I generally don’t like the term mashup, which has become so ridiculously overused that it’s been rendered almost meaningless. But it occurred to me the other day when I received the following note from Michael Princip:
I love clear shell-type football helmets, the Seattle Seahawks, and Joe Washington’s style (running and uniform). So what did I do about it? I developed the Joe Washington tribute Seahawks clear-shell helmet. The notion of this project was so eccentric, I had to see it through to fruition.
For those who aren’t aware of the uniqueness of a Macgregor/Kelley clear-shell helmet: All of the decals, as well as the paint, were applied from the inside (note the rivets on top of the decal). These helmets were truly unique because logo and paint were permanently protected by the outside surface of the clear plastic shell.
For this custom project, I got the clear-shell helmet through a Yahoo helmet collectors group, where I sent out an e-mail request. I got one reply from someone who had two shells, which he sold me. Only thing is, one shell had paint still applied on both sides, and the other had paint recently removed, leaving cloudiness from the paint remover. So I had to put a lot of work into sanding/polishing and taking the cloudiness out of that shell. Never really got it crystal clear, just good enough.
I developed the Seahawks logo decal using clear waterslide paper (think model kit decals). White paint was applied on the back (non-adhesive) side of the decals, to fill out and solidify the colors. Also, I used clear acrylic paint for added strength on the very delicate waterslide paper. I then applied the silver paint from the inside of the shell and finished with a nice gray flexible primer.
Other notable players who wore clear-shell helmets: Billy Sims, Roger Staubach, Charlie Waters, Archie Manning, and various Steelers players back in the 1970s. One of the most interesting clear shell helmets I’ve ever seen would have to be John Simmons’s Bengals helmet.
Thanks, Michael, for the excellent primer on clear-shell helmets, and kudos on your cool art project. At the risk of opening a Pandora’s Box of major silliness, are there other good uni mashups (for lack of a better term) waiting to happen? I’ll set one basic rule: Keep all the elements within a given sport, as Michael did (i.e., don’t propose a Brett Favre Dodgers jersey with a fight strap). Or if you insist on mixing sports, keep them all within a given city, as Roger Faso has done with his all-purpose Oakland sports logo (see comment No. 7 for details). OK? Let’s hear — or, better yet, see — whatcha got.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Faaaascinating article here about Japanese school uniforms (courtesy of, of course, Jeremy Brahm). … Also from Jeremy: The Seibu Lions will wear this design for their Japanese interleague games this season. The wording on the back of the jersey reads, “No Limit 2008, Aim for the Championship Again.” … Check out this video clip of Roger Goodell, and note the difference between the NFL logos in the background and the one on his microphone (good catch by Brian Corbett). … More on the Twins’ base coaches wearing the 1970s helmets: First read this, then read the first graf of this, and then the third graf of this (great work by Karl G. Anderson). … Last Friday I asked why the Rangers never wear their official road cap. Got the following response from someone connected to the team (who prefers to remain nameless): “We haven’t worn that cap since I started working for the team in 2003. I’m not sure who effectively eliminated it, but we keep no inventory of them.” Wow, you mean the team couldn’t wear the official road cap even if they wanted to, because there’s literally no such cap kept on hand? “Correct, which is why I would assume someone decided that we would stop wearing them, since we stopped ordering them from New Era. Definitely agree that it’s weird MLB still lists it as the official road cap. Also note that the Rangers used to have a black-billed alternate cap with a white T, which we also no longer wear, not sure if that cap is still official also [it is — PL].” This same source also weighed in on the Rangers’ seemingly endless red-vs.