As many of you are already aware, there was a major development in online archiving the other day, as Google announced that they’ll be making Life magazine’s photo archive available on the web. This is kinda like having the key to Ricko’s file cabinet — it’s a bottomless rabbit hole of spectacular imagery.
Having already spent several hours clicking through the pics (which you can access through this portal), I can affirm that the photos — most of which were never published, and many more of which will soon be uploaded — are amazing. To take a simple, random example, look at this. The composition, the angles, the lighting, the expression — it’s a minor masterpiece.
And of course there are tons of great sports photos. I’ve chosen a bunch of them and divided them up into two groups: baseball-related and everything else. And since baseball usually gets top billing around here, let’s turn the tables and start with the non-baseball material for a change.
One logistical note: I’ve linked to smaller versions of the photos, so you can see the captions (which are minimal but usually provide at least the date the photo was shot), but I strongly recommend checking out the larger versions as well, which you can see simply by clicking on the smaller version; in fact, in many cases you’ll have to view the larger versions in order to see some of the details I’m talking about.
Now then (with thanks to the many readers who’ve sent in their faves over the past few days):
• Interesting uni number placement here. And dig that chenille numbering and lettering!
• Rare to see Muhammad Ali not wearing Everlast trunks.
• Love this shot of SMU’s team plane.
• Always amusing to see football refs wearing button-cuff sleeves.
• The team wearing white in this 1952 shot is Georgia Tech. The other team is Duke, who were doing the monochrome thing way ahead of their time.
• Check out the yard markers here. The line and numerals aren’t chalked over the grass — they were cut down to the dirt and then chalked (or maybe painted).
• Best paper route photo ever.
• Awesome artifact here: a post-game radio script.
• I don’t know who this kid was, but he sure was a natural in front of the camera. This must have been one of his teammates — love all the threads dangling of the letters. Mom must have sewn them on in a hurry!
• Now that’s a hockey fight photo.
• Love the handwritten seating sections visible in this shot.
• Softball is almost baseball, but not quite, so we’ll put the softball pics in this entry, beginning with these shirts, which look more like bowling shirts — until you see the uni numbers. And check out the rear-shirt designs here, here, here, and here, plus this zebrafied umpire.
• OK, this is just weird.
• How great is it that Vince Lombardi’s jacket simply said this?
• This is so awesome, on several different levels.
• These kids must have been mascots or junior captains or something like that. Love the fractional uni numbers, but couldn’t they have at least used the same font?
• Note the plain referee’s shirt here.
• Man, there’s a lot of questionable activity going on in this photo.
• Life must have done a story on basketball ref Jim Enright (no relation, I’m assuming to this Jim Enright), who cut a rather unusual figure in zebra stripes and high-top sneakers. Additional pics here and here.
• Note the differing umpire jacket styles here.
• Pure gold here: Roger Staubach with SNOB.
• Here’s a nice one to go out on — thing of beauty.
That’s enough for today. I’ll run the baseball pics in the near future, plus there’s a small group of basketball shots that are presenting such a mystery that I’m planning to give them their own entry, huzzah!
NBA Update: I have a short item about this year’s NBA throwbacks appearing today on Page 2.
