Another week, another round of awesome wire service photos. My continued thanks to the readers who’ve contributed to this series, especially Larry Wiederecht, Paul Wiederecht, Mike Hersh, and Michael Martin.
• This photo of Willie Horton is dated July 7, 1970. Note that the catcher appears to be wearing a brimless helmet — I believe this is the earliest example we’ve seen of that phenomenon, isn’t it? I can’t i.d. the catcher, or even the opposing team, from that photo, but Retrosheet informs us that the Tigers were playing the Red Sox on the date in question, and Boston’s catcher that day was Gerry Moses. Sure enough, the sideburns match!
• Oh. My. God. That’s Tom Dempsey, natch — looks like his kicking shoe underwent a bit of an evolution from his Saints days. No date or caption on the photo, but Dempsey played for several teams that wore white shoes, including the ’74 Eagles (here’s a shot of him kicking for them), the ’76 Rams, the ’77 Oilers, and the ’78-’79 Bills. But if you look again at the wire photo, it’s tough to be sure from a black-and-white shot, but it almost looks like you can see the word “Eagles” on his sweatshirt. Socks and pant stripe don’t seem right, though. Could this be from his college days?
• As long as we’re talking about Dempsey, check out the difference in pants piping between him and his holder.
• I can never quite adjust to the sight of Rogers Hornsby in a Mets uni. He was the team’s first hitting instructor. It was the last MLB uniform he wore.
• So much to like in this 1969 FU/FSU shot — the great helmets (I love how the UF logo looks like a goalpost), the official with the cuffed sleeves, the old-school down marker, the ribbed socks. Nice!
• All the uni number databases list Dave Kingman as having worn No. 26 for the Mets. So how do you explain this? Answer: It’s a spring training game from 1975, and he had changed to 26 by Opening Day. (I thought I was gonna blow Mets by the Numbers webmaster Jon Springer’s mind when I showed him this shot, but he was way ahead of me: “I don’t think I’d seen that particular photo before, but there’s a big color photo of Kong wearing No. 4 in the 1975 yearbook.” I shoud’ve known.)
• Speaking of Kong, check out his Cubs powerboat!
• One more Kong shot: Bet they didn’t sell many of this T-shirt.
• “I cannot for the life of me figure what situation brought these players together in one dugout,” says Larry Wiederecht. “There’s no date or caption on the photo, but my best guess from right to left: Gibson, McCarver, Ron Fairly, Unidentified, Tommie Agee, Vada Pinson, Frank Robinson. McCarver was traded to the Phils in October of 1969, and Fairly still has the 1969 patch, so it must be some kind of touring team. Can’t be spring training, since Vada’s there and he trained in Arizona. Also, I believe Vada’s Indians uni debuted in 1970.” A mystery, for sure. Anyone..?
• Love the primitive blocker in this 1931 shot of Alex Connell of the Detroit Falcons. According to the caption, he’s wearing 30 pounds of pads.
• What’s up with the socks?
• Totally digging this water polo team from 1924. Wish we could get a closer look at the crest.
• Here’s a great shot of Ken Harrelson’s nickNOB. That W looks like an upside-down M, no?
More wire photos next week. And for those of you who’ve been contributing to this series, please keep ’em coming.
NFL News: A little birdie who’s in a position to know sent me some NFL tips the other day. I can’t confirm any of it, but I feel the info is solid enough to pass along, with the proviso that it’s all subject to change:
I got a memo mentioning new third jerseys for the Packers and Colts. The memo also mentioned “updated” third jerseys for the Cardinals, Eagles, Patriots, and one other team (I think it was the Bears, but I’m not positive).
Based on something I saw earlier, I’m almost certain the Packers will be wearing 1929 throwbacks. Those are dark blue jerseys with a dark blue numeral inside a gold circle over khaki pants and dark blue socks. Of course, per today’s uniform standards, the circle and numeral on the front would be much larger, and I believe the style guide showed a solid brown helmet with gray mask to simulate the leather ones some players wore in 1929. It’s gone from the server now, however — I guess I’m lucky I saw it.
