Got an intriguing note yesterday from reader Cliff Corcoran. Check it out:
I’ve stumbled upon a fantastic site called Vintage Card Traders, which has scanned in some complete sets of baseball, football, and basketball cards, even a few hockey stickers. These are endlessly entertaining for numerous reasons — some uni-related, some not.
What prompted this e-mail was something from the 1958 Topps set. No, it’s not the tasty stirups sported by some of the Reds (or Braves, or Red Sox, or White Sox, or Orioles, or KC A’s, for that matter). Nor is it Topps’ misguided guess as to what the Giants’ new “SF” insigna would look like, or the fact that the Cubs’ road unis sported the full team name. It’s the uniform number on card No. 317 — it appears to be a solid navy “7” with a red outline of a boxy “3-D” drop shadow. I’ve never seen anything like it, particularly not from the 1950s. Did the Senators really have uni numbers like that?
Corcoran’s question, which I’ll get to in a second, raises a larger issue: We often think we know what an old uniform looked like, because of templates like this or this. These resources don’t often show us the back of the uniform, however. There are some exceptions — NHLUniforms.com features full front and back coverage, and the Dressed to the Nines” database occasionally shows notable posterior views — but for the most part our rear-view uni knowledge is woefully inadequate.
Which brings us to Corcoran’s question regarding the Senators’ uni numbers. I’d never seen anything like them either, and my initial gut reaction was that this had to be a Topps blunder. But then I noticed that the Sens’ front-jersey “W” logo from this period featured that same kind of boxy red outlining. Hmmmmm. So then I queried a few people, including longtime Uni Watch comrade-in-arms Todd Radom, who quickly provided this shot of a game-worn 1958 Senators jersey — as he put it, ” 3-D all the way!” Mystery solved.
Incidentally, that Vintage Card Traders site is a major find. I wasted the better part of an hour just looking at the 1958 Topps set, thanks in part to the following:
â€¢ Remember our recent discussions of pointed collars and windbreakers worn underneath jerseys? Look at this.
â€¢ Does this dude look scary or what?
Big thanks to Cliff for bringing this great site to our attention (and my apologies to everyone who wastes the entire day clicking through it — it’s pretty addictive).
Uni Watch News Ticker: Is Tracy McGrady “cheating” by continuing to wear the now-banned tights? This page thinks so. (Thanks to Justin Kadis for the tip.) … Dominic J. Litten reports that the University of North Carolina at Pembroke will have a football team next season — their first gridiron presence in over 50 years. Info and uniform pics here. … In case you missed it from yesterday’s Comments section: Seattle Matt did a great job providing a better view of the U. of Memphis logo on DeAngelo Williams’s mouthguard. … And do these uni numbers (a throwback rugby design being worn by the South Africa Springboks) look completely amazing or what? … Uni Watch is rather amusingly referenced in this eBay listing. … Cinematic commentary from Jake Keys: “Here’s a screen capture from the new movie We Are Marshall. You’ll notice Nike shoes on the fella on the left — looks like they tried to black out the logo. Other than that, the uniforms are very accurate for the ’71 team. The helmet looks great, too — this is the exact logo the team used that year.” … Admirably minutiae-obsessive observation by Chaz Noerenberg, who writes: “For a while now I’ve noticed that the Pittsburgh Penguins have two different styles of lettering for the the alternate captain’s ‘A’ — one worn by Sergei Gonchar, and one worn by Crosby, Recchi, and everyone else. Gonchar’s ‘A’ is thicker with a smaller opening; the other style, which is thinner with thicker trim and a bigger opening, better matches the sleeve numbers. I’m also pretty sure Gonchar has a slightly different nameplate font, so I’m thinking he gets his jerseys lettered at a different place than the rest of the team. I’m looking for more pics to back this up.” … Astute analysis from Bryan Redemske: “Nice use of authentic lettering here, but doesn’t it look a little 5th grade arts-and-crafts? ‘Hey, you’re the MVP! Here’s a … ummm … this base that we had custom-made for you.’ That’s like rummaging through your own closet in search of something cool to give someone.” … Another collared ballplayer, courtesy of Scott M.X. Turner: “This is German Barranca (who played a few years in the U.S. major leagues), during his stint with the Hermillos Naranjeros. Plus side: it’s completely wacky, and Northwestern-striped stirrups. Downside: vinyl iron-on numbers.” … Back when we were discussing poppies for Remembrance Day, several readers mentioned that lots of Canadian minor league hockey teams were wearing poppy patches, but we didn’t have any photos. Now, thanks to Chris Creamer, we do: Check out his shot of the Toronto Marlies (and try to ignore that other jersey patch). … Any style points for this are more than canceled out by this. … Anyone else think Ernest Wilford’s white gloves and white socks made him look like a mime? … Did anyone get a clear look at Del Rio’s lapel pin? I couldn’t figure out what it was.