I don’t know what the record is for most mentions of chain-stitching in a week, but I think we’re about to break it.
As you may recall, the topic first came up on Monday in my latest ESPN column, when I reported that the Cardinals were the only remaining MLB to chain-stitch their insignia directly onto their jersey, while the Astros and Phillies chain-stitched their logos onto patches that were then sewn onto the garment. (Other MLB teams don’t employ chain-stitching at all.)
That prompted a reply from Kevin Gee, who insisted that the Astros used direct-embroidered chain-stitching, with no patch, and provided visual evidence to support his claim. So I apologized to the good people of Houston and added the ‘Stros to the direct-embroidered camp, along with the Cardinals.
But now Uni Watch Graphics Director Scott M.X. Turner (who, incidentally, has whipped up a nifty design for a Uni Watch temporary tattoo — stay tuned for ordering details soon) has brought an even more esoteric distinction to the debate. Here’s the note he sent me yesterday:
Regardless of whether Houston’s is directly embroidered, it’s a cheaper, crappier chain-stitch. St. Louis’s is the old-fashioned circular (or “swirl”) chain-stitch — i.e., gorgeous. The story is that up until recently, the Cardinals’ uniforms were done by a few older women who’d been chain-stitching commercially forever. The last one retired a few years ago.
Houston’s chain-stitch is a modern, non-circular variety — clunky and mass-produced. That’s why, even though it’s directly embroidered, it feels like a patch rather than direct embroidery.
Here are two pix showing the difference ‘tween old swirl chain-stitch and modern machine chain-stitch. This one is an old Mitchell & Ness Curt Flood jersey (done by one of the old ladies); this one is a Stall & Dean Portland Beavers jacket (made offshore).
Wow, great info. I know you’re all eager to rush off to your sewing machines and knitting bees, so I’ll stop here and let you get on with it.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Footwear fanatics may be interested to learn that Jeremy Brahm has tracked down the company that makes Tsuyoshi Shinjo’s cleats. Looks like they do some pretty rad stuff. “It is an eight-person company in the rural Nara prefecture,” Jeremy reports, “which is kind of surprising, because normally the star players are wearing Mizuno, Asics, SSK, Nike, etc. This one was for Tyrone Woods of the Chunichi Dragons. I guess his goal was to hit 50 home runs, but he finished with 47.” … Jeremy also notes that the Nippon Ham Fighters’ Hichori Morimoto, who as you may recall dressed up like a Martian during the Japanese All-Star Game, celebrated Nippon’s Japan Series victory by donning a speed skating outfit. … Cricket report from Peter Bonnett, who was watching Wednesday’s New Zealand/Pakistan match and noted that the “7″ on James Franklin’s uni number looked like this — a much wider, fatter 7 than the skinnier version worn by several of his teammates. … Excellent tip from Matt Brukman, who reports: “The main library here at NC State has a photo exhibition of the baseball team over the years, going back to 1899. All manner of unis are evident — most notably changes to the school’s name and sock/stirrup design.” Great stuff. … Look for an article about Uni Watch in this Sunday’s Newsday (big thanks to Uni Watch publicist Carrie Klein for helping to make this possible). … In case you missed it in yesterday’s Comments section: Sporting News columnist Dave Kindred goes a bit overboard about Anthony Reyes ironing his cap brim (and also takes a totally uncalled-for potshot at Reyes’s socks) here. … Also from yesterday’s Comments: small uni tweaks upcoming for Duke (with thanks to Richard Grossman), and a quick back-and-forth on Cal’s yellow football unis can be found toward the end of this interview (good catch by Comments section stalwart Minna H.). … Now that Guillaume Latendresse has become the first NHL player ever to wear uni No. 84 (which was the last sub-100 number to have been worn), SI.com’s Brian Cazeneuve has put together a fun article picking the greatest player to wear each number (with thanks to Brian Goff). … What’s the point of wearing knee pads if they don’t even cover your knees? … According to a thread on the Chris Creamer boards, the NBA Live 07 video game indicates that this season’s NBA All-Star Game unis will look like this, this, and this — ugh. … Yesterday’s New York Times featured an amazing locker room photo of the 1968 Cardinals, and it’s hard to know what to focus on — the uniforms or the other clothes. Note that the roster included Elvis Costello, shown second from back right. … Good analysis from Al Saunders, who writes: “In the picture that opens the article about the Staal family in the new Sports Illustrated, none of the three brothers wearing NHL jerseys have the right socks on. Jordan’s [second from right] should have gold/white/black/gold stripes instead of red/white/red, Eric’s [second from left] should have black/white/black stripes instead of being plain, and Marc’s [far left] should have white/red/white instead of white/silver/black. I’d be willing to bet that Marc’s socks are the road version of the Sudbury Wolves socks that his brother Jared [far right] is wearing, as Marc also plays for that team.” (Credit an assist to Greg Capece, who picked up on the same thing.) … Next time Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh claims there’s a “war against religious expression” in America, kindly direct their attention to John Rodriguez’s batting glove. … Footwear guru Mark Mihalik broke out the slide rule last night and computed that Albert Pujols has worn at least seven different sets of cleats this season.