For a couple of years now, this 1968 SI cover has been a bit of a holy grail for me, because the players shown behind Pistol Pete are wearing the rarest of all uni accessories: vertically striped socks.
The problem, of course, is that the opposing players are small and barely visible in the background. Although you can’t tell from the photos, I knew that the other team was Tulane, because a few years back I’d seen a magazine photo (which I foolishly neglected to save) that showed the jersey fronts as well as the socks. I’ve tried several times to find that photo, or any other good photos of that Tulane uniform — no dice. When I called the Tulane athletic department a year or two ago, they claimed not to have any photos from 1968 (although I still suspect they were just too embarrassed by the socks to share any pics they might have).
Man, are those tough to look at or what? Obviously, I love stripes in general and striped socks in particular, but I draw the line at vertically striped hose, which inevitably look clownish (well, except maybe when deployed as shown at the top of this page). Still, it’s great to have a better look at this rare design.
That would have been enough to make my week, or maybe my month, but it turns out it was just the beginning. In yesterday’s Comments section, there was a bit of chatter about the Maravich gallery, including this note from Steve Stern: “I believe the Maravich pictures were taken by Rich Clarkson, a former SI photographer who has an amazing collection.” I hadn’t thought to search on the photographer’s name (stupid, stupid, stupid), so I tried that and ended up at Clarkson’s site. That in turn led me to this NCAA photo archive, which I’d somehow never known about before (stupid, stupid, stupid). And that, my friends, is where I hit the mother lode.
Dig it — nearly a dozen photos, all taken at the LSU/Tulane game on January 6th, 1968. Click through the thumbnails to get the full effect, but I warn you, it’s pretty brutal.
How rare are vertically striped socks? So rare that these are the only other instances I’m aware of:
• The 1960-61 Denver Broncos, whose infamous socks (visible to varying degrees here, here, here, and here) were eventually burned by the team at a public bonfire. Fortunately, one pair survives at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
• The mid-1960s Pearl High School basketball team in Nashville, which upon closer inspection actually wore conventionally striped socks over the vertical stripes. (Further info on this historically important team is available here.) Of course, if one high school team was wearing the longitudinally striped hose, others probably were too.
• The Harlem Magicians — presumably a Globetrotters-esque team — whose uniform is shown on here (as showcased on the excellent Dick’s Courtroom site). Again, if this team was doing it, they probably weren’t alone.
Then there are some borderline cases. The stripes worn by the 1914 Victoria Bees, for example, didn’t run the full length of the sock. And Nike’s “Swift” hockey template only has stripes on the front of the shin, not the whole way around. If anyone knows of other examples, fill me in.
Finally: First person who can post a comment explaining the headline of today’s post without help from a search engine (honor system) gets a Uni Watch T-shirt. Again, post your answer as a comment, not as an e-mail to me.
Motown Tribute: The hockey world is abuzz over the very uni-centric ceremony that the Red Wings arranged for the retirement of Steve Yzerman’s number on Tuesday night. Instead of doing the usual lookalike jersey routine, they were more creative, as David Main explains:
All the former players serving as honored guests had their names and numbers affixed to the current style Red Wings jersey, along with the commemorative “19” patch. Current Red Wings then lined the red carpet for Yzerman’s entrance, wearing various jerseys from Yzerman’s career: Red Wings from 2002 Cup finals (two patches — one for the finals, and the “19” patch), Team Canada from his gold medal-winning team, old-fashioned Campbell Conference All-Star jersey, and Peterborough Petes home and road jerseys (with disgusting manufacturer’s logo apparent — I doubt it was that way in Yzerman’s playing days).
Christmas Bonus: When I wrote about the great Xmas presents given to me by Uni Watch hedge fund analyst Jenny Strasburg, I left out one gift: a cool vintage bowling shirt, which turned out to be a smidge too small. We exchanged it a few days ago, and I like the new shirt even better than the first one, in large part because of this spectacular chain-stitched design on the back. Bowling, football, team logos, old-school uni designs, animal mascots, the Midwest — all (well, most) of my favorite food groups!