The Colts, I’m not sure about. I’m assuming they’re going with a new throwback, because I don’t see how their identity could support any sort of “modern” third jersey (especially since they have only two team colors). Maybe they are going to trot out the blue helmet with the horseshoes on the back.
As far as the teams updating their third jerseys, I have no specifics. … It’s possible that the updates are simply changes in the cut or material of the uniform, which would force retailers to order new authentics for the coming season and would explain the need for a memo regarding these four teams.
Reebok also pitched a program last year that was (philosophically) very much like Nike’s Pro Combat initiative. There were some good, interesting things done in the explorations, but unfortunately none of those elements were combined correctly and some of the best ones were not even chosen to be in the final three options presented to the league. I don’t think the league/teams would have gone for it, anyway.
So there you go — completely accurate, authoritative information. Unless it’s not.
Deuce Bag: Got a note the other day from Scott Appleman, who’s started an interesting project. He sets it up like so:
I started wearing No. 2 in high school because the lowest numbers were on the smallest jerseys. I was one of the smallest players, but I didn’t want to wear 1 because it seemed a little pretentious. I chose 2 and stuck with it all through high school, even e-mailing my coach my senior year to make sure I got 2 on the varsity squad because I was out of school the day we got our uniforms.
Scott’s devotion to his favorite numeral has now taken the form of an impressively obsessive blog, which is governed by a strict set of protocols. “Each post is a photo of an athlete, and each photo must show the 2,” he explains. “I’m not going to spend time researching all the 2s in history. Instead, I’m going to post them as I encounter them when I watch games, see news, or hear stories. I’ll only do repeats for individual players when a new post would show them wearing 2 for a different team. And yes, I know Jeter isn’t on there yet, but Opening Day and the ring ceremony are coming up, so I’m waiting on him.”
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Rays’ new baby blues will be worn for Sunday home games. … New uniforms on the way for Colorado State (with thanks to Steve Foster). … Ron Roza gives his personal endorsement for this design-your-own stickers site. “Excellent quality,” he says. “I made vintage Chicago Bears Stickers and they look great!” … Although Michigan State has decided not to revise the Spartan logo, the revised logo is nonetheless shown on this product from the Nike shop (as noted by Michael Shortell). … More uni-numerical machinations in Red Sox camp (with thanks to Tom Mulgrew). … And wait, yet another Red Sox uni number item (as forwarded by Tom Adjemian). … Travis Tetzlaff flew from Portland to Burbank on the Oregon State plane last Thursday night. … Tim Stoops was attending the Padres Fan Fest event and picked up this Padres fight song sheet music. … Roger Faso spotted this painting at an antiques shop in McDonough, Georgia. “Tagged price is 75 bucks, but they’ll sell it for half that,” he says. Make it about one-fifteenth of that and I’d say you’d have a fair price. … Finally, a sports movie for the whole family (with thanks to my ESPN colleague Dave Schoenfield). … Braves players are “unimpressed (or worse)” with the new BP caps, at least according to this report (with thanks to Jonathon Binet). … Here’s a decent video clip about a Dodgers batball (good find by Brett Crane). … New camouflage pattern for American troops in Afghanistan. … Found a copy of the Mets’ 2005 yearbook on the sidewalk the other day (really). Only two photos of note: Ron Hunt showing some stirrup underside, and possibly the only photo I’ve ever seen of Yogi Berra wearing Mets catching gear. Remember, after managing the Yankees to the American League pennant in 1964, Yogi briefly came out of retirement and played in four games for the Mets in ’65. … James Huening was shopping in “a classy, highfalutin department store” in Chicago and saw this sweatshirt with Air Jordans forming the Bulls logo. … Pretty cool photo of the Korean