Two Fridays ago I ran a Ticker item about how Warren Spahn and Mort Cooper changed their uniform numbers with each additional victory late in the 1951 and 1942 seasons, respectively. That prompted an extraordinary communiqué from reader Charlie Frank, who pretty well blew my mind with the following story:
In 1964 and 1965, the University of Maryland football team had a placekicker, Bernardo Bramson, one of the first soccer-style kickers, whose uniform number changed in real time to match the number of points he scored.
Head football coach Tommy Nugent, who never missed a chance for publicity, called Bramson the “human scoreboard.” He’d start each season wearing zero, but whenever he scored on a field goal or extra point, the team equipment manager would affix tape to Bramson’s jersey to change the number. [A typical game for Bramson is described in this Sporting News article, dated October 17, 1964: “Against South Carolina recently, Bramson started the game with No. 3, changed to Nos. 4 and 5 after extra points, switched to No. 8 after a field goal, and finished with No. 9.” — PL]
Nugent originally wanted Bramson to have a question mark instead of a number but was told by the Atlantic Coast Conference that all players must have a number. The ACC green-lighted the tape idea, however [for details, see the last two grafs of this article — PL].
Sadly, when Nugent was replaced by Lou Saban in 1966, the “human scoreboard” concept was retired and Bramson was permanently assigned No. 3 for his final season [as noted in the last graf of this article — PL]. Maybe Lou should have reconsidered, because Bramson’s FG production sagged that year.
Amazing, right? Joe Hilseberg, how come you never told me about this?! It’s not clear how high Bramson’s uni number got during either of the human scoreboard seasons, but the last graf of this article, dated October 19th, 1964, says he was up to 19. Also worth noting: Bramson never wore shoulder pads.
That Tommy Nugent — the Terps coach who came up with the human scoreboard concept — was apparently quite the innovative chap. According to this item, he used a sideline traffic light to call signals and was also the first college coach to score on a two-point conversion, plus he introduced NOBs to the college ranks. Bill Veeck and Charlie Finley all rolled into one, with a whistle for good measure.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The current issue of Wired has a page showing a refrigerator door from the year 2020. Note the football tickets at upper-right. … Slideshow of the Portland Pirates’ Veterans Day jerseys here (with thanks to Jason Aarons). … Here’s some info on the Cancuks’ third jersey (rare mainstream contribution from Jeremy Brahm). … Those hick Nebraska farmers sure am stoopid (great find by Robert Eden). … It’s nice to know that even in a totally fucked-up economy, millionaire athletes can still do a brisk business buying and selling uniform numbers (thanks to Anthony Pellegrino). … Can anyone tell me who’s the opposing player getting bowled over by Earl Campbell, or at least the opposing team, in this 1977 video clip? I think it’s from UT’s 68-0 win over Virginia, but I’m trying to confirm that, and I’m unsure of the would-be tackler. … Several Rangers wore suits on the ice for an ad shoot the other day (with thanks to Alan Kreit). … What a bunch of douchebags. … Some very nice retro-styled Vancouver hockey designs available here (with thanks to David Cummings). … I love hockey and I love bowling, they’re two great tastes that definitely do not taste great together (blame Tris Wykes). … As usual, I’m completely footwear-indifferent, but Chris Yarolimek says this photo shows Jamarcus Russell wearing “old school Air Jordans.” … The Orioles will be unveiling their 2009 uniform set today, and there’s some early analysis here and here (with thanks to Joe Hilseberg, who’s all upset cuz he’s stuck out in Phoenix and can’t attend the event), and the new home jersey is here (with thanks to David Cline). The sleeve patch looks like this. You’ll have to wait to see the new road and alt. jerseys. … Disturbing note from: Jeff Vanden Langenberg, who writes: “The Green Bay CBS affiliate, WFRV, did a story on a new Reebok NFL prototype jersey design that looks ridiculous. They’re looking more and more like tank tops — the sleeves are even shorter than they are already, with elastic ends. The Packers’ equipment manager, Red Batty, was in the story and said the players like them as snug as can be, and they look reeeeal snug. Lots of breathable mesh. Also, he said the NFL is trying to streamline the jersey types and cloth, of which there are three currently being used. But it looked like more of a basketball jersey — the collar to sleeve was arcing inward instead of outward, just weird. The players wearing them say they’re lighter and cooler. Story said they’d appear on the field maybe by 2010.” Jeff says the video should appear soon on the WFRV web site (as of this morning, it’s not there yet), but meanwhile I have two questions: (1) Joe Skiba, I assume this is related to your super-secret Giants project, right? And (2) Is it just a coincidence that Green Bay has a TV station whose call letters sound like “Farve”? … Brian Hughes sent along a 1910 photo that makes me proud to be a Brooklynite. … Check out this old bicentennial-themed Ron Low mask. What’s with the backwards 1? (With thanks to Mike Williams.) … Two days ago I mentioned that webmaster John Ekdahl is having his Tiki Barber No. 21 jersey repurposed into a Steve Smith No. 12 jersey by a local shop. He’s documenting the whole process — here’s a slideshow of photos that show the first stages of the project. … Good sock-spotting by Jeff Lindquist, who writes: “Auburn’s Kodi Burns had his number (18) printed on his socks last Saturday. With a cursory search I found that he wore similar socks against West Virginia (isn’t it kind of odd that they were using a “AU” branded football while playing at Morgantown?) and Ole Miss, and he wore black socks with a smaller number against Tennessee and Louisiana-Monroe. I didn’t see any other Auburn players wearing their numbers on their socks — just Under Armor logo creep.”