A few weeks ago I got a note from a reader who pointed me toward this story about former Cy Young winner Pete Vuckovich (bet you forgot he pitched for the Jays and Cards, right?) being inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. The key uni-related passage is buried in the middle of the article: “Sometimes, Vuckovich wore two different brands of spikes, one Puma and one Adidas.”
I’d never heard anything about that, so I did some quick photo research, and sure enough, look. Only that isn’t Puma and Adidas — he’s got Puma on the left and, uh, someone help me out regarding the right foot (here’s a shot from the same game, which shows a logo on the tongue). Once I started poking around, I discovered that Vuckovich was a real footwear freestyler. Among the combinations I found: Rawlings on the left and Puma on the right (I think that’s what this is too, right?), Rawlings on the left and Adidas on the right, and Nike on the left and what appears to be Adidas on the right. (One footnote: He apparently switched to conventional footwear protocol when working as a pitching coach in the 1990s.)
Weird, right? I wanted to get the scoop from the man himself, so I called the Pirates, where Vuckovich works as a special assistant to the GM, and left a few voicemails. When I didn’t hear back, I called the team’s PR department and asked if they could hook me up with Vuckovich. Unfortunately, I was informed that Vuckovich prefers to lay low and generally declines all interview requests, including this one (odd that he’s so shy, since he was once a broadcaster from 1989-91), so the story behind his inconsistent cleatage will have to go unheard for now. Dang.
Double-dang: I seem to have misplaced the name of the reader who contributed the article that started me down this path. If that person is reading this right now, please get in touch so I can give you proper credit. Thanks. … Update: Turns out it was Doug Keklak. Thanks, Doug.
Raffle Results: The winner of the Classic Old School custom jersey is Steve Johnston. Thanks to all who entered — more raffles coming soon.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Canucks have officially unveiled their third jersey (which was leaked ages ago, so it’s not exactly a surprise). Photo gallery here, plus Roberto Luongo has a new mask, and this time the “C” is on the side. … Remember that Tim Hightower helmet hit on Monday night that sent paint chips flying? Here’s a great photo of it (with thanks to Jonathan Pond). … Basketball leggings appear to have spread to the NCAA (with thanks to Xavier Otero). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: NHL All-Star jerseys are viewable (and, yes, purchasable) here and here. … Yesterday’s Ticker featured this Texas Tech photo showing bicentennial-style stars being used as merit decals. I had meant to also show this photo (which, like the other one, comes courtesy of Susan N. Freeman), which shows the kicker wearing sock garters or a bionic leg or something. Turns out it was actually a prosthesis! … Auburn will wear a memorial helmet decal on Saturday to honor senior associate athletics director Virgil Starks , who died of a heart attack at age 46 last weekend. Starks oversaw Auburn’s student-athlete support services, so the decal will have his initials underneath a diploma (with thanks to Brent Hardman). … Wanna see someone wear 100 soccer jerseys and take them off one at a time? Me neither, but here it is anyway (with thanks to Dan O’Connor). … Lengthy but interesting explanation of using uniform colors as the basis of signals for a baseball all-star team in a Babe Ruth invitational tourney, courtesy of Don Montgomery: “Since we didn’t have much time to practice as a team, getting the signals memorized was a challenge. So we came up with a signal system that used color as the ‘indicator’ (i.e., all signals are meaningless unless preceded by the correct color code yelled by the coach). The third base coach would yell the color code to the batter, then follow it with the usual finger to cap, brush across chest, or whatever. The unique part was that the indicator color was always the color of the batter’s or runner’s regular team’s uniform. Since our team wore a tournament uniform, no one saw the players’ home colors. So, for example, if Jim Brown is at bat, and Jim Brown’s regular season team was Fox Lounge, which wore red caps and unis, his indicator color was red. The next batter might be Joey Jones from the Bullard Company team, which wore blue, so his indicator was blue. This drove opposing teams nuts, because I could stand in the coaching box with Jim Brown at bat and yell ‘Red’ followed by a finger tomy cap, and Jim would bunt. But when Joey Jones came up, I could do the same thing but it was a bogus sig,n because Joey Jones’s team color and indicator was blue. There was no way for an opposing team from another town to decipher the indicators because they couldn’t possibly know which team which of our players played for during the regular season.” … Iowa state volleyball championship observations from Jesse Gavin: The breast cancer awareness trope is spreading to the balls, and check out the bizarre side panels for Johnston High. “I might understand these a bit more if they were the Chargers or the Lightning or something, but their nickname is the Dragons,” says Jesse. … Nick Swisher, now a Yankee, will have to shave his beard. … Jeff Ash has created three tremendous photo galleries based on old Packers/Bears games from 1941, 1942, and 1951. … Marshall’s mascot is getting a makeover (with thanks to Matt O’Bryant). … “At the end of the season, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles said that they had 1,001 submissions from the fan club for the 2009 Fan Club Day uniforms,” says Jeremy Brahm. “They have now whittled it down to six choices: A, B, C, D, E, or F. I like E, but F looks like a high school uniform, so I think that one will win.” … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Radio station KIRO in Seattle is becoming an all-sports ESPN affiliate — and here’s how they announced it. … This is pretty adorable.