Many of you may know Stall & Dean as a throwback apparel operation. But back in the day, it was an active sporting goods company that made uniforms and accessories for lots of top-level pro teams in several sports. The company’s archives have been decimated over the years as the Stall & Dean name has been sold and licensed, but a small cache of old S&D materials remains. It currently resides in an industrial park in New Jersey, and our own Scott M.X. Turner was recently hired to index and document it. Two Fridays ago I tagged along with him to take a look.
It turned out to be a spectacular day. Here’s a small sampling of what I saw (and, in some cases, tried on):
• More green and gold here. This one had a front uni number and some odd front initials — not sure what that was about. Also, note the rounded uni number font, which Scott says was common for S&D jerseys.
• There was a whole box full of old labels. Some were manufactured in big spools (I regret not getting a photo of that), others in small boxes (ditto). I especially like that Puckmaster design at upper-right.
• Speaking of tags, I was fascinated when I saw this box, which contained assorted size tags and some sort of gadget to apply them, or make them, or something. This was one of many things I meant to go back and investigate more fully, but I kept getting distracted by other things and then the day slipped away from me. So after I got home, I looked on eBay and found this, which indicates that the gadget was actually for applying paper price labels, not cloth tags. Hmmmmm.
• Not sure about the story here, but Scott thinks those are Hebrew letters on the chest patch.
• It was amazing to see this box of hand-drawn, hand-cut lettering templates, some of which were accompanied by a finished sample. Here’s another example, with lots of handwritten annotations on the template.
• There were some very interesting basketball shorts. This set had built-in hip pads; this set was made from a flecked wool fabric (sort of like a Donegal tweed) and an unusual back closure; and this one had an unusually thick belt.
• I hadn’t realized that S&D also made gloves.
• It’s not clear if this was a company team or a S&D-sponsored team. Either way, very cool.
• Highlight of the day: I spent more than an hour poring over hundreds of typed index cards, some of them dating back to the 1920s. Each one described the design, construction, and materials for a specific S&D product, sometimes with accompanying sketches (I especially like the little sketches for these zippered football and basketball carrying cases). This one was so detailed that it continued onto a second card. I photographed over 30 of these, all of which can be viewed in this slideshow.
And just to bring things full circle, there was one other green/gold item I lusted after: this vintage loveseat in the lobby. They better have it nailed down next time I’m there!
Late-breaking research request: I’m putting together a Uni Watch glossary. The terms I’ve included so far are here. If you have suggestions for other terms that should be included, please contact me asap. Thanks.
Raffle Reminder: I’m currently raffling off a cashmere soccer scarf. For details, look here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Yesterday I linked to this shot of Rogers Hornsby’s son. That prompted Todd Radom to send me a shot of the same kid, eight years earlier. … Good rundown of ugly basketball jerseys here (with thanks to long-lost Kenn Tomasch). … The Cavs awarded framed jerseys to ESPN’s Tom Jackson and members of the O’Jays on Sunday night (with thanks to Corey Buck). … “I watched nearly every second of the Cavs/Pistons game on Sunday night, waiting for the moment where Wally Z. had to guard Rip Hamilton mask-to-mask,” says Kenny Crookston. “Has this ever happened before?” … Our latest DIYer is Brad Spence, who created a Ravens onesie for his infant son, Palmer. “Yes, as a true Baltimore fan, I was able to talk my wife into allowing me to name my first-born after Jim Palmer,” he says. “I used a plain white onesie, some iron-on transfer paper for our printer, and got the logos off of the internet.” … Alex Minnehan noticed some very odd shoulder seams on this Bills jersey. … Speaking of the Bills, I can’t say I’m in love with the Bills’ 50th-anniversary patch. Where did they get that “5”? Woof. … This is a really bad idea. But the real question, of course, is whether the apostrophe is properly oriented (with thanks to Joe Hilseberg). … Greg Scholand was going through a box of his old childhood stuff and came across this book, which has a page devoted to each team. Not only does the Browns page feature the phantom CB logo, but there are several illos of Lou the Toe, all of which show him wearing the logo that never was. … New powder blue alt jersey for UNC baseball (with thanks to Chris Warfford). … Speaking of college baseball, several new uni designs for Mississippi State, too. And as long as we’re talking about the Bulldogs, the football team is going back to a maroon helmet (with thanks to Demi Brown). … Yesterday’s note about MLB players pulling their pant cuffs down over over their heels prompted this note from Tod Tompkins: “I’m a uniform manufacturer, so it’s my job to pay attention to fads and designs. At a middle school game last year, I noticed almost the entire team pulling their pants down over their heels. I had to inspect it closer, so after the game I asked one of the kids to show me his cleat. The kids all pulled the pant bottoms down over the last heel spike, and poked it through the pants. It made a hole in the pant, but at least it stayed. I asked him why he did it and he said, ‘Cuz it looks tight!’ Since then, we have developed several different versions for coaches, so the kids don’t rip their pants. The obvious one is the Clemson cut with outer stirrup. We actually make the stirrup the same color as the shoe to cover it up better. Then we offer an inside stirrup that goes around the foot like a traditional sock that you can’t see from the outside.” I’m sure I don’t have to tell everyone how appalling I find all of this. Tod, you’re what’s known in the trade as an enabler. … With the auto biz in the crapper, Buick has ended its sponsorship deal with Tiger Woods. This means, of course, that Woods might end up on skid row, but fortunately another company was willing to step into the breach. Phew. … In a move that strikes me as a rather unusual marketing partnership, the new Pottery Barn Kids catalog features a bunch of MLB-licensed bedding (additional pics here, here, and here). I suppose you could say that this is just the spiritual heir of the old Sears catalog stuff, except that Sears was for working-class families and Pottery Barn is for yuppies, all of which probably says more about the current state of sports marketing than anything I could come up with on my own (with thanks to James Huening). … Cool vintage 7-Up baseball uni available here. … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Really fun time-lapse video of the Tigers’ Photo Day photo sessions here. … Two weeks ago, I wrote, “I don’t much care for the new Tropicana OJ package graphics, but I admit I’m a total sucker for the new navel orange-shaped plastic cap.” Now, sure enough, they’re bringing back the old packaging. And here’s a small note, buried deep in the article: “One aspect of the new Tropicana packaging is being salvaged: plastic caps for the cartons … that are shaped and colored like oranges.” I’m happy to take full credit for this corporate turnabout. … Here’s something that really drives home the point about players not wearing their regular jerseys for Photo Day shoot: Several of the Giants posed in a Russell jersey (good spot by Michael Korczynski). … Jesus Christ, Jerry, tuck in your jersey. … Here’s an excellent view of both of the Twins’ sleeve patches for this season (neither of which is appearing on their BP jersey, by the way). … New road uniforms for the Orix Buffaloes (thanks, Jeremy). … … Lookie what I just won! … Five MLB teams have somehow neglected to wring every last cent out of St. Paddy’s Day (with thanks to Brinke Guthrie). … Terry Proctor sent along some amazing pics of the Livonia (NY) High School basketball team, circa 1973: “The team is wearing Russell Athletic uniforms in the Atlanta Hawks style,” he writes. “How do you like the stirrups? Stirrups were still very popular with basketball players until the early 1980s. That’s about the time when Patrick Ewing started with the goddamn T-shirt-under-the-jersey look and basketball has been going downhill ever since.” For the record, I don’t much care for stirrups on the basketball court. Looks too much like a rip-off of baseball, plus it doesn’t make any sense: Nobody’s gonna get spiked playing basketball, so why do you need a stirrup over a sani? Why not just wear colored tube socks?