I’d never seen another player wearing an improvised flap until scrolling through yesterday’s comments, where Larry Wiederecht posted a link to an eBay auction for this 1964 wire service photo.
Wow! Never seen that before, so I immediately e-mailed the photo to uni designer Todd Radom and Hall of Fame curator Tom Shieber, who’d never seen it either. Lots of info to process here — one thing at a time:
• Oliva played on the Twins, same as Battey, so the Minnesota equipment staff had some experience in making this type of helmet attachment. Which begs the question: Did any other Twins wear the improvised flap?
• Hard to be sure what the flap is made of. Metal? Plastic?
• Fascinating to see that Oliva resisted wearing the attachment because he thought it looked goofy. Forty-five years later, we’re going through the same safety-vs.-aesthetics issue with the S100 helmet. Some things never change.
• The caption mentions that Oliva grudgingly wore the flap in batting practice, but it’s not clear whether he ever wore it in a game. Ricko, can you shed any light on this?
• I have never been able to determine exactly when ABC Helmet began making helmets with real earflaps. I had always wondered whether Battey’s improvised flap in 1963 had led ABC to start making flapped helmets in ’64. But judging by the Oliva photo, that’s not what happened. Hmmmmm…
Big thanks to Larry for finding this photo — a major piece of the helmet history puzzle.
And now we have a truly ridiculous number of extra-curricular announcements (anything to take my mind off of last night’s ballgame)…
About freakin’ time: Many of you have asked me to give the DIY posts their own category/tag/etc. Unfortunately, we were using an old, creaky version of WordPress and had maxed out the number of categories — I couldn’t add any more. But Johnny Ek upgraded us to a new version of WordPress a few days ago and, as you can see in the right rail, our list of categories now includes “DIY Projects.” If you click on that link, you’ll get all our past DIY entries grouped together in one spot. Sorry it took so long to achieve something so simple.
Twitch, or Twat, or whatever the hell it’s called: Speaking of the tech upgrade, you may have noticed that there’s now a little “Follow us” link on the right side of your browser window. That’s because John has finally dragged me — semi-kicking, quasi-screaming — into the world of Twitter. Each new daily post here on the site automatically generates a new toot with a link to that post, plus I may occasionally flutter during the day, but I don’t expect to do it all that often (I mean, shit, this here web site should be enough of a soapbox for whatever I want to say, right?). Anyway, if you haven’t already done so, feel free to join the party.
And hey, as long as we’re talking about tech stuff: John is currently running some analytics to help us get a better grip on our traffic and readership. You can help by adding the Alexa add-on to your browser (it’s quick and painless, promise) and then filling out the little form thingie when your browser reboots. If you’d rather not, that’s fine; but if you’re willing, Firefox users can add Alexa here, and IE users can find it here. Thanks.
Beefsteak Update: This Sunday’s Brooklyn Beefsteak event is sold out, although I’m told there may be some tickets available at the door. Keep an eye on this page for updates. For those of you who were smart enough to buy tix in advance, I’ll see you on Sunday.
Uni Watch Party Update: We’ll be gathering on Sunday the 15th, 2:30pm, at Sheep Station. Ryan Connelly’s coming all the way from Pittsburgh to attend, so all you NYCers really have no excuse not to show up.
Uni Watch News Ticker: As had been rumored earlier in the week, Ohio State will be wearing throwbacks on November 21st. This photo made the rounds yesterday, although it’s unclear if that’s the design that will be used on the 21st. I’m sure someone will leak the appropriate info shortly. … Chris Douglas-Roberts has a mighty long NOB (as spotted by James Savage). … Nicole Haase notes that Marquette’s retired number banners show each number in jersey-appropriate type and colors. … Steven Tatar sent me 20 more photos from his visit to that varsity jacket factory. … The Ducks (Anaheim, not Oregon) wore camouflage jerseys during warm-ups on Tuesday, as a military-appreciation gesture (with thanks to John Muir). … It’s one thing to put a ski jump in an outdoor stadium, but how about inside the Boston Garden? Brian Codagnone, quoting from a museum exhibit at the TD Garden Sports Museum, explains: “In the 1930s, when the ski craze first swept the East, sportsman Walter Brown became obsessed with the idea of hosting a winter carnival at Boston Garden. Stumped by the cost and difficulty of importing snow for indoor use, Brown one day passed a fish market, where he noticed a handsome cod packed in ice that was ‘chopped up so fine it looked like corn snow.’ The merchant showed him his grinding machine and Brown super-sized the concept, ordering larger versions that could handle 500 tons of ice. In December 1935, a five-story ski jump was erected in the Garden rafters and hundreds of amateur skiers showed up, unaware it was intended for professional jumping demonstrations. The concept of indoor slopes and annual ski shows caught on, and were copied at Madison Square Garden and other arenas.” … Chris Paul has been wearing a captain’s “C” (here’s how it looks on the road). “David West also wore a ‘C’ for the home opener vs. the Kings (it’s hard to see, but it’s there) but he didn’t wear one during the Spurs, Celtics or Knicks road games,” says Jason Hijuelos. … Check out Henrik Lundqvist’s lastest mask design (with thanks to Matt Harris). … England’s new rugby kit is the color of the beast (with thanks to Caleb Borchers). … Truly sensational video clip on old hockey sweaters here (big thanks to Ethan Crooks). … Mariano Rivera wore a road BP jesey at Yankee Stadium for Tuesday’s workout (good spot by Jonathon Binet). … I’m still calling it St. James’ Park (with thanks to Matt Beahan). … What brand are these jerseys? … Here’s a Sox in shorts photo I hadn’t seen before. Also, note that Moe Drabowski, at far left, is wearing his jersey tucked in, even though that jersey design was meant to be worn untucked (nice find, Phil). … Eric Romain notes that Sean Avery has already worn three different helmets this season. … Bill Scrowther found some excellent old photos on Utah’s state history site. Among the highlights: three separate examples of vertical placket lettering (look here, here, and here), a Budweiser-sponsored baseball team, and some very odd basketball pants. … Check out the second service listed on this page — a cure for logo creep! How awesome would it be if a few thousand jersey owners engaged her services? (Thanks, Kirsten.) … Further evidence of how corporate footwear deals make everyone behave like douchebags. … It was a very uni-uneventful World Series, but here’s a great tidbit from AJ Chalifour: All Series long, Mark Teixeira was wearing a pink MLB logo on his jersey.