The incident in question was brought to my attention by reader Joe Alvaro, who forwarded me two photos that a friend recently showed him. The pics show the 1977 American League all-star squad sitting for a team portrait. Notice anything amiss? You might not, because it’s hard to see in that shot, but take a look at the second photo, apparently taken just as the photo shoot was disbanding, and you’ll see that one of the players was wearing a Yankees road uniform — which makes no sense at all, since the game was played at Yankee Stadium.
If you go back to the first shot, you can see that same player standing in the center of the top row, in between Dennis Eckersley (Indians) and, I think, Wayne Gross (A’s). There were five Yankees on that year’s all-star team: Reggie (second row, yawning), Willie (right next to Reggie), Sparky (top row, with his back partially turned toward the camera), Graig (I think that’s who Sparky’s talking to), and Thurman (or maybe that’s who Sparky’s talking to, which means either Thurman or Graig is missing from this portrait). Our mystery player in the road uni definitely isn’t any of those guys.
So I checked the photo against the 1977 A.L. roster and began ticking off names. I found that six players on the A.L. team weren’t present for that photo shoot: Vida Blue, Mark Fidrych, Don Money, Nolan Ryan, Frank Tanana (who was named to the team but was injured and probably wouldn’t have around for a photo shoot anyway), and either Thurman Munson or Graig Nettles.
I was hoping one of the missing all-stars would match up with our mystery player. Then we could say with some certainty, “Nolan Ryan [or whomever] misplaced his uniform, so the Yankees’ equipment staff found a spare road uniform for him to wear at the photo shoot.”
But now I’m not so sure, because I don’t think our mystery player looks like any of the MIA players. We can immediately rule out Munson, Nettles, Blue, Ryan, and Fidrych, and I’m pretty sure it’s not Tanana either (who, remember, was injured anyway). That leaves Don Money — I couldn’t remember what he looked like, so I googled him and came up with this. Again, doesn’t look like our mystery player.
So who was wearing that Yankees road uni, and why? It couldn’t have been a batboy or anything like that, because you wouldn’t put a batboy in the center of the top row of a team portrait. If you’ve got ideas, or if you’ve spotted a flaw in my logic, speak up.
Raffle Redux: Our friends at SoccerPro.com have given me another $100 gift card to raffle off. Just like last time, it can be applied to any of their replica soccer jerseys and gear. To enter, send a blank e-mail with your name in the subject line to the raffle address (not to the usual Uni Watch e-mail address) by 10pm eastern this Friday, September 5th.
Rules are the same as they were for last month’s raffles: If you’re enrolled in the Uni Watch membership program, you can send in up to four e-mails; everyone else gets one e-mail (and I’ll be checking multiple e-mailers against the membership roster, so don’t bother trying to cheat). I’ll announce the winner next Monday.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The NFL announced yesterday that all players will wear a Gene Upshaw memorial patch on their jerseys this season. That article says everyone will wear it on “left chest” area, but I’m assuming they’ll move it to the right side for teams that already have patches in that region this season (Lions, Titans, Rams, Steelers, Jets, etc.). But then what about the captaincy patches, which are worn on the right? I’m trying to find out what the deal is with that — as you may have noticed, the captaincy patches haven’t been worn in the preseason, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be worn when the regular season begins this Thursday. I’ve got a call in to the NFL office about this — will advise. … If you choose to believe a leak of questionable origin — and I’m not saying you shouldn’t — the NBA’s OKC team’s logo will look like this. … Several readers have noted that the raised-felt “C” logo patch has frequently been missing from Geovany Soto’s catcher’s helmet this year, presumably because of friction from the straps of his mask. Now they’ve apparently given up on using the raised felt patch and have instead given him standard decal, as you can see in this screen grab that Bryan sent me over the weekend. … We’ve talked several times about those clear anti-scuff helmet decals that players have been wearing in practice. But Ray Rice was wearing one in a game last Thursday (with thanks to Rick Friedel). … DI-AA Western Carolina has new uniforms (with thanks to Chris Geis). … Lots of cool striped socks at the Australian Football International Cup, as seen being worn by the UK, Nauru, China, and South Africa. The various team captains make for a colorful display (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Also from Jeremy: The Women’s Baseball World Cup recently took place in Japan. Weirdest team uni was India, whose home uni didn’t even say “India,” except on the cap brim. … The Canucks have released 10 finalists for Curtis Sanford’s new mask design. Plus they’ve posted staff picks and a gallery of past Canucks masks (with thanks to John Muir). … Interesting video clip here