Personally, I loved yesterday’s 42-athon. In a sports world that’s become way too scripted and predictable, it was a kick to see scenes like this, this, and this. And even though I knew it was coming, it was still kinda startling to see 42 being worn by, say, Joe Torre or Derek Jeter. I even enjoyed the inevitable discrepancies between jerseys and other equipment (bonus points to the Devil Rays staff for their attention to detail).
A few specific observations:
• I liked how several teams used larger uni numbers than usual for No. 42, to make up for the lack of the player’s name. Teams that didn’t do this ended up with 42s that looked just a bit small (although in in at least one case maybe it was just a case of the numerals being overwhelmed by the size of the player).
• MLB equipment mangers are clearly out of practice when it comes to positioning uni numbers on a nameless jersey, because several players’ 42s were either a bit too high or a bit too low. One team that got it just right was the A’s.
• Nice to see that several players went the extra mile by going high-cuffed. All the more disappointing, then, that Junior Griffey, who got this whole ball rolling in the first place, didn’t get the memo.
• I’d been wondering if any of the umpires would get into the act, and one of them did: C.B. Bucknor. (In case you’re wondering, the first black umpire was Emmett Ashford in 1966, but umps didn’t yet have uniform numbers in those days.)
• The celebration extended beyond the world of baseball, incidentally: Check out what Jerry Stackhouse, had written on his sneakers yesterday. Stackhouse already wears No. 42, but I’m not sure if that’s a coincidence or if he chose that number as a Jackie tribute. Anyone know?
Ready to do it all over again next year? Actually, you won’t even have to wait that long, because the Indians are planning something similar later this season for Larry Doby.
Raffle Results: The winner of the David Wright BP jersey is Adam McCracken. Congrats to him, and thanks to all who entered. More raffles to follow soon.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Nifty little item available on eBay here. … Nationals pitcher Jesus Colome appears to be setting a new standard for uni bagginess. … “Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, traveling in Japan, was playing baseball the other day with students from Ritsumei University’s baseball team,” writes Jeremy Brahm. “He’s wearing a batting glove on his throwing hand, without the strap velcroed on. Someone needs to train the man if baseball is going to be successful in China.” According to this article, he wore uniform No. 35, to represent the number of years that China and Japan have had bilateral relations. … Interesting to see that the Yankees’ black armband in memory of Cory Lidle is even being worn by the team trainer. … Lots of chatter here about the Bears’ uniform combos (with thanks to David Bonetto). … Reprinted from Friday’s comments: Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has an interesting lining for his suit. … The Sharks have added a “WAS” memorial helmet decal for recently deceased goaltending coach Warren Arthur Strelow. Unfortunately, the best photo I’ve been able to find is this one — the little logo to the left of the “29” on the helmet is the memorial sticker. … “I heard on the radio that UCF was dropping the ‘Golden’ from their nickname in favor of simply ‘UCF Knights.’ The radio report stated that the change takes effect June 14 with the here. … “I spent this evening at Lou Malnati’s, a local and very popular Chicago-style deep dish pizza joint,” writes Craig Glass. “They have display cases of memorabilia, and on my way out, my eye caught a gray baseball jersey sitting there that I did not recognize. Upon further inspection, about a quarter of the logo was missing but the outlining stitching was still visible. I looked closer and saw a clear lettering of ‘STL,’ with an ‘H’ across the whole thing. Moreover, the display included baseball cards that said ‘St. Louis AMER,’ which I suppose meant American League. Upon googling for more info at home, I discovered the existence of the Harrisburg-St. Louis Stars of the Negro Leagues in 1943, which explains the H. But then why are the baseball cards picturing white ballplayers?” Anyone know more about this? … Sean Dickie notes that Jose Calderon’s wristband doesn’t match his uni number. … How come the wax figure of David Wright at Madam Tussaud’s doesn’t have a uni number? … You probably know that Jackie Robinson played in the Negro Leagues before joining the Dodgers. But I hadn’t noticed until now that his KC Monarchs uniform included his uni number on the pants. … The Pirates are going to retire Paul Waner’s number. … As several readers noted over the weekend, the Pirates’ red vest and Ronny Paulino’s chest protector make for an unfortunate combination. … Reprinted from Saturday’s comments: An Iowa high school is considering a ditch the black policy. … Eric Duhs notes that Morgan Ensberg was wearing sunglasses during a night game on Friday. … The Steelers have unveiled a 75th-season logo, which will presumably become a jersey patch. … We’ve all seen plenty of cold-weather maneuvers over the past two weeks, but Michael Kissane notes that Andruw Jones went a step further yesterday, wearing a batting glove on his throwing hand. … Jeremy Brahm reports that the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team will wear pink jerseys on Mother’s Day weekend. … More from Jeremy: “Sevilla FC of Spain’s Primera Liga has had some funky fonts on their uniforms this year.” … Really interesting story here about a guy who makes custom umpires’ equipment (with thanks to Bill Gornall).