.startribu...

  • Michael | September 8, 2006 at 5:54 pm |

    Anyone else notice that the QB’s on the Dolphins were the only players to have sleeve stripes?

    Also, this isn’t quite a uni-concerned comment, but it is still an athletic aesthetic for sure. The Steelers’ endzone ‘art’ was quite mismatched last night. One endzone said ‘Pittsburgh’, while the other endzone just had classic slashes. Anybody know why?

  • David T | September 8, 2006 at 6:19 pm |

    Michael said:

    The Steelers’ endzone ‘art’ was quite mismatched last night. One endzone said ‘Pittsburgh’, while the other endzone just had classic slashes. Anybody know why?[/quote]

    I believe the University of Pittsburgh is a Heinz Field co-tenant. Thus, until the conclusion of the college season, it has a neutral Pittsburgh motif so as to not have to repaint the field every weekend.

  • Eric | September 8, 2006 at 6:28 pm |

    I’m pretty sure Heinz Field always looks like that no matter when it is. I remember late December Steelers games with the striped end zone in past years.

  • Joe | September 8, 2006 at 6:30 pm |

    [quote comment=”7977″]I’m pretty sure Heinz Field always looks like that no matter when it is. I remember late December Steelers games with the striped end zone in past years.[/quote]

    As soon as the University of Pittsburgh season ends, they do paint “Steelers” in the opposite end zone.

  • Joe | September 8, 2006 at 6:32 pm |

    Just found a pic on wikipedia of Heinz Field. On the picture with the large scoreboard, you can see the end zone with Steelers painted in the bottom right hand corner.

    http://en.wikipedia....

  • TBone | September 8, 2006 at 7:02 pm |

    There has to be some kind of Uni Watch comment on this, but I don’t even know where to start. Do we have a Superfan division?

  • Michael | September 8, 2006 at 7:38 pm |

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s worse than you think. It’s not the Quad Cities Swing, it’s the Swing of the Quad Cities.

  • Brian from Short Island | September 8, 2006 at 8:56 pm |

    I’ve always gone with numbers of NY Islander greats, which usually means 5 (Denis Potvin, the greatest of all time) or 23 (Bob Nystrom). Why the Isles, I have no idea, but that’s what I’ve done.

  • JTH | September 8, 2006 at 9:49 pm |

    No mention of the “halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” uniforms the White Sox are wearing tonight?

    Green caps, green numbers/letters on the jerseys. Green socks, too but unfortunately Joe Crede’s not playing and Scott Podsednik’s wearing jammie pants tonight, so Jim Thome’s the only one showing them. And since they’re wearing their normal black helmets and he’s a DH, it looks kinda goofy with the mismatched colors.

    Can’t find any photos to post yet, though…

  • Not so Big Al | September 8, 2006 at 10:35 pm |

    [quote comment=”7979″]Just found a pic on wikipedia of Heinz Field. On the picture with the large scoreboard, you can see the end zone with Steelers painted in the bottom right hand corner.

    http://en.wikipedia....
    I’d never been to Heinz Field–but from that endzone shot, it appears to be nearly identical to the Titans’ field in Nashville.

  • JTH | September 8, 2006 at 10:54 pm |

    [quote comment=”7985″]No mention of the “halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” uniforms the White Sox are wearing tonight?

    Green caps, green numbers/letters on the jerseys. Green socks, too but unfortunately Joe Crede’s not playing and Scott Podsednik’s wearing jammie pants tonight, so Jim Thome’s the only one showing them. And since they’re wearing their normal black helmets and he’s a DH, it looks kinda goofy with the mismatched colors.

    Can’t find any photos to post yet, though…[/quote]
    Green underbills on the caps, too.

    Here’sa picture, but it’s pretty lame.

  • Terry Mark | September 8, 2006 at 11:26 pm |

    [quote comment=”7987″][quote comment=”7985″]No mention of the “halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” uniforms the White Sox are wearing tonight?

    Green caps, green numbers/letters on the jerseys. Green socks, too but unfortunately Joe Crede’s not playing and Scott Podsednik’s wearing jammie pants tonight, so Jim Thome’s the only one showing them. And since they’re wearing their normal black helmets and he’s a DH, it looks kinda goofy with the mismatched colors.

    Can’t find any photos to post yet, though…[/quote]
    Green underbills on the caps, too.

    Here’sa picture, but it’s pretty lame.[/quote]

    There must be a better way for the White Sox to honor Irish-Americans.