-blue debate: “Most people involved in the organization preferred the red, but owner Tom Hicks doesn’t like red, so he encouraged the switch to blue. Some fans think that switch has cursed the team, since we haven’t been to the playoffs since the switch! Personally, I preferred the red, but switching back would look awkward now that the Angels wear very similar jerseys to the old reds.” … Excellent overview of the Brewers’ racing sausages here (with thanks to Dana “It’s Just Business” Prey). … My friend Steve Heller has an interesting piece here about political campaign typography (thanks, Kirsten). … Bruce Menard found this great shot of Casey Stengel during the 1955 Goodwill Tour of Japan. Dig that patch! … Speaking of patches, several French athletes want to wear a protest patch at the Olympics (with thanks to Jonathon Binet). … The Titans have unveiled a really weak 10th-season logo, which will be worn as a jersey patch next season. Details here. … Several people told me that John Danks wore his undershirt backwards last Thursday, but David Chisholm is the only one who came up with a good screen shot. … We’ve all seen the 1976 pillbox caps that several National League teams wore. But Aaron Steele found something I hadn’t noticed before: Ted Simmons wearing one of the pillbox caps under his catcher’s mask. … Good article here about attire at the Masters (with thanks to Mark Coale). … Next year’s NHL All-Star Game logo looks like this. … Tyson Moll reports that Cyprus High in Magna, Utah, wear some awesome striped stirrups. … Interesting photo here of BYU’s 1951 NIT championship team during a preseason tour of Brazil. Dig those “Mormons” warm-ups! Additional info in this PDF file (with thanks to Spencer Hall). … Toronto native Chris Creamer notes that the Blue Jays’ retro helmets use a uni number font that’s never been part of the team’s design scheme. And although it doesn’t really look that way in the photo, he says the left portion of the helmet’s MLB logo decal is graphite, not red. … Speaking of Chris, someone over on his board noted that the Texans are starting to make more frequent use of the “HT” logo seen at the bottom of this page. I had literally never seen that logo before. … Bobby Cox has been managing the Braves forever, but don’t tell that to Fox (good catch by Zack Bennett). … Lots of 1983 Phillies commercials compiled in this YouTube video (nice find by Morris Levin). … Richard Giron noticed another example of co-branded boxing gloves during Saturday’s Felix Sturm/Jamie Pittman bout. “Paffen Sport makes its own gloves in Germany,” he writes. “But their logo is partially covering a pair of Grant Gloves. It doesn’t happen anywhere else except in Germany and England. Lonsdale, Paffen Sport, Top Ten, and Adidas slap their logos on top of existing brands such as Reyes, Everlast, or Grant.” … The Johns Hopkins lacrosse teams wore 1980s throwbacks on Saturday (with thanks to Michael Brand). … Amidst all the other birthday presents I recently received, I’ve shamefully neglected to mention that Scott Turner and Diane George generously gave me a gorgeous old hooded varsity volleyball jacket, with a chenille volleyball on one sleeve, a uni number on the other sleeve, and nice “Army” lettering on the back. This jacket kept me toasty yesterday morning as I shopped through a cold, blustery flea market, where I found, among other treasures, this TruByte sample kit, filled with artificial teeth and super-cool labels. … Reprinted from Sunday’s comments: Good article here about the Jazz’s uni numbers. … Also from Sunday: Brinke Guthrie noted that Barry Zito was having some undershirt tag issues, which led Nicole Haase to respond, “I was at the game and you could see the tag from the seats. And when they showed replays and close-ups on the video screen at Miller Park — ARG! I pointed it out to my boyfriend, who just looked at me.” … The Altoona Curve wore very old-school throwbacks for last Thursday’s home opener. Additional views here, here, here, and here, plus there’s a dozen pages of photo galleries here (with thanks to Timothy Welsh). … Curiouser and curiouser: The front uni numbers on the Twins’ navy jerseys, which unexpectedly switched from white to red last week, were white again yesterday. But I’m not sure if the NOB lettering, which had gone from white outlined in red to just white, has also changed back. Take a look here and here — red outline or pure white? Depending on how I squint, I can see it either way. Did any actually, y’know, watch the game, instead of just scavenge through photos on the web? Anyway, the obvious solution, of course, would be for them to stop wearing to stupid-ass navy jerseys in the first place. … Cubs’ blue alts made their first appearance since 2006 yesterday. … Uniform? What uniform? Boy, that camouflage uni is so effective I can barely see it. … Awesome 1957 article about football uniforms and equipment here. … Lots of good info about the Indians’ jersey options here (with thanks to Michael Burnett). … Accoding to this story, the Rams wanted to wear 1999 throwbacks this fall but were turned down by the league because they didn’t start the paperwork early enough. They’re also planning to wear a memorial patch for Georgia Frontiere (with thanks to Mike Engle).