Great time in Baltimore on Wednesday night, as over a dozen readers convened at Racers. Here’s a rundown of who was on hand:
• Joe Hilseberg start e-mailing me about uni-related matters way back in 2005, so it was a treat to finally meet him. He said he thought long and hard about what to wear before settling on a Ripken jersey with a ’94 sleeve patch, but his attire was nothing compared to his storytelling (highlighted by the instant-classsic “All my friends have numbers” monologue — Joe, you’ve gotta do that as a podcast or something). Plus he bought me a beer and I didn’t get around to returning the favor — next round’s on me, buddy.
• Here’s Jack Krabbe, who works in coporate sales for the Orioles, and his lovely fiancée Kerry (former O’s pitcher Mike Flanagan’s daughter, don’tcha know), who were super-friendly and were happy to talk about meat, so you know I got along great with them. Jack got lots of positive attention for his Terps tee.
• Back in 2007 I ran an interview with pocket schedule collector Claude Jacques. He lives in Virginia but made the trip with his wife, Sharon. Claude’s jersey was from TPS Turku, a Finish hockey team. Bonus points for the Johnny collar and the Abba sponsorship. Oh, and dig Claude’s CIA cap — cool.
• About halfway through the party, I was ordering a drink at the bar when this tall, demonstrative guy with a big Fu Manchu ’stache marched over, shook my hand, and launched into this incredible stream of compliments. “I’m such a big fan, I really love what you do,” the whole bit, for about three minutes. Such was my introduction to Suvo Sur — or as I think I’ll be calling him from now on, the Suvo Sur Experience — who turned out to be the most infectiously enthusiastic Uni Watch reader I’ve ever met. Seriously, the next time I’m feeling sluggish or blue, I’m just gonna think of Suvo — the guy’s got enough energy and inspiration for both of us. And as you can see, he’s also got a Schalke 04 jersey.
• On the left is Matt Walter. On the right, Kevin Brotzman, who runs the swell O’s uni number site NumerOlogy. Kevin’s Angry Bird cap (taken from this late-’60s logo) was the source of significant discussion and even a bit of controversy. Personally, I’m on record as opposing any logos featuring birds with teeth, although I might have made an exception in this case if they hadn’t botched the infinite Angry Bird regression. I’m fairly certain Kevin knew I’d feel that way and simply wore the cap to provoke me.
• For a guy who lives in Baltimore, Dan Sliwinski sure wore a lot of Midwestern gear: a Milwaukee Admirals jersey, Detroit Lions cap, Cubs tee, and even Lions socks. He also brought along a bunch of show-and-tell material, including Barry Sanders with white pants and Joe D. with an NOB. Speaking of which, Dan also brought along his youth league football jersey, complete with NOB lettering that his Mom added (he said he was still mortified all these years later that she put the letters were below the yoke seam, but I think it’s OK).
• Sean Combetti wore a game-used Baltimore Skipjacks jersey (and apparently had some sort of Canadian T-shirt on underneath it, although that’s only visible in the photo because I used a flash). I asked him who Mathieson was and he said he had no idea, but I’m pretty sure it was this guy.
• The evening’s crowning touch: Bartender Skip Phillips, who had no idea that a bunch of uni enthusiasts would be dropping by, was wearing an AC Milan jersey. He told me he had a few hundred more jerseys and home and that one of his kids is named Beckham. He’d never heard of Uni Watch, but he definitely knows what it is now.
As for other Baltimore highlights, Kirsten and I were very pleased with our motel’s neon sign, and we were particularly fond of Faidley’s, where we enjoyed the signage and displays almost as much as the oysters and crabcakes.
On Tuesday night we attended the Mets/O’s game at Camden Yards, where I was surprised to see so many Mets fans in attendance. Was also surprised when a local fan sitting next to us pointed out a ballpark detail I hadn’t been aware of: All the ads on the stadium’s outfield wall have white borders and little squiggly things in the corners.
I’m told that this design motif is the work of Peter Angelos’s wife, who thinks it adds a nice old-timey feel to the ballpark. Interestingly, if you look at old photos of Camden Yards, the borders and squiggles are nowhere to be found. Anyone know when they were introduced?
