As you know, I’ve been trying to compile a list of teams with unique messages printed on their nose bumpers. That project is still ongoing (contributions still welcome), but along the way it’s yielded an interesting anomaly, thanks to the research efforts of reader Daniel Weimann.
Weimann was looking through photos of Division III teams (a smart move, since I suspect the best nose bumper material will be lurking amidst the D2, D3, and high school ranks) when he came upon Saint John’s, a D3 school in Minnesota. There’s nothing particularly unusual about the school’s nose bumper — it just reads, “Saint John’s.” The unusual thing is right above the bumper, where each player is wearing his name.
I’ve never seen anything like this, unless you count the tape stripes that many NFL teams use during training camp. It looks reaaaaaallly Mickey Mouse, especially on the Johnnies’ white road uni, where the combination of the name decal and the solid-white uni creates the unmistakable impression of a Wednesday-afternoon practice session. The luckiest guy on the team is clearly the fella in the middle of this photo, because his name is short enough to be relatively inconspicuous (especially compared to his lengthily surnamed teammate in the foreground).
Even more curiously, Saint John’s doesn’t use player names on its jerseys, either at home or on the road. So the helmet decals are the players’ only name-based identification. Do they use first initials for same-surnamed players? Have they ever had to use compressed typography for really long names? And it must be discouraging to see your family name get all scuffed and scratched and nicked, no? And most importantly, if you insist on putting names on the helmet, why not put them on the back? If anyone knows the story behind this, please fill us in.
Update: Shortly after today’s entry went up, Vince reminded me that Jeannette High School in Pennsylvania also puts player names on the front of the helmet, although they use smaller script lettering, as seen here, here, and here.
Intern Alert: In case you missed it yesterday, I’m in the market for a new intern. For details, scroll down to the “Help Wanted” section of yesterday’s post.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Page 2 has a big “Innovations” package running today, and I contributed a piece about bullpen car(t)s (not sure what time it’s being posted — certainly by early afternoon, maybe much sooner). My thanks to all of you who contributed info on this topic over the past week. … Notre Dame will wear green throwback jerseys and gold pants this Saturday, in honor of the 1977 championship team. The effect will presumably be something like this. … Nebraska is abandoning its ritual of having defensive starters wear black shirts during practice. Details here. … Excellent story here on the history of football helmet industry — highly recommended (with thanks to Richard Craig). … More good volleyball socks here (with thanks to Eric Martin). … According to an item on this page, Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard had two more jerseys tear on him Sunday night (with thanks to Jeff Barak). … I know some of you think I go on a bit much about logo creep, but come on (thanks, Vince). … Someone whose name I’ve misplaced (sorry about that) sent me this baseball card, which shows quite a gap between the number and the nameplate. … When the Rockies wear their black vests in the World Series (which will probably be every game, since neither the Indians nor the Red Sox have a black jersey), they’ll apparently wear the WS logo patch on their chests, not on their undershirt sleeves. … I might make an exception to my purple rule for the Cornell Rams of Cornell College, Iowa (with thanks to Noel Blaha). … We all know the Browns wear an “AL” memorial patch for Al Lerner. But David VanSlyke has noticed a detail I’ve never been aware of: “For game-issued jerseys from 2006 (not sure about other seasons), the ‘AL’ has an ever-so subtle script ‘E,’ which I believe stands for Edward — as in Alfred Edward Lerner.” … NSFW alert: I’ll be attending a sports-themed burlesque show on Friday night. Looks like they’ll be making some creative uses of uniforms. … Major find here: I’d occasionally heard that Deacon Jones had worn just his first name on his jersey while playing for the Chargers, but I’d never seen visual evidence of it — until now (big kudos to Gyula Nemeth). … Central and South American teams often use ads instead of nameplates. But Jean Oliva reports that the Cibao Giants of the Dominican Winter League have taken a different approach: They’re using ads instead of uni numbers. Numbers appear only on the front of the jersey (sorry, no photo of that).