New ESPN column today (link here). But since I took yesterday off, I’ll run a regular entry here as well.
So: As excited as I am about the Life photo archives being put online, it’s important to remember that material relating to lots of important chapters in uniform history is still housed in smaller, local archives. One such chapter can be found in the Tacoma Public Library’s image files: the story of the Cheney Studs.
The Studs weren’t a team — they were a series of Tacoma-area youth and amateur teams in the 1950s and ’60s, all sponsored by local philanthropist Ben Cheney. The Studs empire included baseball (additional views here, here, and here), football (see also here, here, and here), basketball (here’s a very young team), and soccer (see also here and here). Some of these squads actually traveled in their own plane or train.
Even better: the Cheney Studs Courteers, a rotating group of Globetrotters-esque kids who performed during halftimes while wearing star-spangled sleeved jerseys and vertically striped socks (except when they wore hoop-striped socks. According to the photo captions, the Courteers displayed “high potency basketball skills,” to the beat of “lively rock n’ roll.” If anyone has video of this, let’s just say I’m more than a little bit interested.
As you can see, the most of these teams used a logo featuring a rather well-endowed horse. But here’s the best part: Ben Cheney was in the lumber business — he’s credited with standardizing the size of 2-by-4 wall studs. The team logo derived from his company logo, which was stamped onto each wall stud his firm produced (more info on that is in the caption to this photo). So “stud” has a dual meaning here — great story.
As for Cheney, he died in 1971, but his name lives on at Cheney Stadium, home of the Tacoma Rainiers, the Mariners’ triple-A affiliate. Cheney himself attends every game in the form of a bronze statue, eating peanuts and wearing a Cheney Studs jacket — how cool is that? Further details on the statue can be found here.
January Raffle: Our friends at SoccerPro.com are generously partnering with me for another raffle. The winner will get his choice of any soccer jersey shown here, home or road. To enter, send a blank e-mail with your name in the subject line to the raffle address (not to the usual Uni Watch e-mail address, please) by next Wednesday, January 14th, at 10pm eastern. One entry per person, except for members of the Uni Watch membership program, who can send four entries. I’ll announce the winner the following day.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Lots of cool old photo in this blog devoted to Canadiens goalies (with thanks to Mike Hersh). … Ichiro in Zubaz — ugh (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Now that’s a well-dressed elementary school team (with thanks to James Huening). … Interesting photo here. That’s a Japanese baseball team marching in uniform at a 4th of July parade in NYC in 1911. Further info/details here (nice find by Hadyn Green). … Attention Chance Michaels: You need to bid on this (with thanks to Stewart Joyner). … The bullpen buggy lives! Or at least it did in 1973. That’s Tug McGraw and Buddy Harrelson hitching a ride on the back (with thanks to Joe Alvaro). … The Cavs debuted their odd CavFanatics uni on Wednesday night (forcing the Bobcats to wear white on the road). … Not sure I’ve ever seen a pitcher wearing a batting glove on his glove hand before. I realize he was probably just wearing it for pregame long-toss, but it still looks very odd. … Excellent catch by Brandon Davis, who writes: “At Jason Giambi’s press conference, he was given his new jersey. But it’s really his old one — look closely and you’ll see it’s a Rawlings jersey, not Majestic. At the press conference you could see that the jock tag was sewn to the inside of the jersey, which means it’s probably a gamer that the A’s had in storage.” … Check out this NOB. That’s FC Porto player Givanildo Vieira de Souza, who’s known as Hulk because he looks like Lou Ferrigno (screen grab courtesy of Tyler Hull). … A Lions fan has commemorated his team’s “perfect” season with a tattoo. Details here (with thanks to Peter Kaszczak). … Hahahahahahaha. … Did you know that Robbie Ftorek and Claude Larose both wore No. 8 at the same time while playing for the WHA’s Cincy Stingers in 1977? I didn’t, until Jeff Barak pointed me toward this page (note the photo caption). … Cool old DePaul basketball pin available here. … Citi Field will be a serious pitcher’s park, at least according to this analysis (thanks, Vince). … Also from Vince: Here’s one of the most beautiful vintage baseball uniforms I’ve ever seen. Look at all that chain-stitching! … Here are two things you don’t often see: the Babe in color (it was his final Yankee Stadium appearance before his death) and a photographer with an eye patch (with thanks to Justin Rectenwald). … Here’s a first: a stadium renovation logo. Erick Schmidt doesn’t like the upside-down type along the bottom, but that’s hardly unprecedented. … Michael Princip spotted this on a 1977 NFL Films tape. This odd piece of headwear now takes its place alongside this and this, and this, all of which are documented on Princip’s amazing Seahawks-centric web site. … Cool bowling outfits! That’s one of many excellent shots in this photo gallery (with thanks to Chad Todd). … Mark Kaplowitz pointed me toward this shot. That’s the Converse logo near the waistband, but what’s the other logo on the shorts (also repeated on the jersey)? … As you may have heard by now, the financial mess is nothing to worry about as long as you’ve got a 140-year-old baseball card in the attic. … Now that is a serious front/back stirrup height disparity. Note the repair work on the left pant leg, too. … Somewhere out there, there’s a pair of these socks with my name on them. … Latest BCS team wearing specially patterned gloves: Florida. … This year’s Pro Bowl jerseys look even worse than usual (with thanks to Brandon Diamond). … Check out this gorgeous ABC overcoat that Jim McKay wore for the Winter Olympics way back when (with thanks to Jim Sullivan). … See that black line along the top of Mike Comrie’s visor? According to MSG+ color man Billy Jaffe, that’s eye black, which Comrie recently started applying to his visor to cut down on glare from the arena lights. … My thanks to everyone who wished me and my jaw a speedy recovery. Turns out I got off easy — no swelling, no pain to speak of, and I should be able to go back to solid food today (but I might stick with soft food cuz it’s so much fun to eat a pint of ice cream for lunch).