As several readers have noted, Aaron Heilman has been wearing deluxe logo-emblazoned stirrups lately. There’s a story behind that — a story in which Uni Watch and I have a minor role.
It began in mid-July, when Heilman had already been wearing standard, logo-free stirrups for about a month. That’s when I got the following note from Jeff L., a Uni Watch reader whose sister happens to be married to Heilman:
I always hoped [Aaron] would someday don stirrups and even started bugging my sister about it when he was in spring training. I had been planning to bring him some stirrups when my wife and I visited them this summer, but he jumped on the stirrup train before I got there. … I nervously check the TV highlights to make sure he has not fallen off the wagon. …
I have an order holding with a local sporting goods store for a dozen of Twin City Knitting’s MB700 stirrups with the Cubs logo on the side. I first saw them on Uni Watch. I’m going to give him a couple pairs when the Cubs come to L.A. (where I live) in August. Maybe they make it onto the field, maybe not. I think it’s worth the cash for the extras.
My problem is I’m not sure what size he wears. I think 7″, but maybe not. I have to get a dozen in the same size, and I’d like the order to go out early next week so they will be here in time for the August series. Do you know anyone in the Cubs equiptment dept. who might be able to find out? Obviously I could ask Aaron himself, but I don’t want to jinx anything, and I’d also like to surprise him.
I don’t have a contact in the Cubbies’ equipment room, and I didn’t want to ask anything that might get back to Heilman and ruin Jeff’s surprise. So I told Jeff I was pretty sure Heilman was wearing either 5-inchers or, more likely, 7-inchers (I confess that I gave more emphasis to the 7″ model because that’s my personal preference). He thanked me, asked me to keep the whole thing private, and that was that.
Fast forward to last Saturday, when several readers told me Heilman was wearing the logo hose. “Hmmm,” I thought to myself, “I wonder if that was Jeff’s doing.” Sure enough, I got another note from him on Tuesday:
As you have heard by now, Aaron is wearing the “C” logo stirrups that I ordered for him. Thanks for confirming his 7″ style. I would never have even known they existed if I hadn’t seen them on Uni Watch.
Interestingly, just before I gave the stirrups to him, he had actually gone back to wearing long pants in a recent game against the Dodgers. I met up with him for dinner afterward and presented him with two pairs of the logo stirrups but was resigned to thinking this phase was now over. To my surprise, he thought they were cool and has been wearing them ever since. Apparently some of his teammates think they’re cool too. Could a stirrup revival be next?
Jeff has now given me permission to write about all of this, so here we are. Kudos to him for going the extra mile with his brother-in-law.
As for Heilman, he’s always struck me as more interesting than the average ballplayer. In his Mets days, his entry music was “London Calling” (leading to lots of stains in Scott Turner’s underwear), and now this — nice.
Raffle Reminder: I’m currently raffling off a free college football helmet from Gridiron Memories. For details, look here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: In case you missed it yesterday afternoon, here’s my annual college football column on ESPN. … Whoa, look at the bizarre facemask worn by Hub Reed of the Pistons during the 1964-65 season (great find by Jeremy Brahm). … New football uniforms for Towson. … The longest NOB in sports has a new home (as noted by Adam Elkana-Hale). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: New mask for Pascal Leclaire. … Cool slideshow of the Predators’ logos being prepped for on-ice application here (with thanks to Nick Church). … “While you were out, I made my annual pilgrimage to the Iowa State Fair,” writes Steve Young. “As I was walking around, I stumbled upon the booth for Living History Farms. It’s a living museum that demonstrates farm living throughout Iowa’s history. Part of the museum is a simulated 1870s town called Walnut Hill, with a baseball team, the Bluestockings, and they had a Bluestockings uni on display.” … Good Luc Robitaille jersey story here (with thanks to Andrew Kleinhans). … No photo, but an interesting observation by Michael Jaworski: “Bobby Cox was wearing a catcher’s mitt while in the dugout throughout Thursday’s night’s Marlins/Braves game, or at least he just got ejected in the 8th. The dugouts down here are the only MLB dugouts without any kind of rail or fence, so Cox wears the mitt in case a line foul ball comes at him in the dugout. I’d never seen that before.” … Bizarre observation from James T. Huening from last night’s Bears/Browns game: “Just as I started asking myself ‘Why am I still watching this game?,’ I noticed that Bears third-string QB Brett Bazanez doesn’t have George Halas’s initials on his left sleeve. That’s odd. Wait a minute — he has them on his right sleeve.” … Nice little video clip about the Penn State equipment staff prepping the team’s helmets, and another one about some classic helmets from the team’s past (both courtesy of Bryan Koval). … After wearing a single-flapped S100 on Tuesday and a double-flapped S100 on Wednesday, David Wright went back to a Cool-Flo yesterday, almost certainly making him the first MLBer ever to wear three different helmet styles in three consecutive games. … So much going on in this softball shot. The third basegirl has a mask, a bow in her hair, and nail polish, the runner has a mask and a Little League patch, and can someone please explain why softball players still wear short? (With thanks to Matt Mitchell.)
Holiday Schedule: Phil will offer his usual 13-course tasting menu over the weekend, and I’ll have some sort of content on Monday — maybe a real entry, more likely just a photo from my Sunday barbecue party. Either way, comments will be open. Back to regular content on Tuesday.