about a Blue Jays jersey storage room (with thanks to Ted Stempak). … Interesting eBay listings here and here. … Great article here on college trophy rivalries (with thanks to Susan Freeman). … Some really good shots of Oregon’s reflective uniforms here and here (with thanks to Steve Sundell). … Awesome (but somewhat lengthy) video clip here showing how LSU’s equipment manager applies stripes and decals to the team’s helmets. Amazing stuff (big thanks to Derek Ponamsky, who says there’s more where this came from). … Not really uni-related, but still interesting and fun (courtesy of Jeffrey Waszak). … The Pedro porthole was in full bloom on Sunday. … Speaking of Pedro, Nicholas Schiavo notes that he was wearing an orange undershirt and solid-black cap while sitting on the bench on Friday, while the rest of the team was wearing the black/blue cap. Even worse, he’s become the latest player to start wearing those Phiten-branded socks. Fortunately, that particular disease hasn’t yet spread throughout the team. … Bill Henderson has acquired what he believes to be a prototype for the first knit pullover Royals jerseys for the 1973 season. “Notice the V-neck trim — solid blue, not blue-white-blue like on the team-worn versions. Also note the sleeve end trim — it is a soutache braid, nearly like that on the sleeve ends of the last flannels of 1972. But the real kicker is, to me, the Wilson tag in the collar which has the vertical red line next to the size marking — the style that was used through the end of the flannel era, and last seen in 1973, which is when I would surmise this jersey was made. While it’s possible that a fan could have ordered this as a souvenir in 1973, retail sale versions of MLB jerseys were very, very rare in those days. I am 99% sure it is a prototype.” … The Des Moines Register is running an Iowa State helmet poll (with thanks to Jack Coyier). … No photo, but Dave Shucosky notes that Denny Bautista still has a “D.” initial on his red vest’s NOB, even though Jose Bautista was traded, making Denny the team’s lone Bautista. … Team Handball is going to use “smart ball” technology at the 2009 Men’s World Handball Championship in Croatia (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … A big Uni Watch shout-out to Wynn Pelzer of the Fort Wayne Wizards, whose stirrups are a thing of beauty (courtesy of Stanton Smith). … The Edmonton Eskimos will be wearing green helmets this Friday (thanks to Roy Ellingsen). … Anyone know what that yellow decal is on the back of Arizona’s helmets? … “This is John Afoa of the All Blacks,” writes rugby specialist Caleb Borchers. “Apparently the All Blacks take that extra little step, and initial the gear they give out.” … “The Kansas Jayhawks are touring Canada, playing three exhibition games against Canadian Universities,” writes Moe Khan. “It looks like they’re wearing a different uniform, along with no names on the jersey. Any news on them getting a new look?” That’s news to me. Anyone..? … Vince Young had his number retired by the Longhorns the other day. Since he’s an NFL/Reebok guy, he had to tape over the Nike logo on the pullover he wore for the occasion. If you don’t see this as a symptom of something very, very wrong in our culture, I’m afraid you and I just aren’t living on the same planet. … Pitt used to have this panther-head logo, but then it was revised like so. Now Chris Hilf says the old design is making a comeback: “Our family was at the game Saturday (season tickets, natch) and we saw the old logo everywhere — on the sideline, on the tunnel where the team enters, on the pants, etc. When we ran into someone we know who works in the athletic dept., they told us Steve Petersen is quietly returning to the old panther head logo, with no announcement.” … The whole “Los” thing is lame, and so is the use of a nickname on a team’s jersey. Add those two strains of lame-itude together and you get this. … Bill Monti has a very odd Phils/Pirates hybrid cap. “I got from a family friend when I was roughly 10 or 11 (so, 1983 or ’84). It just so happens that this family friend is the grandson of Pirates Hall of Famer Kiki Cuyler. The grandson was employed by (or owned, I don’t recall) a company that created licensed merchandise. This hat was either an intentional misprint, so to speak, as a gag, or (more likely) simply a mistake with the wrong ‘P’ embroidered on. There are no tags whatsoever on the inside, which probably indicates that it was pulled from the production line before they would’ve been applied. The only identifying mark is a brand name, ‘Natural Season,’ on the plastic adjusta-strap on the back. Unfortunately, since I got it when I was so young, I didn’t really take good care of it. I’m pretty sure the first thing I did was put a crease (or three) in the bill.” … I’m sticking to what I said over on ESPN last week: I think the new Colorado jerseys, with their raised-dot shoulder panels, look pretty cool. Can’t say the same about the pants, however. … Reprinted from Sunday’s comments: Now here‘s a cool uniform. … The Marlins all went high-cuffed yesterday, for good luck. That’s Dan Uggla wearing the accursed Phiten-logo sox. … Joe Hilseberg, you’re gonna hate this: Check it out. Is that the lamest job of nameplate sewing ever or what?