Back in February I started getting notes from a guy in Washington State. His e-mails showed up in my in-box as being from “S burns,” but he signed them as “Scott Little.” By any name, he appeared to be a bit of a character. For example, he claimed to have a monster collection of uniforms, Starter jackets, and Nike sneakers, all culled from thrift stores (“Yeah, $4.99 jerseys for me all day, baby — I can’t afford retail”) and included some photos of his stash to back up his words. “Please note, though,” he added, “I’m underground and want it to stay that way for now, so can we keep this between us? I’m not interested in anyone contacting me looking for stuff. But if you ever make it to the Pacific NW, I’d be happy to let you take a peek.”
Was he legit? I didn’t know and really didn’t care — I enjoyed his communiqués. At one point he sent me some pics of an old Oregon baseball helmet, which he allowed me to post in the Ticker (“I’m not THAT reclusive,” he said). But that same e-mail also included a photo of an astonishing old Oregon football jersey — supposedly part of his collection, but he asked me not to post the photo, which again made me wonder if he was just jerking my chain.
As I’ve now learned, his name is indeed Scott Little (the “S burns” thing is based on a nickname that’s not worth explaining here), and he was the star of the show at the recent Uni Watch party in Portland, where he conducted a very entertaining show-and-tell session (if you missed my recent entry on that gathering, look here).
During that party, Scott repeated his invitation for me to come see his collection in person. So two days later, after road-tripping our way through southwestern Washington (including a visit to Mt. St. Helens, where the visitors’ center had a model volcano with what might be history’s most amusing button), Collateral Gammage and I swung by the town of Longview, where Scott lives and works.
We began at Triangle Bowl, the keggling center that Scott co-owns with his brother and another partner. Very cool place, full of retro graphics and some great original details (although it’s a shame that the gorgeous old Brunswick masking units have been covered by this new-school nonsense). Scott took us behind the lanes, where we got to see the pinsetters — original 1950s models, don’tcha know. Got to climb around on them too, which provided some great views of their inner workings (additional shots here and here). There were boxes of pins and shelves of parts all over the place. Too bad Scott’s 85-year-old mechanic wasn’t around, because he sounds like a real piece of work. “He needed a replacement part earlier today so we looked it up in the catalog and it cost $1.21,” said Scott. “And he yelled, ‘$1.21? I remember when it was a five fucking cents!'”
Naturally, we bowled a game. My form wasn’t bad, although I was stuck using a house ball (always extra-tough for a lefty, since house balls are almost invariably drilled for righties), while Scott had all three of his personal balls. Considering that disparity, plus the fact that I hadn’t bowled in about two months, plus-plus the level of competition, I thought I held my own reasonably well.
After that we drove over to Scott’s house, where I finally got to see his stash — and it did not disappoint. He had two full rooms jam-packed with stuff, the first of which was brimming with Nike sneakers (additional pics here, here, here, and here) and tons of shelves and racks full of jerseys and jackets (one of which had a really great label). And sure enough, lots of them still had their thrift store price tags.
The next room featured baseball jerseys, hockey jerseys, Starter jackets, more sneakers, and some other stuff that I only dimly recall — my head was kinda spinning by this point, and everything was really cramped. I really loved this jersey‘s sleeve patch; this one’s, too. And I’d never seen anything like this reversible Knicks jacket. Plus there was a DePaul warmup jacket that was so cool, I had to try it on. Too bad the zipper was broken.
And what have we here? The 1930s Oregon football jersey that Scott had told me about months earlier! It’s got a satin body with knit trim, Wilson tagging, a chain-stitched player name, and lots of hand-sewn mending. With Scott’s permission, I tried it on and wore it for the rest of our visit. One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever had the privilege of wearing, and I don’t mind telling you that it took all my restraint not to conk Scott on the head with a beer bottle just so I could make off with it.
About that player name: As you can see, the jersey was worn by someone named Gammon. “It was in my collection for a couple of years, and then this finally popped up on the web,” says Scott. “It looks like he’s wearing shiny pants and a non-shiny jersey with stripes on the sleeves. Do I have the jersey matching those pants he’s wearing?” Good question. Anyone know more?
