What see there is a new batting glove that supposedly offers much more protection against being hit by a pitched ball. It’s from a new California company called XProTex (further details here). And if you’re using new batting gloves, you may as well use them to hold a new bat. As you can see, the lower handle is contoured like the handle on an axe, which supposedly generates a sweeter swing. Further details on that one are available here.
New ESPN column today — my annual look at spring training
The Proctor Files, Continued: As usual, sporting goods historian had something to say about each of the catalogs I featured in yesterday’s entry. Here’s his commentary:
Universal Bleachers: We didn’t sell for them. They were a “once-in-40-years” purchase and sold primarily through people who specialized in outfitting new gyms or renovations. We did sell Aalco Backboards from St. Louis and Nevco Scoreboards. I sold a high school in the Rochester area a Nevco football scoreboard in 1973 and it was used for football until 2006, when it was moved to their soccer field. It still works fine.
Snyders: This catalog looks awfully familiar. I can’t place the manufacturer but I can tell you it wasn’t Snyders — they appear to be just a dealer themselves. Several manufacturers used Dodge-Davis flannel products. Some would allow their dealers to private-label their catalog as well as only including the dealer’s label in the finished garments. As I’ve mentioned before, we had some companies that only included our label (Powers Mfg., Stall & Dean), some that included both the manufacturer and the dealer labels (Russell, King-O’Shea), and those that made a special combination label with the dealer’s name and their name (Sand-Knit, Spanjian). I’ll do some more research and try to figure out who Snyders’ actual manufacturer was.
Swingster: They were an in-stock company that made casual/coach’s wear, softball uniforms, and jackets. Their quality and prices were good but delivery was often spotty at peak times. Teams in our area wouldn’t order softball uniforms until March or April. By that time, dealers in the warm-weather states had often depleted Swingster’s inventory for a certain style or color, so we often had to change it with the team’s OK. Too bad you don’t have a Swingster catalog from around 1981 or 1982 — they made complete, color coordinated softball uniforms in four versions of “tequila sunrise” stripes (red, green, royal, and navy). They offered softball jerseys, softball pants, softball/coach’s shorts, coach’s shirts, and mesh-back caps with the tequila sunrise striping. I still have two of the coach’s shirts. I’ll try to get you photos.
By the way, that “coach” wearing the all-gold outfit looks like a reject from a tryout for the Village People. As dealers we complained to several companies about the models they used. Champion Products and Russell at first had their catalogs produced by agencies that used real New York-type runway models. The girls all resembled Twiggy and the guys were real Village People types. The poses and their props were hilarious, like using a piece of black tape for eye black, or a piece of wood to resemble the shaft of a hockey stick. Or having the hockey players wearing football shoulder pads and a pair of gym shorts to resemble hockey pants. After enough dealer complaints, Russell and Don Alleson Athletic hired real-life high school and college athletes to model their uniforms. Big improvement.
Hurry Hard!: As you may have noticed in the Ticker lately, I’ve been hunting (without success) for a vintage curling sweater. That’s because I’ll soon be heading back to Minnesota, where I’ll be participating in the House of Hearts Bonspiel at the Duluth Curling Club. I’ll be getting a full day-plus of personalized instruction from ace curler Tyler George and then competing in the ’spiel for the next few days after that.
The House of Hearts is an annual charity bonspiel that’s sort of like a pro-am, with world-class skips teamed with lesser players, including novices (that would be me). All proceeds go to benefit a Duluth medical-services operation, and I’m hoping to do my part by getting some pledges. No pledge is too small — seriously, just contribute $5 and you’ll make me very proud (although larger pledges are welcome, of course). To contribute, please go to Amazon Payments and either log in to your existing Amazon account or, if you don’t have one, create a new Amazon account. Once you’re logged in, click on “Personal” and then on “Send Money,” and send whatever amount you deem appropriate to plukas64 at gmail dot com. Put “For House of Hearts” in the memo line. Thanks.