Obligatory Friday mention: This is the part where I remind you that the City Reliquary will be open from noon to 6pm tomorrow and Sunday, for those of you who want to check out the Candela Structures exhibit. This is the next-to-last weekend that the show will be up for viewing.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Latest NFL team planning to put sponsorship patches on their practice jerseys: the Giants. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Good piece on the patches being worn at the FIFA Confederations Cup. … Eleven more illustrations from The Professionals have been added to this set (with continued thanks to Jim Mellett). … Speaking of vintage NFL graphics, Michael Princip just scored a copy of the First Illustrated NFL Digest, which includes this uni breakdown. Note that the Saints helmet doesn’t include the center stripe and that their home jersey is listed as white. Also: Check out those division names. … Back in April I posted a note from former MLB pitcher Jeff Bajenaru, who said his NOB was misspelled during his 2004 debut with the White Sox. He’s now provided visual proof. He also provided pics of a crazy ad-infested Mexican jersey, but at least they spelled his name right on that one. Note the awesome team name! … As many of you already know, the University of Miami has scrapped its old logo and replaced it with the athletic dept. logo. “In a release to employees, they claim that ‘Our bold new look is perhaps the first time an academic and health institution uses a symbol of its celebrated athletics program,'” writes Pablo Souki. “I will not elaborate on whether this is a good or bad thing.” Note that the memo includes a link to the school’s new graphic style guide — recommended. … Matt Mitchell whipped up this design for Shoeless Joe, and the first thing that caught my eye is that Joe’s jersey had two unfastened buttons. Also, kudos to Matt for getting the apostrophe correctly oriented. … In 2008 there was a charity baseball game pitting old CFL players against Canadian law enforcement personnel. The CFL players had a big CFLPA logo on the back of their fitted caps. Additional info and pics can be found in the first nine photos of this set. Apparently more such games are planned for this year. … And speaking of the CFL: In 1989, Rocky Dipietro of the Hamilton Tiger Cats broke the all-time receptions record, which prompted an on-field ceremony that featured his family wearing FNOB jerseys. … As you probably know by now, there’s a new Lingerie Football League, featuring full-contact rules. What you might not know is that there’s also a World Bikini Football League, which plays flag football rules (arguably more titillating, since all that grabbing for the flags could “accidentally” lead to grabbing something else). … Really nice 1934 Spalding catalog available here. Look at those masks! (With thanks to Mike Hersh.) … Love the “T”-branded socks in this photo (nice find by Brandon Roberts). … And speaking of socks, give it up for the St. Alban’s baseball team in DC. … Erik Schwab reports that his friends’ band, the Swellers, has created a T-shirt design featuring a Red Wings logo with a nail and a flat. Nice job with the vertically arched NOB, right? … And speaking of T-shirts, isn’t this type of design how Obama of Dreams got in trouble? Details here (with thanks to James Huening). … The Tour de France officials have changed the look of their stages and finish lines (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … The Indians are awarding a wrestling belt to the “player of the game” each day. Details here (thanks, Vince). … Also from Vince: The Iranian soccer team has been wearing green armbands in support of the election protests. … Everyone’s been raving about Arizona State’s stirrups at the CWS. Too much sani, natch, but still, gotta like it. … The Grand Rapids Griffins are holding a design contest to create a one-off jersey (with thanks to Doug Brei). … Logo creep alert from Tom Valentino, who notes that this video clip from NBA Live 10 shows an Adidas logo on Dwight Howard’s jersey. Hmmmmm. … If you won the World Series last year, wouldn’t you plaster lots of celebratory photos of your star players on your media guide’s cover this year? I think it’s safe to say that that’s what most teams would do, but look at this year’s Phillies media guide. Just a simple overhead shot of the championship parade — very nice, very classy. Impressive. … Key passage from this 1991 article about the Twins: “In uniform, [Scott] Erickson always pulls the stirrups of his outer socks down into his spikes, leaving no visible trace of his white sanitary socks. He looks as if he’s wearing dress socks and shoes. ‘The socks are a sore subject,’ says [Kirby] Puckett. ‘He’ll kill you if you make fun of his socks’” (good spot by Austin Gillis). … The annual Congressional baseball game took place on Wednesday night, with lots of elected officials donning MLB and NCAA uniforms. Lots of additional photos here. … Check out this patch! Comes from this jersey. … And whoa, look at this patch, from this jersey! Anyone know what that patch logo is for? … OK, best patch of all, from this jersey. Anyone know more about the Mantle/Maris brand, or league, or whatever it was? … I assume this jersey was meant to be worn untucked. Here’s the road version. … Gorgeous old track jersey here. … What’s worse than a Yankees replica jersey with an NOB? See for yourself. Alan Kreit spotted that selling for full price at a local Dick’s Sporting Goods. … Excellent footwear project by Chad Todd, who writes: “Preparing for the arrival of my Orioles stirrups, I decided I needed some sneakers to go with them. But I didn’t want to pay $90 for Orioles-colored Nike trainers, so I googled ‘sneaker paint’ and found someone who simply suggested using acrylic paint. I headed out to the store and found these shoes for $30. After applying some tape around the edges, I began to paint. This doesn’t come close to any of the DIY projects mentioned on Uni Watch, but I love the results. Can’t wait to wear these with my stirrups once they arrive.” … Remember Marty Hick’s “fantasy” basketball league? “I found an interesting page in that same notebook,” he writes. “Away from the uniform drawings, I found color strips for the league I created. Reminds me of the stakes I painted for our 12-man croquet league.” … Claude Jacques (featured in today’s Baltimore party report) sent along this bizarre shot of a Swedish hockey player wearing red skates in the 1976 Canada Cup. “The player in question is Per-Olov Brasar, who ended up playing six seasons in the NHL with the North Stars and Canucks,” says Claude. “Funny thing is that the announcers didn’t say a word about the odd-colored skates even though the cameraman zoomed in on them for a good 5-10 seconds.” … Dan Sliwinski (also featured above) found a memorial patch I hadn’t been aware of. The Dodgers wore that in 1987, for coach/scout Don McMahon, who died of a heart attack in June of that season. … Interesting article about the Twins’ uniforms here (with thanks to Karl Anderson). … Livan Hernandez continues to wear blue undersleeves on the road, even though the Mets’ official road sleeve color is black. … More crossover jersey concepts from Ben Traxel. … Check out these soccer snafus: inconsistent uni number placement for the Egyptians and a total mishmash of typeface and NOB treatments for North Korea (as spotted by Morris Levin). … Coupla CWS articles about UNC’s white helmets and an Arkansas player’s sweatbands (with thanks to David McGee).