[Editor's Note: Our latest guest contributor is David Versel, shown at right, who's going to share some excellent uni artwork from his adolescence. -- PL]
By David Versel
My best friend Brad and I spent way too much time in 7th-9th grades (ca. 1985-1987) playing a bizarre one-on-one baseball game in my basement. We used Nok Hockey sticks as bats, plastic golf balls as baseballs, and a cricket-style linear basepath from one end of the basement to the other. If we wanted to steal a base or drop a bunt we would yell out “steal” or “bunt” as the pitch was delivered, roll an eight-sided die and determined the outcome based on a probability chart designed by Brad (he’s a financial IT consultant now, natch).
We each made up five “teams” to stage these games. We kept score using Xeroxed “Superstar Baseball” scoresheets. The players’ names were generated from a combination of our immature minds and the names of authors from my parents’ bookshelf located next to our playing field.
So…why I’m telling you all of this is that, even at 13, I was a Uni Watcher, only I didn’t know it yet, and was ashamed to talk about it. One rainy afternoon in 1986, I holed up in my room with a sheaf of notebook paper and a box of colored pencils and set about designing logos and uni sets for each of the 10 teams in our “league.” I hadn’t thought about these in years, but I recently found them while rummaging in the basement and felt compelled to share them.
Looking at them now, they’re not all bad, though I wish I had dropped in some striped socks. The stirrups are all immaculate, though. Here are the teams (with one caveat: I’m colorblind, so I take no responsibility for clashing color schemes):
Paul here. Big thanks to David for taking the time to scan his childhood artwork (and to his parents for not tossing everything in the trash years ago) — very cool.Raffle Reminder: Today’s the last day for the shoe raffle sponsored by SoccerPro.com. Full details here.
OK, let’s talk bobbles: I’m happy to report that the Robert Marshall Old School Bobblehead Shoppe is now officially open for business. Custom-made bobbles, hand-cast and -painted by Robert and his assistant/pineapple Katherine Perryman, will cost $100. Each one will be marked with its mold number, bobble number, the date, and Marshall’s signature.
Shipping will be $10 for domestic orders; foreign shipping will be calculated on a case-by-base basis. If you’re a Uni Watch Membership Program enrollee, the shipping charges will be waived (or discounted by $10 for overseas orders).
Here’s the transcript of a quick back-and-forth I had with Robert, which should give you an idea of what is and isn’t possible in terms of bobble customization:
Paul: The three prototypes — baseball, hockey, and football — are the only basic figures available, right? In other words, the hockey guy will always have the one dropped glove, the baseball guy will always be holding a ball in one hand, the football guy will always have bushy eyebrows, etc. Right?
Robert: Yes, I can put whatever head on whatever body, but the sculptures are what they are.
Paul: Oh, I hadn’t thought of that — you can mix and match the heads, so the football head could be on the baseball body, or whatever?
Robert: Sure. A baseball head on the football body could represent a football player on the sideline. I have the right to refuse, obviously, or if someone is trying to make it too complicated, you know, I won’t just do it. But they can ask.
Paul: And presumably the football guy could go no-facemask — yes?
Robert: Right. I could also do a double-bar facemask, but it would be like Otis Taylor’s old mask, without any vertical connectors. That little Larry Csonka loop is a possibility too. I almost put that on the Uni Watch football bobble.
Paul: No price differential between the three figures, right?
Paul: It occurs to me that people are gonna ask you to try to match a certain player’s face, or match their own face, or their kid’s face. But that’s not possible, because the prototype faces are the only faces we’ve got, right? Or maybe you could do a custom face for an added charge..?
Robert: If I can paint it, they can have it — within reason. I can change facial expression, like on the Big Ten bowling set — they are all the same face, essentially, just slightly different. I can change hair color, add a moustache, whatever, but the head is what it is, so I can’t get too specific, can’t change its “bone structure.” Like I gave your baseball figure dark hair because you have dark hair, and I should have given it brown eyes, but it does not look like you, it could never look like you, even if it had a goatee.
Paul: Alright, I get it, I’m insufficiently cherubic. I already knew that. Oh, and you could presumably make them black or Hispanic, right? Or is the hair too white boy for that?
Robert: Yes, I could do that, especially on the football, but it would still be kinda white boy on the hair. If there’s a demand for it, I want to make an afrocentric hatless cherub that could be applied to any body. Essentially I want to make a basketball body, which the hockey head could go on, and then the afrocentric basketball head could go on the hockey body for a black hockey player, etc. The basketball body will be soooo generic that I could apply it to any oddball sport, like a cyclist/soccer player. But all that is assuming there are orders for a generic-type body.
Paul: Ballpark turnaround time?
Robert: Depends on how many i get. Could be a week, could be a month. I guess I would say in four weeks guaranteed, but probably much sooner.