I’ll be flying home from Duluth on March 21st, which is significant for two reasons: It’s the date of the next Brooklyn Beefsteak at the Bell House, and it’s also my birthday. This is what’s known as a very happy coincidence. I’ll be getting off the plane, making a quick stop at my apartment, and then heading right to the Bell House, where I’ll be celebrating with a big beefsteak birthday bash.
The last Brooklyn Beefsteak was a hoot (full coverage here), and I encourage all NYC-area readers to attend this time around. There will be two seatings: 2pm and 6pm (my party will be at the 6pm). I won’t be delivering any slideshow presentations this time, although I may reprise my onstage role handling visual aids for Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co., who’ll be performing once again.
I’ll be spending most of the event at a table with my close friends (all of whom will have to listen to my boring stories about curling in Duluth and pretend to be interested because, hey, it’ll be my birthday), but of course I’ll be happy to say hi to any Uni Watch readers I see there.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Rangers have added a spring training memorial patch for front office employee Bobby Bragan. It’s not yet clear to me whether they’ll keep wearing it during the regular season. … Forget color on color — the Tigers and Florida Southern went gray on gray the other day. Looks like all the Florida Southern players wear stirrups, too, although many of them seem to do so rather grudgingly (with thanks to Ben Kelly). … Speaking of stirrups, check out Meiji University of Tokyo (with thanks to Randy Policar). … Two great eBay finds by Mike Hersh: First, scroll down through the entire listing to see the great illustrations on this hat box. But here’s the real prize: a salesman sample curling stone! … Sidney Crosby’s Olympic stick and gloves are missing. … Interesting little video about the graphic design of racing cars here (with thanks to Lance Smith). … Also from Lance: an absolutely amazing collection of vintage supermarket display photos. … Here’s another one of those photos of Aussie soccer players wearing three-digit uni numbers. … Michael Vick says he wants to play for the Panthers because he likes their uniforms, which is just one more strike against him (with thanks to Frank Cha). … Is this completely gorgeous or what? It’s from an amazing site devoted to letterhead design. Highly recommended clicking (big thanks to Craig Ward). … Here’s some nice 1965 footage of Virginia Tech playing William & Mary in the first game ever at Lane Stadium (nice find by Michael Kennedy). … Oneonta State’s lacrosse team is wearing some seriously striped jerseys. Additional pics here (with thanks to Tom Langan). … Matthew Algeo wonders if the Hoofddorp Pioniers — a Dutch baseball team — might be getting a call from the Phillies’ legal team. … Brett Crane notes that the Angels don’t seem to be wearing the new BP caps, which is particularly interesting because they never went for the last BP cap design (they stayed with this instead of going to the do-rag stretch panels). … NHL trade deadline news from John Muir, who writes: “According to the Washington Capitals, newly acquired Scott Walker will keep his #24 from Carolina.” … Disappointed to see that Lastings Milledge, who’d gone high-cuffed throughout his career up until now, was pajama-pantsed yesterday. … Here’s something I haven’t seen before: an old Wham-O Frisbee catalog (with thanks to Mike Hersh). … Uni Watch pastry chef Elena Elms reports that over 75 years’ worth of UNC-Chapel Hill yearbooks have been digitized, with lots of good uniform pics and other treatse lurking within. … Ohio State note from Ben Teaford, who writes: “On Senior Night, they gave out the traditional framed jerseys for the seniors. But for some reason they chose to use a jersey style the team hasn’t worn since this senior class was in their freshman year. Maybe they just had some laying around still. Odd choice.” … There’s a new site devoted to the evolution of MLB baseballs (with thanks to Matthew Felix). … Tons of amazing WHA-related stuff — photos, videos, factoids, you name it — at this fantastic site (major thanks to Alan Kreit). … Gumball helmet king Bill Jones has made a new set of helmets for the top three Olympic hockey teams. … Many World Cup-bound teams wore their new kits in a series of international friendly matches over the past couple of days. Michael Orr provides a good round-up here. … In other soccer news, Italy has unviled their new Puma kit (with thanks to Stephen Wong).