[Editor’s Note: Uni Watch Baltimore bureau chief Joe Hilseberg recently toured two excellent sports facilities that feature loads of uni-related exhibits. He took loads of pics and was happy to oblige when I asked him to write some accompanying text to go with them. His report follows. — PL]
By Joe Hilseberg
Over the past month I’ve made two visits to the Sports Legends Museum in Baltimore. It’s like a mini Hall of Fame and is an ideal place to go if you want to wrap you brain around Baltimore/Maryland sports and get a feel for what they mean to the community. I also finally took the Camden Yards Stadium Tour. I took a lot of photos, but here are some particularly noteworthy shots from both the museum and the stadium tour:
- Babe Ruth statue: The interesting thing here is that the 18-year-old Babe is depicted with a right-handed glove. You would initially think the sculptor had made a huge mistake, but he actually paid very close attention to detail. When Babe was 18, he was still Attending St. Mary’s School in Baltimore and most likely could not afford a glove of his own. It was very common back then for teams to share gloves, which often meant lefties had to make due with a righty glove. Kudos to the sculptor.
- Center field ivy wall: I asked the tour guide why the ivy didn’t grow all the way to the top, and he said it was because that’s where ESPN like to hang banners and put logos. I’d rather have the ivy.
- Old-school pencil sharpener: This is in the press box — it’s just cool.
- Frank Robinson Club party room: Interesting that Angelos has chosen to depict Frank in his “Baltimore” road jersey.
- Oriole figurine: This is the original bird from the 1954 welcome float (a photo of which is shown above the bird).
- Greatest O’s jersey ever: 1966 style. Although you can’t see it here, the name is vertically arched! [Just like on Joe’s membership card. — PL]
- Brooks Robinson’s short brim helmet: Wondering why Brooks wore the short brim? Here’s his own explanation, which I pulled off of a site he posted on: “Back in the early ’70s, the Commissioner’s Office made it mandatory for anyone coming into the big leagues to wear an earflap on your helmet. If you were already in Major League Baseball you had a choice whether to do that or not. Of course, I wanted to wear the flap because it gave me more protection. … But when I got the helmet with the flap and put it on, it seemed like the bill was a little longer than my normal hat … and consequently when I went up to hit I could see the brim and part of the flap. It made me lose my concentration. I took care of it by taking a hacksaw blade and cut about 1 ½ inches off the brim and about half an inch off the flap. That’s how I got my short brim.”
- Four-year-old boy’s O’s mascot outfit: From the International League days. Love the socks!
- Sweet chenille bird: Also from the International League days.
- Mark Belanger’s batting glove: Check out the early Velcro strap.
- The Oriole Bird’s stirrups: Self-explanatory.
- Babe Ruth Brand Underwear: Surprised I also didn’t see any Jim Palmer Jockeys!
- Gordon’s Stores jersey: This was a rec league team, sponsored by a local dry cleaning operation. Al Kaline played for them — and for several other local teams — in 1951-52. According to something I found online, Kaline said, “I’d play a game in one end of town, then my father or uncle would drive me to another game. I would change uniforms in the car on the way. Sometimes I’d play three games a day. I never got enough.” He went to the Tigers right from high school, so these teams served as his minor leagues, which shows just how strong the baseball landscape was in Baltimore back then.
- Awesome sweater and cap: These belonged to “Home Run” Baker [so known for his league-leading HR totals of 11 in 1911, 10 in 1912, 12 in 1913, and 9 in 1914 — PL].
- There are too many cool Colts items to list here, so I’ve picked two favorites: the kickers’ shoe display and the sweet belt buckle on an early Colts marching band uniform.
- On the 3rd floor of the Museum is also Geppi’s Entertainment Museum. Not worth seeing twice in one month, but they did have Mr. T cereal!
Friendly Reminder: Paul’s on vacation. If you have questions, observations, or contributions, send them to Vince.
Uni Watch News Ticker: On the heels of yesterday’s fantastic analysis of uniforms in video games by Eriq Jaffe (and what a great job he did) we get the commercial and ridiculous side of the coin in this Xbox 360 trailer for NHL ’08 that advertises the new Rbk Edge Uniform System. John Staton, who passed along the video, said, “The mind boggles.” My mind actually just threw up in my mouth a little bit… Paul Sipes passed on this photo essay of the atrocious history of US soccer uniforms… Here’s a podcast and article from Chris Murphy about a Narka, Kansas baseball uniform from the 1940’s… Tony Parker’s wax sculpture at the Grevin Wax Museum in France wears a Spurs uniform featuring the French flag down the sides. The real Tony Parker modeled the same awful uniform for this pic (Merci to Spencer Koch)… Interesting article about the preponderance of jersey rip-offs surrounding the Major League All-Star Game… Michael Boriotti has noticed that Milton Bradley is missing the MLB logo patch on the back of his jersey (watch the ‘sliding grab’ video for proof)… In a completely unsurprising move, Nike has suspended the release of the new Michael Vick shoe (a Fido-friendly thanks to Greg Riffenburgh)… During the Tour de France I have always loved how the female presenters coordinate with the jersey they are awarding…Reprinted from yesterday’s comments section, the men’s USA basketball team scrimmaged this weekend, giving us a chance to see their jerseys in action… Scroll to near the end of this column to find out why Jason Richardson wears #23 (thanks to Richard Hochroth)…