I’ve picked up several cool old catalogs in recent weeks, all worthy of a closer look. Here’s a rundown:
• Universal Bleacher Company, circa early 1960s: This is the first time I’ve come across a catalog for gymnasium bleachers — an appealingly specific niche. No date on this one, but the colors and awesome logo design have an early-’60s feel. I’m especially fond of the Poweroller and the extended “P” on this little mail-in card insert. Cool side-view diagram, too. Universal Bleacher also sold motorized basketball backstops, which were operated by a key — nice. (The full set of scans from this catalog is available here.)
• Snyders, 1961: Don’t judge this book by its relatively plain cover — lots of good stuff in here, including lots of excellent examples of three-color print design (additional examples here, here, and here). And hey, did you know that the “Pony” in “Pony League” stands for “Protect Our Nation’s Youth”? I didn’t, until I saw that page. Meanwhile, why did so many catalogs from this era offer long pants for softball players? If you’re wondering where the pajama insurrection started, look no further. Much better: several pages’ worth of jackets. And of course no survey of uniform catalogs would be complete without at least one scan of a hosiery page. (Full set of scans here.)
• Swingster, 1977: Best for last. The cover promises utter hilarity, which the interior content totally delivers. If you can look past all the puzzling fashion choices, unfortunate hairstyles, odd props (a picnic basket??), there’s actually some decent sportswear lurking within these pages, including some cool racing jackets and some interesting striped raglan sleeves. Love the page of color offerings, too. And look, the back cover looks like a Robert Marshall box-cover photo! (Full set of scans here.)
Good stuff, right? Expect a full analysis from Terry Proctor in the next day or two.
T-shirt discount: From now through next Monday, Zazzle is offering a $4 discount on all T-shirts, including those in the Uni Watch store. Just use the checkout code “4OFFPATTYTEE” and you’ll be good to go.
Stirrup Club Reminder: In case you missed it last week, Robert Marshall is currently taking orders for a new batch of primo stirrups. For details look here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Here’s yet another awesome curling sweater that’s too big for me, grumble-grumble. And another curling sweater pattern. … “I always thought all NBA teams had gone with elasticized waistbands by the 1980s, but several photos show Suns players with the old-style snap fastening up through the 1985-86 season,” writes Matt Beahan. “The following season they switched from knit uniforms (not sure of the manufacturer) to mesh unis made by Sand Knit, and went with elasticized waistbands (which they’d previously worn in the late ’70s before switching back to buttons in 1980-81). I always thought the buttons were a relic of the ’60s and ’70s. I’ve yet to find any other teams wearing this style in the mid-1980s — does anyone know of other examples?” … The good news is that hosiery phenom Corey Wimberly is still wearing stirrups; the bad news is that his ’rups were mismatched the other day. … Mike Pratt has started a new blog about player exclusive MLB gear. … Here’s something really cool: Larry Granillo has created a timeline of MLB stadiums and their names. … I’m calling it the YMCA. … Oh baby, is this totally the bomb or what? “I did not colorize that photo,” says Larry Bodnovich. “It was in color on the Oregon digital archives site.” … 125th-anniversary kit for Shrewsbury Town (with thanks to Peter Kurilecz). … Great slideshow of old program covers and ads from the Wisconsin state boys basketball tournament here (big thanks to Jeff Ash). … For reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me, the Blue Jackets wore St. Paddy’s Day warm-up jerseys last night — more than two weeks before March 17th (with thanks to John Muir). … You probably know that MLB teams wore a baseball centennial patch in 1939. But did you know there was more than one version of that patch? I didn’t, until Dave Grob sent me his latest article. … You may have noticed that one of the photos in Dave’s patch article showed a Philly A’s player fussing with his cap. That’s Skeeter Newsome, and he’s holding his protective liner in his right hand. … Kinda fitting that one of the Photo Day photographers at Blue Jays camp was wearing a Maple Leafs cap the other day. … Shin-Soo Choo, still double-flappin’. … See the “LW” on Troy Tulowitzki’s cap? It’s for his cousin, Lexy Winters, who recently died of skin cancer. According to the second graf of this story, he plans to maintain the cap inscription all season and maybe wear the initials on his eye black stickers to boot, although I suspect the MLB office will have something to say about all that. … The Brisbane Lions — that’s an Aussie rules football team — are facing a court battle over their logo (with thanks to Drew H. Douglas). … Jim Lonetti just won himself a very, very cool T-shirt. … Villanova and Ciny went color on color last night. … I interviewed a New Era exec earlier this week for an ESPN column that will be running tomorrow. One thing he told me was that he and the other New Era folks are just as attuned to things like gray underbrims and missing cap patches as we are. In particular, he mentioned that Joba Chamberlain was wearing a standard black-underbrimmed cap during the regular season but appeared to switch to a gray underbrim during the postseason, which led the New Era folks to speculate that he might be superstitious about having a separate cap to use when he’s working out of the bullpen instead of as a starter. … Also: The New Era people never say, “squatchee”; they just say, “button.”