  • Andy from KC | September 8, 2006 at 11:44 pm |

    The KC Royals’ uniform number history can be found here

  • Josh W | September 8, 2006 at 11:45 pm |

    Here’s a better view of the White Sox green uni’s

  • JTH | September 8, 2006 at 11:59 pm |

    [quote comment=”7989″]There must be a better way for the White Sox to honor Irish-Americans.[/quote]
    From the official press release:
    [quote]Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of Chicago’s rich Irish heritage. The White Sox will wear green pinstriped uniforms and green caps. The evening’s entertainment includes Irish bands, dance troupes and bagpipers throughout the ballpark. White Sox team members will wear green pinstriped uniforms and green caps created specially for the event. Miller Lite will give White Sox baseball caps to the first 20,000 fans age 21 and over.[/quote]
    Being part Irish, do I feel honored? Not really, but I think this is a pretty decent promotion.

    It’s much better than the Cubs’ lame-ass “70s night” (for the record, I’m a Cubs fan) where the announcers wear polyester and stupid wigs, but the team can’t be bothered to wear 70s throwbacks.

    Chicago’s vast Polish community might be feeling honored right about now thanks to the walk-off homer that AJ Pierzynski just hit.

  • C.J. Andringa | September 9, 2006 at 12:01 am |

    [quote comment=”7945″]”If they don’t show by Friday, ULM will have to ask permission to wear its home maroon uniforms for Saturday’s game against Kansas.”

    It’s not clear whether Kansas would have to wear white at home or if we’d end up with a maroon-vs.-blue matchup.[/quote]

    Just pray that Kansas decides to shelve their RED alternate jerseys for this weekend (and for the rest of eternity, please).

  • Billy | September 9, 2006 at 12:15 am |

    I really liked the Shea 40th patch the Met’s wore. It was pretty cool how they used the 1964 World’s Fair logo as the template (http://img348.images...). When compared to the usual unimaginitive patches that teams wear for various anniversaries, I thought the patch did a great job of melding history with something that you currently identify with Shea Stadium (those cheesey neon figures…what else is there? the apple???).

  • JTH | September 9, 2006 at 12:36 am |

    OK, here’s a decent picture of the Sox’ green unis.

    And this is off-topic, but does anyone else think the Arizona Cardinals’ new stadium bears a bit of a resemblance to an Airstream trailer?

  • Riley | September 9, 2006 at 1:01 am |

    Oh boy… This the latest from the “Authentic Collection”. Certainly passable as a fashion item but if I ever see a player wearing one of these on the bench I will flip.

  • Minna H. | September 9, 2006 at 1:07 am |

    Random striping that actually looks good.

    For the Boys

    Looks good from the back, too, as you can kinda see here.

    Maria Winning

  • Minna H. | September 9, 2006 at 1:10 am |

    Damn index. Here’s the second pic again.

    Maria Winning

  • Brandon | September 9, 2006 at 1:28 am |

    [quote comment=”7957″]The New York Rangers have a listing, by player, of every uni # worn, however it is only in their media guide, not on-line.

    Also, I was at Willie Mays night at Shea, and they led everyone to believe his number was retired. And then, to add insult to injury, the Giants did not retire Willie’s number until after they had retired McCovey and Marichal’s number. The feeling in SF was that Mays was a New Yorker.[/quote]

    The Devils have the same thing in their guide

  • Minna H. | September 9, 2006 at 1:33 am |

    #39, David T., when I read about that (I live in the Twin Cities, too), I was speechless. What an awful, tragic waste.

  • Riff | September 9, 2006 at 3:22 am |

    [quote comment=”7959″]Riff said:
    [quote comment=”7949″]Speaking of not looking right, why are the Steeler’s still having problems with their sleeves? If Iowa can do it, and Nike used to, it’s obviously possible. Just another instance of Reebok f***ing up the NFL. But to their credit, Reebok has shown some hope.[/quote]

    I don’t think that is a Reebok issue; I think that is just the way that Parker has his jersey cut. Some teams make sure the cut jerseys show all the stripes perfectly (the Bears come to mind), but it seems like the Steelers let the players have a bit of leeway in cutting off part of the stripes.[/quote]

    I don’t think players should get such leeway with their jerseys, especially if it significantly alters the look of the jersey like Porter’s and Parker’s do. Either way, if the Reebok logo is on it, I’m sure they’re responsible. I guarantee it never happened with Nike’s version of the Steelers (or even Packers’) unis. It certainly doesn’t happen at Iowa and they have some of the smallest sleeves out there. My point is that it shouldn’t happen, regardless of who’s work it is, because it looks TERRIBLE!

    Michael, (in post 40) do you mean colored sleeve cuffs? There are definitely no stripes on any of the Dolphins’ sleeves…

  • BurghFan | September 9, 2006 at 5:39 am |

    The Steelers’ endzone ‘art’ was quite mismatched last night. One endzone said ‘Pittsburgh’, while the other endzone just had classic slashes. Anybody know why?