Uni Watch News Ticker: On Tuesday I jokingly mentioned the possibility of NHL cheerleaders. Turns out they’re no joke, at least not for the Hurricanes, Islanders, Coyotes, and Flyers, among others. Okay, so some of those are actually ice clean-up crews, not cheerleaders, but that’s close enough for our purposes. Thanks to everyone who clued me in on this one. … Minnesota-Duluth has cheerleaders, too. … Ever wonder if there’s a web site devoted to the uniforms of the Japanese national volleyball team? There is (with thanks, of course, to Jeremy Brahm). … And there’s a good history of Mexican soccer kits here (courtesy of Janssen McCormick). … Michael Rich notes that the Gator Bowl patch was coming loose from several Georgia Tech jerseys the other day. … Vacation report from Michael Rich, who writes: “I was in Tombstone, Arizona, last week and discovered an interesting photo on the wall at the OK Coral Museum (famous, of course, for the gunfight involving Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, et al. on Oct. 26, 1881). The photo depicts the Tombstone Football team in 1904. I also saw a fantastic logo for what I’m pretty sure is the local high school. It would have been easy for the Tombstone Fighting Yellow Jackets to steal their logo from Georgia Tech (and, sadly, another sign around town confirms that they have), but this unique logo was both fantastic (love the bow tie and the growl) and bizarre (does it have 3 wings? why are the arm and leg thicknesses so different?). It even appears to have a sailor hat.” … We all know minor league hockey teams tend to have advertising on their jerseys these days. But wearing an ad on your ass is particularly pathetic (as spotted by Dave Sizer). … Remember Joe Pavelski’s upside-down Reebok logo? Here’s an update from Dave Shucosky: “Pavelski switched from No. 53 to No. 8 after the Calgary game on the last Sharks homestand (I guess because he’s staying put), and his road 8 jersey now has the correct Reebok logo. I guess they dug that 53 out of the closet because they didn’t know how long he’d stay up.” … Several readers have noted the USC center Ryan Kalil has a “10” decal on the back of his helmet, presumably so QB John David Booty (who wears No. 10) doesn’t accidentally set up under the wrong lineman. Here’s a screen shot, courtesy of Don Schafer. … Not uni-related, but I contributed to Page 2’s “List of Lists” rundown the other day. … Good article here about Ohio State’s merit decals (credit a buckeye to Matt McLaughlin). … Uni Watch design director Scott M.X. Turner found this on eBay. “The 1964 World’s Fair was so Mets-oriented [as seen by the sleeve patch that the Mets wore that year],” he writes, “so I’m surprised to see a Yankees program with a World’s Fair tie-in.” … Loads of great contributions from Montreal-based reader Jonathan Goupil: 1) “Montreal’s French newspaper, La Presse, had a story where they recalled how the Canadiens franchise was born in 1909. Here’s a scan of the uniforms the Habs wore in 1909-10 through 1916-17. The caption said that after the 1915-16 Stanley Cup, the owners decided to keep the jersey pretty much as it was, to bring a winning tradition to the team.” 2) “La Presse also ran a contest for readers to send in new logo designs for the Habs.I’m sending you the two that were worth looking at. The others were sent by 8- to 10-years-old boys and were all basically the ‘CH’ logo with flames around it.” 3) “I found this photo of former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Russia’s Valdimir Putin trading hockey jerseys in 2002. Note that the Russian jersey says (I guess) ‘J. Chrétien’ in Russian, while the Canadian jersey says ‘Putin.’ ” [Also note the back-collar logo creep on Putin’s jersey. — PL] 4) In response to our recent survey of Presidents in uniform, Goupil came up with two shots of JFK: one of his prep school football team (he’s second from the right) and one from his days on the Harvard swimming team.