One of the highlights of my recent trip to Pittsburgh was a visit to the Heinz History Center, which includes the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. I took a lot of photos here, so let’s get right to it (with apologies for the inevitable problems with glare and reflection when photographing things in glass cases):
• Would you believe that a big league GM gave a player a raise in 1948 without the player even asking for it? It’s true, at least according to this letter.
• If you’ve spent any time looking at Negro Leagues photos, you know it’s practically an iron-clad rule that one player was always wearing last year’s uniform, or another team’s uniform, or something out of step with the rest of the team.
• Here’s a really great story: In 1949, a local schoolgirl embroidered this shirt with the likenesses of Ralph Kiner, Wally Westlake, and Babe Ruth, and then sent it to Kiner and Westlake for them to autograph (the Babe had already died, alas). Kiner not only autographed it but sent it back with this cover letter. Dig that stationery!
• I was happy to see they had a small mention of L.C. Greenwood’s gold shoes.
• This was a local football team called the Oilers. I love that there’s an oil derrick in the background.
• And here’s an all-black football team, wearing a jersey style I’ve never seen before.
• Apparently the Pittsburgh boxing community is still pissed off about the Louis/Conn fight (Conn was a local hero). I didn’t get any pics of the Conn memorabilia at the museum, but I did get a shot of this great robe and accompanying set of trunks. Not sure why a Pittsburgh fighter had “NY” on his trunks, but whatever — gorgeous.
• This is Chuck Cooper’s All-American uniform. Note the photo at lower-right — I didn’t realize the Celtics had once worn uni numbers on their shorts. And why doesn’t the shorts number match the jersey number?
• Several excellent old basketball uniforms here.
• And it won’t surprise anyone to hear that I also love this Pop Warner jacket, rendered in green and gold.
• Finally, there’s this. I’ll let it speak for itself.
Phew! It’s worth noting, incidentally, that the Heinz facility also features a really great exhibit that documents the history of the Heinz company itself, including a photo of the Heinz baseball team, circa 1907 (note that they’re even using Heinz baseball bats), and a display showing the uniforms worn by female workers at the Heinz plant. Just goes to show that all roads lead back to uniforms.
And now a word from Vince Grzegorek: If I have one lasting legacy at Uni Watch, it probably won’t be writing about Brownie the Elf at every opportunity, or for being Paul’s first intern. No, it most likely will be for running the site’s annual NCAA tournament contest.
So let’s get this going. In the past I’ve come up with convoluted point systems and spent a lot of time scoring each entry by hand. But I’m much too busy for that this year, so screw that. Instead, we’re going to run a normal bracket challenge. To sign up, go to this site. Our group name is Uni Watch, our group ID is 68140, and our password is stirrups (all lowercase).
The top five winners will get to choose from the following prizes, all provided by Paul:
1. A free Uni Watch membership.
2. A free T-shirt from our friends at Pennant Race Gear.
3. An MLB logo wristwatch. (Full disclosure: Although it’s never been used, it appears to need a new battery. — PL)
4. A Bimbo Mexican soccer jersey, size large (contributed to the cause by reader Jeremy Deason — PL).
5. A copy of the new book Cubs by the Numbers.
Top winner gets his or her choice of prizes, second-place winner gets to choose from the remaining four prizes, and so on.
Hey, how about that economy?: Paul here again. As some of you are aware, changes are afoot at Distant Replays. Here’s a quick imaginary press conference about what this means from a Uni Watch perspective:
New enrollees in the membership program used to get a $10 Distant Replays gift code. Are you still offering that benefit?
No, effective immediately.
I ordered my membership card a few weeks ago but haven’t received it yet. I thought I was getting the $10 gift code. What happens to me?
There are 16 of you out there who fit this description (some of you have been waiting way too long for your cards, and I’m sorry about that — life has been hectic lately). Those 16 cards will mail out this week, and unfortunately they will not be accompanied by Distant Replays gift codes. If you feel gypped or baited-and-switched, get in touch and we’ll work something out.
I received my Distant Replays gift code with my membership two months ago but haven’t redeemed the $10 code yet. Will I still be able to redeem it when the company goes back online?
Good question. I’ve asked Andy and Rav about this, and so far they haven’t responded. I know them well enough to know they aren’t just blowing me off — I think they just have much bigger things to worry about at the moment. If I had to guess, my hunch would be that old gift codes will not be honored when DR resurfaces. But we’ll have to wait and see.
