Back around 2005 — before this blog existed — I went to see the band Les Sans Culottes at Southpaw. I remember saying to my then-galpal Ruth, “Man, that guitarist has a really good look.”
I didn’t realize that the guitarist was the same guy who’d recently been contributing odd and ends for my ESPN column. He called himself Scott M.X. Turner, and he was clearly more uni-fluent than most of the other readers who were communicating with me at the time. At some point we figured out that we both lived in Brooklyn, so we met for a beer, at which point I realized he was the guy I’d seen onstage at Southpaw. We hit it off immediately.
In the ensuing years, Scott has provided all manner of support that’s been vital to Uni Watch’s success. When I was gearing up for the first-ever Uni Watch party in March of 2006, he took it upon himself to create a T-shirt design, which he invited me to use. When this site launched later that spring, he happily agreed to modify that design so it could serve as the site’s masthead. He later designed assorted T-shirts, secondary logos, and, most notably, about 900 membership cards (and counting). He’s also given me several gorgeous vintage jerseys and jackets, taken me along for a tour of the Stall and Dean warehouse, been my road-trip partner and softball teammate, and a lot more. He’s been a comrade, an ally, a co-conspirator, a dear friend.
And now big things are afoot for Scott. The good news is that he’s accepted a new gig with Ebbets Field Flannels; the bad news, at least for those of us here in New York, is that this means he’s relocating to Seattle — first for a month or so, just to get his feet wet, and then likely for good. I’ll really miss having him around.
For you NYC-area folks who want to send Scott off in style, it’s not too late. For the past few years, he’s been hosting a weekly trivia quiz at Rocky Sullivan’s in Red Hook. His final quiz will be tonight, 8pm, and I know it’ll be a doozy. And tomorrow night Rocky’s is hosting a going-away party for Scott, who’ll be Seattle-bound the very next day. If you have a membership card, if you have a T-shirt, or if you just want to buy a beer for a great guy, come on out tonight and/or tomorrow — Scott deserves it, and you deserve to meet him.
Ace designer, learned uniform scholar, killer musician, consummate Brooklynite, passionate activist, lifelong Shea Hey Kid, good friend — Scott is the total package. Here’s to you, buddy.
Meanwhile: New ESPN column today — the annual Super Bowl installment. Enjoy.
Helmet Watch, continued: Batting helmet history continues to present a very deep rabbit hole. Yesterday I was was directed to this 1989 article, which has lots of great info about the guy who helped develop the Pirates’ batting helmets. Key passage: “Rickey, hoping to immediately popularize the helmets, ordered the Pirates to wear them both at the plate and in the field in 1952. Pitchers disliked the helmets, saying they adversely affected their rhythm, so the Pirates wore them only while batting in 1953.”
Well, maybe. I couldn’t find any Pirates game photos from ’53, but I did find several pregame promo shots, all of which showed fielders wearing helmets (including a pitcher). And here’s a 1956 spring training shot that shows a bunch of players in helmets (okay, so they could all be headed to the batting cage, but still…) So I suspect this is another case of a published account that isn’t entirely accurate.
The most interesting thing I found, however, was this shot from March of ’53. Note the dateline and caption. Who knew the Buccos had a training camp in Havana? Apparently Branch Rickey had done the same thing with the Dodgers to avoid Southern racism and later did with with the Pirates as well.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The NFL plans to announce a “new Super Bowl logo system” today. No more roman numerals? No more really sucky logos? No more Super Bowl industrial complex? I can hardly
give a shit wait. … Josh Szponar and his brother made a DIY FSU beer pong table. “It’s completely hand-painted, except for the numbers and yard marks, which we did with tape and numbered stencils,” he says. “We completed it during the off-season, and then FSU and Nike teamed up to change the field. It was heartbreaking, but now we have a beautiful table to remember the old design by.” … Got a flurry of e-mails last night from people informing me that Man v. Food host Adam Richman was wearing an “I Still Call It Joe Robbie” T-shirt — nice. … Matt Kuekes notes that the NHL logo was once again missing from Ray Whitney’s jersey last night. … Here’s something you don’t often see: a leather football helmet with a facemask. That’s from a listing of collectibles from the 2008 National Sports Collectors Convention (as found by Paul Deaver). … Matt Kuekes notes that the NHL logo is consistently missing from Ray Whitney’s jerseys. Anyone know what that’s about? … Lance Smith found an old Popular Mechanics article about “pinless” bowling and also came up with a few dozen related photos from the Life archives. Naturally, I’m mostly interested in the shirts. … Lance also posted some spectacular bowling photos in yesterday’s comments. In case you missed them, they’re all linked here. … Lots of Utah Jazz logo and uni speculation in this article. Key passage: “Deron Williams, however, said he’d already seen designs of the new jerseys the Jazz could wear next season. He wouldn’t reveal details, but they are expected to be a return to the music note in updated colors. … The Jazz are not expected to bring back their original Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and yellow. Instead, the updated colors are rumored to be blue, green and gold.” As it happens, I’ve seen next year’s Jazz uniform too, but of course I’m sworn to secrecy. … Not sports-related, but here’s a design contest — with a $2000 prize — to re-brand the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (with thanks to Craig Sallinger). … Also not sports-related: Some amazing 1927 color footage from London (with thanks to Chad Todd). … Good article about how the Cavs chose their uni numbers (with thanks to Matt Sajna). … Georgia wore silver-gray alternates last night. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Good piece on the pros and cons of the Brewers’ untucking ritual here. … Scroll down to the “New Unis” section of this page to see info on Arizona getting new football uniforms. A teeny bit of additional info at the very bottom of this page (with thanks to Joey Ramaeker and Mark Austin, respectively).