Paul: Any restriction on teams you’re willing to do, or is it wide open? What if someone says, “Make just like the St. Louis Cardinals, only make the undersleeves green” or “Make it a Mets jersey, but on the FOOTBALL player”? Are you willing to do that kind of weirdness, or do you want to institute a “must be based on real uniforms” rule? Scott and I deal with this kind of stuff all the time with the membership program — we only do designs based on real uniforms, just to keep things sane. But that doesn’t mean you have to do it that way.
Robert: I’m willing to consider anything, but I do reserve the right to refuse if it’s just too complicated, unless they want to pay a little more.
Paul: Hey, is this legal, trademark-wise? Just thought I’d ask.
Robert: According to my attorney, I have the legal right to do this. If I ever start making these in bulk with the intent to sell them before the individual commission of a patron, then I am crossing over the line and am no longer making art. But I have the right to artistic license and can sell my hand-sculpted forms, and my skills to paint by commission singularly unique art. Whoo-hoo!
Well OK then. If you want to get in on the ground floor of Robert’s new enterprise, here’s the deal:
1) If your design request is at all unusual, and/or if you have questions, and/or if you order will be shipped somewhere other than the USA, contact Robert so you can discuss your specific design request and/or find out the shipping charges to wherever you live.
2) Once you’ve settled the details of your order and the shipping costs, PayPal the proper amount to Robert at rpmarshallart at gmail dot com.
3) Done. Simple as that. Happy bobbling!
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Giants have a new final season logo for Giants Stadium, but it will not be worn as a patch. … Major find by Robert Eden: a set of 26 USFL caps! … John Condray DIY’d himself a 1937 St. Louis Browns jersey. Additional photos here. … Jason Varitiek wears his catching helmet with the brim facing backwards, natch. But the sun was in his eyes when he was warming up Jon Lester in the bullpen prior to a recent game in Oakland, so he went front-brimmed for that warm-up session. Note the paddle-style glove, too (nice work by Scott Dunham). … What’s that little sign on this Long Island Railroad ticketing machine at the Westbury station? Turns out the LIRR is calling it Shea (big thanks to Mike Cesarano). … Tom Wilmowski spotted this guy at Tuesday night’s Cards/Phils game. “I don’t know what you would even call this,” he says. “JMNOB (Jedi master name on back)?” … How awesome is this?! Details here (kudos to Jim Ransdell, whose Sports Design Blog is fast becoming required reading). … A world without Zambonis and Olympias? Unthinkable, but possible (with thanks to John Muir). … Someone on the Creamer boards posted pics of an old blanket with a two-star NFL shield — never seen that before. The individual team logos were shield-based as well. … Manny Pacquiao: unbeatable in the ring but powerless against the Wilburthrax! … Yesterday’s Ticker included a link to this poster showing a black Saints helmet, which prompted Thomas Turner to show me his collection of 1969 Rawlings helmets. … Brilliant promotion by the Peoria Chiefs, who are inviting potential sponsors to be Douchebag for a Day (with thanks to Josh Petty). … Whoa — there’s a lot to like in Lawrence High’s baseball uni set. Additional pics here (with thanks to Jacob Kucza). … Here’s the Babe with buttons, and everyone else with zippers (nice find by Kendall Salter). … Check out this Jay Cutler photo gallery. What with the bottom stripe on his sleves? Is that even a three-stripe sleeve, or is he wearing a two-stripe sleeve plus a single-stripe undershirt? Very odd (good spot by Brandon Pratt). … A few days ago I asked why the Syracuse Chiefs were wearing a memorial patch. Jeff Landset reports that it’s for Hy Miller, a former board of directors member who recently passed away. … I guess Tom Brady’s knee is feeling a bit better. That sound you just heard was Bob Kraft being electro-shocked back to life (with thanks to Joe DeAngelis). … Disturbing news at Shea, where Gary Sheffield is using pine tar to keep his pant cuffs stuck to his shoes. … No photo, but Todd Davis says the W in Dexter Fowler’s NOB is actually an upside-down M. … The Rangers’ two-tone helmet: the thing that wouldn’t die (with thanks to Chris Fernandez). … Can’t recall if I linked to this last summer, but here’s a video of Manny Parra showing how he cuffs his pants high (with thanks to Harry Bergmann). … New home kit for Chelsea, with what Alex Ertaud describes as “this weird zipper thing in the front, not to mention some weird robot-esque chest panels.” … The Canadian Parliament has addressed the highly pressing issue of allowing seal skin to be used on Olympic uniforms. … In a vaguely related item, the Oklahoma legislature has addressed the highly pressing issue of secession, which of course would mean the Sooners and Cowboys would no longer qualify for any national championships, but they wouldn’t wanna take part in those commie tournaments anyway. … This guy has some really cool stuff for sale, including this sticker, this button, and this magnet (with thanks to Brinke Guthrie). … Hey, who was that at last night’s Mets/Phils game? … Philly’s new MLS team will supposedly be called the Union (with thanks to Kieran Kelly).