Super-duper thanks to Scott for inviting us into his home and bowling emporium, and for being such an entertaining host — next round’s on me, dude. Thanks also to Collateral, who took just about all the photos linked herein and was the best road-trip partner a fella could ever hope for.
Yearbook Sale: A few weeks ago, reader Brinke Guthrie pointed me toward an eBay listing for three old Jets yearbooks — 1970, 1971, and 1972 — which he figured I might be interested in. I thought they might have lots of interesting uni-related photos, so I bought them.
As it turns out, I only found one uni-notable photo (more on that in a sec), but the yearbooks are full of old pics and info that I’m sure would be of great interest to any Jets fan. Sadly, I’m not a Jets fan myself, so I’ve decided to re-sell the yearbooks. I could just put them back on eBay, but I’d rather give Uni Watch readers first crack at them. I’m asking for the same amount that I paid for them: $10 each.
If you’re interested in buying one, two, or all three, The 1970 and ’71 editions have already sold; if you’d like to purchase the 1972 edition, get in touch.
As for the one photo that caught my eye, it’s this one. Note the nose guard being worn by the Chiefs player — instead of an open U shape, as was common in that era, the K.C. player has a closed U. Don’t think I’ve seen that before.
Uni Watch News Ticker: University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) has changed its athletics logo from this to this. “Personally I hate the change,” writes UDM alum Jim Thorburn. “Too cartoonish for me. I’m not the biggest fan of the old logo and agree that it needed a change, but this was a downgrade in my book.” … New logo for the University of South Alabama, too (old, new). Details here, and a detailed PDF of specs here (with thanks to Jonathon Binet). … Nice shot here of the day in 1997 when the Indians saluted Jim Thome’s birthday by going high-cuffed (with thanks to Greg Riffenburgh). … Jeez (as forwarded by John Buckler). … Here’s another video, plus photos and accompanying article, about graphics being applied to a hockey rink (with thanks to Tom Konecny). … New Yankees pitcher Alfredo Aceves is wearing No. 91 in honor of Dennis Rodman (with thanks to Tyler Kepner). … Joseph Senne points out that Auburn and UT Martin, whose uniforms are more or less identical, are slated to play each other on homecoming weekend. … RedEye, one of those freebie commuter newspapers for people who don’t actually like newspapers, asked two designers to create new uniforms for the U. of Illinois and Northwestern. Garish results here (with thanks to Bennett Terwilliger). … Scuttlebutt over on the Chris Creamer board is that the Cubs will scrap their road cap next season. … Carson Palmer’s brother, Jordan, played for the Bengals last night. No initial, though (with thanks to Ross Hazlett). … More Browns training camp observations from Brendan Yarian: Kevin Kasper has been wearing white leggings; Chris Griffin is the latest player to wear shorts over his pants (No. 53, on the left); and Syndric Steptoe (one of the greatest names ever, no?) is wearing NFL logo socks. … Several readers noted that Baylor had two NOBs with Roman numerals last night (thanks to Dana Czerwinski for the screen grabs). … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Hofstra’s helmets have changed from white with a lion logo to blue with a stylized “H” logo. … Big congrats to longtime reader A.J. Zydzik, who got hitched a few weeks ago but still found to create new uniforms for his kickball team: “We were kind of short on ideas, but since I’m a huge soccer fan and like the Dutch national team, and since our team colors are orange and (sorry, it wasn’t my choice) purple, I submitted the idea to base our jerseys on theirs. Our team name is the Vermicious Kenids (some sort of Willa Wonka reference, also not my pick), so instead of the Dutch lion on the crest with KNVB underneath it, we have an Oompa Loompa head with VK underneath. Our socks are also overly purple (sorry again!), and we have a vertical VK on each side of each leg.” Am I the only one who thinks that uni looks like it was pieced together from a Clemson surplus sale? … Turns out the motel where I stayed in Portland is part of a neon-signage strip that may be headed for historic-preservation status (big thanks to Clark Farrand). … The U.S. military is trying to borrow NFL-style helmet technology to reduce concussions (with thanks to James Yeh). … Sigh.
Holiday Schedule: Bryan will handle the weekend and Laborious Day. I’ll be back on Tuesday. See you then.