    I believe the University of Pittsburgh is a Heinz Field co-tenant. Thus, until the conclusion of the college season, it has a neutral Pittsburgh motif so as to not have to repaint the field every weekend.

    That’s right. Neither “Steelers” in the end zone nor a logo at midfield appear until the Pitt season is over. In 2003, when the Steelers celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Steagles at an exhibition game with Philadelphia, they put the slashes in the south end zone because that was what you might seen in the Forties. Dan Rooney liked it enough that the slashes became standard.

  • Eric | September 9, 2006 at 8:36 am |

    The stripes are classier than any painted wordmark could be.

  • JTH | September 9, 2006 at 8:59 am |

    [quote comment=”8009″]I don’t think players should get such leeway with their jerseys, especially if it significantly alters the look of the jersey like Porter’s and Parker’s do. Either way, if the Reebok logo is on it, I’m sure they’re responsible. I guarantee it never happened with Nike’s version of the Steelers (or even Packers’) unis.[/quote]
    *Ahem*.

    And, uh, *Ahem*.

  • Mr. Met | September 9, 2006 at 11:07 am |

    [quote comment=”8018″][quote comment=”8009″]I don’t think players should get such leeway with their jerseys, especially if it significantly alters the look of the jersey like Porter’s and Parker’s do. Either way, if the Reebok logo is on it, I’m sure they’re responsible. I guarantee it never happened with Nike’s version of the Steelers (or even Packers’) unis.[/quote]
    *Ahem*.

    And, uh, *Ahem*.[/quote]
    Hahahahahahaha by now everyone should know that when it comes to uniforms there are no such things as guarantees!!!

  • Tim | September 9, 2006 at 11:24 am |

    [quote comment=”7979″]Just found a pic on wikipedia of Heinz Field. On the picture with the large scoreboard, you can see the end zone with Steelers painted in the bottom right hand corner.

    http://en.wikipedia....

    If you look, you can still see the remains of the slashes from the Pitt football season. I don’t see why they can’t put ‘Pittsburgh’ in both endzones. I don’t care for those slashes.

  • Tim | September 9, 2006 at 11:30 am |

    [quote comment=”7962″]And here’s the Steelers . . .

    http://www.southerns...
    One more thing. Why does nobody notice, or mention, the Steeler number change. I personally have hated the change and would like to see a move back to the block style numbers. Also, in Madden, while teams like the Falcons have 2 alternate uniforms, some of which you can’t even tell a difference between, they never have the Steeler uniforms they wore until 96. I think they may be the only team in the game that doesn’t have an alternate. Why wouldn’t you have the uniform from some of the greatest teams (70’s Steelers) in NFL history?

  • Aaron | September 9, 2006 at 1:43 pm |

    [quote comment=”7994″][quote comment=”7989″]There must be a better way for the White Sox to honor Irish-Americans.[/quote]
    From the official press release:
    [quote]Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of Chicago’s rich Irish heritage. The White Sox will wear green pinstriped uniforms and green caps. The evening’s entertainment includes Irish bands, dance troupes and bagpipers throughout the ballpark. White Sox team members will wear green pinstriped uniforms and green caps created specially for the event. Miller Lite will give White Sox baseball caps to the first 20,000 fans age 21 and over.[/quote]
    Being part Irish, do I feel honored? Not really, but I think this is a pretty decent promotion.

    It’s much better than the Cubs’ lame-ass “70s night” (for the record, I’m a Cubs fan) where the announcers wear polyester and stupid wigs, but the team can’t be bothered to wear 70s throwbacks.

    Chicago’s vast Polish community might be feeling honored right about now thanks to the walk-off homer that AJ Pierzynski just hit.[/quote]
    I think they are also doing it as part of their annual “Half Way To St. Patrick’s Day” Celebration.

  • Aaron | September 9, 2006 at 1:44 pm |

    Ok I’m an idiot, didn’t read carefully enough

  • James Craven | September 12, 2006 at 6:38 pm |

    Paul Hagen in his Friday column on the Philadelphia Daily news has confirmed that the arizona Diamondbacks will wear Sedona Red (red: maroon) and sand (read: tan) as their new color scheme next season.

  • Laura Anderson Mercer | March 6, 2008 at 12:00 pm |

    Does anyone know how to contact Springer directly? I think he worked with my father at the Suffolk Sun in the 60s and I would love to get any anecdotes about my Dad from that time. (My Dad passed away 20 years ago.) Thank you. I can be reached at Greg.Mercer@redmoonmkt.com.