New ESPN column today — here’s the link.
Meanwhile: I want to use today’s post to catch up on some history-related items I’ve been meaning to cover, beginning with a web site that several readers have pointed out to me: Antique Athlete. It’s basically a bunch of pricey memorabilia, but the photos are a gold mine of old-school uni goodness, including plenty of killer examples from the worlds of baseball (here, here, here, and here), football (here, here, here, here, here, and here), basketball (here, here, here, and here), and hockey (here and here). Plus there’s old advertising, a truly amazing series of mascot-based bobbleheads (here, here, here, and here), some old pennants — even a pennant pillow! Have fun poking around, and let us all know if you buy anything.
Speaking of old uniforms, last month I wrote an entry about baseball in Alaska. It included a link to this photo, showing a player getting ready for the annual Midnight Sun Game, played at night, without lights, on the longest day of the year. Now longtime Uni Watch supporter Doug Brei has provided some additional info and photos about the Midnight Sun Game phenomenon:
The Midnight Sun Game is still alive and well, and recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. It’s still played every year in Fairbanks, under the natural light of the sun (they’ve never turned the lights on for a Midnight Sun Game), between the Alaska Goldpanners ABL team and a team from the “Lower 48.” They begin the game at 10:30 p.m. each year on the day of the summer solstice. At midnight, they stop the game and everyone stands up and sings the “Alaska Flag Song,” Alaska’s official state song.
Brei also shed some light on another item from that original Alaska entry. As you may recall, it included a link to this photo, whose caption said it was an “indoor baseball” team. Indoor baseball was a new concept for me, so I asked if anyone knew more about it.
Several people offered bits of information in that day’s comments section. But Brei has now provided the most complete account: “Indoor baseball was big enough in the first two decades of the century that Spalding actually published official guides on it,” he wrote. He also provided the following excerpt from the 1903 guide, which explains some of the game’s interesting equipment-related nuances:
The game of indoor base ball was invented in Chicago in 1887, and came about through a frolic among the members of the Farragut Club, who, in a spirit of fun on Thanksgiving day of that year, threw an ordinary boxing glove around the hall, which was struck at by one of the boys with a broom. Some twenty members had assembled, as usual on holidays, and George W. Hancock, seeing the possibility of a new sport, said in a bantering way: “Say, boys, let’s play base ball,” and the wrestling mat was hauled around cornerwise and a broom obtained. One of the boxing gloves was used for a ball, and, with the boys in position, they commenced their sport without rule or wisdom, but there was great fun. … It was thus that Mr. Hancock gained the title of “Father of Indoor Base Ball,” for he went home and thought out some rules that would equalize the different points of the game and directed Augustus J. White how to make a ball which could be seen at night and fill all the requirements of the game. And so the sport was evolved.
Raffle Reminder: Today’s the last day to enter the raffle for the David Wright batting practice jersey. If you want in, send an e-mail (one entry per person) to uniraffle at earthlink dot net by 9 p.m. eastern tonight. I’ll announce the winner on Monday.
Uni Watch Midwestern Road Trip: I’m tentatively planning to be in Minneapolis on May 11th and Chicago on May 12th, and I’m looking forward to convening Uni Watch gatherings in both cities. The Twin Cities confab will take place at the always wonderful Nye’s Polonaise Room (figure on 7:30ish, but I’ll firm up the details when we get closer to the actual date); haven’t yet settled on a venue for the Chicago gathering — stay tuned.
It also looks like I’ll be in St. Louis in the near future. More details to follow soon.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Good site here breaking down the 2007 MLS uniforms. … Also from yesterday: Case Western’s uniform and logo style guide is available in this PDF file — highly recommended. … Richard Craig notes that Philip Rivers was doing a bit of mix-and-match uni action while throwing out the first pitch at a recent Padres game. … Personally, I’m OK with all the players and teams that will be wearing No. 42 this Sunday. But if you think the whole thing has gotten out of hand, you’re not alone. … UMich-centric version of Uni Watch (or at least that’s how the authors describe it) here.