speedskaters from the 1948 Olympics. “I don’t really know that much about speedskating, but their uniforms look fairly advanced for 1948,” says Lance Smith. “The caps are especially sleek compared to the knit caps worn by many of the competitors at the time.” … Look at these photos from Friday’s Germany/Finland hockey game. Note that some players on both teams have an Olympics logo rear-hemline patch, while others don’t. “The Czech Republic, Belarus, Switzerland, Slovakia, Finland, and Germany are wearing the patch, but even then it’s very inconsistent,” says Jeff Barak. “Finland, for example, seems to have about 75% participation. Latvia, Sweden, Norway, the United States, and Russia are not wearing it at all as far as I can tell. Canada has the Vancouver logo in a round patch on their left sleeves and a smaller rear-hemline patch with a maple leaf over the Olympic rings. It’s certainly odd that there’s so much inconsistency, from only team to team but within the teams wearing it.” … Here’s one observer’s ranking of the Olympic hockey sweaters (with thanks to Kevin Clark). … Remember how Purdue Pete was gonna get revised? Well never mind (with thanks to Austin Chen). … Curling, get swept up in the fun (awesome find by Chad Todd). … Here’s the USA World Cup road kit. … Got a spare $150K burning a hole in your pocket? You could do a lot worse than to spend it on this 1964 Canadian Olympic hockey sweater (big thanks to Robert Saietta). … Here’s a good close-up look at the armsleeve and shorts that Kentucky recently debuted (with thanks to Miguel Rodriguez). … Miguel has also created a site devoted to The National Sports Daily, all of whose covers can be found in his Flickr sets. … Someone on eBay is selling giant, poster-sized ticket stubs (cool find by Jared Camden). … Marc Miyakawa has this very cool Yankees quilt that his girlfriend made for him in 1994. “She was learning how to make quilts from her grandmother and needed a project,” he says. “Took her about three or four months but came out great. The NY was traced from my jacket and we both worked on the design.” … Does American speedskater Chad Hedrick have some sort of sponsorship arrangement with Pampers, or was his nine-month-old daughter’s outfit just an innocent coincidence? (Screen shot courtesy of Aaron Kusch.) … Maryland hoops wore their yellow alts at home on Saturday, so visiting Georgia Tech ended up wearing white on the road (with thanks to Matt Shevin). … Lots of good stuff in this site devoted to the WLAF. Someone who has more free time than I do should go through it and cull out the noteworthy images (with thanks to Alex Acosta). … Why do the Pistons have so many ankle injuries? It’s gotta be the shoes (with thanks to Luke James Larson). … The MLB Style Guide shows the Nats wearing red belts with all their uni combos this season, but that’s not what they’re wearing in spring training (as noted by Jonathon Binet). … Martin Brodeur is on the Canadian Olympic team. So why does he have “USA” on the knob of his stick? (As noted by Brian Terreson.) … Here’s another look at the Giants’ new striped socks (with thanks to Tremaine Eto). … Mark Springer reports that the USF baseball team is wearing gorgeous green stirrups with the school’s horned “U” logo (you can barely see it on the guy in the background). … The Milwaukee Admirals wore 1980 USA Olympic throwbacks the other night (as reported by Jonathan Bailey). … Everything looks better in the snow, including soccer (with thanks to Tyler Hull). … If you go to Chan Ho Park’s web site, the photo of him on the front page is animated to show all the teams he’s played for (nice find by Dan Cichalski). … Dylan Buell at the Chicago Auto Show on Saturday and saw a Blackhawks-themed Camaro, some Bulls wheel rims, and an Audi with baseball-style stitching on the seats. … Morris Levin was down in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and got some pics of some sports-themed costumes from the Krewe of St. Anne parade. … Ryan Perkins saw this retail display at a local Walmart and noticed that it name-checks Tony Romo — except the guy in the picture definitely isn’t Romo. Weird. … Phil and I are off on a little adventure today (hint: involves rocks and brooms), so behave yourselves until we get back.