Sorry for the hassle. Feel free to be in touch if you have further questions about any of this.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Thrashers appear to have a 10th-anniversary logo slated for next season, and holy shit is it a stinker. … Negro Leagues shorts alert! That’s Prince Joe Henry, the Detroit Clowns player who often had some, uh, unique uniform stylings (but not always). Those pics were contributed by Jared Wheeler, who also sent along shots of an old Houston warm-up jacket from the Slama era, a 1940s Harvard hoops jersey, a Senators jersey with a Jerry Cosby tag (“Never seen his tag on a baseball uniform,” says Jared), a Willie Stargell cap (that’s the closest look I’ve ever gotten of the stars — note that only the one on the right appears to be properly oriented), and — the real prize — a sleeve patch from the 1944 minor league Orioles. Thing of beauty, no? … This is really cool (nice find by Charles Neiswender). … But this is just ridiculous (blame Mark Doescher). … Jordan Wiley has created an interesting project: He’s created an a listing of the best logo treatment for each letter of the alphabet. In other words, this is A, this is B, etc. I don’t agree with most of his choices, but that’s kinda beside the point, cuz it’s an interesting little project. I wish he’d put all his letter choices side by side in one big composite alphabet (get working on that pronto, Jordan!), but for now you can check out his breakdown here. … On Friday I mentioned that I’d been surprised to learn that the Milwaukee Braves had offered stock to the public. That prompted the following from Terry Paffenroth: “The stock was a huge issue when the team’s new ownership started making the plans to move the team out of Milwaukee, because they had buy up that remaining stock from people, most of whom who were not about to sell and lose the team. The plan that eventually took shape was that minority stockholders who would not sell were given a letter saying that their shares were being voided in exchange for a voucher for season tickets — in Atlanta. And just for the first season. Next time I see my grandparents, I’ll try and find their old stock certificate, along with the letter and voucher. They small stockholders and were given two tickets. The largest number I have come across was for six tickets.” … Kentucky wore black uniforms on Friday. … The Fresno Grizzlies have some new alt/promo jerseys (with thanks to William Paul Barrett). … Check out this square-formatted NOB (nice find by Robert Saietta). … Tequila sundrise over Blacksburg. … Brett Crane notes that Kevin Youkilis is wearing his #20 elbow guard in the WBC, even though his WBC uni number is 21. … Maybe we’ve covered this before and I’m just suffering from brain-lock, but what’s up with the ‘Pops’ patch? … Here’s the logo for the 2011 Pan-Am games (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Bob Ruffolo was inside the new Yankee Stadium on Saturday and took a bunch of photos. … The Rangers’ two-tone helmet lives on, at least for now, in a team commercial (screen grab courtesy of Josh Jarmon). … Lots of college basketball uni musings here. … Greg Riffenburgh notes that Arsenal’s Russian signee, Andrei Arshavin, has been wearing at least two different kinds of cleats, as seen here and here (that’s him in the background). … Soccer note from Joe DeLong, who writes: “I was watching Serie A soccer highlights on Sunday and saw that Filippo Inzaghi of AC Milan scored his 300th career goal and was immediately presented with a No. 300 jersey.” Details here. … Doug Keklak sent along this shot from the 1956 Johnstown High School yearbook. Weird to see that the whole team had uni numbers in the 70s and 80s — I realize those numbers were legal in h.s. hoops back then, but it’s still odd that they’d only use numbers in that range. … Luke Mohamed reports that Sidney Crosby, who normally wears a visor, was visor-free during part the first period of yesterday’s Pens game. … The 1898 Spalding Ice Hockey and Ice Polo Guide, which is believed to be the earliest hockey guidebook, is now accessible online — complete with ads. … Interesting 2005 story here about bunting — this kind, not this kind (nice find by Mike Ortman). … St. Paddy’s Week has officially arrived, as the Raptors wore green last night. … As promised, supercross racer Kevin Windham wore Saints-themed gear on Saturday (with thanks to Sean Clancy). … Don D. snapped this shot of an adult league hockey team called the Charlie Browns. “The uniform also has a shoulder patch with Snoopy biting through a hockey stick, à la the Sharks,” he adds. … Only in America, or so I’d assume (thanks, Phil). … Also from Phil: Think this guy’s got enough swooshes?