With NCAA football back in full swing, this is a good time to talk about a really great book series that some of you may already know about: the College Vault series, an ongoing program of volumes, each one devoted to the history of a particular school’s football program. It’s a pretty damn impressive series, for reasons that go way beyond the quality of the writing (not bad) and photos (quite good).
Here’s the deal: The College Vault books aren’t just books — they’re more like scrapbooks, only really high-end ones. Each edition comes in a clipcase. Once you start paging through the book, you’ll find that almost every spread has some sort of bonus memorabilia item: old tickets inside of pasted-in envelopes, schedules tucked into pockets (all of which can be removed and fondled, natch), postcards (here’s another view, and here are some additional examples), hidden slots that reveal old brochures (here’s the flip side), taped clippings, more tickets, and even a mini-pennant (here’s a full view).
Naturally, none of it is original, but the reproductions appear to have been done with a good eye for detail, and it’s fun to discover all the different treasures waiting in the various pockets and slots. It’s more like a toy than a book. And as a former book editor, I can tell you that all those pockets and envelopes and inserts must have been a total beast to produce. I’m frankly surprised that the books list for only $50 (and go for more like $35 to $39 on Amazon).
All the pics shown above are from the Notre Dame Vault. I also have Michigan (here’s a slideshow) and Ohio State (sorry, no photos, but you get the idea). They’re all very nice, but I’m not a huge fan of any of those teams — or of any other college football team, frankly — so I’ve decided to unload them. Let’s try this: If we can get 20 new enrollees in the membership program by the end of next week, I’ll raffle all three of them off (oh, and for what it’s worth, we’re just a few enrollees away from our 600th member, which means someone will be getting a special seal on his or her card); if not, I’ll offer them for sale at a discounted price. Cool? Cool.
Research Project: “Went to the Mariners game on Tuesday night with Neyer,” says Jeff Bower. “One question that came up was this: “Who was the first ballplayer to have a tilde used in his NOB? We figured you would know the answer or be insane enough to track it down. I guessed Alex Treviño.”
I can’t recall if we’ve covered this before, but I agree that Treviño (who according to this page began wearing the tilde in 1980) is a likely candidate. If you know of any earlier examples, speak up.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Several people wrote in to tell me that one of the officials in Sunday’s Browns/Cowboys game appeared to be wearing non-standard socks, but only Brendon Yarian came up with a photo. … Tons — and I mean tons — of great old Shea Stadium photos (including lots of Jets-related images, and a link to some 1964 amateur film footage) can be found in this thread. … Good uni-related content on this U. of Wisconsin Q&A page (with thanks to Matt Brukman). … Alternately fascinating and horrifying article here about the Collegiate Licensing Company’s product-screening process (with thanks to Nathan Gemignani). … The Colts PR dept. has informed me that the patch they wore on Sunday night was a one-time deal to mark the opening of the stadium. It won’t be worn again (which means enough space to erect a small office tower will now open up on the team’s jersey). … Here’s the latest re: Devin Hester’s number. … Speaking of the Bears, according to this item, “A source said [Bears] players lobbied Lovie Smith to wear the [white-on-white] combination all season on the road instead of their blue pants,” although it’s not clear if Smith has granted the request. Personally, I have no probably with the white pants, but they need to wear them with the proper socks, instead of these (with thanks for Bob Stokas). … If you’re dying to have a game-worn Cerveceros jersey, look here (with thanks to Jeff Ash, who’s also put together a photo gallery from a 1941 Packers/Lions game). … New Xavier logo style sheets here (with thanks to Adam McCracken). … Pretty damn complete overview of the NFL’s captaincy situation here (with thanks to Trevor Williams). … Awesome-looking (but overpriced) catalog here. … Here’s a good look at the patch that college football officials are wearing (it’s just barely visible on the ref’s left sleeve; thanks to Conor Clougherty for the patch photo). … Interesting find by Matt Powers, who stumbled across this shot of a kid wearing a DNA facemask on a non-DNA helmet. … FNOB alert: Joe Washington (thanks, Ricko). … What the hell is this? It’s the Single Speed [biking] World Championship, of course. Details here, photo gallery here, and literally hundreds of additional photos here. … Here’s something I’d forgotten about until I stumbled across it in an old yearbook: Ralph Kiner, in addition to broadcasting Mets game, also served on occasion as a spring training hitting instructor, complete with a Mets uniform. That shot is from 1971. Dig the fancy-shmancy “video replay machine.” … The White Sox hosted “Blackhawks Night” on Tuesday, resulting in this scene. … Further evidence of Cool Base armpit yellowing (as documented by eagle-eyed Nicole Haase). … James Ballow just “won” — if you can call it that — this futuristic Angels jersey. … Totally stinkin’ rich guys Warren Buffet and Jack Welch
bought and sold the entire fucking country while you weren’t looking threw and caught the first pitch at Fenway the other night (video clip here). Buffet wore a No. 1/16 jersey for the occasion, which refers to the fraction of his net worth that would be needed to purchase the Red Sox, Fenway, and Theo Epstein’s gorilla costume. … New Maple Leafs center ice treatment here. … Here’s a new (to Uni Watch) shot of Dave Kingman wearing white shoes. … And check out Seaver and Gentry inspecting the field after the postgame carnage following the 1969 World Series win. … My Page 2 colleague Kurt Snibbe did some fun logo tweaking the other day. … Someone Doesn’t Get It™ (but Stu Taylor does). …The Hurricanes have unveiled their new third jersey, which will look like this. John Muir wonders if they got their inspiration from Team Canada. … Should’ve mentioned earlier this week that last weekend’s Virginia Tech throwbacks looked great (thanks to K. Zane Tuck for the reminder). … Expect MLB teams to be wearing the star-spangled caps tonight. But the Mets have an off day, so they wore the caps last night. … Surprising that nobody had mentioned this until now, but Matt Powers notes that Ladainian Tomlinson’s new facemask is arguably even scarier than the one he wore last year. … Remember how the NFL said Chad Whatshisname had to settle “a financial obligation to Reebok” before he could wear his new name on his jersey? Turns out that obligation is huge (thanks to Minna H.). … Yet another example of a minor league team wearing shorts. “The team is Ft. Worth Cats,” writes Josh Jarmon. “The team wore the shorts during a few exhibition games prior to the 1950 season. The player in the picture is future MLB manager Dick Williams. The photo is from the book Baseball in Ft. Worth, by Mark Presswood and Chris Holaday.