Ten years ago, in the middle of a month-long cross-country road trip, I stopped in Shelby, Montana, where I checked out the Marias Museum — a tiny facility devoted to local history. Shelby had been the site of Jack Dempsey’s heavyweight title defense against Tommy Gibbons back in 1923 (it was supposed to put the town on the map but almost bankrupted it instead), and a good chunk of the museum was devoted to artifacts from the bout. It was a great little exhibit on a little-noted chapter in sports history.
Local history museums like the Marias are among my favorite travel attractions — the smaller, the better. Sometimes amateurish but always lovingly assembled, these informal little reliquaries are often filled with amazing photos and other artifacts you’d never find at “real” museums. Two readers have made this same discovery lately — both in Iowa, oddly. The first is Jesse Gavin, who recently sent the following communiqué:
I would probably have been the last one to imagine that there’d be any vintage uni finds in my hometown of Cascade, Iowa (pop. 2000). But when I was home over the weekend, I stopped by a new exhibit at the hometown Historical Museum. They just opened up a new exhibit on Urban “Red” Faber, a Cascade native who went on to play for the White Sox for 19 years and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964. They had plenty of good stuff there, so here’s a bit of a recap.
First off, they had a pretty cool locker reproduction, including an authentic jersey, cap, pants, and socks. They also had an original seat from old Comiskey Park and a couple of other caps. I’m not sure which team the first of those caps was from, but I’m pretty sure the latter was from an off-season when Faber was loaned to the New York Giants for a world tour.
In addition to the Faber stuff, they also had a few old pictures and uniforms from Cascade-area town teams from back in the day. This Pleasant Grove jersey is from the late ’40s, as are this catcher’s mitt, chest protector, and shin guards.
About a week after I heard from Jesse, I got a note from Neil Berger, who had discovered two more Iowa treasure troves:
A recent family wedding took me to Iowa City, where I visited the University of Iowa Sports Hall of Fame, and Cedar Rapids, where we took in a Cedar Rapids Kernels game and checked out their Hall of Fame, which had uniform samples from the long history of Cedar Rapids baseball.
Neil didn’t fully describe all his photos, but there’s some killer stuff, ranging from the obvious (baseball, football, men’s and women’s hoops) to the not-so-obvious (marching band, letterman sweaters). Treat yourself to a slideshow of his photos here.
Membership News: Two dozen membership kits went out in yesterday’s mail, which means we’re finally caught up. With one exception (sorry, Bobby Hill, your card got botched during trimming and will have to be done over next week), every card that was ordered through last Sunday has now been printed, laminated, and shipped. If you’ve been holding off to give Scott and me a chance to catch up after the flood of orders from late July, now’s the time to sign up — we’re ready for you. And that goes double for the guy who inquired about having us do a Colorado Caribous design treatment.
Uni Watch News Ticker: DeAngelo Hall had a message for Chad Johnson on Monday night (thanks, Vince). … Map manufacturers sometimes put small, phony streets onto their maps, as a way to catch people who are stealing and republishing their maps. Stuart Greenlee reports a similar example from the logo world: “A student from Clemson University once told me that the Clemson ‘paw print’ logo had a notch cut into the bottom of the paw to prevent copyright. Ever since then, I have looked for the notch in other paw-print logos (believe me, there are a lot of them here in the South). Occasionally I’ll see some other school using the logo with the ‘Clemson Notch’ and I wonder if they have permission.” … The DE ROSA-vs.-DEROSA issue is addressed in the next-to-last entry on this Q&A page (with thanks to Jon Aubry). … Cathy Reeder caught an interesting exchange during a Cubs game the other day: “During a discussion of catcher’s gear, color guy Bob Brenly said, ‘Of course there is one piece of protection you ALWAYS wear. In fact, I even wore IT when I was a manager and a coach in the dugout too. I just always felt IT was part of the uniform.’ Now, I’m a girl and I’ve never played baseball, but isn’t it odd that a coach or manager would wear a protective cup? I mean, do you really need one to sit on the bench? Does anyone find this odd but me? Do any other MLB managers do this?” I know there are at least three people reading this who work in MLB clubhouses — what’s the word, people? Do coaches and managers wear the cup? … Entertaining story of possibly dubious veracity from David C. Murphy, who passed along this note that he received from a friend: “When I worked at Airborne Express (’90-’97), occasionally we would see packages go through from whoever made the MLB jerseys at that time. If someone got called up, traded, or needed a new jersey, there would be one shipped out. On more than one occasion, I would get the jersey out and try it on. I think I worked one whole shift wearing a Dwayne Henry Astros jersey. That falls under the ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time’ stories.” … The NFL season is time to start, which means it’s time to make fun of the Bengals’ nameplate/yoke/sleeve inconsistencies. Here‘s how it’s supposed to look: Nameplate complete on the orange yoke, which curves down to meets the sleeve stripes. (Note that we matched this style when designing Uni Watch membership cards.) But some players don’t have curved yokes (here’s another example), and sometimes the nameplate extends down into the white area. Yo, where’s the quality control? (Thanks to David Sonny for those pics.) … Separated at birth: Wallace Spearmon and Jeff Weaver. … Here’s something you don’t see very often: a tilde over an A (good spot by Jeremy Brahm). … Follow-up to my recent report on NFL captains probably wearing a “C” designation this season: According to this article (forwarded by Steven Wyder), the Bengals’ captains “will wear the NFL’s new captains’ patch on their uniform jerseys.” Not sure if this patch is simply a C or something more involved, but I’ve got a call in to the NFL and hope to have an answer tomorrow. … These trademark-infringement cases are getting seriously out of hand (with thanks to Caleb Borchers). … Perfect marriage of product and marketing campaign, as Old Spice is now sponsoring Tony Stewart’s armpits (as reported by my new neighbor and longtime Uni Watch pal Doug Kalemba — welcome to Brooklyn, buddy).