Who’s that shaking hands with Billy Martin? It’s our own Ricko, wearing a stylish corduroy norfolk jacket and some serious sideburns. After he sent me this shot, I wrote back, “I need to know everything — EVERYTHING — about this photo. Details, please!” Here’s what he wrote back:
Would have been late 1970, I think. Martin had been named manager of the Tigers and would therefore be leaving Minnesota (where he had managed the Twins). I was working at a chain of suburban newspapers that hosted regular meetings for the public called the “Suburban Sportsman Club,” where they’d have meet-and-greet sessions with guests from the Twins, Vikes, etc.
I did a painting (in what I’d call my sort of “watercolor semi-cartoon portrait” style) of Martin in a Tigers hat, surrounded by him in all the uniforms he’d worn as a player. Clockwise from top right: Yankees, KC A’s, Tigers, Indians, Redlegs, Braves, Twins.
Photo was taken that night as the painting was presented to him. It’s the only copy I have of the painting. Looked better in color when you could see all the unis.
And now you know how my archive got started, and why I kept building it. Even back then, all the photos I used for that painting came from my files, or from mags I had on hand (which later ended up dismembered and in the file folders).
That Ricko — is he totally the man or what? Here’s the latest batch of scans from his archives:
• Excellent view here of the Broncos’ 1960s orange uni design.
• Speaking of the Steelers, check out the font on the helmet logo. Surprisingly dainty and non-macho in those days, no?
• Here’s a shocker that Ricko posted in the comments a few days ago: Back in the 1980s, the Colts wore mesh pants. Never seen that before.
• Look at these Knicks uniforms — amazing! That’s Wilt Chamberlain towering above the other players, natch, and here’s another Wilt-vs.-Knicks shot. Interesting side panels for the Knicks, and very odd that the Warriors put a gold waistband on that design.
• Vertically striped socks alert! That’s Austin Peay, circa early-’70s.
• I’m just gonna sit back and let this one speak for itself.
• Great shot here of the Sonics’ original uniforms, which featured one of history’s oddest shorts designs.
• Fascinating stripes being worn by Dartmouth, circa 1962. Love how the yoke and sleeve stripes mimic each other, but shouldn’t this same pattern have been repeated on the pants and/or socks?
• Some things that look strange by today’s standards: Iowa in black pants (from 1971); Penn State wearing royal jerseys, pants stripes, and helmet numbers (1968); and Oregon not looking like total shit (1971).
That’s enough for this installment. More Rickosity coming soon.
January Party Update: The next Uni Watch shindig will take place in Brooklyn on the afternoon of Saturday, January 24th, and I’m very happy to announce that we’ll have a special guest: Jerry Dior, the man who designed the MLB logo. Jerry is one of the nicest, most gracious people I’ve ever interviewed, and I’ve been eager to meet him since writing about him two months ago, so I’m really pleased that he’s accepted my invitation to join our gathering.
I’m still hammering out the details regarding the venue, but I should have that settled in about a week. Stay tuned.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Very cool diagrams of Luis Castillo’s batting gloves here and here (okay, so it’s Castillo, but it’s still pretty nifty). … Three good finds by Andy Chalifour: Mike Fitzgerald in a brimless catcher’s helmet, Paul Gibson with FIOB (odd, since he and Kirk Gibson never played together on the Tigers), and Trevor Wilson wearing an interesting division championship cap. … Jack Krabbe notes that Ed Reed was wearing a Miami armband on Sunday (I believe he’s done this before, right?), and also has his uni number printed on the inside of his helmet shell. … This eBay seller has some really amazing (if really pricey) stuff. I’m particularly fond of this UGA jersey and this astonishingly gorgeous Oregon jersey. Someone please buy this for me, like, yesterday (great finds by Jared Wheeler). … I showed that Oregon jersey link to Jeremy Brahm, because he lives in Portland. He’s not so sure the Ducks ever actually wore that design, but he came upon some interesting tidbits while hunting through the Oregon photo archives for confirmation, including this shot (what’s with the guy wearing the bib?) and this one (looks like the opposing team painted the upper portion of their facemasks to match their helmets, creating a two-tone mask effect). … And that got Jeremy thinking about Oregon State, so he started looking through their photo archives too. Among his finds: the football team using the now-banned pyramid formation to block a kick; a spectacular shot of the school’s 1914 baseball team; an odd jersey design for the 1943 baseball team (why not spell it out across the chest?); and the 1908 Civil War program! … Yesterday I linked to some photos of Alabama’s houndstooth-patterened gloves from the Sugar Bowl. But what I didn’t show was that the gloves also had the same pattern on the palm (with thanks to Noel Foley). … Major douchebaggery find by Brett Crane, who noticed that D-League players wearing non-Adidas footwear had their sneaker logos covered up by tape. … The designer who created the United Nations logo has died (with thanks to Matt Hackethal). … What do you call your factory team if your factory is in Cooleemee, North Carolina? The Cooleemee Cools. That’s Jeff Spry‘s father, who was the team’s manager, sitting in the front row in the dark jacket, circa 1951. Jeff’s father was also the scorekeeper for the local baseball team (middle row, far left). … Anyone know why Terelle Pryor had an “88” decal (or maybe it was “68”) on his helmet last night? (Thanks to Phil for the screen grab.) … Also from Phil: The new TSA uniforms are causing problems (further info here), and the controversy regarding the Hockey Canada logo and the Olympics is ongoing. … Matt Campbell recently visited an Ann Arbor shop called College Shoe Repair, which used to do all the major equipment work for the Wolverines’ hockey team. They had some good stuff up on the walls, which Matt documented here. … Two oddities from last night’s Fiesta Bowl: Someone on the Texas sideline had an OSU sweatshirt and an Iowa clipboard, and Jim Tressel was wearing an American flag pin in an unusual spot (screen grabs courtesy of Tim Burke). … Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown, he’s a clown, that Charlie Brown. Actually, that’s Chykie Brown of the Longhorns, but it’s still an unusual NOB (with thanks to Doug Keklak). … Nice photo essay on Navy uniforms here (with thanks to Alan Borock).