When I first ran this photo of Jackie Hayes last month, I wrote, “We reeeeaaaalllly need to find a photo of Hayes wearing this contraption in a game.” As you can see above, done and done (here’s a slightly larger version).
That photo was uncovered by Larry Granillo, who’s been researching the history of batting helmets. It’s one of many, many major finds he’s come up with, most of which he’s cobbled together into an absolutely seminal post on his own site, Wezen-Ball.com. It’s a detailed treatment of an important topic, and it deserves your full attention, so today I’m doing something unusual: I’m handing you off to Larry. Go read his entry on his site — seriously, do it now — and then come back here for the rest of today’s content.
And now that you’ve done that…: Pretty great stuff, right? Most of that material was news to me. And I’d actually forgotten all about that Larry Doby photo, which I obviously should have referenced during our recent Jackie Hayes discussions.
A few additional notes:
• There’s an important non-helmet detail lurking in one of the other Larry Doby photos. Look — a batting glove! It’s even referenced in the caption. That photo ran on 6/5/56, which means Doby is one of the several players who wore batting gloves prior to Ken Harrelson doing so in the 1960s. (I debunked the “Harrelson was the first to wear gloves” story several years ago, but it’s always interesting to find further evidence.)
• Before he wrote that entry, Larry had been in touch with me and shared some of his research. I was surprised that a few things he showed me didn’t end up in his article, like this great photo, dated 2/5/41.
• Also not included in Larry’s article: a very informative article about the Dodgers wearing helmets in 1941.
Tremendous research, Larry — thanks for helping to fill in so many gaps in the timeline.
Giveaway Results: The winners of the two LPs are Julien Marques and Keith Meyer. More giveaways coming soon.
Uni Watch News Ticker: I had a blog item on Page 2 yesterday about an Oregon politican ripping off the Blue Jackets’ logo (with thanks to John Muir, who was the first of several readers to bring this one to my attention) … Apparently the Foot Locker at an L.A. mall stocks every kind of Dodgers-ish cap except an actual blue one (rare non-Life-related submission from Lance Smith). … Beggs High School in Oklahoma uses TLOB — team logo on back — for its football and basketball teams. “The logo is a Trident (we are the Demons), and I was told that the other end represents a flame,” says Kevin Allen. … Homage Clothing, one of our anchor advertisers at the top of the page, is running a one-week sale beginning this Sunday. … Kansas State hoops player Jacob Pullen has a big-ass sneaker collection. “Although he states that he likes to wear dark shoes with white unis and vice-versa, there have been some occasions when he’s gone dark on dark,” says Sean Kautzman. … Also from Sean: “I found this old KU basketball photo, which led me to this index of Chuck Taylor photos. It includes a gallery of Chucks being used in various athletic endeavors.” … Jim Mellett found a photo of Dick Fosbury (he of the famous Fosbury Flop) with mismatched footwear. … Sean Clancy found a cool page featuring motocross program covers. … Jared Rosen notes, quite accurately, that Salty’s NOB would make a killer membership card. … Cool item about the Mexico City Olympics graphic designer (with thanks to Alan Kreit). … Naturally, I love this 1972 ad, but it’s really weird. The only guys wearing stirrups on a football field would be the officials, but the officials wouldn’t be wearing knee pads or carrying a helmet (odd find by Paul Wiederecht). … “I discovered that the USS Carter Hall’s starboard engines have the logo of each NFL team painted on the covers to each cylinder, arranged by division,” writes Jonathan Sluss. “I was not permitted to take a photograph, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be found — you can see the Jets’ logo in this photo. I secretly hoped I would find the MLB logos in the Port engine room, but alas, that was not the case. There is a surprising amount of great art painted on the walls of these ships, however. Unfortunately, much of it gets painted over in gray or white as the crew revolves out.” … Latest team to be auctioning off a set of St. Paddy’s day warm-up jerseys: the Coyotes (with thanks to Kenn Tomasch). … Lots of Cool stuff in the new Ebbets Field Flannels catalog, including some great new T-shirts (I’m particularly partial to the Tri-City Atoms, Eau Claire Bears, and Hot Spring Bathers designs) and, my favorite, grounds crew jackets. Plus the printed catalog has a really nice memorial tribute to the woman who did the company’s chain-stitching. … Latest entry in the ever-growing library of books about uni numbers: the excellent Red Sox by the Numbers. Highly recommended. … A few months ago I looked at a bare strip of vertical molding in my apartment and thought, “A column of old pencil sharpeners would look really cool there.” So I started collecting them. Now the molding is full and the collection is spreading across the ceiling. … Interesting insignia style on this old baseball jersey, and check out the tri-colored initials on this one and the spectacular “National Milk” chain-stitching on this one. … One of you Twin Cities guys should snap up this baseball jersey. … Use the “Click to Enlarge” on the photos to see the awesome chenille uni numerals on this football jersey. … Very groovy find here: a blank Jaworski-era Eagles jersey, which you can customize as you see fit. Always loved those sleeve stripes. … I think we can safely say that this dude is the coolest curler ever. Love that chest patch (awesome find by Jeremy Brahm). … Julius Peppers will wear No. 90 for the Bears (with thanks to Steve Johnston). … Ever wonder what’s inside a rosin bag, and/or how to make your own? Then watch this really interesting video clip (great find by Tremaine Eto). … John Sheehan sent along some scans of these groovy old baseball photo cards. “They’re very thick like an old photograph, nothing on the back,” he says. … Zac Neubauer was looking through the October 1947 issue of Popular Science and thought I’d be interested in this uniform ad from a Brooklyn operation. The great part about this is that Triangle Sports is still in business at that same location, which is just a few blocks away from my apartment. I buy most of my underwear and sneakers from them. They’re totally gonna shit when I show them the old ad.