Uni Watch News Ticker: I’m a little behind on NHL unveilings, so here are your alts for the Senators (ugh), Kings (doesn’t home plate belong in baseball?), Stars, and Flyers (here’s the rear view). … If you go here, look in the “Multimedia” listing in the right-hand rail, and scroll down to “Michigan’s Throwback Jersey,” you’ll find a nice little video clip on the Michigan hockey team’s new retro threads (thanks to Michael Davis). … Magnificent-looking 1920s basketball uniform catalog available here, and you’ve gotta like this sweater. … Latest Gene Upshaw memorial: Kyle Orton’s cap (courtesy of Paul Mazzarella). … At the risk of offending some of you, family stickers sound like precisely the kind of hellish suburban trope I live in the city to avoid. Or at least that’s what I thought until Brett Crane sent me this. … This very short home movie clip shot at the L.A. Coliseum in 1954 concludes with a shot of this poster. Don’t let the solid-yellow uni make you overlook the white-for-night ball (very nice find by Paul Wiederecht). … “My alma mater, Ohio, celebrated the 40th anniversary of their last MAC championship with 1968 throwback helmets last Saturday against Bowling Green,” writes Tim Burke. Wow — those are my-t-fine, no? … Nicole Haase stumbled across this great archival Wisconsin hockey photo — nice. … Wednesday’s comments featured some discussion of Oregon’s mallard helmet, with several readers suggesting that the duck-ish effect would be more pronounced if the helmet was paired with a yellow facemask, to match the mallard’s bill. Jeremy Brahm points out that the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks used a beak/bill treatment (along with the rest of the hawk’s head, natch) on their batting helmets from 1989-92. … Spectacular article here about the signage and typography in the New York City subway system — high recommended reading (big thanks to Bill Sodeman). … According to this item (sent my way by Dan Thaler), three Dallas players were fined for sock-related uni violations in last Sunday’s Cowboys/’Skins game. One of them was Kevin Burnett (No. 57), who was apparently flagged for wearing high whites. Another was Tony Romo, who you can see here and here — did they really fine him five grand for having a sliver of exposed kneecap, or was it because he appears to have had a small logo of some sort on his right sock? … Some great 1958 Colts/Giants footage (from the regular season, not the championship game) here. … Mizzou is supposedly planning to wear gold against KU (with thanks to Chris Mycoskie). … The Cowboys will be wearing throwbacks against the Niners this weekend. They will not be wearing throwbacks on Thanksgiving — just their regular home whites. … My ESPN colleague Eric Neel has a great new article about the 1958 Buffalo football team (which declined a bowl invitation rather than play without their two black players), and it includes some nice old Buffalo football cover designs. … Laurence Brussels says he recalls a 1970s SI article that mentioned that the Tampa Bay Bucs originally wanted their color scheme to be light green and orange. Anyone know more about this? … “Not sure how many teams across the country do this but Under Armour provides South Carolina with practice jerseys in every opposing team’s color for the scout squad in practice,” writes Beau Franklin. “Gamecocks are off this week, preparing for upstate rival Clemson, so the scout squad is wearing orange.” … The Twins will wear 1982 throwbacks for Saturday home games next year (with thanks to Hugh Gitlin). … Color-vs.-color last night, as Tulsa played Oklahoma State (thanks, Phil). … Trey Phillips notes that Ball State players are wearing an “86” decal — what’s that about? … Speaking of Ball State, Central Michigan wore gold jerseys while playing against them the other night, and it didn’t look as bad as I’d expected. … Jonathon Binet found some unsual shots of Mike Mussina: as a collegiate, as a minor leaguer, not wearing his usual No. 35, and running the bases. Interestingly, he’s wearing a left-handed batting helmet in that last shot, which I initially thought must have been an equipment snafu, but it turns out he batted lefty. … Upside-down “8” alert: Dice-K, from his Fenway debut (good spot by Steve Michaels, who also sent along this). … Mike Regan reports that the Kitchener Rangers had special jerseys and trading cards for Remembrance Day (a nicer treatment than last year’s, I’d say). “This ‘Valour’ jersey is based on the jersey that armed forces personnel wore in Europe during and after WWII,” he writes. “The three stripes that replicate the stripes on the ribbon of the Medal of Military Valour, which is awarded to members of the Canadian Forces (or allied forces serving in conjunction with Canadian Forces) for ‘an act of valour or devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.'” … There are just too many uni-related things going on in this photo for my poor little brain to process. … Spent yesterday afternoon eating oysters and drinking beer with R&B DJ extraordinaire Mr. Finewine out in Sheepshead Bay, where I was surprised to see one of these signs on the kitchen wall.