In case you missed it during Phil’s weekend coverage, reader Bill Walsh has provided living-color proof that the Cleveland Indians completely lost their minds for at least one game in the mid-1970s. And now Nick Spehar has provided documentation for another Tribe combo I hadn’t been aware of: white jersey with red pants (or at least I assume the pants are red, since we still don’t have proof that the Indians ever had navy pants during this period), which they wore on 9/30/76. Further evidence that the mid-’70s Indians may be gaining on the bumblebee-era Pirates in the mix-and-match sweepstakes.
All of which makes a good introduction to coverage of my trip to Cleveland last week. I was there to cover the National Sports Collectors Convention, which was a hoot. Who knew, for example, that Tulsa had a hockey team way back in the day? I’ll have a full report on the National later this week over on Page 2, and probably some bonus coverage here, but for now let’s recap the proceedings at the Cleveland Uni Watch party, which took place last Thursday.
• My trip to Clevo wouldn’t have been possible if not for Mike Hersh, who first suggested that I cover the National (and who, as you may recall, was profiled on the site last year). Mike’s parents are memorabilia dealers and his mom helped run the convention, so he arranged to get me full access, plus he introduced me to plenty of good people and even let me share his hotel room. He’s a Red Sox fan, so I still can’t figure out why he wore a Yankees jersey to the party. He kept saying, “It’s from the Florida Yankees!” or something like that (I think he meant it was from spring training), but that’s no excuse. Shouldn’t anything with a Yanks logo on it burn the flesh of a Bosox fan?
• Two other people made my time in Cleveland super-enjoyable, and that would be former Uni Watch intern Vince Grzegorek and his lovely girlfriend Alexis. This was only the second time Vince and I had met in person, and we had a blast — bowling, shooting pool, going out for ribs, hot dogs, and apple fritters as big as my head, etc., plus he served as my assistant at the National. And it was great to finally meet Alexis, who I’d heard about for years and turned out to be a total sweetheart (plus she knows what to do when there’s a camera nearby). The two of them drove me all over town and turned a work trip into a mini-vacation. Thanks so much, you two — hope to see you both in NYC soon.
• Jim Vilk has been very active on the site lately, so it was a treat to meet him in person. He wore a shirt with an impressively obscure logo (that team is now this team), told great stories about working as a vendor at the Richfield Coliseum, and brought along lots of cool stuff for show and tell, including a Pittsburgh Spirit jersey and souvenir cup and a Cavs popcorn cup (note the Coliseum logo on the other side). Plus he also sent me home with a bunch of gifts culled from his collection, including a Cubs LP, several football books, a pair of CFL mags, and Spirit mag. Jim, you’re too kind — thanks for the presents, and for all the great material you’ve been contributing to the site lately.
• This is Chuck Ryals, whose Tokyo Giants jersey is more intriguing than it appears at first glance. Look closely and you’ll see that it has a faux placket — it’s actually a pullover with non-functional buttons.
• Brian Geiger‘s Bad News Bears jersey drew lots of approving comments (everyone loves the back, but I also like the sleeve patch). But the real prize was on his head, where he wore a phantom Seahawks championship cap.
• Brian’s cap was of particular interest to longtime Uni Watch stalwart Doug Keklak, who roots for the team that actually won Super Bowl XL. Doug lives in Pittsburgh but was in Cleveland for work, and it was great to see him again. When are you gonna visit NYC, Dougie?
• Best T-shirt of the night was worn by Pete Pattakos. He talked so fast, and so much, that he made everyone’s head spin (a trait that no doubt serves him well in his day job), but I’ll cut him some slack cuz he writes for a decent blog.
• Second-best T-shirt of the night: this Columbus Clippers job worn by Sean Spitzer. I didn’t dare ask whether it was truly old and beat-up or a new “distressed” design, so just let me go on thinking that it was the former, okay?
• Vince leaned over to me at one point and said, “I know that guy sitting at that table over there. He has Bernie Kosar’s uniform number tattooed on his hand.” The guy’s name was Dana Depew, and sure enough — look!
One last Cleveland note: One of the people at the party (I won’t say who because he asked to stay anonymous) told me the following:
When you go to the airport to fly home, be sure to look for a plane parked right near the airport entrance. Its registration number is N448PC, and you’ll see it right as you turn into the airport from Route 237. That’s Lenny Dykstra’s repossessed plane.
As you can see, this person even drew me a helpful diagram. Unfortunately, I totally forgot about the whole thing until I discovered the diagram in my wallet when I got home, so I didn’t see (or even look for) the plane. One of you Clevelanders, please get us some photos. Thanks.
You say toe-may-toe…: This is “Debate Week” on Page 2. My contribution is up today, as DJ Gallo and I debate the pros and cons of fantasy sports.
Chat Update: My ESPN live chat on Friday will be at 1pm eastern. Additional details to follow later in the week.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Here’s the Giants’ Timex ad patch. But don’t expect to see Eli wearing it for pre- or post-workout interviews, which is the first of what will no doubt be a slew of idiotic branding-conflict situations brought up by the new uni ads. … And here’s the Colts’ huge ad for the Indiana Farm Bureau. Jesus! … Speaking of NFL training camps, Terrell Suggs wore this yesterday (with thanks to Ryan Connelly). … Meanwhile, several readers have noted that the Bills are wearing throwback helmets in training camp. … Bit of a snafu in the Brewers’ clubhouse, where Claudio Vargas’s NOB was straight instead of arched (with thanks to Nate Neumann). … Check out this old solid-orange Gulf baseball uni! … Lots of sports logo tattoos on display here (with thanks to Mark Kaplowitz). … I think this has already been linked on the site, but just in case. … Odd scene last night in Pawtucket, as Brian Anderson had 32 on his back and 44 on his helmet and teammate Chris Duncan had the reverse. You’d think they just swapped helmets, no biggie, but the Pawsox roster lists them with the helmet numbers. Seems unlikely that they swapped jerseys (Duncan is three inches taller and 15 pounds heavier), so maybe they swapped uni numbers and the roster hasn’t been updated (good spot by AJ Chalifour). … The Chargers, Bengals, and Texans have all posted their jersey schedules for the upcoming season. … There’s something really weird weird about seeing Junior Seau in Dodgers BP attire (with thanks to Alan Borock). … A team competing in the Iowa State Baseball Tournament had to borrow helmets from another team when their equipment bag got lost in transit (with thanks to Jesse Gavin). … Also from Jesse: One of the teams in that Iowa tourney kept track of their own pitcher’s strikeout count with a dugout K corner, which doesn’t seem like the classiest move. Another team had white underbills. And whose bright idea was it to schedule a red-on-red game?