Last month I ran Book Club entries on a pair of football books that came out around 1970 (look here and here). That led several readers to point me toward another title from that same period: Murray Olderman’s The Running Backs, which came out in 1969. It’s a doozy of a book — nearly 600 pages, with lots of visuals of Uni Watch interest. Here’s a sampling:
• Lots of books show diagrams of plays. But this one supplements those diagrams with little player illustrations that are too adorable for words. Next time I see a coach diagramming a play on a chalkboard, I’m gonna be really bummed if he doesn’t include little figures like these.
• Here’s something you rarely see: a color photo of Steve Van Buren.
• Less iconic but still surprisingly consistent: Check out this old Chicago Cardinals photo. The white double-striping on the red pants went largely unchanged until the team’s recent disastrous makeover.
• Really interesting facemask here.
• Can anyone tell me more about this sleeve patch?
• Can never have too many pics of Y.A.’s kitchen-sink helmet.
• Here’s a very nice shot of the Rams’ yellow jersey.
• True story: When I was six or seven years old, I reached into a box of Corn Flakes and pulled out a “3-D football card” of this guy — 49ers fullback Ken Willard. He instantly became my favorite player, and the Niners became my favorite team. I remain a Niners fan today, and it’s all because of that football card (which, alas, I no longer have).
• Good view here of the Vikings’ seldom seen purple pants (in b&w, thankfully).
• Speaking of the Vikes, check out these two photos of Tommy Mason — completely different uni number typography.
• And speaking of typography, check out the uni numbers on the Redskins (the dark jerseys) in this photo. Not quite the same as what the Pittsburgh Pirates use, but definitely related. Ditto for this shot.
• Here’s a tremendous view of the Colts’ old helmets, back when the horseshoes were on the back of the shell. I really like this view, because it basically simulates what you see when a horse is galloping away from you.
• Love the sock ribbing in this shot.
• Here’s something I’ve never seen before: Red Grange with his name written on his pants. From now on we’ll refer to this as NOP.
• Still hard to believe the refs used to wear these caps.
• Here’s a rare early shot of O.J. wearing No. 36.
Want your own copy? You can get one for almost nothing.
Uni Watch Northwest Road Trip: My original thought for this weekend’s Uni Watch party in Portland is that we should just have a picnic on sidewalk outside of Nike HQ, where we could lob spitballs at their security guards or something like that. But then I thought maybe the guards might be able to shoot lasers out of their swoosh-shaped eyes, so we’ll stay in Portland instead. Specifically, we’ll be convening at 2pm this Sunday, the 17th, at Kay’s. As is always the case with these excursions, some of you will salute this choice of venue while others will decry it (the latter group citing an assortment of concerns that inevitably boil down to “It’s about 15 minutes farther away from my house than this other place…”), but this isn’t open to a vote. Kay’s it shall be.
Oh, and for those of you who’d like to meet a higher-profile ESPN.com columnist than me, Portland’s own Rob Neyer will be on hand. He’ll be the one doing Jell-O shots off of his groupies’ stomachs while I sit there listening to the rest of you telling me about your jersey collections. Should be a blast — see you there.
“Try it on, stand in the mirror and dig yourself”: Speaking of Stumptown, our newest advertiser (as seen in the right-hand rail) is the Beaverton-based Pennant Race, whose very cool tees are worth checking out. At least one member of the Pennant Race crew will swing by the party on Sunday, but in the meantime please consider favoring them with your custom (read: buy some shit). Thanks.
Raffle Reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, I’m currently raffling off a unique piece of Olympics memorabilia. For details, look here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: I’ve linked several times over the years to this photo of Carlton Fisk, with his hand-inscribed uni number clearly visible on his stirrup. Hadn’t noticed numbered hosiery being worn by Bosox players from that period, however, until David Fitzgerald sent me this shot. And then, the very next day after David got in touch, I came across this. … Take another look at the photo David sent me and you’ll see evidence of another subject I’ve occasionally brought up: Yaz’s custom-enlarged earhole. In that photo it’s just slightly larger than normal, but he later hollowed it out to near-freakish proportions. Why even bother having an earhole if you’re gonna do that? Anyone know why he did it? … Lots of fun details in this shot of Reggie: The chipped paint on the brim, the “JAX” on his batting glove, and — my favorite — the “JAX 44” i.d. label on his brim. … “The Islanders held a fan open-house last Saturday,” writes John Muir. “The proceedings included the official introductions of Doug Weight and 2008 1st-round pick Josh Bailey, who was presented with a gag jersey. Got a laugh from the crowd, but, there was no real point to it.” … Wanna design a mask for a backup goalie? Look here. … Some good pics among the otherwise predictable content in this gallery of late-career uni cameos. … Coupla uni-related questions in the middle of this Q&A page with Ryan Theriot. … FNOB news (courtesy of Michael Sullivan, who points out, accurately, that the supposed “league rule” cited in the article was actually changed prior to last season). … Why would you compete while wearing your wedding ring? (Thanks, Vince.) … Pedro porthole was in evidence yet again yesterday, but not for the entire game. Sorry, no photo of the porthole. … Is it just me, or does Bill Hohn look like he’s wearing a phony press-on mustache? … Remember when Jarrod Washburn had to go put on a belt? It happened again on Saturday. … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Many of you may know the story of the 1964 game when the Vikings and Lions both showed up wearing white jerseys, but most of you have probably never seen photos of it before. The Vikes were the home team, so they had someone run over to their practice facility to get the team’s purple jerseys. After a quick wardrobe switcheroo during the second quarter, they were solid grape. Über-thanks to Larry Wiederecht for these tremendous screen grabs. … Big Ben’s shout-out to Charlie Batch has gotta be the biggest injury tribute ever.
FYI: Our web hosting company will be performing some maintenance for about four hours tomorrow night, beginning at roughly 11pm eastern. We may (or may not) have some connectivity problems during that period, so don’t be alarmed if things are sluggish for a few hours.