New ESPN column today — here’s the link.
Meanwhile: Everyone loves to hear about unusual NOBs, like Andy Messersmith’s “Channel” or Elvin Hayes’s “E” (complete with history’s biggest quote marks). Photos, however, aren’t always so easy to come by. I’ve read (and written) abut Jim Grant’s “Mudcat” jersey, for example, but I’ve never actually seen it. Same goes for Ken Harrelson’s “Hawk,” Dick Allen’s “Wampum,” and most of the oddities worn by the 1976 Braves (Jimmy Wynn’s “Cannon,” Ralph Garr’s “Roadrunner,” Jerry Royster’s “Rooster,” and several more).
One of the most storied of these examples is the case of Giants infielder Johnnie LeMaster, who in 1979 was getting booed so vociferously by the Candlestick fans that he wore “Boo” on the back of his jersey for one game. The crowd supposedly laughed when they saw it — and then booed again. Or least that’s the story I’d always heard, but there were never any photos. This page, for example, notes that LeMaster “showed some gallows humor for the Giants, once stitching the word ‘Boo’ on the back of his jersey,” but the photo doesn’t show the NOB (and isn’t even from the right season).
Then, a few days ago, Ethan Rowley sent me this — paydirt! It remains a mystery how fans could boo anyone with such picture-perfect stirrups, but the universe can be inscrutable like that sometimes. Another mystery: How did LeMaster get the equipment manager to go along with this little scheme?
Danger, Will Robinson!: Be forewarned: The link I’m about to give you is so addictive, and has so much great stuff, it will probably shoot your entire day to hell. It’s for photographer Steve Dewing’s site, and it’s a friggin’ mother lode of MLB pics from the 1960s and ’70s. This period, of course, straddled the changeover from flannels to double-knits, so on the one hand you’ve got fuzzy jerseys and classic stirrups (often striped!), and on the other hand you’ve also got lots of fodder for the “What were they thinking?” file. I’m particularly fond of this shot — not just a haloed helmet, but dig those color-blocked stirrups. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a good photo of them.
As you can see, the image quality is sensational, the colors are super-saturated, and most of the pics are ones I’ve never seen before. I’m tellin’ ya, people, this site is like crack — once you enter, kiss the rest of your day buh-bye. Check it out here, if you dare, but don’t blame me if you end up swimming in a puddle of your own drool. (Feel free, however, to blame Don Sherman, who brought the site to my attention.)
Uni Watch News Ticker: Tragedy, tragedy. … Beau Stahnke attended the Giants/Packers playoff game two Sundays ago and has finally thawed out enough to send along some photos. Among the highlights: Korey Hall with a big chip off of his helmet; Vernand Morency with maybe a few too many handwarmers in his pocket; Koren Robinson looking
macho stupid with his socks down; and the Pack’s cheerleading squad. … Dan Richardson has contributed what I believe is our first-ever Ticker item about lacrosse throwbacks. The team in question is the New Westminster Sr Salmonbellies — North America’s oldest established lacrosse club, going back to 1889 — who play in the Western Lacrosse Association in British Columbia. They’ve taken the team’s 1950s uni (also seen here) and used it as the basis for a throwback design, as seen here. Lots of additional pics in this photo gallery. … Last week I ran a Ticker item linking to this photo. Will Shepard informs me that this is actually part of a series of manipulated brand-centric images by the artist Hank Willis Thomas. They’re part of Thomas’s “B®anded” series, which you can access on his site. And if you think I don’t like Nike, wait until you see his stuff. … Here’s something I’ve never seen before: Billy Bucks with his uni number inscribed on his sunglasses (good find by Greg Riffenburgh). … Did you know Jackie Robinson also played basketball? Full details here. … What’s he smoking, and where can I get some?