Back in the late ’90s, it was common for MLB players to salute their injured teammates with handwritten uni-number cap inscriptions (and occasionally non-teammates, too — lots of Venezuelan players added a little “14” to their caps when Andres Galarraga was being treated for cancer). But like so many things that start out small and harmless, this one quickly got out of control, and the MLB office soon banned it.
But Manny Ramirez has never been accused of caring what the suits in the commissioner’s office think. With teammate David Ortiz out for at least a month with a wrist injury, Manny has revived the tradition of the hand-inscribed headwear salute. But in classic Manny fashion, he’s taken it a step further: Instead of putting Ortiz’s number on his cap, he’s put it on his batting helmet. Actually, he may have it on his cap too, and maybe even on his tam/snood thingie, but I haven’t gotten good looks at those. (Anyone..?) Meanwhile, let’s hear it for the Sharpie that was tough enough to penetrate all the gunked-up pine tar on Manny’s lid.
And that’s not all: Manny usually wears a “24” sweatband on each arm, but on Tuesday night he had Ortiz’s “34” on his right arm. Last night the “34” had moved to the left side. This isn’t the first time Manny’s worn Papi’s armbands — they’ve periodically swapped and worn each other’s numbers on their arms — but I’m pretty sure this is the first time he’s done it as an injury shout-out.
I’ll be off the grid for most of this afternoon and this evening. Looking forward to seeing some you in Camden.
(Special thanks to reader Randy Williams for bringing Manny’s latest antics to my attention.)
Uni Watch News Ticker: More helmet-insert info, this time from Richard Stover: “I spoke with Bob Montgomery about the insert last season at Fenway Park. He seemed proud to be the last not to wear a helmet, yet puzzled that anyone would be interested in the details of such trivia. Then he added, ‘It’s in the Hall of Fame.’ ” … Meanwhile, here’s a somewhat misguided assessment of a modern helmet insert (courtesy of Brandon Davis). … Steve Dewing ran this on his excellent baseball photo site yesterday. A close-up of the glove reveals that it had been marked as “A genuine Steve Hamilton model.” … Jared Wheeler sent along this gorgeous team portrait of the 1946 Phillies. “This stirrups style was used for one season before they went to a white/red/white scheme. Also interesting is how the braid around the neck abruptly stops at the start of the button placket. I also found this shot of the 1949 Phillies wearing the white/red/white stirrups. Dressed to the Nines has them as solid royal, but this looks like a spring training shot, so it’s possible they could be wearing the 1948 stirrups. I will have to get some verification on that. Also, see how the braid around the neck differs from the 1946 version. Finally, here’s a picture of the PHIL-harmaniacs, who seem to have been Philadelphia’s version of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Sym-Phony.” … “Saw an article today on the new underwear that Asics has made for the Japanese men’s national volleyball team,” writes Jeremy Brahm. “I wish this was a joke.” … “The London Wasps (who have my favorite rugby socks) have an interesting NOB practice,” writes Caleb Borchers. “All of the starters, numbered 1 through 15, have their NOB, but the reserves, beginning with No. 16, only have ‘Wasps.’” … Footwear note from Greg Riffenburgh, who writes: “On Monday you showed Cristiano Ronaldo’s cleats in the Champion’s League final. The reason they didn’t have a lace cover is here, and a link to an article and video about the specific shoes is here.” … Fraud alert in Pittsburgh (with thanks to Tom Konecny). … Not uni-related, but this is high-freakin’-larious. … A small setback for logo creep (good find by Rob B.). … Erkki Corpuz notes that Bob McAdoo’s jersey doesn’t match the ones worn by his teammates in this team portrait. … Ryan Connelly was looking at aerial pics of PNC Park on Google Maps and MSN Maps and found that the field appears to have McDonald’s logo tarps on the mound and over home plate. … Interesting video clip here about the special baseballs being used as Junior Griffey approaches his 600th home run (with thanks to Brad Smith). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Pedro Martinez wore David Wright’s batting gloves (note the “5,” and compare to this) on Tuesday night. … Bit commentary here about Leeann Rimes wearing — well, see for yourself (with thanks to Scott Sargent). … Saw this 1962 photo in the paper yesterday. When did NBA refs stop wearing stripes? Also, at the risk of exposing my NBA ignorance, what are the numerical notations along the edge of the court? … Fascinating NOB factoid here — check out the last sentence (good spot by Nick Hanson). … The last bullet point on this page contains a really interesting tidbit about the Giants’ Super Bowl ring design, plus it confirms something I’ve always maintained about their road uniforms (with thanks to Robert Tusso). … “This site has a collection of photos from this year’s Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association’s National Championships,” writes Doug Steffenson. “The photos show the trend for college sailing teams to use ‘pinnies’ as team uniforms during regattas. They are, in essence, a cover over a sailor’s life jacket and reflect the school’s colors and graphic identity. It’s a long way from what many probably consider standard sailing attire.” … This has gotten seriously out of hand (with thanks to John Okray). … Fun comparison of Shea and Yankee Stadiums here (as forwarded by Paul Wiederecht). … Interesting question from Greg Gorham, who writes: “I recently saw an Arkansas Travelers [Texas League] game and noticed the Travs’ road unis said ‘North Little Rock’ across the chest. Considering they do play in Little Rock, I guess it makes sense, but I thought it was really weird, since they’re the Arkansas Travelers. Do you know of any other instances, in baseball or otherwise, where teams would have a different city/state name on their jerseys than what their official name is?” Good question. Anyone..? … Good catch by Matt Rothenberg, who notes that the Red Wings’ championship caps have a depiction of the Stanley Cup on the underbill. … “It had slipped my mind completely that Deacon Jones even played for the Chargers, let alone that he had ‘Deacon’ on his nameplate rather than ‘Jones,’ ” writes Doug Keklak. Actually, Jim Wooley notes that he also wore “D. Jones” during his Chargers tenure. Anyone know which came first? … One of the banner ad slots at the top of the page is about to open up. Interested in becoming a Uni Watch advertiser? Get in touch.