New ESPN column today — here’s the link.
Meanwhile: My Wednesday evening got completely derailed when Tom O’Grady posted a really interesting find in last night’s comments section: this jersey, supposedly a game-worn Don Meredith model. I say “supposedly” because I was having a hard time coming to grips with that wraparound-styled collar. I mean, shit, look at that thing! I couldn’t decide if it reminded more of this or this.
But within half an hour Tom had found this photo of Meredith, which seemed to confirm the odd collar style. Further evidence came when I found this photo (which I know I’ve seen before, and probably even linked to, but I never noticed the collar). Turns out Dandy Don was indeed quite the dandy!
Note that these photos all show Meredith wearing the Cowboys’ “stars on the shoulders” jersey design, which the team wore from 1960 through 1963. The next step, I figured, was to look at other Cowboys photos from this era (there’s a slew of them available at this site). And that’s where things get seriously weird: Some players appear to have had collars that were very much like Meredith’s (here’s one more). For other players, the collar’s crossover/wraparound effect was less pronounced. And some players just had a fairly normal-looking collar — pretty similar to this, right? There was also one collar that was extra-severe, with the crossover seam running all the way down to the uniform number. (Naturally, none of these variations were incorporated into the throwback version of the early-’60s jersey.)
We’ve examined collar styles before, but never anything like this. It’s such an odd design for an athletic jersey — plus it creates some unfortunate pucker patterns. Can’t believe I never noticed it before. Anyone know of any other football teams that wore anything like this?
The wraparound collar appears to have bitten the dust when the Cowboys switched to their current jersey design in 1964. (As an aside: In 1964 and ’65, the sleeves had three stripes. The switch to two stripes didn’t come until ’66.)
Senatorial Protocol: The Senators unveiled their new uniforms last night (there’s a gallery here). I always thought the soldier’s eyes looked way too big, like he was possessed or hypnotized or something, so I vastly prefer the new rendition of him. Like everyone else, I love the shoulder patch. Can’t say I’m thrilled with the rear view (especially the sock stripes, which are patterned after the ones used at the All-Star Game) but at least it’s better than this. All in all: Could’ve been worse.
Last-Chance Raffle Reminder: Today’s the last day to enter the raffle for the free college football helmet from Helmet Hut. If you haven’t already entered, send an e-mail here. One entry per person, but all Uni Watch Membership Program enrollees get three bonus entries — and that includes anyone who signs up today, up to 10 p.m. eastern, which is the deadline for the raffle. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow.
And speaking of members, I’m now inclined to think there are three enrollees (not two, as I thought yesterday) who’ve inadvertently been left off the roster. So again, if you’ve signed up for membership, please check the roster and make sure you’re on it. If you’re not, let me know.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Although the best Nike product placement ever remains the Heaven’s Gate mass suicide, this comes close (thanks, Vince). … Someone has created a ingeniously simple photo blog devoted to pics of people wearing jerseys on the street. Looks like it only launched a few weeks ago, but it has the makings of potential brilliance (great find by Josh Berliner). … Speaking of brilliant, check out this composite of the Canucks’ logos. … Eric Wisthoff sent me this photo with no explanation. I noticed that the URL indicated it was from Chance Michaels‘s site, so I asked him to fill us in: “It’s from Halloween 1994, the Packers beating the Bears at Solider Field in monsoon-like conditions. Ken Ruettgers was goofing around in the holiday spirit, having some fun with the rather plain Packers throwback helmets. I don’t know if he ever actually wore it on the field, or if the decals were taken off before the game started. I suspect that they were — can’t imagine that the NFL would have been too happy with such a modification.” … Can you believe Alonzo Mourning has his own signature golf glove? (Good find by Chris Flinn.) … You Can’t Make This Stuff Up Dept.: The Portland Beavers are letting fans vote to help choose the team’s new name (or to keep it as is, which is the only acceptable outcome), and one of the choices is the Portland Wet Sox. Really. Depressing details here. … I don’t usually like the look of Livestrong-style bracelets, but on Tuesday night I was given this one, and I may never take it off. It was part of this amazing event (look closely and you’ll see me in one of the photos). … Latest cancer-fighting color: teal, which will be worn by Callaway-sponsored golf pros next month to raise awareness of ovarian cancer. Details here (with thanks to Seth Horowitz). … Jeff Bethune checks in with a follow-up to last Friday’s shoe-cutting discussion: “Cubs announcer Bob Brenley suggested tonight that shoe cutting and alterations happen in baseball as well. After Benjie Molina was hit in the toe with a foul ball, and Brenley — a former catcher — said how painful that is, and that with the swelling of the big toe, you sometimes need to cut a hole in the toe of the shoe to give extra room to the swollen toe.” … Speaking of footwear, add Yadier Molina to the list of MLBers wearing modified sneakers with cleat plates (as noted by footwear
fetishist specialist Mark Mihalik, who almost made me spit out my Diet Coke by sending me this). … I assume everyone knows that the Cubs use an embroidered felt logo appliqué on their batting helmets, rather than a decal (it has actual depth). That distinction apparently came up in last night’s Cubs game, as Adam Collins explains: “In Henry Blanco’s first at bat in the top of the 10th, the ‘C’ patch on the front of his helmet appeared to be wrinkled in the middle and the upper portion was falling off. Interestingly, Cubs TV play-by-play man Len Kasper actually acknowledged this. He said something along the lines of, ‘It looks like Blanco needs some glue for the sticker on his helmet.’ He then went on to clarify that ‘the “C” is not actually a sticker, well it is, but it is made up of stitches.’ The discussion moved on further as Cubs color man Bob Brenley gave some props to Cubs equipment managers by saying he was certain they would take care of the situation. As if the story weren’t already interesting enough, Blanco successfully laid down the suicide squeeze to put the Cubs up 4-2. Could Giants pitcher Patrick Misch have been too focused on Blanco’s patch flap?” … Don Zimmer will be back with the Devil Rays next season, and you know what that means.
Gratitude Dept.: Literally dozens of you answered my call for “one and done” examples for today’s ESPN column. I’m grateful to everyone who contributed ideas and leads, but especially to Dave Kendrick, Chad Stegemiller, Vince DeMarco, Matthew Campbell, Mark Mayall, Chance Michaels, Jon Eisen, John Eick, Adrian Brashier, Paul Pokaski, Nate Gruz, Todd Radom, Brian Carroll, Mark Lackinger, Jeffrey Israel, Todd Krevanchi, Frank Mercogliano, Mike Miller, Pedro Naranjo, Mark Divine, and of course Uni Watch intern Vince Grzegorek. Could I have written this column without you guys? Yeah. But would it be as good? Not even close. Thanks again.